When I hear the term “old school” or “throwback” I want to wince and resist the urge to projectile vomit. When I hear those terms it is usually said by somebody who didn’t live in the era they are referring to. If they see a player wearing their socks really high or baggy that is called, old school. Usually, “old school” is a moniker placed on individual who isn’t flashy and not trashy. Old school and throwbacks might be considered boring because they use the tired clichés during interviews. They are considered team players. Throwback players are tough and don’t reveal their injuries. Throwback guys and gals can play multiple positions and don’t wear gloves for every task on the field. Old school is playing with an injury and diving for a ball near the end of a game. Old school is running every play out, even a dribbler to the pitcher.
Can you see my point? Why are there such terms? Why do we need to label somebody something that is just not required? Why not call them hard workers, no nonsense types, team players and respectful. Since when are traditional values, old school? What is new school, not hard work, short cuts, boastful, lazy, slackers, followers, and crybabies, thick in the head?
I watched the Forty Niners play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The first round draft for the Panthers is Christian McCaffrey, a multipurpose player. At Stanford he played running back, punt and kickoff returner. In the game, he played the same positions. Now that he is in the pro’s he gets called old school. Projectile vomit. He is unique and multi-talented. I can agree that few players can play all of those positions but not for lack of qualified players. The main reason you don’t see coaches uses their players for multiple duty is because of injury risk. McCaffrey is talented, not a just a throwback. Reggie Bush, the great USC running back could play the same positions and did also in the pros. Sadly, Bush has been besieged by injuries.
Not all things were so great in the old days of sports so when the terms start getting thrown around, see if the announcer clarifies his position. “Look at Joe Blow, he hustles on every play, he is old school.” I want to reach through the television screen and strangle the moron. The reason people want to use the old school label is because they see a player who is not carbon copy of every other player. Maybe they give a damn about character and moral than the next guy. Substance over style? What I do know that the floods of money in professional sports makes almost every player a slave to the dollar. They cannot be as risk adverse so everybody starts to act and look the same. I am not sure when the stupid terms will go away, probably never because times have changed. It’s a shame we have use labels to make us recognize what is not really unique at all.