Monday, May 30, 2011

Tressel forced out; this CBJ fan's reaction

If you've been following me for any period of time on Twitter, you'd know that I have a passing interest in the strange and wonderful world of college football at the Ohio State University.  If you've lived anywhere in Big 10 (well, not really "10" any more, but we'll give the numerically-challenged a break) country - but especially here in Central Ohio - you know that college football at the Ohio State University has landed itself (and the school) in potentially catastrophic trouble with the NCAA.

Just a mere mortal, Jim Tressel made a mistake that
cost him his job in the end.
Presumably as a face-saving move with significant NCAA sanctions looming on the horizon, the leadership at the Ohio State University apparently told their head football coach, Jim Tressel, that they looked forward to accepting his resignation.  Tressel obliged.

Why do I bring this up as a Blue Jackets fan (and not necessarily a blinders-wearing fan of the Ohio State University or their athletics program - I'm a proud Notre Dame alum, thank you) on a Blue Jackets blog?  Simple - the Columbus Blue Jackets don't operate in a vacuum here in Columbus.  They share space with the Ohio State University and its many collegiate sports.  They share space with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.  While fans of one team (or school) may want to think that their favorites can live without the others, I suggest otherwise.  A healthy sports environment means that ALL teams and schools do well, that all teams enjoy success.  People want to see winners - winners in hockey, soccer, football, basketball, etc.  Winning is good for a community, boosting pride and enthusiasm for everything about the place we call home.  I WANT the Ohio State University to win.  I want the Crew to win.  And you bet your ass I want the Columbus Blue Jackets to win.

So when the head coach of arguably the biggest sports program in the State of Ohio is forced out under a cloud of investigations and alleged wrongdoings, it's not good.  Not for the community, not for the Crew, not for the Blue Jackets and most certainly not for the Ohio State University.

Tressel is a football coach, and he's a man.  Just a man.  He's nothing close to the "Cheaty McSweatervest" character that his opponents make him out to be.  He's also nothing close to the "Saint Tressel" character that his supporters want to believe he is.  He's just a man, a man who made a dumb decision in deciding to brush aside an apparently serious problem rather than refer it along to his superiors.  (UPDATE: OK, maybe he did more than I thought.)  In the process, he made that serious problem something much, much worse.  And now he's paid for it with his job.

For the sake of the Ohio State University, its athletics program, its football team and all of Central Ohio, I hope that the school takes its lumps like adults, learns the lessons that come along with any punishments (formal punishments, or even just the tarring and feathering that has happened in the court of public opinion) and (re)commits itself to excellence on and off the field...in the process, (re)building the great sporting spirit that Central Ohio is known for.

Because, in the end, the Blue Jackets DO benefit from being in a winning sports town.  Even if they aren't the top dog.

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