As a Baylor alumna and a college football fan, I feel the need to speak out on the Baylor news clogging my Twitter feed. As usual, these are my opinions based on what I’ve read, what I feel, what I believe. Observations from where I sit. And I sit 427 miles away from the beautiful old dorm I lived in, and 33 fast-as-lightning years away from the day I received my Bachelor of Arts degree.
I hate what has happened for many, many reasons. Reasons I can’t quite get my head around yet.
Baylor is mine. That beautiful campus and the surrounding area holds great memories for me. I came from a super small town, a rural area in Northeast Arkansas. Once I drove across the Brazos River, Baylor became my Narnia—an expanded world filled with endless experiences. So different from high school. So different from home.
I grew and learned and changed there.
And I never missed a football game even though we rarely won. Baylor was the basement dweller of the Southwest Conference, but we held in our hearts the dream of winning. Games were about more than the game itself.
Remember when people embraced the idea it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, what matters is how you play the game?
That was our motto.
We had no choice.
So yes, for the last few years we Baylor fans have been floating on clouds, living a real miracle on the Brazos. Pure magic for the perpetual underdog. People love to see the underdog win. And they’ll enthusiastically hitch a ride up with them, overlooking warts and flaws.
But now Baylor football has come crashing down along with our original Floyd Casey Stadium. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Never before has the saying rung so true or sounded so ironic.
It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, what matters is how you play the game.
I don’t know Art Briles or Ken Starr or any of the people involved in this fiasco, but I claim all of them because Baylor is part of me. And I don’t know the details of the situation beyond what I’ve read in the report released online, but from where I sit, I smell smoke.
The truth lies somewhere within the smoldering allegations. And it stinks.
This is bigger than Baylor.
This is bigger than football.
This is about our society. A society that places way too high a value on sports.
And I include myself in that society as I already count down the days to college football (90 days and 10 hours).
We are oh so fickle and quick to judge, yet we get whiplash looking the other way if the issue fits our personal agenda. People say hateful things and get pleasure from piling on, adding gasoline to the fire, kicking those who are down.
How do we become so enraged over how these Baylor women were treated yet support a potential presidential candidate who bashes women and minorities all the time?
Apples and oranges? Maybe. Maybe not.
Maybe deep down nothing much has changed for women at all.
We’d do well to remember the Golden Rule.
We’d do well to believe when a woman says no, she means no.
We’d do well to look inside our own lives before throwing rocks at other people.
The Baylor football program had a huge and rare chance to make a real difference by doing the right thing several years ago. Maybe something valuable will be salvaged from all this. Or maybe the new stadium will be one more monument to out of whack priorities.
This is on a lot of people. More than just Art Briles. And somewhere in all the sad craziness is a lesson for every school, every fan, every person.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.