Last Monday morning I opined about Sarah Fuller becoming the first woman to play for a “Power 5” college football team when she “squibbed” the second half kick off for Vanderbilt in their game against Missouri. Since that writing, there have been several noteworthy developments that demand further analysis.
According to a report in USA Today, Miss Fuller gave an impassioned halftime speech where she excoriated the team for their lack of effort and support for one another. She presents herself and her Lady Commodore soccer teammates as exemplars as evidenced by their conduct in winning the recent SEC Tournament. Writer Charles Curtis gushes at the end of his piece, “An already awesome story gets even better.”
The hapless USA Today could not even get the headline right, it reads “Sarah Fuller made history, then gave Vanderbilt halftime speech”. However, Miss Fuller did not “make history” until she emerged from the halftime locker room and executed the “immaculate squib”. She delivered her halftime scolding before seeing the field and without the bother of having been roughed up during the first half.
Teamwork is forged by the shared experiences of a group of people who have suffered, sacrificed, and exerted together in the quest for a common goal. No action could be more detrimental to teamwork than to drop a condescending outsider into their midst, wagging a finger of disapproval and basking in the afterglow of fawning media attention. Vanderbilt is clearly in Phase Six of a project: Praise and Honors for the Non-Participants. My rejoinder to USA Today’s Mr. Curtis: An already farcical story goes even further off the rails.
Not to be outdone, the SEC on Monday awarded Miss Fuller as the Special Teams Co-Player of the Week. Unfortunately, she had to share the award with Florida Gator Kadarius Toney who returned two punts for 59 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown. Toney also completed a 12-yard pass in the contest and had three receptions for 38 yards. Miss Fuller squib kicked a ball 30-yards and was on the field for four seconds. In the woke office environment of the SEC in Birmingham these are equivalencies.
This brings us to the nadir of this specific morality tale, Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt, who prides itself for NOT having an athletic department, is having their woke cake and eating it too. After registering the progressive publicity points for the Fuller stunt, they fired their African American head coach for poor performance. Poor Coach Mason, who is a minority and woke and the promulgator of the farce, was subjugated and expiated by Commodore meritocracy while Miss Fuller is lauded by Commodore identity politics.
In fact, meritocracy lies at the heart of this story. Miss Fuller did nothing to deserve to be a member of the Vanderbilt football team and she did not deserve to address the team at halftime. She was willingly used as a token to virtue signal the world that Derek Mason and Vanderbilt University and ESPN “get it.” It will be truly impressive when Vanderbilt starts a girl at middle linebacker after she has endured spring practice and two-a-days.
But the Commodores won’t, because they can’t.
If there is a silver lining to this sad episode it is that it brings a much-needed remedy into specific relief. Vanderbilt needs to go. They need to leave the SEC and the Power Five. They contribute nothing but asinine frivolities. As the Tri-Delts like to say, “She’ll be H-E-W.” Happier Elsewhere. It’s time to Anchor Up, Draw in the Gangplanks, and Shove Off.
Here’s an idea. Vanderbilt to the American Athletic Conference, East Carolina to the ACC, and Clemson to the SEC. I hate to see Amy Grant and David McDaniel leave the conference, but sacrifices must be made for the greater good.