Football and baton-twirling

November 6th, 2004  |  Tags:  |  59 Comments

Andrea and I were in Iowa City today, where we got to watch the Hawkeyes continue what the Badgers started, viz., Purdue’s slide. (To our delight — which drew intoxicated glares and was perhaps unparalleled within Kinnick upon hearing this news — Wisconsin won big today, staying undefeated.)

Both teams had impressive moments and put up nearly identical numbers. Tate and Kirsch are smart, young quarterbacks that will both be forces in the Big Ten for the next couple of years. Unfortunately for Purdue, Iowa simply made fewer critical mistakes.

I have not attended that many Division I college football games, so I’m always impressed by the live experience vis-a-vis the televised product. In the stadium, one gets a lot of little artistic and sociological touches that don’t affect the outcome of the game but have an observable impact on the crowd.

One such feature of live college ball is the baton-twirling girl. I must confess that I find her role and actions completely baffling. There is only one of her, and she seems formally independent from any other team-spirit-inducing activities. Such a lack of symmetry and coordination is disturbing when juxtaposed against the backdrop of precision play execution and lockstep marching band routines. Even more troubling is the constellation of thoughts one has upon considering the origins of the baton-twirling girl convention. In particular: Whose idea was it to dress some poor young woman up like a saloon hooker and force her to toss a stick in the air, anyway?