Friday, September 28, 2007

National security or personal insecurity

Yesterday I was in the check-out line at a local KMart. Just ahead of me was a man with his purchase ready to be rung up. He requested also a pack of cigarettes.

"Can I see your ID?," the female clerk asked the customer.

His face expressed utter disbelief. "That's the law," she quickly fired back.

The customer looked at me. I looked at him. He looked at her. She went over to the locked cabinet to fill the customer's request.

To me, the man didn't look like he was trying to pull something past the vigilant clerk. He was trying to sneak a thrill like some underage teenager, hoping that a couple of isolated peach fuzz would get him noticed that he has reached the age of maturity, that he could make an adult purchase and sneak out the store without detection.

As the man reached in his back pocket and pulled out his wallet to heed her request, still surprised that he was being carded, softly said, "I'm 72 years old."

Seventy-two years old?

A member of Our Greatest Generation: He lived through the Great Depression. He survived World War II, perhaps even served in it. He endured years of Jim Crowism and other such indignities a Black man of his age surely faced.

He have earned the right to live the rest of his days without such hassles. This man should be able to buy whatever he wants without having to prove his age. And he can't even buy a pack of smokes without showing some form of ID!

Has this country's national security craze reached such a low that a senior citizen can't be trusted to buy cigarettes without being questioned. Does he pose some sort of national threat?

This heightened my fear big time. Could this be a prelude to what I and every citizen, regardless of age, must deal with if Congress do pass a national ID law. You won't be able to vote, travel -- even buy a pack of smokes, without showing two forms of identification. It will give law enforcement types more power to stop us at any time, claiming national security, to check for not one, but two IDs.

A drivers license currently is an acceptable form of ID. But what if you don't drive? If a second photo ID is needed, what will be the cost?

I'm afraid it will cost us a whole lot more than money. It will tax our personal freedom in ways George Orwell never dreamed of. Big Brother will become King Kong. It will be 21st Century Checkpoint Charlie. Another personal infringement opportunity sadly added.

Personally I don't care to smoke, never had. But this 72-year-old has earned his right to do whatever he wish. It's still legal to buy cigarettes, but when did the law changed that seniors must be carded as teenagers and others born after 1982, the year the man moved into his late middle age years.

The senior didn't argue with the clerk, who brought him his smokes of choice. He quietly put away his drivers license and paid for his purchase. He left away without anything else to say.

I had hoped to catch him but when I got outside, but the 72-year-old man was gone, perhaps to get that drink: I earlier joked with him, suggesting that he may want to keep his ID out when he hit the bars later. He briefly smiled, but I could sense the disbelief on his well-worn face was still there, a face that had seen it all until now.

I wouldn't blame him one bit if the man did go and drown away the memory of this nonsense.

For the record, the clerk didn't ask me for any identification on my purchase of candy for a second-grade class, and a four-pack of orange cream soda for myself. I had prepared myself for such request -- after all, I am at least 20 years younger than the previous customer she carded.

It didn't happened, but I'm afraid soon it will.

I don't know what color it is this week on the national security alert meter, but my personal insecurity is at high.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The O.J. I remember

When it was reported that O.J. Simpson was arrested on suspicion of robbery, it suddenly occurred to me what I have been missing ever since he first got in trouble back in the mid-1990s.

His films.

Never a Lawrence Olivier or Denzel Washington, Simpson did carve out a non-descript acting career, essentially cashing in on his celebrity status. He appeared in a few TV movies, including a series of one where he played a washed-up boxer with a little girl named Goldie by his side.

Simpson played a detective in the Police Squad movie, in which he was very funny. Perhaps his best role on screen. He also played a detective in a drama along with the late Elizabeth Montogomery, a mismatched salt-and-pepper police team. A pretty good movie I recall, but like the others I mentioned, haven't seen it on television lately.

And who can forget his non-award-winning role in The Towering Inferno, with Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. I think O.J. died in it -- in fact, I know he did because back then, and even now, the chances of a Black actor surviving through a disaster movie solely depends on their star status.

Certainly you remember Simpson in those Hertz commercials, hurling over suitcases in airports? Riveting stuff.

Why haven't ESPN Classic shown Simpson's greatest games as a collegian or NFL star? It was, after all, his athleticism, his winning the Heisman Trophy; his two-initial name that gave him fame in the first place. The game in which Simpson surpassed the 2,000-yard rushing mark as a Buffalo Bills runner, the first time in NFL history, is a better classic than some of the junk ESPN Classic purports as such.

Wouldn't it be great to see a O.J. Simpson film festival on TV Land or TV One's "Throwback Theater"! I would love to rent that Police Squad movie.

Instead, Simpson is only remembered as the one who got away with two murders. Having found not guilty began people to think that the American justice system is out of whack. Such thinking never surfaced when Whites were getting off for killing Blacks once upon a time, but as soon as O.J.'s verdict came down, the firestorm for change swept this country.

I always felt that after he was cleared that it was best for Simpson to leave the country and start anew. However, he is addicted to attention, the limelight -- an addiction that has caused him problems ever since. Simpson keep putting himself in crazy situations, such as this latest one.

O.J. keeps hoping that one day the American public will forgive him and allow him back into their good graces. Others who have done considerably less, have -- Martha Stewart got caught for insiders trading, serve jail time and now she's hawking her goods for Macy's. Richard Nixon left office in disgrace, but after a few years, he was considered a great statesman and tot a fond farewell at his funeral.

But Simpson's scarlet letter is much larger. It is a permanent marker that won't ever wash off.

Whether he broke into a Las Vegas hotel room, as Simpson is charged with along with carrying guns and kidnapping (?), is still debatable. If he indeed was invited to the room to get back his own stuff, then how can this be breaking and entering. If he was indeed secretly taped, as O.J. claims, what happened to former Washington D.C. mayor Marion (The B**** set me up) Barry seems childlike in comparison.

Simpson lost his benefit of the doubt card long ago. As a result, these charges might be just enough to land him in prison, which many thought he should be in the first place.

I rather see Simpson's past film work, his on-field exploits, again grace the small screen.

That's the O.J. Simpson I want to remember.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Open Season on Black Women

A Black woman from West Virginia was raped and beaten during a week of captivity at the hands of some White folk. Two Black females, within a week of each other, were found dead after being reported missing. A young Black woman went on vacation last spring and has not yet returned.

Where is the coverage?

Instead we hear the exploits of spoiled brats Paris Hilton and Britany Spears. When Laci Peterson popped up missing and later found dead, non-stop reports were the norm.

If she's White, it is breaking news. If she's blond and blue eyed, she automatically given superstar treatment in the media.

However, if the woman is Black, has short cropped, natural black hair -- even if she don't, her disappearance is barely mentioned. If she's beaten or abuse, the media, with blinders in place, shrugs its shoulders.

Media fairness seemingly goes only to the fairest of skin.

Black women are disappearing these days at an alarming rate. Does anyone care? Is it open season on Black women?

A Black woman disappears from her home in Milwaukee and barely gets a milk carton notice. Her case still is unsolved.

Twenty-four-year old Tamika Huston's body was found August 12, over a year after she first was reported missing from her Spartanburg, S.C. home. A man Huston supposedly was dating was arrested and charged with her murder.

Almost immediately after local police began investigating, Huston's loved ones distributed filers, held news conferences and established a Web site. Other than Greta Van Susteran briefly mentioning her on Fox News Channel, a story last March on America's Most Wanted, and a report on National Public Radio, her case rarely saw national attention.

Not unlike Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old from Alabama, who went to Aruba last spring and haven't been heard from since. But the entire island almost has been blamed for Holloway's disappearance.

Not unlike Jennifer Wilbanks, who we later learned just walked away from her impending marriage because of cold feet. How the nation was outraged over her brief disappearance, and the 24-hour coverage she got before she eventually resurfaced.

These women, along with Peterson, whose husband later was later convicted of murdering her, are White.

Did you hear about 24-year-old Latoyia Figueroa of Philadelphia? Figueroa was five months pregnant and a mother of a 7-year-old daughter. After being missing for over a month, Figueroa's dead body was found 10 miles west of her city. Her ex-boyfriend has been charged with two murders.

Not only were Figueroa and Huston didn't deserve to die, their disappearance didn't even earned the respect they deserve. Their cases never got the media's light of day. But if they had been White . . .

No woman, regardless of race, deserves to be abducted, senselessly beaten -- sometimes to death, or sexually violated. It doesn't matter whether she's Black or White, light or dark, model thin or queen size. But when reporting, either by law enforcement or media, is so obviously lopsided and unbalanced, mainly because of race, it should matter and must be called out as such.

In too many eyes, it must be hunting season for Black females in this country. Their safety and well being is seemingly of little concern.

In my eyes, however, this is dead wrong.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You don't say

Like Jack Nicholson, when Tom Cruise ask for the truth, most people can't handle it.

Appearing on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said that Black quarterbacks face greater scrutiny than their White counterparts. "It's just reality," he says. "It's something that I've been a part of and other (Black) quarterbacks before and after me have been a part of."

You don't say, Donovan. For further proof of what McNabb is talking about, please check out New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden's book, "The Field Generals," where he chronicles the history of the Black quarterback. Read about what Marlon Briscoe had to do, just to get a one-time tryout at quarterback. Read about other Black quarterbacks, including Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl with Washington, and how they endured the endless questioning of their abilities, smarts, whatever.

All because of the color of their skin.

The quarterback position is the most scrutinized in all of sports. They love you only when you're winning. But throw a bad pass or miss an open receiver, or don' t get that crucial first down in the game's critical moments, and your name becomes mud. You're only loved if you are the backup QB -- people always think they can do the job better. But once the backup takes over as starter, then the role reversal begins.

A vicious circle that triples if you're Black. That's what McNabb is saying. The criticism is twinged more if you are a person of color.
And only a Black man knows this.

Yet Whites immediately dismiss what he says. A Philadelphia Daily News columnist wrote that McNabb must get rid of a chip on his shoulder.

It's not a chip, but a mountain that he and other Black QB's must shoulder. The critical spotlight is always hotter for them than it is for Whites.

But only a Black man knows this.

Ever since Tarvaris Jackson was named the starter by the Minnesota Vikings, 'white flags' immediately were hoisted. He's too young, critics say. Then after throwing four interceptions in a 20-17 overtime loss at Detroit, cries for his replacement intensified.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist urges the coaching staff to place Jackson on the injury list because he "tweak" his groin. Coach Brad Childress should keep Jackson on the sideline "with honor," wrote Tom Powers. "Just say the quarterback is too hurt to play," Powers suggests.

Other Twin Cities columnists also wrote similarly. Powers' paper now are running polls, asking readers on who should start as Vikings QB: Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, or Kelly Holcomb. It doesn't matter that both Bollinger and Holcomb are just as inexperienced as the second-year Jackson. After three weeks, it's time for change.

These same scribes years ago expressed the same lack of confidence when former Minnesota coach Dennis Green named Daunte Culpepper as starter.

The fact that both Culpepper and Jackson are Black only heightens the criticism. Only if you aren't Black that you can't read between the lines. Only if you aren't Black that you can't clearly see just how much their criticism play a part in planting doubting seeds in fans, most of whom already are Monday morning quarterbacks and coaches in their own right.

Only if you aren't Black that you can't fully understand what McNabb is saying. You won't see White sports columnists ever walking a block, let alone a mile in his shoes.

All quarterbacks start out young and inexperienced. Then when are they going to get the necessary reps to be good, or be fairly evaluated, if they are not allowed the chance to fail, in order to eventually succeed.

Peyton Manning started out young, as did Joe Montana and Steve Young. Even Roger Staubach and John Elway suffered through growing pains before they eventually found their winning groove.

Why is it that White QBs are allowed that luxury, while Black QBs must play with a burned neck because the white heat from columnists, fans and others breathing down their necks. Why is it that Black QBs must be grizzled and well worn in order to prove themselves worthy to stand behind center?

"Black or White quarterbacks, we all go through something because that's the life of a quarterback," says Tennessee's Vince Young, one of sic Black starting NFL quarterbacks, along with McNabb, Jackson, Steve McNair of Baltimore, Jason Campbell of Washington and Jacksonville's David Garrard.

You don't say Vince. He somehow forgot how many questioned his abilities last year because he flunked some fancy pre-draft test. He forgot how many thought someone else and not him was suited to be drafted No. 1 overall.

Young must think that he somehow will escape a well-known fact but rarely admitted. That he won't be roundly criticize, much of which will be racially inspired. He won't, so long as he exceeds on the field.

Because when he don't, and you better believe Young will have bad days -- all QBs do, his hue will play a part in the unbalanced criticism and unnecessary analysis from columnists, most of them are White.

Unless his hue changed, Young will experience it, if he hasn't already. He and other Black quarterbacks do. And always will.

What Donovan McNabb said is right. However, Whites can't handle the truth.

And they never will.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Have you seen them?

This year's WNBA catchphrase is "Have You Seen Her?" How appropriate that was, especially during the playoffs.

I am not ashamed to say it but I love watching women hoops. Whether it's college or pro, women basketball is the closest thing to seeing the game played the way it should.

Below the rim. Precise offensive patterns. Proper screens. Mid-range outside shooting. Passionate play.

But I often had to play Sherlock Holmes to find the games. It might be on NBA TV, or might not. It might be on ESPN or ESPN2, or maybe not.

It might be on 7:00 pm Eastern time, or may be later. You had to catch it if you can.

Even Sunday's game five of the championship finals, the deciding game in which either Phoenix or Detroit would walk away with the trophy, the start time or channel was not listed in my local newspaper's daily TV guide. I lucked up and found it anyway:

By the way, the Mercury brought Phoenix its first pro basketball title by leading Detroit from tip to buzzer.

The WNBA has completed its 11th season. The primary reason why it is still around is two words: David Stern. As long as the NBA commish loves having it around, and co-signs his league's annual subsidies, the WNBA will continue to exist.

"The WNBA is the best league," boasts Ann Meyers-Drysdale, who in her first year as Phoenix general manager, brings home a crown.

However, she forgets to mention -- It's the women's only major league pro sport in America. The only hoops game in town during the summer.

Nonetheless, the WNBA continues to be seen through minor league eyes., and treated even less.

The 2007 post season was perhaps the WNBA's most exciting in history. Several first-round games were decided in overtime. For the second consecutive season, the defending champion played in the finals, and the championship series went the distance.

However, did you see them? ESPN, supposedly the WNBA's broadcast partner, preempted a couple of playoff match ups, including a triple-overtime thriller, in favor of the Little League World Series. I haven't seen such disrespect since the final game of the 1980 NBA Finals were tape-delayed and show as part of the late, late show.

But you won't hear that from WNBA President Donna Orender, who acts more like cheerleader than league top dog. When the league and ESPN announced a eight-year television package during the All-Star Game in July, both she and network exec refused to reveal the financial details. Quite a contrast to when the NBA's new TV package was released this summer.

Here are the details: Under the new ESPN/WNBA deal, each team will get approximately $2 million annually -- $26 million over the life of the contract. The NBA television deal with TNT, ABC and ESPN will net each team between $25-30 million.

No wonder Orender didn't want to talk about it. She got fleeced, but her cheery self won't publicly admit it.

"It still has a long way to go," USA Today's Oscar Dixon, who covers both the NBA and the WNBA, told me during All-Star weekend. When asked about the WNBA's long term survival, "I don't think it has reached its full potential."

Now that the season is over, many players are off to parts far and wide. The league stars head overseas, where the money is exceedingly better. At least, three times better.

The average salary for a WNBA player ranges from $32,500 for rookies, $50,000 for veterans, and a maximum $93,000 for superstars.
The average salary for a NBA player: $2 million

"We are on our hustle right now," says Washington Mystics forward DeLisha Milton-Jones. "I have not experienced a vacation since I started playing professional basketball."

"They got to make the money when they can make (it)," adds Detroit Shock coach Bill Laimbeer.

Is the WNBA concerned about their star players virtually all year round? The wear and tear? Players not fully recovering from nicks and pains incurred during the season? Shortening a female's career? All of the above? You don't see NBA stars hoopin' it up 12 months a year.

"I definitely think that is a concern for the WNBA, the team owners, GMs, etc.," says Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings. "As a coach and a GM, I'm sure you are concerned with how much your players are playing." Not to think of, that many of them barely get back to their domestic club in time for the start of training camp -- many others make during it, and while still others, just get back in time for the season opening tip-off.

But according to Renee Brown, the WNBA second-in-command as basketball operations chief, the league aren't overly concerned about their players logging too much court time. "Not at all," she says. Playing overseas "is very competitive . . . the layout of their games are a lot different."

"The league was designed to allow players to play overseas," adds Dixon on the WNBA's summer schedule.

With the Olympics next summer, players such as Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor may opt out and stay in their native Australia, to train for their national teams. Ditto for Russian Svetlana Abrosimova of Minnesota.

Another problem now facing the league: its collective bargaining agreement now expires.

Among the pressing issues include better health benefits and of course, better salaries. However, the two sides are apart is on the salary cap: the players want it higher along with a soft cap to allow teams to exceed it but not be penalized if they do not spend more than the salary cap. Also, the players want a better free agency system: currently, the teams have the right of first refusal, and there's no bidding for players. The clubs basically can re-sign the player, keeping them out of the free agent market.

Also, the WNBA players union wants shorter contracts that will allow veterans to seek free agency sooner. Their shelf life is exceedingly shorter than their male counterparts, especially with playing all year round.

Of course, the players know that they can't push too hard -- no matter that Commish Stern loves them, if he feels that the WNBA hoopsters are getting too big for their Nikes, he will pull the plug. He threaten years ago to do so, and the players gave in -- just like the NBAers did.

"Our every expectation is that we will reach an agreement that will be in the best interest of the league and its ongoing success and our players," predicts Orender.

Let's hope so -- but then again, will we know?

Have you seen them WNBA players?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six candles

Why this country loves celebrating tragic events is beyond me.

This year's September 11 observance is the fifth since it happened in 2001. The 'Where were you on Sept. 11' stories and anecdotes is as certain as January cold in Minnesota.

Why? This day sadly should only be remembered by those families who lost loved ones, friends, acquaintances either on the ground in New York or in the air. For the rest of us, it should only be a painful reminder that our freedoms are now passe.

I feel no more secure now than I did on Sept. 10, 2001. Not because I fear terrorism, which I never did. Until I see the tanks coming down my street, then will I become more concerned than I presently am.

Rather I feel less secure and more invaded by a government, who have used the Sept. 11 attacks to pull the rug out of my security.

I no longer can fly without being searched like some common criminal. My carefully packed luggage now is ravaged through by insensitive and underpaid security checkers. I can't even bring with me a tube of toothpaste or a can of air freshener on board any more.

Individuals who speak in foreign tongues now are constantly viewed suspiciously, even sometimes forced off their scheduled flights, and questioned under hot lights -- all because people are now fearful and suffering from Islam-phobia.

The Patriot Act is more than Kate Smith singing God Bless America. It has given this government a la carte to check into yours and mine's personal business. The FBI no longer have to go to court to seek a search warrant, but instead can simply type a letter on official stationary, which gives them power to break in your house at any time, under the guise of national security.

I'm more fearful of this than a computer virus.

I'm more afraid of a lame duck president than Osama bin Laden. With all the resources supposedly at this country's disposal, we yet can't find him. When you needed him most, where is James Bond? He can find anyone and get the girl as well.

I'm more afraid of a lame duck vice-president who is more diabolical than the man one seat up from him. He and his cronies helped cooked up the plans to invade Iraq long before Sept. 11 took place.

We poured billions there ever since unnecessarily invading that country, while our own infrastructure crumbles right before our eyes. Instead of remembering Sept. 11, let's remember the Lower Ninth Ward.

We didn't prevent Sept. 11 before, even as there's evidence that we could have, what makes us believe that if something again happened, God forbid, we can prevent it. Our armed forces are stretched so thin, again we will be powerless to stop it. The U.S. has become the world's largest paper tiger, planting seeds of doubt and fear instead of Democracy around the globe.

Instead, we put six candles on the cake. Excuse me as I prefer saving my breath blowing them out.

I have no reason to celebrate.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

First game now history

Your first game comes only once. There never will be another one.

The first day of September was Tim Brewster's. He was on the sidelines for the first time as a college football head coach at the University of Minnesota.

In less than three minutes of his first game, Brewster was down 14 points. "They jumped on us early," he later says during his first post-game press conference.

Another score in the second quarter, and Brewster's Gophers left the Metrodome field at the half down 21-0. Most of the 49,253 who didn't go to the annual State Fair or left town for Labor Day weekend, sent them off with boos.

Was it first game jitters? Perhaps. But to the point, it was more Bowling Green.

"They caught us in some blitzes," Brewster points out. "We missed some tackles in the first two possessions of the game."

The Gopher coach is being awfully kind. His defense missed a lot of tackles, including one that allowed the Bee Gees to score in overtime.

"We didn't make a play when we needed to," adds the first-year Gopher coach. "Bowling Green did a heck of a job. We didn't cover the quarterback."

You can use all types of blitzes, as Minnesota did. You can use a three-man rush, as they did as well. But if you can't tackle, it's all for nought.

"We needed to make one play on defense, and we would win the game," notes Brewster.

Especially in the final minutes of regulation. A Jason Giannini 33-yard field goal with a little over two minutes left gave his team their first lead of the night, 24-21. Seventeen Minnesota points in the fourth quarter had erased a 21-point deficit.

However, there was just too much time left for BG, who converted on fourth down as quarterback Tyler Sheehan hit Fred Barnes for 10 yards to get to their own 43 yard line, then hit him again, a 21-yarder, at the Minnesota 36. Two incomplete passes later, Sheehan again found Barnes for a first down, and put the ball on the Gophers 18. This was good enough for a tying field goal by Sinisa Vrvilo for 35 yards with three ticks left to lock the score at 24.

Just to show you it was all Bowling Green, they won the coin flip and elected to defend. Some reporters in the press box questioned this decision but I thought it was a good move. If the Gophers don't score, your team has the ball and the game. If they do, which the Gophers did, then your offense, which proved all night long to be better, could find a way to win.

The Gophers' Amir Pennix ran twice for 25 yards and scored his second TD to give Minnesota a 31-24 lead. Then Bowling Green and Sheehan took over: the sophomore quarterback completed his last three passes (Sheehan finished 34-for-51, 388 yards and two TDs), including the winning two-point conversion, to leave the home crowd stunned.

I later ask Brewster about what BG did. He would've have done the very same thing if his team had won the coin flip. "I would put our defense on the field and get a stop, then see what we got on offense," the coach surmises.

What did we learn from Minnesota's first game of the 2007 season:

One: Instead of three-man fronts, and fancy cover-2 packages, the Gophers must go back to defensive basics. See the man, tackle the man. "We're committed to play great defense, and we will," pledges Brewster. "We got to help these kids. That's what real coaching is."

Two: The Gophers' young secondary is awfully young, and against BG, were just awful. If they can't cover BG's athletes, what will happen to them when they go up against better athletes that play at the other school in Ohio, the Buckeyes, later this fall. They also must learn not to reach at the receiver but go for the strip. Make the simple play. "We didn't make a play when we needed to," adds the coach.

Three: In his first start, redshirt freshman QB Adam Weber has some moxie. True, he started slowly but soon picked it up. He didn't pile up big yards as Sheehan because of U-M's short passing game, but Weber can tuck and run (80 yards on 18 carries). "I feel really good at how Adam finished the game," notes Brewster.

Four: Minnesota found two return guys in Jay Thomas (64 kickoff yards, including a 36 yarder) and Harold Howell, who returned one of his eight punt returns for 22 yards -- the true freshman finished with 36 yards. "Harold is going to do some things that are exciting," says Brewster.

Five: Pinnix picked up where he left off last season: the senior workhorse had 28 carries and 168 yards, his seventh 100-plus game of his career. U-M is wiser to get away from the dink-and-dunk offense and just give Pinnix the ball.

Brewster is one of 24 new head coaches this season. He wasn't alone in losing his first game this Saturday. He did fared better than Mario Cristobal, whose Florida International went scoreless and gave 59 points to Penn State.

"Overall it was great -- I was competing along with these kids," says Brewster of his first head coaching game. "There are a lot of things to build on."

It is, after all, one game in a long season. "Each week we are going to work and get better," the coach points out. "We are going to make big improvements."

All-time, Minnesota's coaches are now 17-8-1 in debut games. John Gutekunst is the last Gopher coach to win his first game, ironically a 31-7 victory over Bowling Green in 1986.

It took 21 years for the Falcons to file a payback. But Brewster can't pay BG back any time in the future.

You only get one chance to have your first game.