A couple days ago, I wrote an article for my website about the national video of physical abuse by Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice, who subsequently resigned. Just before finishing it though, I had a brainstorm. (Yes, it happens sometimes.) As a result, I added a bizarre, utterly unexpected, comic (and trust me, this is comic), but actually-pointed addendum to the story that I suspect you haven't seen anywhere else. Seriously. I thought it was worth repeating here, for you Huffians.
If anything proves that God has a sense of humor and perfect whimsy, this is it.
What I initially noted in the piece was the collateral damage of the scandal, starting with a second dismissal, the resignation of Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti. The shame of that was how everyone (including Pernetti himself) acknowledges that the video -- with the coach regularly throwing basketballs at the players and shoving them around, pushing kids from behind -- makes blatantly obvious that firing was clearly the only reasonable punishment, so the problem could have been so easily avoided. But as we know today, the cover-up is often where you get caught. I also discussed how Rutgers president Dr. Robert Barchi has taken some hits, as well, for his mediocre performance at a semi-flippant press conference. His job appears safe, but who knows?
I added some perspective, made analytical commentary, noted Rutgers's upcoming entry into the Big Ten, and that was it. I was about to hit "Save."
And then I had my brainstorm.
I know this will seem almost impossible, but I actually realized that there is a way to tie a Broadway musical into all of this! Really. Seriously. And directly. Furthermore, I suspect that there aren't many sports analysts across the country who did, let alone could make this Broadway musical comedy-to-Rutgers scandal connection. ("Many" in this case will be defined as "probably none.") It's just another offbeat perspective we like to provide to you loyal readers...
Anyway, back in 1947 there was a surprise hit musical, High Button Shoes, that starred Nanette Fabray and Phil Silvers. It was written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, ran for 747 performances (almost two years) and had a couple of popular hits to come from it, "Papa, Won't You Dance with Me" and "I Still Get Jealous," the latter of which Louis Armstrong recorded on his huge, legendary Hello, Dolly album. But there's one other song of note from the show here. In the musical, Phil Silvers played a shifty con man (a shock, yes, I know) named 'Harrison Floy' who is trying to wheeler-deal the players getting ready for a college football game. And the name of the song he sings to them? It's -- "Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers"!
Apparently, now, that's not quite true anymore.
(By the way, it's hilarious how appropriate some of the lyrics are right now. They're sprinkled throughout, but listen particularly at 1:09.)
Hey, I'll bet cash money they didn't have this tidbit on ESPN.
Finally! All those hours listening to Broadway musicals has at last paid off...
To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about other matters from politics, entertainment, technology, humor, sports, and a few things in between, visit Elisberg Industries.
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