There was a time I felt the Crosstown Shootout was a better Cincinnati event than Opening Day for the Reds. The last time I felt that way was just past 2:30 p.m., Saturday, December 10, 2011. I now feel this rivalry needs a break, and it's too bad. I purposely waited about 12 hours after the event to let it soak in before I pounded out some thoughts. I thought my initial reaction would fade, but it has only become stronger as I look at replays, watch youtube videos, and see what John McCain would truly categorize as a "human cockfight." It's sickening, embarrassing, and probably will not recapture it's innocence for a few years to come. For anyone who lives in Greater Cincinnati, or is a fan of either team, that should make you sad. I wish I were wrong, but I've watched this game for more than a few years now.
The Crosstown Shootout was a celebration of the Cincinnati zest for competition. "Take no prisoners!" But once the game was over, I'll meet you at Dana Gardens or Martino's to buy you the shot and the beer I owe you. After that, it was a year's worth of ribbing and "wait 'til next year." We thought Huggins and Gillen refusing to shake hands was a big deal. And it was! This was supposed to be the gentleman's rivalry where the city was together before, then after the game.
I recently watched the ESPN "30 for 30" presentation about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. I laughed about how the fans down there take the Iron Bowl game so seriously. I recoiled at Takeo Spikes and his classless "War %@#%*^$ Eagle" declaration. Totally classless. I mean, just ridiculous for a grown man to say that on the record for a video that will be played coast to coast and on the internet from here on out. Really? And some half-wit Alabama fan "allegedly" poisons the Oak trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. If you happened to see this guy, who is in his 60's and now maintains his innocence, you had to cringe. Complete loser. Let's not go there Cincinnati! But in some ways we have.
From U.C. fans booing Xavier cheerleaders in the 80's to Saturday's vulgar chants from the student section at the Cintas Center, this thing has been brewing. The more we tolerate, the more we'll get. It finally boiled over into civic embarrassment on the court. Pick your player: Yancy Gates, Dez Wells, Cheikh Mbodj, Mark Lyons, it does not matter. Both universities need to get a handle on this. Then, maybe, they can resume the series. Until then I'll just celebrate Cincinnati sports on Opening Day. What a shame.