Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jilted lover

West Virginia, get over Rich Rod already. Seriously.

I have a unique perspective, being a native West Virginian who went to Michigan. I know how important the Mounties are to the state. Imagine a place jealous of Pennsylvania, and you'll get an idea for how desperate West Virginia is for things to be proud of. I say this with all due love for my home state.

I get it. WVians are entitled to a high level of disgust at RR and Michigan. I would hate Rich Rod too, if he wasn't the best hope for my beloved Wolverines to return to glory. But threatening his relatives, one of them a 12 year old girl who needed an escort at school? Are you effin serious?

Grow up West Virginia. If you were a person, you would have a restraining order against you. You're acting out like an especially ticked off woman scorned. I do my best to talk you up out here on the west coast, but you're making yourselves look pretty bad with this tantrum you're throwing.

And to the non-WVians, this must seem quite bizarre. Let me try to explain how it works in West by God. Rich Rod was a native son, and as such, had one key extra expectation of him, that being loyalty. Everyone and their brother leaves WV for greener pastures, so those who stay behind have an intense bond of loyalty. Rich Rod was supposed to be a "true" WVian.

They may be blue collar, cheap beer swillin', satellite tv watchin', "redneck", eaters of roadkill. But if you lead them to victory, WVians will love you with an intensity that no one else will. Think Scottish highlands ala Braveheart. They'll throw fists (or frozen oranges) to defend your honor, and stick up for you against all opposition, all with a delightful hick accent.

The flipside is that they expect loyalty. Afterall, they stayed in WV, why shouldn't you? Violate the loyalty, and the claws come out. As venomous as the hatred for RR is, this is how strongly they loved him. All that bile was reserved for WV's opponents, and will be again soon. He brought glory to an otherwise depressing state (again, WV, I love you babe; but you know it's true). RR's fatal mistake was to be successful, then leave.

Also, you have to understand that WVU is an extra level of crazy. They'll try to tip over the ambulance with an injured player from the opposing team. They'll throw trashcans and whiskey bottles at the other team's coaches. They'll break into the empty stadium after beating Miami away, tear down the goalpost, and carry it to the main drag and leave it there. I forget his name, but one of the commentators on ESPN has told a story about showing up for a game as an Orangeman, and being hit in the face with a frozen orange coming off the bus. It used to be common for the refs to penalize the fans. Morgantown has taken couch fires to an art form.

So imagine this atmosphere, and just when WV finally has what they want, a Mountaineer team that's a regular national title contender, and Rich Rod ups and leaves for .... Michigan? Who they hell are they to take our coach? Bastards! It doesn't help that he flirted with the Alabama job last year, and then promised to stay at WVU "for a long time" (or something to that effect).

I sympathize with West Virginia very much on this one. I always go for the Mounties. But this vandalizing and harassing RR's family has got to stop. Show a little class.

I'd like to end with this amusing local commercial from WV. Believe it or not, the quality of local commercials has gone up considerably since I lived there (the Dime Bank, anyone?). My only question is: which state did they find the attractive woman from?

Haha! I keed, I keed...

Related: I will not be ignored, Rich!


At 22/1/08 10:06, Anonymous jb said...

I agree, it is embarrassing. But also kind of sad, when so many people have nothing else to live for than the vicarious glory of their state university football team.

At 22/1/08 16:45, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Football is embarrassing, period, no matter what state you live in. If this happened to Michigan or Virginia, or anywhere else, people would act the same way. You know it; it is the nature of fanatical sports. So this really is more symptomatic of America's obsession with sports than it is of anything in particular with WV.

People just need to get a life in general. You know, play guitar hero or something. ;)


At 23/1/08 11:00, Anonymous jb said...

I agree to a point, but this is particularly egregious. I go back to my comment about people having nothing else going for them in their lives. It makes me mad because who is getting damaged here, other than WVU's football program? Would you want to play or coach there now? I wouldn't.

At 23/1/08 14:57, Blogger Dave said...

anonymous -- ever hear of a soccer hooligan?

At 24/1/08 21:21, Blogger TSS said...


My proof is that the governor of WV has made about 4 public comments accusing RR of taking bribes or somesuch (smearing him in some way), and the governor of Michigan has yet to mention the new coach at UofM. She has, ya know, work to do.

And no, this would NOT happen in Ann Arbor. Michigan State, yeah, they had a rioting problem awhile back. But not in Ann Arbor. I'm sure this sounds trite, but Michigan prides itself on its civility (which is a relative term, to be sure -- when all you have to do is be more civilized than Buckeyes, well the bar is set pretty low).

The only thing Michigan fans get really really fired up about is beating Ohio State, and to a lesser extent, Notre Dame. Of course, I could be proved wrong when and if RR takes off for some plum NFL job.


Soccer hooliganism and its ilk aren't common in the US, which is why this is special (certainly hooligans are far worse).

Would Michigan fans riot if they lost? The thought is absurd. When I was there, the President of the university invited a crowd of students who had assembled on his lawn into his house to celebrate the 2007 national title (hockey, though we won football that year too, the greatest sports year of my life).

But in WV, they really do have nothing better to do. After WVU lost to Pitt, RR got a bunch of death threats (which is rumored to be one of the major reasons he decided to leave). I'm not sure you can really understand the inferiority complex that plagues WV unless you've lived there for a significant time.

At 24/1/08 21:24, Blogger TSS said...

Sorry, I mean 1997. My, how time flies.

At 25/1/08 10:31, Anonymous jb said...

I'm pretty sure dave's comment was in response to corthar's indictment of "America's obsession with sports," pointing out that it is universal. Andres Escobar was killed for scoring an own-goal in the 1994 World Cup. Not an empty death threat by some fatass in a trailer park, but actually killed.

In other news, I can't google the world "murder" from my work computer.

At 1/2/08 11:41, Blogger Dave said...

Midwest Universities do riot -- not over sports maybe, but when we were going to school there were a couple places that had beer riots. Bars closed, and college kids still wanted to keep drinking, so they did it in the street and started tearing down light polls. A roommate of mine one summer got arrested at Penn State during their beer riot.

At 1/2/08 13:50, Blogger TSS said...

Ok, but the original claim was that Michigan would act just as poorly as WV has if our coach left. I didn't make any claim about the midwest in general. WV is closer to the midwest anyway (this is a discussion on it's own, but basically WV thinks they're the south, but the south won't have them -- how pathetic is that? WV is like a hillier rural Indiana).

Ann Arbor doesn't riot (at least, it hasn't). I googled, and the last time they rioted over football was in 1908, and it was because someone tried to bribe the team to take a dive. A hundred years of non-rioting speaks for itself.

Actually, they have sort of rioted. A mob beat up the KKK once, but I think that's the sort of rioting you can be more sympathetic to (though in this case, like most rioting, it was counter productive).

Certainly, a mob mentality can break out in any city. It's not as though Ann Arbor is immune to dipshittery, and I wouldn't be so stupid as to claim everything is perfectly civil in AA. But it's true that most Michigan fans just stay home and watch movies when our team has a throwaway season (more than 1 loss).

And like alot of stupid shit that fans do, the ones who make all the trouble aren't and never were students at UofM. That's not the case in other schools. In Columbus they have a I Hate Michigan song that's popular at bars and everyone sings along ... it's really disturbing. There is no parallel to that in AA.

The band is called The Dead Schembechlers (Bo Schembechler was the famous Michigan coach who went up against Woody Hayes). I mean seriously, check this insanity out.



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