By: Nate Jervey
Assistant Sports Information Director
Christmas is upon us….judging by the way Rachel has been acting in the office one would think that the holiday is tomorrow. That, or Rachel has been hitting the egg nog a bit hard. To be fair, she is not the only person in the Athletics Department who is slightly giddy about the forthcoming holiday. Some are excited about the actual holiday, others about the accompanying time off. Aside from the obvious reasons, I like the holiday season for something else. Football. The NFL season is winding down, and the college bowl season is just getting started. In addition to my Chicago Bears taking on the hated New England Patriots this Sunday, I am really excited about the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl featuring Fresno State and Northern Illinois, not to mention the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl pitting Troy against the University of Ohio.
There are 35 bowl games this season and I legitimately want to watch about 10 of them. Is there a need for all of these random games with sponsors that nobody has heard of, featuring games that only 17 people care about, in places nobody wants to go? I hear Detroit is lovely this time of year, lets go check out Toledo and Florida International in the Little Caesars Bowl. Really? I did not even know that Florida International had a team and with a name like “International” I thought that they would interpret football as soccer. Wait!! Do they even realize what kind of game this is? And they are going to go to the “D” to play it? Oh man, this is not going to be pretty.
As dumb as I think most of these bowl games are, did I mention the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl featuring Air Force and Georgia Tech, I will end up watching most of them. Nearly each one is featured on ESPN and I am a guy. I am hardwired to think about three things – football, beer and fried foods. I only know about six tv channels; ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, the NFL Network, the History Channel, and Nickelodeon (what, I have younger siblings). ESPN and the these corporations know that I am a guy and that I am simple and have effectively brainwashed most of the American males between the ages of 21-49. Football, no matter how bad and seemingly insignificant, is still football and thus I am programmed to watch it. So as I get set to watch the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman (Maryland vs. East Carolina), remember that I can’t help it….I really had no choice.
One last thing. This past week was the annual Jimmy V Classic on ESPN. Named in honor of the late Jim Valvano, the Jimmy V Classic annually features some of the nation’s best collegiate basketball teams playing at the Mecca of Hoops, also known as Madison Square Garden, in an effort to help raise funds for cancer research. The Jimmy V Foundation was formed in, I believe, 1992 or 1993 and its namesake, Jim Valvano, gave us one of the most touching and moving speeches that I have ever seen. The former head coach at NC State was being ravaged by cancer at the time of his acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Award at the annual ESPY Award Show and his words still have a profound effect on me to this day and I simply cannot change the channel when his speech gets played each year. The foundation has some additional meaning to me as well as my father is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed when I was in the fifth grade and I remember being told by my mother and the doctors that there was a chance my dad may not survive. To say that that sucked would be an understatement, but it sucked. Fortunately my father survived and, perhaps, the Jimmy V foundation had a small part in it. I don’t know, but I do know that the foundation has raised over $100 million to date and continues to work to improve the lives of those affected by cancer, directly or indirectly.
It holds even more meaning to me this time of year as this was about the time my dad was diagnosed with cancer and doing chemo following his surgery. The outpouring of support from friends and family over those weeks and months have never been forgotten and I look forward to my trip home in a week where I will be able to see many of them yet again.
I hope that everyone has a safe and Happy Holiday. Go Generals!!!
If you have not seen the speech, or Jimmy V running around like a lost puppy following his team’s winning the 1983 NCAA Championship, I urge you to take a look.