Monday, January 2, 2017
What America Makes In 2017
Today is Jan. 2, the second day of the new year, and it also happens to be the day of four College Football Bowl Games. Are you watching them, or are you headed back to work like me? In case you are inclined to watch the Bowl Games today, while you are pretending to do your work at your computer, but are really streaming a game at your desk, here is the line-up:
* 1:00 - Outback Bowl
* 1:00 - The Goodyear (Cotton Bowl)
* 5:00 - The Rose Bowl presented by Vizio
* 8:30 - The Allstate (Sugar Bowl)
And if there ever was a sign of the change of America, of how it is moving its economic base from agriculture to other industries, it is how the Bowl Games that we watch are named. Originally designed to promote the tourism regions of the places where the Bowls are held, and to promote the local agricultural mainstays, the names of the Bowls were chosen for the thing that that part of the country did best.
Hence, the Rose Bowl, the first of its kind - started in 1923 - was so named because Pasadena and Southern California had a huge flower industry that it was trying to promote. The Sugar Bowl was chosen as a name in Louisiana because of the huge sugar plantations that existed there. The Peach Bowl was named in Atlanta for the massive peach business there (Also the reason that Peachtree Presbyterian Church was named - Peachtree). And so it went. The Orange Bowl and the Citrus Bowls were in Florida because of the massive Orange and Citrus markets there. The Cotton Bowl was in a part of Texas where cotton was grown. But no more, (or rather, not as much...).
Shakespeare once said, "A rose by any other name is still a rose...." But that may not be the case when it applies to football and what we name our games.
Today, the major industries in our country are no longer agricultural, but they seem to be (based on the names of our Bowls), fast-food and banking and insurance. Consider the names of all the Bowls this year, and judge for yourself:
* Chick-fil-A Bowl - Fast Food Chicken
* Playstation Bowl - Video Games
* Outback Bowl - Middle Range Restaurant
* Goodyear Bowl - Tires
* Allstate Bowl - Insurance
* Gildan Bowl - Clothing
* Raycom Media Bowl - Broadcast Television
* Autonation Cure Bowl - Autoparts
* R+L Carriers Bowl - Freight and Trucking
* Popeyes Bowl - Fast Food Chicken
* Lockheed Martin Bowl - Military Equipment
* Dollar General Bowl - Inexpensive Merchandise
* Quick Lane Bowl - Oil Change
* Capital One Bowl - Financial Services
* Camping World Bowl - Camping Equipment
* Motel 6 Bowl - Cheap Hotel Rooms
* Russell Athletic Bowl - Athletic Clothing
* Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Fast Food Chicken
Only the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, still played in Boise, Idaho has retained its agricultural roots and its original farming name of potatoes.
Notice that fast food chicken restaurants and financial services are popular names for Bowl Games. No less than three of the Bowl Games are named after chicken restaurants. If we are what we eat, as a nation, we must be a piece of fried chicken.
One funny name combination is the Allstate Bowl which is played in the Mercedes Benz Stadium. I wonder if you can get your Auto-Insurance at the same time that you are buying a new car?
Maybe I'm just being sentimental and showing my age, but I do miss the days when the Bowls were named after fruits and vegetables. Somehow they seemed more wholesome and innocent. But perhaps college football sports has also, at the same time become less wholesome and innocent. Perhaps the entire college experience has become less wholesome and innocent. Perhaps our nation has become less wholesome and innocent. One commentator yesterday applauded a running back from Alabama (Scarborough) who decided to refrain from joining the professional National Football League this year so that he could potentially make more money (a purported $20 a year) by waiting a year. "Good for that young man, what a hale and smart young fellow:-)"
I better finish this blogpost, now that I look at the my watch. The Outback Bowl is about to begin - and I am getting hungry:-)
All For Now,