I guess because I grew up with Aggie football back when a game against the Lumberjacks meant Humboldt State and not Northern Arizona, the good folks at UC Davis want to pick my brain about what they can do to improve my family’s “game-day” experience.
For starters, you can stop scheduling “body bag” games against the likes of Oregon unless the Ducks are willing to bring their point-a-minute offense to Aggie Stadium in return for a game or two in Eugene. When you’re down 49-0 at halftime — as the Aggies were a couple of years ago at Hawaii — it does not build up one’s self-confidence.
Sure, getting your brains beat in as 58,000 green-clad crazy folks in Autzen Stadium salivate over your demise may pay the bills back home, but there’s not much benefit otherwise.
Football is, of course, a spectator sport, but most Aggie fans will turn this one off long before halftime to spare themselves the carnage. Those who do make the long trek to Eugene, I suppose, can at least enjoy the tall, green, old-growth firs as they drown their sorrows in the local brew.
Despite my opposition to games in Eugene, I have been asked to participate in the “Football Fan Experience Survey 2012.” Presumably they want me to recount my experiences from last year.
I will do this out of the goodness of my heart. I have not been offered two tickets to the next home game or a free hot dog for my kids in exchange for my participation.
“In 2013, UC Davis will begin it’s 2nd year of competition in the Big Sky Conference,” the survey notes, failing to explain why this version of “it’s” deserves an apostrophe.
Turns out the 2013 Aggies are “under the leadership of new head coach Ron Gould.”
I’ve heard of this guy. Everyone seems to like him. Enthusiastic, organized, highly motivated, probably spending night and day worrying about his game plan for that September 2016 game in Eugene.
I do think it’s silly that he is the first Aggie football coach in a long line of great ones who has been offered financial incentives for winning football games, even if I don’t blame him for accepting what was offered the day he was hired.
Yes, if the Aggies win the Big Sky Conference he gets an extra $2,500 and if they’re selected for the playoffs he gets yet another $2,500, which is a bit redundant since the Big Sky champion automatically gets a playoff bid. If the Aggies make it all the way to the national championship game, the coach gets another $5,000, even if he doesn’t personally score a touchdown.
Oddly, winning the championship game doesn’t net a single dime, but at that point the job offers will be lucrative enough that money will no longer be an issue.
Whoever dreamed up this contract should be taken out behind the Hog Barn and given a stern lecture on the meaning of the term “student-athlete.” Not to mention “teacher-coach.” I mean, do they give the chemistry prof an extra paycheck or two when one of his standout students wins the Nobel Prize?
“Which Aggie football home games did you attend in 2012?” the survey asks without telling me if I was caught on a hidden camera or some other means that detected my attendance.
One of my choices was Azusa Pacific, which has about as much business playing UC Davis as UC Davis does of playing Oregon. Azusa used to play teams like the University of Mary, Pomona-Pitzer and Laverne (and Shirley), so I took a pass the night the Azusans came to town.
I did attend the late September game against Weber State, but that’s when my Aggie Pride took a significant hit despite UCD’s stellar performance on the field of play.
That was the fateful night when the young student ahead of us in line had his backpack thoroughly manhandled by the food Nazis — without benefit of a search warrant — resulting in the discovery of a contraband Subway sandwich zipped snugly into a supposedly hidden chamber. Yes, the generally genial Aggie hosts turned instead into Aggie pickpockets.
Sadly, the freshly made tuna sandwich was immediately confiscated and unceremoniously chucked in the trash, forcing this poor soul to either go hungry for four quarters or fork over ungodly amounts of cash for an overpriced chain hamburger being sold by The Aggie Establishment inside the pearly gates.
Where but in America do we swipe perfectly good food from its rightful owner and throw it in the garbage? By what authority were the Sandwich Police allowed to conduct a warrantless search on a fellow citizen?
Shortly thereafter I let the powers-that-be know that my gridiron experience had been significantly sullied by this nasty experience, and that I wouldn’t be back until the policy was changed and fans were welcome to bring their own damn sandwiches into the game.
I’ll give them one more chance this fall so I can see if the new coach can rack up another $10,000 in bonuses, but if they take away my sandwich or my apple or the Snickers bar hidden in my underwear, I won’t be back.
I still plan to attend the first away game in South Dakota just as soon as I learn if the town of Vermillion has a Subway outlet within walking distance of the football stadium.
— Reach Bob Dunning at email@example.com