Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Column Like I See 'Em: Sayonora, Sonny

There were other things going on the sports world recently. Important things, memorable things. Terrible things. All kinds of things that might make you race to get the paper, or pound incessantly on a keyboard, or dial your friend and call them an idiot or tell them you love them for no good reason other than they were watching the same channel that you were. Things in sports do that sometimes.

Sometimes, though, they pass by like a car on a long, flat highway: you see them for a while, but don't notice them particularly for any good reason. Then, in a flash, they're gone.

In the front range of the Rocky Mountains, some people recently made a college football coach stop coaching college football. And no matter how much sense it makes, it's still pretty unfortunate.

His name, like the track suits he always wore, never quite fit. The fact that he was down-home and self-deprecating matched the Lubick part with the Butte, Montana upbringing, but Sonny? He was an assistant coach at Miami, where Sonny and sunny are on the menu 350 days a year, and if you want to go that route it was always delightfully obvious that the man's disposition matched his first name. But together? Men with that last name aren't named Sonny; they're named Tom, or Fred, or Hugh. Hugh Lubick has a nice ring to it, but Sonny Lubick? Who could've made such a man?

A man that so routinely went on charity walks for animals and cancer and hell who knows what else while he still had to attend - and most likely plan - fundraisers for the football program at Colorado State because the little school that could couldn't when it really needed to.

A man that turned a cakewalk like CSU into a legitimate mid-major nightmare for numerous big schools, including the patchouli bullies Buffed in black-and-gold down I-25 and west on Highway 36. And with absolutely no facilities, no money, no recruiting base, and no reason, he took high schoolers that nobody else really wanted and turned them into football players who would just as soon run off the field and the face of the earth itself on a seam route to Saturn rather than disappoint their Coach.

A man that told a skinny young sports columnist, writing for the school paper, to just breathe a second and let that question come out, 'cause it was sure as hell in there somewhere.

Deep breath (pause) - here goes: Why?

The stats say dwindling attendance; a record of 3-9 this year; 4-8 in 2006, including seven losses to end the year; 6-6 in 2005, and a 51-30 loss to Navy in the last bowl game the Rams have played in; and 4-7 the year before that.

The stats can go to hell.

It seems the game has just passed poor Sonny by. Urban Meyer became the first snot-nosed rascal to sneak up to the adults' table at Thanksgiving, then he brought the whole damn bunch with him - all the second-cousins and annoying nephews and even the neighbor kid from across the street that likes to eat bugs - and used all 53 of them seemingly at once on the spread option, putting guys in motion, faking it here, throwing it there, running all over the place. Then you got Boise State doing the - really? - hook-and-laterals and Statues of Liberty and whatever else can be imagined within the confines of the field.

Sonny would much rather have a nice, quiet little one-back set, and maybe use a play-action or two. But mostly Sonny wants to run it. Hard. Down your gullet and out your ass and back again.

But it's not like that anymore. The landscape's changed, and you need a different vehicle to navigate it. Everybody else has a Porsche or a Hummer or some damn thing. Sonny's got an old pickup that ain't much now, but boy could that thing haul a load back in the day.

Wait, wait, wait - it just occurred that Hugh Lubick wouldn't work. To show their appreciation for what this man has done, and could continue to do if he accepts an associate A.D. position at the school, the powers-that-be would be better off naming the field at the team's stadium after him. Unfortunately, that playing surface is called Hughes Stadium. And Hugh Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium doesn't really roll off the tongue. Better call it Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.

What's that? They already did?

Well, at least they got something right.


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Kelly said...

Wow for a minute I thought I was reading an old Collegian article. No, wait, not nearly enough pot references.

hoibot said...

good old sonny... he needed a hat like landry's for his last few years. that would have improved things.