Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Way It Was

The Orlando Sentinel has a story about the "tight-knit band of brothers who won the 2003 Class 5A state football championship at Florida Field in Gainesville." Tragically, three players on the championship team died young. Another member of the team was Dartmouth senior offensive lineman Eddie Tabasky, described as a "brainiac," and someone "who made time to tutor struggling teammates." Find the Sentinel story about the team here.

If you have top-level grades and are a pretty good football player chances are your name is showing up on an Internet website somewhere suggesting either you have interest in an Ivy League school or an Ivy League school has an interest in you. Such is the case with Jack Templeton, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound offensive guard from New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep, who has been, "talking to Ivy League schools like Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth and Columbia a lot."

Richmond drove the length of the field at the end of yesterday's FCS semifinal to cap a comeback from a 20-7 deficit and win a thriller over Northern Iowa, 21-20, to advance to Friday's national championship game. The Spiders will play Montana, which outlasted James Madison Friday, 35-27.

The West Stands project at Dartmouth has been put off because of the economic downturn but the local newspaper reported last week that the $52 million Visual Arts Center project is going on as planned. The paper quoted John Scherding of the Dartmouth Planning, Design and Construction Office as saying the college "intend(s) to keep moving forward," on the project. For a street-side view of the building, click here. For November renderings of the VAC, click here. It's possible to enlarge the frames to get a better look.

Did you watch ESPN's colorized version of The Greatest Game Ever Played, the 1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants? That certain Hanover High School freshman is really into sports from the '50s and '60s and was excited all week at the prospect of watching a game he'd read so much about. We sat down to view it together after the Heisman presentation and it quickly became clear we were confused, if not misled, by ESPN.

I'd have to go back and re-watch the ESPN hype to see if there's any "fine print" we missed, but both of us were led to believe from all the commercials and hype that this was going to be a digitally improved, colorized "rebroadcast" of the famous game. We thought we were going to sit down and watch the 50-year-old game much like we would watch any other NFL game.

It wasn't until the introduction began that we learned that the film of the original broadcast had been lost and that the game would be recreated with other footage, paired with the original radio broadcast. And rather than play it straight through, conversations between some of the players who were on the field that day and current players and coaches would be interwoven between film clips.

Whether it was to fit the "show" into the time slot, or because film of all the plays wasn't available, or more likely a combination of both, whole series were replaced by, "The Giants failed to move the ball," or some such comment.

That certain Hanover High football player who had been so looking forward to the "rebroadcast" of the game picked up and left after 15 minutes or so and I couldn't blame him.

By the end I came around to thinking ESPN had pulled off what it tried to do. Honestly, I wouldn't have been disappointed if I had known what was coming. I just wouldn't have watched it.