Remember when people used to write “open” letters to oddly specific categories of people on The Odyssey Online?
“An Open Letter to My Best Friend Since Kindergarten Whose Boyfriend I Accidentally Slept With After Too Many Tequila Sodas.”
You know, super cute and ~quirky~ topics like that. Everyone would share them on Facebook, and just by reading the titles, you’d discover things you didn’t particularly care to know about people that you didn’t even know why you were Facebook friends with in the first place. Those were the days.
Remember when the Big Ten was slated to have a football season? For a whole five minutes of euphoric bliss, when there was a reworked conference-only schedule that featured a kickoff of Ohio State blowing out Illinois on a Thursday night? I’d already been starting to fantasize about how large that spread would’ve been, and how I would’ve hammered Ohio State, regardless of the fact that it probably would have landed in the forties. Then Ohio State would have won by 39, and I’d have been too elated over the fact that the Big Ten was playing at all to even consider caring.
We were so close. The Big Ten pretended that we were so close — that it had actually put forth the time, effort, and careful consideration to make this a reality. Those, too, were the days.
Times are different now. I’d even venture so far as to say that you’ve referred to them as “uncertain” or “unprecedented,” and then subsequently wanted to punch yourself in the face for doing so. There is no Big Ten football season to speak of, and parents are feverishly writing letters. And not the fun ones about our dirty and immoral rendezvous. Parents of Big Ten football players from multiple schools have spoken out and aired their grievances to commissioner Kevin Warren (noted loser), hoping that if those in charge would not listen to their student-athletes’ pleas (because when has the NCAA ever done that?), perhaps they would have more luck penetrating their thick skulls.
I’ve read the letters, signed the petitions, and engaged with all the tweets. The messages are clear, and at the bare minimum, these coaches, players, and families deserved acknowledgement and answers. Yesterday, Warren released an open letter of his own, which you should not bother reading, because its contents are emptier than the promises you make to your friends at the bar while you’re highly intoxicated and nothing seems impossible. Similar to my first college tax class, which switched instructors halfway through the semester because my initial professor had a stalker, I learned nothing useful.
Apparently, these players, coaches, and parents are supposed to accept this letter as their official and final “response.” However, the fans need “answers” too — but I’m not talking about the fall season. I’ve got a list… a list of my own requests. For one time, and one time only, I will unite with Kevin Warren and agree that these types of salutations are cool again. I’m going to throw it back, The Odyssey Online style, and pen my own open letter to the Big Ten and anyone else who is bored enough to waste their time reading this blog.
To whomever took time out of their busy day crushing souls and dreams to read this:
My name is Caroline Bixler, and I am a member of the largest living alumni base in the country, that of Pennsylvania State University. The percentage of my time on this earth that I dedicate to college football is high, and my tolerance for your bullshit is low, so we are going to cut to the chase.
I know that for the past couple of weeks you have been inundated with letters, phone calls, and angry tweets, and have nonchalantly ignored most of them. You think this letter is simply another for the dumpster that is currently flaming uncontrollably at your headquarters. That is where you will (continue to) be wrong. If you are smart (now that I type that out, I realize that this is likely a pipe dream), you will succumb to my demands even faster than Chase Young returned from his detrimental suspension from his Maryland and Rutgers games in 2019.
- Seven plus seven does not equal ten.
What gives? This isn’t the SEC — we all understand basic addition. (As someone who has degrees from both a Big Ten and an SEC school, I am allowed to say this.) Yet somehow, the SEC was smart enough to leave numbers out of its conference name, and we are sitting here while Northwestern becomes increasingly embarrassed by the rest of us. Or maybe the SEC started counting and gave up after six. Speaking of, how’s Kevin Warren’s son doing down there in Starkville, preparing for his fall season of football? Anyone know? Totally unrelated question — sorry to get off topic.
Counting methods and hypocritical parenting practices aside, the accountant in me demands change, and I will hand-deliver an easily digestible solution to your tiny pea brains. I’m so dedicated to making these improvements that I’ll be generous. Plus, word on the street is that USPS is not the way to go right now.
“The Big Fourteen” has absolutely no ring to it, so if you’re familiar with the ancient art of subtraction, you’ll see that we must instead eliminate four teams — two from each division to keep things simple for you.
In the East, it’s not even a discussion. It’s hardly even an official severance, as most of us still have yet to allow Maryland and Rutgers football admission into the conference:
Pretty sure this won’t even require paperwork.
Out West, the decision fails to get any more complicated. Now that Rondale Moore has declared for the draft, no one will notice Purdue’s absence. Northwestern gladly accepts their invitation to stay put after we correct the math, barely edging out Illinois in a choice made solely to boost the collective conference brain power.
- Alcohol won’t solve our problems, but neither will soda or water.
One of the most respected badges of honor that a school can wear is “Win Or Lose, We Still Booze.” Alcohol is the perfect addition to a victorious celebration, but the point can be made that its importance is even greater in a losing situation — especially if we’re dealing with a perpetual state of it. There is no legitimate argument against either side.
I attended six Penn State games last fall, and the only loss I witnessed in Columbus may have been the most fun of them all. Stadium beers on an empty stomach can make you forget the about the wildest things, like being down 21-0 at halftime.
Imagine my drunken excitement when we almost made a comeback. Miserable weather, drowning in my poncho, a backup QB leading my team, but a Miller Lite in each hand — pure jubilation! None of this comes to fruition without the help of Ohio Stadium, since I have no friends and had to “tailgate” with my dad inside of it. I can’t even imagine the horror that both Rutgers fans must have endured when attending each home game, before alcohol was sold, with only a $6.00 Mountain Dew available to soothe their pain. At least there’s never a line at the concession stand.
So tell me, why is it that only half of the fourteen (three of the ten when the aforementioned unlucky four are canned) Big Ten stadiums sell alcohol? I don’t know who’s in charge, but more importantly, I don’t care who’s in charge. Make use of that authority that you should not have in the first place and fix it. This is the easiest way to get maybe one toe of yours back into the fans’ good graces — and it’s a toe you desperately need right now, trust me. You wanna make back some of that $100 million you’re losing this school year (spring season, my ass)? SELL BEER.
- The Dark Ages ended in 1000 AD.
At the end of the day, it is true that all anyone really needs is a football game in front of their face and a drink in their hand. But let’s be honest, it’s 2020 (can’t wait to never write that again), and most of the time, our other hand is clutching a phone. And you know what’s nearly impossible to use in a football stadium? That god damn phone.
How is anyone supposed to check their bets? Most stadiums display scores from other games, but that does little the quench the thirst of instant gratification to which we are so accustomed. How is anyone supposed to haphazardly place a live bet that inevitably loses if DraftKings takes an hour to verify your location? We have a right to lose money wherever we so choose, and it is being squashed by inadequate cellular data services. I’ll be calling the FCC next to complain. But you know where I couldn’t place any calls from? The inside of your battery-sucking stadiums!
What if your brother gets kicked out of the stadium during a game where he was supposed to sneak you into the student section? What if you need to answer to your small but mighty army of Twitter followers because you talked a ton of shit all day and now your team is blowing a 21-7 halftime lead? What if a stranger from Twitter gives you a free ticket to the biggest game of the year, you sit alone with him, start to sober up, and begin to worry that he may kidnap you in plain sight? It’s like no one even thinks of these super specific and highly unlikely situations when sitting down to plan a massive event where over 100,00 people are crowded into one tightly compacted space. The Big Ten simply does not care about our first-world problem of a need for constant communication. We demand service.
In conclusion, the loss of the 2020 Big Ten football season is one that we will never completely recover from or forget. It is clear now that you do not wish to listen to or address the specific questions and wishes of your players, coaches, or parents. If you would like to salvage the smallest bit of your dignity — all of which has gone missing — you could listen to your millions of fans… none of which I consulted on any of these matters, but certainly agree with me anyway.
Make like Summer Sanders and figure it out.