The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “Actions speak louder than words, but reactions sometimes speak louder than actions….” by Brad Eastland

November 28, 2011
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     Growing up, we were all taught the sacred scientific principle that “every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction”….remember that one?   Well, it’s the same in sports, especially as it applies to real life.   Though I don’t know about the “equal” part.   Some things actually produce a decidedly unequal reaction in the pit of one’s stomach, don’t you think?image0014

     Anyway, here are some of the highlights of a memorable just-completed week of college and pro football, and my reaction to them:

ACTION:       USC not only clobbers UCLA 50-to-nothing on Saturday night but also brazenly runs up the score in the 2nd half, passing on seemingly every play, doing play-action fakes to get guys open deep, and giddily throwing bombs repeatedly in both the 3rd and 4th quarters even though they were up by 5 or 6 touchdowns….

REACTION:   Normally, as a proud & lifelong ‘SC hater, it would have bothered me a great deal.   But this time it was actually quite useful.   It got me to renew my mental and moral commitment to the notion that as long as there is a breath left in my body, my high-school-age son will never, ever, attend USC….

ACTION:       The Bruins, in an effort to obtain some sort of a weird psychological advantage over their hated (but far more powerful) rivals, come out in their all-white uniforms rather than their traditional powder blue and yellow duds….

REACTION:   I’ve decided that this was the problem.   Those all-white uniforms were the driest, blandest, most boring, and least inspirational or exciting uniforms ever donned by a major college football team.   When I was a kid I sooooooooo looked forward to seeing those Bruin players, my heroes, charge out onto the field in their powder blue and yellow costumes.   They always reminded me a little of the San Diego Chargers’ old 1960s blue and yellow apparel, and any self-respecting NFL football fan can tell you that the Chargers’ throw-back uniforms are the coolest in NFL history.   But thanks to the Bruins’ lousy all-white uniforms, it didn’t even look like an ‘SC/UCLA game.   Those uniforms were awful!   My old friend and avid LVO reader Jim Griffin, before the game, told me that he thought UCLA was going to pull a colossal upset because of the edge provided by these “tidy whities”, which he actually likes.   But just the opposite proved true.   I submit that these beyond-blah bright white ice cream suits not only caused their defeat, but also provided the impetus for thee most embarrassing loss in UCLA football history.   Yecch.   Stupid gross white uniforms….just plain gross….I need a drink.

ACTION:       The Thanksgiving-night NFL game between San Francisco and Baltimore features the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, becoming the first head-coach brothers to ever coach against each other in an NFL game, a game played on the eve of their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary….

REACTION:   It was everything that is good about football, about family, and about America.   You compete hard, you try your utmost to win the day, and when it’s all over you shake hands and tell your brother you love him.   (Then you go eat a turkey, which Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the National Bird, by the way, and boy was he right.)   It was bittersweet for me, observing the proceedings.   I lost a brother before his time, and I miss him.   Miss my parents too.   The Harbaughs are lucky.   I was happy for them.   I may have cried…  

ACTION:       The Detroit Lions’ Tasmanian Devil of a defensive lineman, Ndamukong Suh, stomps his cleated foot angrily into the upper arm of a helpless defenseless Green Bay Packers player lying on the ground, right after jamming his head into the ground three times, but says he wasn’t trying to hurt him, but rather he was just trying to “get up off the ground” and “regain his balance” and that “the man upstairs” knows he’s telling the truth….

REACTION:   I’ll buy that.   Of course I also believed that O.J. was at home that night practicing his golf swing just like he said and that he is still busy frantically searching the Globe for the real killer, just like he said, and I also believed Hillary Clinton’s assertion that all those obviously false accusations over the years of her loyal husband Bill’s serial cheating on her with gobs of willing women were not only untrue but in fact are merely the fruit of a vast Right-Wing conspiracy….

ACTION:       My beloved Chicago Bears, down by only two points, drive all the way down to the Raiders’ 6-yard-line with 35 seconds left in the 1st half, 2nd down and a yard to go, all ready to take the lead into halftime, but rather than run up the middle a couple times and maybe throw a safe pass if needed their offensive coordinator (the very offensive Michael Martz) decides to have his 2nd-year quarterback—an inexperienced chap making his first NFL start—throw a trick play, a sprint right throw left while twisting in the air screen pass all the way across the field, of course its intercepted and run back 90 yards to set up a field goal, making it perhaps the dumbest regular-season play call in NFL history….and the Bears lose a close one as a result.

REACTION:   Suddenly that newfangled trans-vaginal mesh surgery doesn’t sound so bad….

ACTION:       The Kansas City Chiefs have now suffered through 45 consecutive drives without scoring a touchdown….

REACTION:   Ouch.   Time for a new quarterback or a new head coach or both.   Something different, right?   It’s just like in high school; you drive anywhere 45 times without scoring, you need to buy a new car….

ACTION:       God’s Quarterback, the god fearing & celibacy loving Tim Tebow, wins again, that’s 5 victorious starts out of 6 since he became ‘the man’, the formerly 1-and-4 Broncos are now 6-and-5, and yet apparently he still can’t get a long-term vote of confidence from his boss (team president John Elway) or his head coach (John Fox), or anybody else who runs things in Denver….

REACTION:   This might be a good time for Tim to go on strike.   Seriously.   Stay home and announce you’re not coming to work unless they double your salary.   The whole NBA did it, why can’t one put-upon, underappreciated pigskin missionary do it?   I wonder if the Denver brass would then, finally, begin to appreciate him….

ACTION:       Stevie Johnson of Buffalo celebrated to ridiculously after a late touchdown against the Jets on Sunday (actually imitating Jets ex-jailbird Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg, which of course Plaxico did once do, to be fair) that he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, 15 yards, which gave the Jets great field position on the ensuing kickoff, which led directly to Mark Sanchez of the Jets throwing the winning touchdown pass.   Johnson cleverly responded to his season-ruining gaffe by dropping a potentially game-winning touchdown pass a few moments later.   Buffalo’s season now is essentially over.   Way to go, Stevie….

REACTION:   Back in Roman times, if a gladiator disrespected his profession in any way which vexed the spectators, those spectators would demand his immediate execution, and the emperor’s archers would immediately and cheerfully comply.   In a perfect world, I think that that peculiar method of encouraging compliance would work well for compulsively-celebrating NFL wide receivers.   At least the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would go away….I think.

and finally….

ACTION:       The Sports Philosopher, a couple days into the grim aftermath of the worst holocaust in UCLA/USC history, still basks proudly in the penumbra of his renewed commitment (outlined above) to keep his son from ever going to USC…. 

REACTION:   ….uh, except for one thing.   This holier-than-thou attitude doesn’t apply, of course, if my son gets some sort of a full-ride scholarship to go there.   The Sports Philosopher is a proud man, but he’s not stupid.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary giant, and a hater of any ugly football uniforms which put him in a bad mood.    Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports Section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, of triumph, and of utter despair, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or   He thanks you.   






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