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Published July 31 2011

Clark: NCAA should lighten up and embrace the fun

I want to make sure I can comprehend what the NCAA is saying.

It’s saying no more taunting. No more celebrations. No more pointing to the sky to thank God or doing anything that would appear to insult the other team.

So pretty much, no more individualism? OK, I think I’ve got it, Chairman Mao.

We clearly live in a society that today values individualism to a large degree. Take iPhones, iPods, Facebook, Twitter, which are all avenues that allow a person to be different.

Just a few months ago, the world went bonkers when Blake Griffin dunked over a car.

College football players should have the right to be unique individuals like everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for being a team player, but at the same time, you’re assuming everyone on the team acts the same. Sometimes what makes sports fun isn’t always the games, but the personalities in those games.

There were people that watched Terrell Owens because he was a great receiver, but most watched him to see what he was going to do next.

Admit it. You watched when he pulled out the Sharpie. Your jaw dropped when he grabbed the pompoms. And you loved it when he ate the popcorn.

Don’t forget when he dropped a football in the giant Salvation Army kettle, too. That was a good one.

One of the greatest memories of my childhood was watching former Miami great Randal Hill score against Texas in the Cotton Bowl and then run down the tunnel, using his fingers like they were six-shooters.

Celebrations and “taunting” have become so engrained in our culture that we do it on an everyday basis. Whether it is a fist pump or a high-five, we all do it.

When The Forum called me and told me I was hired, you know what I did? I slid across my living room floor on my knees as if I just won the World Cup.

People love entertainment, and if the people love something, give them what they want.

Someone recently said to me that people love sports because it provides drama and entertainment. What better way to provide both those things than by, gee, I don’t know, letting someone be themselves?

Every sport these days is about individualism and setting yourself apart from the other guy. For example, let’s use what so many south of here consider to be “God’s Gift to Modern Athletics” in the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC prides itself on taunting and trash-talking. It is a conference that claims a sub-.500 Vanderbilt could roll into the Big Ten and at least walk away 8-4. This is a conference that after every major bowl win their fans, no matter the school, collectively chant, “S-E-C! S-E-C!” to point out the dominance they have over everyone else.

If the NCAA is looking for a way to reduce the arrogance and stupidity that exists, there are ways to do it. But if you really think by telling a kid they can’t celebrate is going to stop it, you’ve got another thing coming.

Now that this point has been made, I am going to go celebrate.

I’ll just make sure not to do it on a football field.

Chairman Mao, the floor is yours.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com