What if I told you....
Growing up, I wasn't a college football fan. My dad played high school football and we'd go to the Hackensack-Teaneck Thanksgiving Day game, but watching football wasn't that big a deal. Yes, it's that long ago!
In Hackensack, there was a sporting goods store, Cowan's. Got my first baseball glove there. And I also bought - on my own! - two short-sleeved sweatshirts. My favorite color was and still is blue, so I bought two blue sweatshirts - Navy and...(gulp) Penn State. Wore those things into the ground.
As it turns out, the only college visit to Hackensack HS that I went to was from the Naval Academy. Penn State? Who cared?
All of that lead in brings us to the responses that Fred Gaudio's post generated, started by my inaccurate comment about Fred's age. Now, keep in mind, the post had nothing to do with readers' or writers' ages. But, then that didn't stop the obscure and wandering comments to take off!
The comments started twisting and turning, talking about perspective and history and people's ages, and how we view Rutgers' success....or in some cases lack there of.
I went to college not for the football program. In 1969, my freshman year, Rutgers schedule was as follows:
Lafayette, Princeton, Cornell, Lehigh, Navy, Columbia, Delaware, Connecticut, Holy Cross, and Colgate. The team went 6-3, since the Holy Cross game was canceled because of a hepatitis outbreak in Worcester. On that list, there's only one school that today is FBS (sorry UConn).
And during my time On the Banks, RU football went 6-3, 5-5, 4-7 (yes, eleven games!!), and 7-4 for an overall 22-19 record. There was one or maybe two football games on TV each week - that's nationally, not just in the New York metro area. No college played on Thursday or, because most of the country was different from New Jersey, Friday. Basically, there were no bowl expectations, winning was a nice idea but not crucial, and the largest attendance of the year at home my first year was 31,000 for the Princeton Centennial game. Rutgers averaged 20,583 per game. Pretty good for a 23,000 seat stadium.
And, at the time, I always wondered why Rutgers - which was the State University of New Jersey after all - wasn't playing, you know, bigger schools. Ah, the innocence of youth!
All of that brings me back to the point that some of us have been around for a while and do have a perspective on where RU has been, where we are now and, with some tempering, where it is going or could go. I came to Rutgers not as a sports fan, but as a student. Football was just one of 16 sports at Rutgers. Wait, let me amend that: one of 16 men's sports at Rutgers since there were no officially recognized intercollegiate women's sports yet. Rutgers College was all male, Douglass College was all female, and the newly created Livingston College was co-ed. Yeah....history.
So, what's the point of this post, Bob? I don't know. Too much time on my hands? The need to ramble like some old guy sitting on the front porch yelling at kids? The perceived need to share with the "yutes" what life was like once upon a time in New Brunswick? Doesn't matter. Take it for what it's worth. Enjoy, shake your head, roll your eyes.
Some of us have perspective. Now, get off my lawn!