Dusting off Dad’s glory days of writing

In the fall of 2003, a panel of Arizona State University staff asked me what I wanted my legacy to be at ASU. I told them I wanted future students to read my school-newspaper columns and think, “That guy got it right.”

The panel didn’t appoint me to homecoming court, and I’ve always blamed that dumb answer. My journalism career quickly beat into me the idea that nobody cares about old opinion pieces.

I was wrong! Today, national sports blog SB Nation noticed that ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium expressly prohibits tortillas. Turns out the definitive reporting on fascist anti-tortilla policies comes from a column I wrote in 2002.

Author Bill Hanstock calls me “a brilliant student reporter” and, immediately thereafter, includes a painful reminder about how old I am.

I’m pretty sure tortillas have been on the blacklist since I was in school, and this year ASU is cracking down on kegs and drinking games at tailgates. No “shot gunning,” a tailgating activity so familiar to me that I would have written it as one word.

See, the point of throwing tortillas at football games in 2002 was to carry on a tradition. That’s probably why I shotgun the occasional beer at tailgates. Thinking these activities are misguided doesn’t make you a fascist.

But the fun police need to appreciate that all these little things add up to a legacy of fandom. Fourteen years of these shenanigans have made me a bigger fan of ASU football than any other sport.

I want my kids to be as passionate about ASU football as I am. I realize that my debauched traditions are slowly giving way to more family-friendly activities. In time, though, the kids will come up with their own wild stuff. That’s a legacy.

Look what I'm doing with tortillas now!
Look what I’m doing with tortillas now!

Arizona State needs legacies like these. Already, the university is forcing students to subsidize athletics with a $150-per-student fee. ASU claims the largest student section in the Pac-12, while student attendance is dwindling at traditional football powerhouses.

Keep “The Inferno” rowdy, and my kids will happily pay to build their little legacies there. I’ll be on the other side of the stadium, riling up the alumni. In a good way.

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