By Bob Halloran
Special to Page 2
I'm so happy I could light something on fire.
Boy, if they could only bottle that kind of happiness! I'll be remarried soon.
Perhaps that will be the day my heart fills with the kind of overwhelming joy that leads to malfeasance and the dangerous disregard for safety and property. "Yes, I do take this woman. Now let's toss a mattress off a balcony and light it on fire! YEEEEE-HAAAAAW!"
The tearing down of goalposts phenomena has dropped down a notch or two from totally ridiculous to downright stupid. This past weekend alone, fans tore down the goalposts at Clemson, S.C, Raleigh, N.C., and Berkeley, Calif. They tried at other places, such as Ohio Stadium, but it's not as easy as it looks. A couple of guys hugged the uprights, and got them rocking, but instead of bringing them down, they only managed to look like they were humping a large tuning fork. Unsatisfied, they finally climbed down to be abused by security. Oh, the humiliation! If only they had gone to class and studied harder in "Goalpost 101." It's right there in the first chapter of the text. The five steps for rapid and effective goalpost destruction are:
2. Select a captain -- often self-appointed by the loudest and most obnoxious of the bunch.
3. Get the fat guys up there. It won't be pleasant, because they're such poor climbers, but the same thing that makes that little old ant think he can climb that rubber tree plant will get three or four big bellied guys up on the crossbar. High hopes, baby! High hopes!
4. Raise the steroid freak so he can hang on the end. You need someone who can hold on for a while. If he falls, he's a wussy. And he knows it. He'll never let that happen.
5. Fat guys jump in unison. You can easily get a thousand pounds of pressure landing simultaneously on the crossbar. Once that thing starts rocking, it's only a matter of time. It may help to sing, "We will, we will ... rock you!" But some groups have had success with "Bless-a my soul in the bosom of Abraham."
That's how it can be done, but the truth is, it shouldn't be done. The number of injuries and the potential for far worse makes me think they should go to great lengths to stop fans from running onto the field, and from tearing down the goalposts. I offer these suggestions.
1. Grease the pole. Already sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? Actually, they tried this at Ohio Stadium, and while the fans were unable to get the posts down, it had nothing to do with the grease. Several guys were still able to climb up. My guess is, they became aware of the plan, so they sprayed themselves with a de-greaser -- something like EZ-Off oven spray. It's not going to be easy to outthink the criminal mind.
2. Mass hypnotism. Put a giant swinging watch on the Jumbotron and get the public address announcer to hypnotize the crowd. They'd not only leave the goalposts alone, you could probably get 80,000 people to dance naked and cluck like chickens.
4. Hydraulic lifts. These can be used in one of two ways. First, to raise a protective barrier around the goalposts. I'm thinking something like really clean glass, so we could watch the drunkest fans keep running into it like stunned birds. Also, hydraulics could be used to drop the posts into the ground. They come up. They go down. Easy. In fact, they could leave them in the ground, and only bring them up for field goals and extra points. I actually like this one, but my favorite so far has gotta be the "clean glass barrier."
5. Make an announcement. Yeah, that ought to do it. Get the P.A. to request that nobody runs on the field. I'm sure the fans would listen to reason.
6. Give out tickets to 50 lucky fans. Selected at random, they get to go down and try to tear down the goalposts. The rest of the crowd can stick around to shout advice or mock them, but only those 50 get to try. Instead of spraying pepper, security could erect safety nets. Hire an M.C. and make a game out of it.
7. Let Scott Norwood be the guy responsible for tearing down the goalposts. Chances are he'd miss it wide right, and we could all go home. (Geesh, that's mean. Sorry about that, Scott.)
9. Contest! Take it national. "The Great Goalpost Competition." Kids from colleges all over the country practice taking goalposts down. They attempt to qualify in regional competitions, and only the best of the best make it to the national finals. Contestants are judged on speed and originality. How fast did the posts come down? And by what means? This could be bigger than "The Ring."
10. Can you say piñata? Give the fans something else to destroy. Cart a 50-foot piñata out to midfield. Every ticket holder gets to take a whack at it. Ultimately, candy and flowers come out. It's a lovefest, not a riot.
Otherwise, I think stadiums should just make goalposts that are real easy to take down. That would take all the fun out of it. Those Styrofoam nurdles that the kids play with in the swimming pools would be perfect. You walk over and push it down. Game over. Everybody goes home -- to light something on fire.
Bob Halloran is an anchorman for ESPNEWS.