Tradition involves the past influencing the present. "Tradition" is on the slogan painted on West Albany's grandstand.
Grass and mud, steam rising off the huddle, painting our helmets gold weekly from collision scuffs during each game. Bulldog football represented the hardest-hitting team in the valley. Making the team held significance. No "bullying," it was iron sharpening iron. Coaches literally "broke" us to bring out our best.
I'm afraid that old mentality is being "cyber-systemed" out of high school football. Violence is part of tackle football. It seems foolish,but for some old Bulldogs, it is the best part. The game tests your guts,your willingness to physically stop another man from imposing his will on you. It's not for everyone.
Tweets, podcasts, blogs, selfies, fantasy games, computer ranking systems, all diminish the real grit that goes into the sport. Taunting and late hits are penalties that were not tolerated long ago. We played tough, clean smash-mouth until the whistle blew.
Now, players jump around over the most common plays trying to get recognition. I'm afraid the progression is leaving us old players behind.
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It makes me question the significance of my pride in the blue and gold. Now soccer is played on a synthetic surface that covers the dirt that soiled our uniform. Our rival Rebels are gone because of their name.
So much for tradition.Does the future hold a place for real Bulldog football? Can we hit as hard as we can with no penalty?
Albany (Oct. 5)