Stanford University, a truly top-notch academic and athletic institution, has produced visionary minds by the boatload. It counts people like Sandra Day O’Connor, John Elway and Herbert Hoover as graduates, all of whom went on to upend conventional wisdom in their chosen fields.
Given Stanford’s obvious standing in the intellectual community, I sometimes go to the Stanford Daily’s sports page for an intersection of the academy and athletics. I was thrilled to find last week an article that fit the bill: “Replacement refs? Yes, please.”
In it, the author writes a phrase destined to become a rally call for future visionaries: “I view history differently.” In arguing on behalf of the NFL’s recently deposed replacement refs, the author raises several key examples of blunders by the league’s normal, previously locked-out officials.
The author’s thesis seems to center on human fallibility — and I couldn’t agree with it more. As the author so rightly and respectfully pointed out, we at Cal know better than most about the shortcomings of the human mind. Why, for example, would Kevin Moen run toward the end zone? The Stanford Band woodwind section CLEARLY had the right of way.
The author has been heeding this call for more than a year now. Shortly after the Sandusky sex scandal exploded in State College, the author — disregarding at great risk the prevailing public opinion — wrote a stirring defense of now-disgraced Penn State head coach Joe Paterno:
“I believe that Paterno ought to stay, because he means that much to the team and the university that he should be the one to sort things out and unify everything in the midst of this disaster. And until all the facts come out, it seems very unfair to blame him for what he did not do when plenty of other people had to have known what he knew. (Incidentally, no one is questioning Paterno’s legal grounds because he did report the alleged incident to his bosses when he found about them.) … Give ‘em hell, Joe.”
The human fallibility in this scenario, of course, was shared all around. Why should one man — albeit the most powerful man in town, who had clear knowledge of events, covered them up and then lied to a grand jury about it — be held accountable before others? Should not the man who ruined everything be allowed to fix it?
Given his predisposition for bold thinking, I fully expect the author to join me — as if I, who could never hope to hold a candle to someone who studies at such a beacon of intellectuality, expect him to stand beside me! — in my call for the NHL lockout to continue in perpetuity. With no one on the ice, no one will screw up. Sure, there will be no games, and no one will have any fun, but, hey, at least there will be no mistakes!
Similarly, I fully expect the author’s support in my campaign for Bobby Petrino to be hired as Cal’s next football coach. Such a man — who himself embodies the author’s irreverence for conventional traditions — would bring respectability and name-brand recognition to Golden Bear football. And much as Paterno did at Penn State, Bobby P would bring to Cal the mentality of the alpha dog we have been so sorely lacking.
Here, I think we have laid the groundwork for a great alliance. If the author helps me reach my goals, I promise I will collaborate with him in an endeavor I know he will support: We are both Red Sox fans, so I am certain he will join me in saying, “Bring back Bobby V!”
Contact Jordan Bach-Lombardo at [email protected]
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