The Substitutes

I caught a little bit of the Patriots – Ravens game tonight. The unnecessary shoving and slapping I witnessed in such a short time may actually rival that of the Jersey Shore crew. However, these football players didn’t require absurd amounts of alcohol to get hype…  JUST replacement refs.

I agree, the officiating has been just plain bad, and wildly inconsistent. The delays, poor calls, missed calls, and flat-out confusion that has occurred since the replacement refs were handed the reigns is frustrating. Clearly, “frustrating” is understatement for what it’s been for players and coaches. However, I’m pretty sure of one thing: there’s no excuse for the fighting and/or harassing and demeaning of these officials.

As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but notice the mounting horror on the faces of these poor blokes. They are, after all, in charge of keeping order amongst very large men who have now resorted to physical violence against one another. Not good.

Then it struck me. I’ve dealt with this before. This is what I like to call, Substitute Hysteria. If you’ve ever had a substitute teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Remember that stickler of a teacher you had, whose class you dreaded? Remember the joy you felt when you walked into his or her room and saw an unfamiliar face behind the desk? Yesssss, we’ve got a sub!

Whether you were a good kid (like me ;)), or the one that made that substitute hate their life for a solid 50 minutes, you’ve experienced Substitute Hysteria. There is a certain sort of madness or frenzy that can occur when a group of kids outnumber a naive and unsuspecting substitute teacher. Spit wads, slapping people (friends or enemies), and other random acts of craziness occur. Most of which would never happen if the “real” teacher was in.

That same hysteria has taken over what used to be an orderly classroom, headed by Ed Hochuli and his biceps. Unfortunately, Mr. Hochuli & Co will be absent for at least two more weeks even if a deal to end the lockout is reached soon. Meanwhile, these poor subs have completely lost control of their classroom.

Now it only takes a few bad “kids” to evoke madness in a classroom. Likewise, there are always a few unruly parents as well. Parents who think they know better than the teacher and think they can call the shots, rather than teaching their kids to be respectful.

I mention this because there are now two coaches, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who are reportedly being fined $20,000 each for publicly criticizing the replacement refs. Then there is Bill Belichick, who made the not-so-smooth move of grabbing a replacement official by the arm while running off the field tonight. Get your checkbook out, Bill. That’s gonna cost you, too. The point is, just like parents can make jerks out their kids, coaches can do the same to their players.

OR, they can be like good mommies and daddies and teach their kids that despite the second-hand officiating they’ve had thus far, they must still carry themselves with class and act like role models.

To wrap it up, I want to explain why I’ve been so empathetic to the replacements. have been a substitute teacher. You do the best with what you’ve been given, and hope that your students aren’t heathens. For those that are heathens, a little dodgeball to the head during gym class will shut them up rather quickly, or so I’ve heard. Whoops! 😉 For the replacement officials, your little yellow flag (when used correctly) should help you maintain order as well.

Bottom line is this: These players may not respect the current officials, but they still have to answer to their coaches. Coaches, be the example for your players. These replacements are doing the best with what they’ve got. Mr. Hochuli and crew will be back before you know it. Hopefully. 🙂

Advertisements

Never Underestimate a Leprechaun Scorned

I’ve been looking forward to this week for a whole year. I know, opening weekend was three weeks ago already (I was excited for that too!), but this week holds a whole different level of intensity for me. Why, you ask? In one word: Michigan. Two more words, Denard Robinson. ONE more word, and the most important, I might add… REVENGE!!!

Now before I go all William Wallace on here, let me explain what fellow Notre Dame fans already know: we owe them a loss. Or better yet, they owe us a win, as we’ve coughed up the W to them in the final seconds our last three meetings.

2009: ND leads 34-31 with 2:19 left on the game clock. Tate Forcier goes 5 for 6 in a drive downfield that results in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds remaining. Kick is good, blah, blah, blah, Notre Dame loses.

*Side note for this game: Head coaches were Charlie Weis and Rich Rodriguez for this one. Cringe.

2010: The Irish overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit, while holding the Wolverines scoreless in the second half… until Denard Robinson scores from 2 yards out with 27 seconds left to play. Michigan wins 28-24.

*Note: Robinson accounts for 502 total yards and three touchdowns in this, just his second-career start. My I-respect-you-but-loathe-you relationship with him begins.

2011: Notre Dame enters the 4th quarter leading 24-7. I had already sent out some taunting text messages to a few Michigan fans at this point. Of course, Michigan comes roaring back, eventually leading 28-24. That score rings a bell, right? Well, the Irish have time to answer back this time, scoring a go-ahead TD with 1:22 remaining. What do I do? I go crazy. I pick up my daughter, swing her around, scream, cheer, and pose for the following picture (which I have never shared until this day, due to shame).

I thought we finally had this one in the bag. But no. Robinson drives 80 yards to score with TWO seconds remaining. I am stunned. I am angry. My husband is scared.

*Note: Two things in reference to the picture. 1) My daughter, Ava, was clearly not as excited as I was, and 2) I am guilty of one of my own pet peeves… holding up the #1 sign when we obviously weren’t #1. We were 0-2 entering the game. Geesh, Alexis. Alas, I digress.

Now, I’ve never been a math whiz, but let me see….

948 (Denard’s total yards vs. ND) × 7 (touchdowns he’s scored vs. ND) – 4 (the number of points ND has lost by each of the past three match-ups) × 42 (the combined number of seconds it’s taken for Michigan to score THREE game-winning touchdowns in the past three years) = ONE incredibly fired up and vengeful Irish squad this Saturday.

Mark my words. Led by Manti Te-o, an inspired Irish defense is going to do something no group has ever done to Denard Robinson: tie his shoe laces so tight he loses feeling in his feet and can’t run at all.

Just kidding, but they are going to get some stops. Robinson doesn’t have the protection up front he’s had in recent years. Plus, the Irish frontmen appear to be the best they’ve been in a while. I believe that this go-round is going to be very different.

The old saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, I am a woman scorned by Robinson & the Wolverines. I hope the Fighting Irish have the same mentality come 7:30pm this Saturday. Better yet, I hope Brian Kelly is drilling it into their brains all week long!

In closing, I want to know who YOU are rooting for in this matchup. This question applies to EVERYONE. I’m always curious about which team outsiders (especially fans of Big Ten teams) tend to root for in this long-standing rivalry. Or in other words, which team you hate less. 😉