Friday, December 23, 2005

The "I Believe Stick"

A football game. A man on the sidelines. A stick held in the air every single play.

I saw this pecular practice in person when Southern Miss played UAB, and this one man on the sidelines holding up some sort of pole as each snap was about to take place was befuddling. Was this a microphone? Was it a signal to the players? A lightning rod? Moses parting the waters?

No, it was about faith. You know, the easy-flowing, feel-good, this-works-f0r-me, success-on-the-football-field kind of faith (a.k.a. mystical, positive self-esteem.)

Father Tommy Conway is the "team chaplian" for Southern Miss, and he actually has a Bible reference to support his habit which began (and worked!!) against an undefeated TCU (Horned Frogs) team:

"Seizing upon an amphibian motif, Conway read the team the scripture in Exodus that described the plague of frogs God sent down upon Egypt to convince the Pharaoh to let Moses and the Jews go free.
"In the end the frogs all died, and they put them in a big pile and they began to stink," Conway said. "I told the team, 'We're not going to let these stinking frogs come in here and beat us. Now, I'm not Moses and I'm not Jesus, but I do have my own staff. Every time you take the field, I want you to look at the staff and believe in yourselves.'"
Sure enough, Southern Miss shocked the stinkin' Horned Frogs, 40-28. And a tradition (superstition?) was born. Ever since then, Father Football and his stick have been a sideline presence. "

You serious, Clark?


charleshalton said...

Colby, where's the love with a reciprocal link? My fragile emotional condition is hurt and is in need of consolation.

Colby Willen said...

Reciprocals are long in need of updating...but yours is far greater than a mere reciprocal.