Archive for Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: America’s team this year not difficult to determine

September 11, 2002

"Let's roll!"

A few passengers aboard a 9-11 flight supposedly used the phrase right before making a move on terrorists last September.

Now, Florida State has slapped the slogan on its practice shirts, using the words as its battle cry this season.

The move drew criticism. Some thought the shirts were bold, comparing a football team to apparent instant heroes.

Interestingly enough, Florida State's first touchdown of its first game of the season came with 9:11 left in the first quarter against Iowa State. Eerie the timing was, but maybe Florida State is America's team.

Whoa, what about Alabama?

This is, after all a slightly more storied program than even Florida State. Alabama became a powerhouse long before the Seminoles could even think of challenging for No. 1 year after year.

And the kicker is in the name.

Alabama's slogan is, after all, "Roll Tide!"

How appropriate it would have been for coach Dennis Franchione to throw the phrase on his shirts.

Then again, maybe 'Bama shouldn't have had the honor. The Crimson Tide, after all, was slapped with probation this year. Apparently the infractions happened before Franchione came last year, but nonetheless, the situation wouldn't personify America.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, do. Like the United States, FSU has a fairly young country, er, football program, compared to the rest of the world, er, college football.

The Seminoles started playing football in 1947, but didn't always post 10-plus win seasons again and again, as has often been the case in recent years. The program has two national championships to its credit; the United States was in the win column of two world wars. FSU, after being an independent for many years, joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992 and won the ACC crown each year, sharing the title just twice.

America, meanwhile, was an independent for some time before signing on for NAFTA in 1994.

Florida State, like the United States, has been a powerhouse. The 'Noles were in the top 5 in the polls for 14 consecutive years.

Until last year.

Last fall, Florida State didn't get 10 victories. They, by FSU standards, had a measly 8-4 record, and for the first time in their ACC history, lost a game on their home turf.

Yes, the similarities are just plain stupid and ridiculous, but Florida State, just like the United States, was used to being on top of the world. Then, suddenly, last fall, neither was so invincible.

It's almost surreal comparing a country to a football team, but America, like FSU, had built a hint of cockiness and arrogance.

Yet it took the unthinkable to wake up the country. A year ago, life was suddenly valued much more. Things such as family and patriotism were no longer taken for granted. Sure, people again probably don't always stop to appreciate what they have. I certainly don't sometimes.

But now, a year later, the country will remember that horrendous day. Americans will again realize how many people innocently lost their lives and how many fellow citizens lost theirs trying to save others.

Sports seem to be a haven for patriotism any time the country is in a crisis. When the United States went to war with Iraq 10 years ago, U.S. flags adorned athletic jerseys around the country. When tragedy struck last year, Old Glory was again found in smaller forms on hats, jerseys and helmets.

But beyond the Florida State comparison, and with sports being so intense in our country, it's only fitting that another America's team is chosen.

The squad can't be found in baseball. No one with multimillion-dollar contracts should be complaining about this.

How about the Lakers? Enough said.

Hmmm. There is one team that might fit the mold. The supporting evidence comes from the Super Bowl in January. While Super Bowl teams are usually introduced one-by-one, New England chose to be introduced as one unit. The move symbolized the "united we stand" theme, and as the Patriots, the franchise has the perfect mascot.

Unfortunately, America's real team won't be in any stadium or arena. Instead, it could be in Iraq very soon.

If that becomes a reality, let's hope this team comes out a winner with very few injuries.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.