Sunday, November 30, 2014

A stompin' good time

So I'm scanning the web this morning and up pops a story about Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino getting into a scuffle with a Kentucky assistant before their annual rivalry game -- an incident apparently kicked off when a Kentucky player stomped on Louisville's logo at midfield.

Which opens the door to one of my favorite parlor games, When Did This Start. Also another of my favorite parlor games, Great Logo Stomps I Have Known.

The answer to the first parlor game: I have no idea.

It's probably as old as A) rivalry games, and B) painted logos on football fields, because, let's face it, a rivalry game's not a rivalry game unless one rival can do something to seriously honk off the other rival. Sometimes it's just a sign -- the best of which, ever, was hoisted one year at  Michigan Stadium prior to the Notre Dame game. It read "Rudy Was Offsides."

But stomping on the logo apparently will do it, too. Although "why" would be an interesting psychological case study of idiot fan behavior.

What I do know is it didn't start with Terrell Owens stomping on the star in Dallas a few years back, an incident that, as with all incidents involving T.O., got blown out of all proportion. I know this because I can remember, years before that, the night in Assembly Hall when a feisty Purdue guard named Todd Foster stomped on the state-of-Indiana logo at center court.

(An act that provoked howls of outrage from Hoosier Nation that have been matched only by the mere appearance, pretty much anytime, of Brian Cardinal).

Anyway ... the stomping-the-logo meme isn't a new one, nor even unusual. I happened to attend the Old Oaken Bucket game Saturday (a rather singular distinction, judging from how few others joined me) and I noticed that when Purdue Pete led the Boilermakers onto the field, he kinda-sorta stomped on the IU logo at midfield. Oddly, it met with a  kinda-sorta reaction from the Hoosier faithful -- perhaps because the act itself was so perfunctory, as if Purdue Pete were thinking "Well, if Todd Foster did it, I suppose I have to, too."

(Or it could have had something to do with the fact that it was a clash between the two worst teams in the Big Ten, and everyone was just there to close the book on the season.  As one Indiana fan hollered, after the Hoosiers fell down 13-3: "100 days until the baseball home opener!").

In any case, it lacked the sheer brass-testicled audacity of either T.O.'s stomp or Foster's. And it for sure wasn't as brazen as someone who would dare to step on the Panther logo in the middle of the Snider football locker room.

I know this because I almost did it myself once, inadvertently. I was out at Snider to chat with Russ Isaacs before a big game, and he led me back through the locker room toward his office. Suddenly he put up an arm and stopped me, then pointed down at our feet.

"Don't step on the logo, man," he said.

He was grinning. I think.


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