Tuesday, December 31, 2013

100% Reason to Remember the Name

While Louisiana legend ascribes colorful former LSU head coach Dale Brown with a version of it, P.T. Barnum is often credited with the famous line: "I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right."

On New Year's Eve Eve, the circus came calling in Brown's old home town of Baton Rouge, albeit on the northside at Southern University.  The Jaguars broke the NCAA record for best start in a Division I basketball game by holding hapless Champion Baptist College scoreless while racking up 44 unanswered.  It led to a 116-12 final score.

Last night, Southern and Champion made the ESPN ticker during bowl games.  Dominated a light evening of college basketball with the hysterical, er, historical note.

Oh the humanity.

At what price fame?  Fox Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, et al, had their fun with this.  Southern got some better local pub -- considering a Google for the university also brings up some investigations into the law school today.  While many are making fun of Champion (lots of how can you be a Champion . . .) there is growing complaint about Southern, notably that they should not have taken advantage of a non-NCAA team or that the game and record are not legitimate.

No one starts out to have this result, but let's be honest -- everyone knows what is going on.  Southern played teams who wanted them for practice; why do we fault the Jags for same.  Let's not act like this is a product of the 21st century money-driven horror show of college sports.  This was going on with regularity in the 19th century.  Colleges played all-star teams, local high schools, business colleges, schools for the deaf, military bases, their own alumni.

Champion Baptist gets 7,000-plus notes in Google's news today, and they trended hard on Twitter last night.  SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness had a little perspective on both sides.  The Topsy score was 56, so to the plus side of sentiment.  Tweet of the day goes to Gary Parrish at CBS:  "You know what’s coming next season, right? Champion Baptist at Grinnell College. Book it."  Lost in the mix is at their own level, CBC was a national champion among other Christian private schools.

At the end of the day, this is takeaway.  USA TODAY sports writer Dan Wolkin who grew up in Hot Springs admitted he had never heard of Champion.

Now he has.

Off-Topic Post Script: Take a moment and read through Micheal Turney's excellent tracing of the origins of the P.T. Barnum quote from the first link above.  A good read that once again proves my Harry Truman approach to America: The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know. As a Post-Post Script: Enjoy #5 on this link to Truman's value of history.

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