Thanksgiving: Family, food, and football
It is Thanksgiving Weekend, which means family get togethers, turkey and football. Most of my work the last twenty years has been in the South, where people have religions (plural). One is what most people consider religion. The other is college football (except for college basketball in Kentucky). For a long time there were no major league professional sports teams in the South. Interstate and intrastate rivalries on the gridiron were the substitute. This has not changed much now that bigtime pro sports has hit the South.
For three hours on Saturday, everything in Alabama will stop for the Iron Bowl, this year played at Auburn. The Crimson Tide are heavily favored, but that means little in this game. The War Eagle will try to fire up the home crowd.
It is unlikely that the Finnish rock group Darude ever anticipated that their 1999 song "Sandstorm" would lead to what is now a new tradition before the kickoff at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina, a city where I have spent many days the past 8 years. Here is the video of what went on before the Gamecocks biggest win in history, a pounding of Alabama in 2010, that ended the Tide's 28 game regular season winning streak. The Clemson Tigers will feel the music Saturday night in Columbia.
I do not want to shortchange the rest of the country. The Irish will play at Stanford. Penn State takes their troubled show to Wisconsin. The two Oklahoma schools will try to drown the other in more sorrow after last week's debacles for both schools.
And of course there is Ohio State and Michigan in the Big House. The Wolverines had best win this year, for it may be seven lean ones ahead after this news.
And of course there is always the best damn band in the land:
No Republican has ever been elected President without carrying Ohio. And no Michigan team has beaten Ohio State in the Obama era. Enough said.
Switching sports: Ryan Braun was named National League MVP yesterday. It is the sixth time the award has been won by a Jewish player in one of the two leagues. How many Muslims have played in Major League Baseball? Has anyone compiled a list of Muslim contributions to the game for a future speech on this theme by Barack Obama?