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Jeff Byers: Games, Gags and Goons

by on April 14, 2012 7:15 AM

I was up at the Penn State wrestling room this week watching the team engage in a spirited game of dodgeball and it led to me thinking of childhood games and how important those games were as children. Then I got to thinking how important those games and the lessons they taught are to us as adults.

I think Gov. Tom Corbett is the champion of tag. He’s not 'it' but he’s been able to tag Joe Paterno, the Board of Trustees, the school boards and the police commissioner among many, many others. Just when you think you have him, he passes it on.

The Board of Trustees learned the lessons of dodgeball very well. When you think of the balls as responsibilities, their evasive skills simply must be admired. John Surma has earned grand champion status.  

I think we would have to recognize Ray Gricar as the all-time hide and go seek champion. Come out, come out wherever you are.

Capture the Flag honors would go to David Taylor and Ed Ruth, who captured everything you could, and then some, in college wrestling this season.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had the power of a judge? Judge Cleland has issued a gag order on all those involved with the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could order a gag order on those people or issues that we didn’t want discussed anymore?

I would have the cease and desist on all political ads, all Trayvon Martin stories and of course, all NHL coaches whining about the Pittsburgh Penguins and their stars. Yes indeed, those gag orders would come in handy.
Of course, it would be nice if it worked the other way to and you could order people to be forthcoming or find them in contempt. Of course, come to think of it, I do find many on the Board of Trustees to be contemptible.

Graham Spanier has a new job in national security. You would think Tom Bradley could follow suit and land a job with the Defense Department. Surely we could find Tim Curley a position as a diplomat.

The Penguins and Flyers are underway in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. There is nothing quite like this series for stirring the passions of fans of the teams, and cities, in this area. Sometimes people get a little blinded by one side and have a hard time remaining objective.

This is unfortunate because when you look at it objectively, this should be a great series - especially if the goons and thugs from Philadelphia are called for being offsides and their cry baby coach focuses on his team’s play instead of yelling at the choir boys from Pittsburgh who just want a good, clean game and to try their best.

But no, some people want to just see it through their own team’s perspective.  

My nephew C.J. recently lost a tooth and because he was at his Nana’s, he decided to write a letter to let the tooth fairy know where he was. Of course, the tooth fairy had to find Nana’s house to read the letter but really, that’s beside the point.

C.J.’s message was very simple. “Dear Tooth Fairy: I lost my tooth and am at Nana’s house. Could you please give me $5? Thank you, C.J.”

And sure enough, the tooth fairy left five bucks under his pillow that night.

“Dear Mind Fairy: I lost my mind and am at my house. Could you please give me $5 million? Thank you, Ironhead.”  Hey, it’s worth a shot.

I recently misread a headline that said, “Steelers sign TE Pope” and thought it said “Steelers sign THE Pope.”  Now, Leonard Pope may make a fine tight end for Pittsburgh but can you imagine what a game changer THE Pope would have been? The Hail Mary would have become the staple play for the Black and Gold and sure, the Steelers are popular now, but the Mass appeal he would have brought is unmatched. It would have made the game against the Cardinals a little more interesting, too.

Other signings I’d like to see: Bill O’Brien signing Bounty towels at quarterback (because they are the quicker picker-upper), the Pirates signing Charlie Sheen (just something nice about hearing “winning” with the Pirates) and of course, Bubba Watson buy the New Orleans Saints because he knows how to get out of trouble.

With tax day looming, I am celebrating being an American. That taxation without representation stuff was ridiculous but now, because we have representation, the tax code makes perfect sense. I am signing forms and looking at numbers and realizing I have no clue what’s going on. The accountant says sign here and put this number on this form and I do it. If we were playing Simon Says, I’d be champion.

I think we should phase out the death penalty and instead make those on death row read the Obama health care plan, the tax code and the NCAA rulebook. Then again, we’d have to change the constitutionality of cruel and unusual punishment.

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Jeff Byers has been the wrestling team’s traveling announcer since 1990.
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