Ever Grateful, Ever True

Ever Grateful, Ever True

The Mindset of a Lifelong Boilermaker Football Fan

James and Christine Fisher birthed their first son, Connor James Fisher on December 22, 1997. This child came out of the womb a Boilermaker and became approximately the 20th member of his family to attend Purdue University beginning in the fall of 2016. Not only did this child come out of the womb a Boilermaker, he came out of the womb a sports fanatic and enthusiast.

Yes, this is me. In this same year of 1997, Joe Tiller had just led Purdue to a Bowl Game in his first year as Head Football Coach of the Purdue Boilermakers. Little did I know how in love and attached I would be to Purdue sports and Purdue football. Although I was too young to recall the spirit and energy around the football program at the time, I have seen evidence of passion and high energy around the program at this time through videos of a sold out Ross-Ade Stadium and by asking students who attended the University at the time. This season of winning football set a standard for Purdue football. This standard included many details, but was centered around three words: Passion, Energy, and WINNING.

At the same time, Coach Tiller and the Boilermakers were able to continue the tradition of attaining some of the best quarterbacks in college football, allowing the University to maintain the nickname of “the cradle of quarterbacks.” Things continued to go well for the Boilers between the years of 1997 and 2007. The Boilermakers kept up with the expectation of winning by making 8 straight bowl games from 1997 – 2004. The highlight of the Joe Tiller era occurred in the year 2000, when the Boilermakers made an appearance in the Rose Bowl, led by NFL Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. All was good until fans began hearing rumors near the end of the 2008 season about a potential retirement of Head Coach and Purdue legend, Joe Tiller. The rumors stood true as he sadly departed the program to move onto the next chapter of his life, retirement. Little did avid Boiler fans like myself realize the dreaded drought and disappointing stretch of football that Purdue was about to begin following the departure of Coach Tiller.

The Boilermakers hired Danny Hope to be its next head coach later that spring. Although fans were depressed about Joe Tiller leaving the program to retire, there was still a sense of optimism for fans, especially the die-heart fans like myself who have not missed a Purdue football game on TV or in person since they can remember. That optimism quickly turned to doubt as the next four years of Boilermaker football was not only hard to watch, frustrating to support, and difficult to remain loyal to, but quite frankly was a failure in terms of the standard that Coach Tiller set in his 11 years as Head Coach. These four years went by incredibly slow and depressingly as the Boilermakers combined record over this time period included 22 wins and 27 losses. After the firing of Danny Hope and hiring of Darrell Hazell, we thought we had hope as fans, but once again our dreams were crushed, just even further this time. Coach Hazell led the Boilers to an abysmal 9 win, 39 loss stretch over the years of 2013 – 2016. Petitions to fire the coach were spiraling around the community for a few years as anger built up, until finally the new Athletic Director, Mike Bobinsky, finally got rid of in my opinion, the worst Purdue coach of all time. It seems embarrassing to say this, but the day that Hazell was fired may be one of the happiest days of my life because I had a gut feeling that this was the time that Purdue football got back to its standard of PASSION, ENERGY, and most importantly WINNING. Rumors began to spiral about hiring some of the hottest names in college football and the excitement level of fans began to build. Then, Athletic Director, Mike Bobinsky, announced the highly praised hiring of current Head Football Coach, Jeff Brohm.

“Let’s Play Football!” That is the motto that Jeff Brohm has carried with him into Purdue. Fans were optimistic, but nervous. Although the record right now is 4-6, the Boilers have competed in every single game, with its biggest loss by 18 points to highly-ranked Michigan. Jeff Brohm made it clear to Boilermaker fans that this is finally the year that the tide is turning and that no matter how talented the opponent, the Boilers would come out and fight until there is not a single drop of sweat, blood, or tear left inside of each and every one of those players.

I feel that Boilermaker Football is back on the railroad going in the right direction. According to ESPN, Purdue’s Fan Happiness Index has increased 99 points since last season. This proves that I am not alone through the numbers. Also, Ross-Ade Stadium has increased average attendance by nearly 15,000 people in just one season. PASSION, ENERGY, and WINNING. It is back. The expectation is being met and the future is bright.


Cover Image Credit: Rob Dupre

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5 People You Didn't Know Went to Cal Poly Pomona

Bronco Alumni who made it BIG

1. Jim Zorn

Jim Zorn first went to Cerritos College and transferred to CPP where he played football for 2 seasons. While he was attending CPP, he set 44 school records and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1997. Since then he has played with the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After his retirement, he moved onto coaching in the NFL where he has been for 16 seasons. He is currently a quarterback coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

2. Forest Whittaker

Whittaker attended Cal Poly Pomona on a football scholarship (yes, we had a football team), but an injury left him unable to play. He changed his major to music where he was a part of the Cal Poly Chamber Singers. He ended up transferring to University of Southern California to finish up his degree, but got his start at CPP. He is now a famous actor who stared in Platoon, Bird, The Shield, The Color Money, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and many more productions. He was also the 4th African American male to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

3. Hilda Solis

Solis was accepted into the Equal Opportunity Program at Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While getting her Master of Public Administration at USC, she worked for the Carter and Reagan administration. Under the Obama administration, Solis became the first Latina to serve in the US Cabinet. Currently she serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

4. Kevin Lyman

Lyman became well known by creating Vans Warped Tour, but before this he graduated Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Recreation Administration in 1984. He discovered his love of music while in college and worked with on campus bands to find places to play. He took his love to the LA music scene which led to the creation of Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and Down From the Mountain Tour.

5. Michael Steger

Steger graduated CPP with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Spanish. After graduating with honors, he went on to appear in NCIS, Criminal Minds, Covert Affairs, True Blood, and several Disney Channel productions. He is best known for his role as Navid Shirazi on 90210.

Cover Image Credit: Hahn-Khayat-Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

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The Supreme Court Legalized Sports Betting But This Doesn't Help Shoeless Joe Or Pete Rose

They still won't get in on integrity issues.

In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made gambling on sports illegal outside of the state of Nevada. The major sports leagues (the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, and Major League Baseball) all stood by this law for 20 years. However, New Jersey governor Chris Christie set out to allow sports gambling in state casinos.

The leagues would start legal proceedings against Christie and the state in 2012. They would win every step of the way until the United States Supreme Court took over in June 2017. The trial ended on Monday with a 6-3 decision in favor of the state. Now the precedent has been set for other states to establish legal sports betting, and New Jersey, along with a handful of other states, plan on doing so.

With PASPA being deemed unconstitutional, what does it mean for players who may or may not have been implicated, and then banned, from their sport for gambling?

There are, of course, two names that come to mind. The first is Shoeless Joe Jackson, an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox who was one of the eight players indicted by the Cook County Court system for throwing the 1919 World Series. The other is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader who was accused of throwing games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

It isn't a question of whether or not they are Hall of Fame worthy players. They both are: Jackson was kicked out with the third highest career batting average ever at .356, while Rose knocked over 4000 hits in his career. Now the question is whether or not the Court ruling will be enough to have the writers overlook this.

Let's start with Jackson. It is hard-pressed to believe that Jackson actually knew what was going on: he was an illiterate "rube" from South Carolina. On top of that, none of the players knew what was going on half the time. In the Series, he hit .375. He slugged the only homer of the whole series. He did not commit in error out in left field. Suffice to say, if he was actually trying to lose, he would have been trying a lot harder than that.

On the other hand, he did take the money. He wanted $20,000 but only got $5,000. He then told the Grand Jury everything that he knew, even if he was liquored up at the time. Even when he tried to do right, he threw the integrity of the game right out the window.

Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the game's first commissioner, banned Jackson and the other players for life for being involved with gambling.

Let's look at Rose now, who was investigated for gambling activities in the 1980s. It came out that he did, in fact, bet on games during the 1987 season. If he were to cover bets for the whole season, he would have betted on 98 games during the season (with the other 64 that he didn't bet on them being when either Mario Soto or Bill Gullickson were starting on the mound).

The law may not have been in place at the time, but that doesn't matter. They were active participants in the games. They were also active participants in the gambling. They wrecked the integrity of the game, and should not be in the Hall of Fame. The voting committees for the Hall of Fame have it right: that players on the ineligible list should not be in.

In the words of Pete Grathoff for the Kansas City Star:

"While sports gambling will be legal in states other than Nevada, none of the professional leagues will allow players, managers, coaches or executives to wager on their games. That's what Rose did and why he won't have his ban overturned"

Cover Image Credit: Ghost Presenter via Unsplash

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