Monday, August 10, 2009

If a Final Four berth is worth $677 million, then a brief glance at my backward hat has to be worth at least twice that

Hey! That's my hat!

Really, Hofstra ought to be paying me. I mean, all the cash they spend on finding new ways to promote the school worldwide and I’m giving the school billions of dollars of free publicity all over the Internet—on my own time and my own dime, to boot.

I’m not even talking about this blog. There’s no real brand awareness in here for the ol’ U, not with my stubbornly nostalgic ways running counter to the new logos and new nicknames “bestowed” upon us after so many cram sessions with off-campus “marketing geniuses.”

I’m talking about the video linked above. That’s a well-worn (I can hear my wife right now: “IT’S NOT WELL-WORN! IT’S DISGUSTING!!!”) Hofstra hat perched atop my melon that’s bobbing up and down as Extreme performs “More Than Words” at Toad’s Place in Connecticut last Saturday night.

I didn’t go to the concert expecting to become an Internet superstar promoting Hofstra to a global audience. I went because I’ve been an Extreme fan for 20 years (egads, I am old) and I have a soft spot for a band that did the nearly impossible by making me look prescient. As you know if you read either of my blogs, my crystal ball is murky at best. For example, there was this one time I declared the Red Sox were superior to the Yankees in almost every way. Yeah. Not so much.

So I took great—wait for it!!!—pride back in 1991, when Loyal Reader Matt and I were already wearing out our cassette versions of Extreme II: Pornograffiti long before the gentle acoustic ballad “More Than Words” topped the charts the week of our prom.

(Parenthetical tangent: Pornograffiti eventually went top 10 on the strength of “More Than Words” and the folksy follow-up “Hole Hearted,” and I always wondered what people who bought the album because of those songs thought when they were presented with a profanity-laden, hard rock concept album about America’s obsession with sex.)

Let me make it clear that I don’t usually surf YouTube looking for myself. But I saw clips from the show on YouTube and the wife wanted to see “More Than Words.” About 20 seconds in, I yelled “THERE’S MY HAT!!!” You get your best glimpse at me exactly one minute in, but the back of my head comes in and out of view multiple times throughout the clip.

That’s multiple plugs for Hofstra, you know. Multiple VALUABLE plugs for Hofstra.

The video has been viewed 251 views. We only accounted for, err, seven of them. So that’s 244 people seeing my hat a bunch of times. Two hundred forty-four people going, hey, this song is awesome, but that dude’s well-worn hat is even more awesome. Two hundred forty-four people deciding, hey, Hofstra, that sounds like an interesting place to go to college. Two hundred forty-four people that decide to drop what they’re doing and apply to Hofstra.

Two hundred forty-four people that are accepted at Hofstra equals…holy crap, roughly $7,320,000!!! The least Hofstra can do is comp my season tickets.

I probably look foolish and I know I did things I’m not really proud of—like turn my hat backwards and become That Guy who snaps photos with his cell phone, even though he sucks at photography and has a phone that takes crappy pictures—but I don’t care. This was to concerts what the JMU game was to sports—a seemingly normal night that turns special and reminds us why we attend games and concerts.

For every 10 or 20 or 30 games or concerts in which nothing remarkable happens and everything unfolds just as projected or as planned on the set list, there’s the one night where magic occurs, where the headliner is at the very top of its game and rides the euphoria and adrenaline of an appreciative crowd into a performance that’s as unforgettable for the participants as it is for the audience.

The JMU game wasn’t our Woodstock and the Extreme concert won’t be a generational touchstone either. But like those who only like big-time college hoops, those who only attend arena shows and/or dismiss Extreme because of their two lite FM hits have no idea what they missed nine days ago.

Anyway, time to take off my rock critic hat and put back on the well-worn and world-famous Hofstra hat. Here are a few other bits and bytes completely unrelated to Extreme or any other ‘90s musical act.

—It’s the second Monday of August (thanks, Captain Obvious!), which to me has always marked the beginning of summer’s last lap. From 1993 through 1995, this was the part of the summer in which the days on the calendar could not disappear fast enough. The approaching first day of school, such a dreadful concept as a youngster, filled me with an almost indescribable anticipation as a collegian. I couldn’t wait to get back to campus to hang out with the guys (and eventually The Girl, awww hi honey!), immerse myself in sports coverage at The Chronicle and, occasionally, attend class.

The feelings come mid-August aren’t quite the same as an adult, of course, but the second season of Defiantly Dutch has me pretty stoked. Camp opened yesterday for the Flying Dutchmen football team, whose season opener against suddenly fierce rival Stony Brook is a mere 26 days away. The first official athletic contest of the 2009-10 school year is even closer: The Flying Dutchwomen volleyball team hosts Rhode Island in the first round of the ASICS Invitational Aug. 28.

I’ve got a lot of things planned for the start of the school year (first day of classes is Sept. 2…class beginning in September? Next thing you know Hofstra will start the spring semester more than a week before the Super Bowl), some of which I may even implement! Seriously, stick around, as I hope to make this an even better destination for Hofstra fans this year. And I’ve got some fun non-sports programming planned, too, that should really appeal to those of us who came of age, so to speak, at Hofstra in the early ‘90s.

—Speaking of the football team, part one: The Dutchmen were picked to finish fourth in the CAA North in the coaches poll unveiled during CAA Media Day July 29. Linebacker Luke Bonus, who was earlier selected to the Sports Network’s preseason All-America team, was the only Hofstra player selected to the preseason all-CAA team.

For what it’s worth, the Dutchmen were picked third in the CAA North and received a first-place vote last year.

Phil Steele’s College Football Preview projects a far better season for the Dutchmen, who are ranked seventh in the country in the annual magazine. That…that would be pretty good.

—Speaking of the football team, part two: A couple corrections to make in our last entry about Steve McNair and the ’94 Flying Dutchmen. The Dutchmen beat New Hampshire 28-6 that season, not 24-7. And the Dutchmen have made five trips to the Division I-AA playoffs, not four. Thanks to football alum Uncle Buck at the CAAZone for pointing out the errors.

—I leave you with this and without comment: Jim Larranaga tweeted the following after a brawl-filled game between Italy and Canada: “Players need to understand there is no excuse for this kind of behavior & poor sportsmanship. Compete hard – yes. But control your emotions.”

—I lied. I’m going to channel Mean Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. Really, Jim? You’re going to preach how there’s no excuse for poor behavior and sportsmanship on the court, Jim? Really? After 2006, Jim? Really? Are you trying to be ironic? Cripes.

—I will leave you with this, part two: As I mentioned last week, I’m hoping to do a season-long retrospect of the 1994 Flying Dutchmen football team this fall. If you were a member of that team in any capacity—player, coach, student manager, administrator—I want to hear your stories and recollections of that memorable season. Email me here at, find me on Facebook at or connect with me at Twitter at Thanks!

1 comment:

Stormy said...

PLAY MUTHA!!!!!!!!!!!