When I started this thing, I promised myself: No clichés. ESPN pays some bobblehead a quarter-million per year to stick a mic in the face of the starting quarterback (annual salary north of $10 million) to ask him if maybe he shouldn’t have thrown that interception. The whole unnecessary spectacle has to be at least a few grand worth of time. Do you know how many hungry kids we could feed if we cut the clichés out of sports coverage, and cut a check to charity instead?
But that was before I had to write up games like this Friday’s. George Orwell said that clichés “will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.” He thought that was bad, but look: We’re all fans here. We like our team. Lots of us know the players, coaches, and staff personally. They know they had a bad game. They know that we know they had a bad game. Do we really need to rehash it, in gruesome detail?
That’s why the clichés persist. I’m not saying we shouldn’t cut a check to charity — definitely do that (our Friday partners were the Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center; if you’re looking for good causes, start there). But the clichés save us all some pain, so let’s say “it’s a long season” and “we have to take it one game at a time” and “we have to play mistake-free football” and leave it at that. Deal?
Some bright spots:
Marquel Wade was the IFL’s leading receiver going into Friday’s game, and he ran wild again: five catches for 83 yards and two scores, plus a rushing TD.
New River King and hometown hero Demetrius Harper caught three passes and his first professional touchdown (confidential to #8: I couldn’t do the full PA freakout routine right away, because there was a flag on the play. I also couldn’t figure out the best way to do it — there are six syllables in “Demetrius Harper” and I’ve got to have enough air in my lungs to finish strong. Do me a favor and catch a lot more touchdowns — I need the practice).
Quad Cities’ quarterback EJ Hilliard is shifty, but Eric Banford and Malik Slater combined to crunch him for a nice sack.
Kick coverage continues to be an adventure, but kicker Henry Nell did lay a nice rugby-style hit on Steamwheelers’ return man Carlos Wiggins.
We’re on a much-needed bye this week, before getting back in action on Saturday, March 30, against the Iowa Barnstormers. I’m on Spring Break, too, so I’m hoping to use the bye week to get in some in-depth player interviews. I’ve got a piece on former Titans kicker Mike Georgetti that I’m finishing up, and hope to catch up with Marquel Wade, OL Jordan Mosely, and DBs Nickolas Brassell and Tuff Johnson soon. Updates here and on Facebook as soon as I have them. Thanks for reading!!