[image-1]For the life of me, I don’t understand the appeal of the Medal of Honor Bowl.
Yeah, I get that it is designed to honor our men and women in uniform, and I totally understand that the entire affair allows its organizers to skirt the NCAA’s ban on bowl games in South Carolina — a ban, which I believe, should come to an end for the simple reason that our legislators’ decision to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome and place it in an even more prominent spot on the capital grounds is one of the least offensive things our General Assembly has done in its history.
But for the life of me, I simply don’t understand why anybody treats the Medal of Honor Bowl as anything other than an unmitigated meh, right up there with the 1001st parody of “Let It Go.” At best, the game is a serious misuse of taxpayer funds that ranks somewhere between the slippery blue slate sidewalks along King Street and the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees. At worst it’s the bowl season equivalent of a LinkedIn invite that you immediately delete.
If you doubt the game’s utter meaningless, then let me remind you that the Medal of Honor Bowl organizers actually have to pay NBC to televise the game.
And it’s no wonder actually, considering the talent they’ve lined up this year. The Post and Courier‘s Jeff Hartsell reports that this year’s players include SoCar safety Brison Williams, BC QB Tyler Murphy, quarterback Chris Bonner of Colorado State-Pueblo (whatever that is), a University of Nevada defensive end with a mullet (seriously, that’s one of his selling points), a punter from the Florida Gators, and a running back from Morningside College, where, I’m guessing, they major in Scattered, Smothered, and Covered hash browns and Sunny-side Up Eggs.
Then there’s Clemson University’s Daniel Rodriguez.
As a former Army vet with several tough tours overseas, Rodriguez is an inspiring character in collegiate sports, but while I applaud his can-do spirit, the walk-on player is far from a football star. In 2014, he had one reception and only ran for nine yards.
Truth be told, Rodriguez is not that far removed from Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame player-mascot and the star of the 1993 Sean Astin film Rudy. Rodrigeuz’s true calling is not on the gridiron, but in the concert halls on the motivational speaker circuit. With one tome already under his belt and a possible movie in the works, he’ll make a fine soldier Zig Ziglar.
And therein lies the rub.
Rodriguez’s selection has less to with offering ticket-goers an exciting afternoon of football and more to do with the Medal of Honor Bowl’s attempt to guilt patriotic gridiron fans into buying a ticket — the funds of which go to the Wounded Warriors of SC and the Medal of Honor Museum located on the rusting, Cooper River tin can known as the USS Yorktown. But good cause or not, it’s not good football. And if the 2015 Medal of Honor Bowl is as poorly attended as 2014’s, then it’s time to give the game a rest and accept the fact that a post-season bowl game in the Palmetto State is not meant to be.
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