Monday, November 24, 2008

Bad football weekend for the gridiron "homies"

No, dear reader, I'm not using "homies" in its current slang usage (where it signifies fellow gang members). It's shorthand for "hometown team(s)" -- the hometown being my again-hometown of Nashville.

Nashville's "big three" post-high-school football teams suffered a truly bad weekend this past weekend.

What a change a couple of months makes! These three gridiron teams -- Tennessee State Tigers, Vanderbilt Commodores and NFL Titans -- began the 2008 season in fine fashion! Indeed, as these teams went into the final weekend of September they were still undefeated. I sent out an e-mail on the 29th of that month that expressed it this way:

I've not been able much to follow high school football here as I did in S.A. It's hard en'uf just to learn from the newspaper whether either of two high schools at which I've taught in the past are doing well in football. However,I've kept up with "higher-level" football quite well, thank you very much. And what a pleasant surprise! This past Friday's local daily's front page (not front sport section, but FRONT page) captured the sensation well: "A City of Winners". Just below this headline in scoreboard-lights fashion was the tale. Going into this past weekend the Vanderbilt Commodores were 4-0, the TSU Tigers (a historically black university in Nashville) were 4-0 and the NFL Titans 3-0.

That final weekend of September TSU lost and Vanderbilt was idle, but the Titans won. So things still looked excellent for football success in Nashville in early October.

But not this past weekend. TSU lost at Murray State. The other two teams played at home -- thus were truly "homies" (again, not in the gang-slang sense). But alas! Saturday afternoon I watched on TV as the Commodores lost 10-20 to the Vols from Knoxville. I'm sure glad I didn't brave the early winter chill to try to attend the game at Dudley Field on the Vandy campus!

Then Sunday afternoon I watched much of the televised Titans' home game against the NY Jets and their notorious quarterback Brett Favre (pronounced "farve", rhyming with "starve"). "Notorious" because after my move to Nashville at the end of July a major sports news item for days was this Favre fellow being at the Green Bay Packers training camp. I couldn't remember anything about him that might make him so newsworthy. This says less about Mr. Favre and his abilities than about my lack of interest in the NFL while I resided in a city without an NFL team. (San Antonio is surely the largest metropolis in these United states that lacks an NFL team.)

Well, Mr. Favre got traded to the Jets by the Packers. Again BIG sports news, and again I wondered, "Why? Who is this guy?" I did sort of figure out that Favre must have announced retirement at the end of the '07 season, and that he was a talented quarterback. Certainly as the '08 season progressed, he seemed to be an asset to his new team there in the Big Apple!

And Favre looked pretty flawless against my "homies", the Titans, on TV yesterday afternoon! The Favre-led Jets made the team that came into the game the only still-undefeated NFL team look like high school jayvees. Nashville's "boys" lost 14-34.

A truly bad weekend for the "homie" teams here in Nashville.

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