As I'm sitting here in the public library -- it's the only place I can be truly productive -- clicking through various Colts-related links, I can't help but have my Twitter crawl open in my leftmost Chrome tab. Why? Because today, a 17-year-old, 6-foot-11 high school senior is declaring where he intends to play college ball, and I've got some gimme LeBron James jokes to make about the decision process. [Editor's note: he chose IU since I started writing.]
Seriously though, Zellerpalooza and the related recruiting circus has had me thinking a lot about fans lately. I could get into the whole discussion of the spillover from pro sports to amateur/collegiate sports (we've come a long ways from the Bobby Plump days, huh?), but really, I want to keep this focused on fans, and how unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) absurd they can be at times. I mean, we're talking about a 17-year-old kid, and thousands of people blogging and tweeting and reporting about his every single move open to society. He was wearing a blue shirt, he's a UNC lean. He was talking with a guy whose friend's cousin's pen pal lives across the street from Tom Crean, he's an IU lean. Butler...well, you were never really in the equation, but I'm sure someone said something similar (alliteration FTW) at some point during this recruiting maelstrom.
And it's not just fanatic Hoosier fans. I'm thinking of last Sunday, when Austin Collie was laid out (without malicious intent) by Kurt Coleman. My first thought: my God, he's paralyzed. He cannot move. He's having his neck taped to a board. This is every shade of awful. But I just know, as I was thinking these things, that someone out there had moved beyond potential paralysis and was thinking "man, the Colts have no one left at wide receiver now" or "wow, the Colts can't afford another injury" or even "this is gonna kill my fantasy team this week."
Have sports become that superficial? Are we that detached from reality, from real-life circumstances surrounding real people? Is the prospective win-loss record of our alma mater so important to us that we take a long lunch just to catch a high school kid's press conference? Does the win-loss record of our fantasy team or favorite pro team trump the importance of a player walking again? I don't know the answer to these questions. And don't even get me started about Eagles fans booing Collie as he remained motionless on the field. All I do know is this: we're crazy. We're crazy to care us much as we do, to invest the kind of time required to know who Joique Bell is or how many yards Carson Palmer has thrown for on the year. And crazy is a double-edged sword. It's the worst in everything, it's the kind of fan that makes you shake your head and wish you could be disassociated with the fanbase if that's the presumed behavior. Simultaneously, it's the best in everything: the crowd responsible for forcing an opposing QB into calling timeouts and throwing picks, the single thought carrying you through a Monday morning when upper management decides to play Whack-a-Mole with Joe Necktie and let's not forget, it's the fans that pay the bills.
Fans are crazy. They do stupid things. Can we possibly condemn them, though, when nothing is possible without them? I don't think so. And those are my thoughts today. Links after the jump.
FROM THE SADDLE
Official Team News
- John Oehser (Special to Colts.com) All goals are attainable in the season's second half, says Jim Caldwell.
- Jake Thompson (Colts.com) Jerraud Powers is looking forward to matching up with another Alabama guy.
A full biography of newest roster addition RB Joique Bell.
- Videos / Media
GREEN APPLES AND ROAD APPLES
Positive and Negative Analysis
- Paul Kuharsky (ESPN)
- Phillip B. Wilson (Indy Star)
- Mike Chappell (Indy Star)
- John Oesher (Indy Football Report, AOL Fanhouse)
- Laura Calaway (Coltzilla) sees exactly what I saw in Vick's 24-yard scramble.
- TJ Higley (Coltzilla) takes a look at the Week 9 Power Rankings.
IN THE PADDOCK
News About This Week's Opponent
- Joe Reedy (Cincinnati Enquirer) Carson Palmer assures that Chad Ochocinco's temper tantrums were much ado about nothing.
- Geoff Hobson (Bengals.com) A look at Wednesday's Bengal injury news.
- Chris Chase (Shutdown Corner) 10 facts about Mike Brown's record-setting ineptitude in Cincy.
OUTSIDE THE STABLE
Around the League