News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

January 31, 2014

RONN MOTT: The weather vs. football

TERRE HAUTE — When I was a boy and became aware of what I learned was football, it was in the 1940s, the season at the collegiate level was nine games. And, if I remember correctly (I don’t always), high school football was eight games. So, it was primarily an autumn sport. For the college level, it might have gotten up to 10 games, but it didn’t stretch except for the bowl games into the official days of winter.

I remember one Thanksgiving afternoon I went to the Clinton High School football stadium. It was a very nice facility and it was about 20 years old when I first encountered it. So I went to the football game on Thanksgiving afternoon with my Uncle Charlie and after the game he dropped me off at my house. I would later go with my family to his house for Thanksgiving dinner.

I didn’t know very much about football at that time except that Clinton High School was a football powerhouse into the early 1950s, but during the 1930s they were dubbed state champions at least twice and were always tough to beat by schools our size in Indiana and Illinois.

I don’t remember them ever playing in the snow, but I suppose the weather being what it was then, and what it is now, there is the opportunity to play in the snow. If you think this is a lead-in to the Super Bowl, you are absolutely correct.

I don’t have a clue as to what the weather will be in the little town in New Jersey where the Super Bowl will be played. But the opportunity for a snow-filled, rotten day for fans and football players is a very ripe possibility … which also means the possibility for someone getting hurt is a large reality.

The Broncos, who play in Denver, are probably more accustomed to the idea of playing in cold weather, I mean real cold, than the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks, like Denver, play in an open-air stadium where the players have to endure the wind and the rain in the Pacific Northwest.

So here’s the rub. In days of yore, before stadiums with roofs, all of those great bowl games were played in geography where there was less opportunity for rotten weather … the Orange Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Tangerine Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the one that just celebrated its 100-year anniversary, the Rose Bowl. Because of the money, I suppose New York wanted the Super Bowl played at its facility and some of the hoopla would rub off near the Great White Way.

It only makes sense if you can forget the fact it is being played in New Jersey and not anywhere in New York City or New York state. If I sound like a grouch, it is because I am living through one of the coldest, most snow-filled winters I can remember. From Grade 1 through Grade 12, I can only remember one snow day that put me out of school. (I was going to Newport High School and it rained and froze and sleeted on top of that.)

I think, for the good of the game, it should be scheduled only in areas where the weather is most generally warm, or you can close the roof and keep the weather out.

I will not be there. I will be warm and toasty in my favorite chair, watching it on the biggest screen I have in my house. So as a spectator, I have nothing to complain about. It is only the great fun I have in writing this little opus and sticking pins into the stupidity of the greedy masters of the National Football League.

Who am I cheering for? For Peyton Manning, the best mind that ever threw a football, and his fellow teammates of the Denver Broncos.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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