Saturday night was a triumph.
Austin Peay and Central Arkansas may not be Notre Dame and Alabama, but it was college football, and it was back. I stop short of saying that sports writers, who are notoriously far left politically, wanted the season to be cancelled.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read the incessant hand-wringing and doom-saying of Dan Wolken, Darren Rovell, and Gregg Doyel, and I admit that it’s bizarrely easy to make the case that they did. But I can’t make the logical leap to believe that these men actively rooted for the deprivation of the very lifeblood of their profession.
Still, for months the American sports fan has been treated to the relentless drumbeat of negativity promising that Saturday would never come. In mid-July, Yahoo sports ran a piece by Pete Thamel that pre-emptively nuked the entire college football season:
The rampant pessimism about the possibility of playing college football in the fall of 2020 has spiraled to fatalism.
Take a deep breath, and begin to get comfortable with the idea there’s virtually no chance of playing college football in any recognizable form this fall. Start digesting the notion that the next time we see a college football game could be in more than 13 months, as the sport remains the most unlikely of all the major sports to execute a successful return.
I have to admit that after months of reading the work of the so-called “coronabros,” the nickname given to the pervasive nay-sayers and alarmists who make up the preponderance of sports media, Thamel’s piece was the gold-standard of pessimism. Here was just a handful of the lines and phrases that appeared in the masterpiece:
“hope is being vanquished”
“It’s all over”
“ultimately, no one is playing football in the fall”
“rampant uptick of pessimism”
“bewildered and exasperated”
“the season being canceled is a foregone conclusion”
“a player hooked up to a ventilator in an ICU”
“decimating their athletic departments”
“a financial reckoning”
“options are dwindling by the day”
Reading this it’s clear that Thamel, whose spiritual gift is clearly optimism, has to be a blast at parties. I can’t help but picture the man at his keyboard, typing out pellets of doom with the Rachel Dratch “Debbie Downer” face from the old Saturday Night Live.
It’s been a wild ride these last several months, particularly when considering that anyone who offered positive news or an encouraging report (think Clay Travis) was immediately tarred and feathered as someone who ignoring the facts on the ground.
Yet, here we are with a new set of facts on the ground: Central Arkansas 24, Austin Peay 17.
Two months ago, Thamel wrote,
“the chances of college football being played in some recognizable form in the fall are similar to attempting to keep a candle lit while walking 10 miles in a hurricane.”
Apparently no one told Pete and his coronabros we were using the magic, self-igniting, re-lightable candles.