(“Great job guys. I can wait on the shower if anyone is in a hurry. Pretty clean honestly. Got a little sweaty from cheering you fellas on but looking forward to beers later. Where we goin’?)
I came across this scholarship announcement at Texas today. Jett Bush—who sounds like a cartoon character from an animated series called “Texas” written by a foreigner with only the most basic, stereotypical knowledge of Texas—was awarded a scholarship in moving fashion by coach Herman and his dad. Roll the tape!
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) September 8, 2020
If you like sports and have a damn heart, you love these clips. For my money, they’re right up there with soldiers coming home and surprising their kids when I want to strum the old heartstrings. Watching a young college athlete learn that he just went from facing a mountain of college debt to *poof* free school the rest of the way? Ugh, inject it into my post-superset veins.
Having played a sport at a division 1 program, I remember the 4:45AM wakeups to walk down to the locker room in the dark, lace up the cleats, and head out to the field for conditioning sessions. I remember pushing sleds and ignoring back pain and stuffing my face with breakfast like a labrador just to fight sleep through five hours of class before heading BACK to the fields for practice in the afternoon. It wasn’t that fun, honestly. Winning games was fun, but we were about .500 through my career, so there were a lot of silent bus rides. Especially coming back from Cornell, which might as well have been on the moon, it was so far away.
All of this is to say that I’m sure Jett Bush, in playing football at a MASSIVE D1 program, experienced all that 1000x. And thus, he truly earned his scholarship, the respect of his teammates, the admiration of his coach and parents, etc. And that’s very apparent when you hear his thank-you speech. Awesome stuff.
But it also makes me realize how sad it is that we never got to experience that. The Ivy League does not grant athletic scholarships. All scholarships and financial aid packages at Ivy League schools are awarded based on need. Hell, they don’t even give scholarships to the kid who sat first chair at 14 in the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Their formula is simple: if you get in and you can’t pay, we got you. Doesn’t matter how good your grades were or how many cows you milked at dawn or how hard you can hit a tackling dummy.
Do you know how excited we would have been if one of our walk-on teammates had been granted a scholarship? To have the coach set up some elaborate presentation where we think we’re in trouble, only to learn that our inspiring buddy and teammate has earned his free ride? To shake his hand and say, “Welcome, good man, to free school. Pull up a chair! Just don’t look at the remaining walk-ons, who still have to pay mwahahahaaaaa.”
Delicious. Really could have used that.
Sadly, the only prize for us was the degree—a rather expensive one, at that. For a lot of my teammates, that degree paid for itself (and then some) thanks to the post-college professional opportunities it led to. Our team’s alumni network opened doors and all that, a gift unto itself, blah blah blah. Too bad I’m a damn comedian. It sure is fun being the lowest-earning loser at your 5-year reunion.
But hey, at least I’m verified on Instagram. Chumps.