Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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There wasn’t much offense, and Denver’s defense was the story of Super Bowl 50.  But here’s what I’ll remember about the game until next football season…until I see better (or worse)!

Ok, how’d ya’ll like the Super Bowl?

Did it match up with your expectations, all you hip-hop Cam Newton fans?

Did anyone come away afterwards understanding that a little humility goes a long ways, even when you win?  And especially when you don’t?

Well, two things that I’ll remember about Super Bowl 50…aside from the fact that I’m sure that Peyton Manning’s done as a player and it’s gratifying to see someone who’s arguably the best at his position all-time go out a champion.

One, those who have read over the years know that I’m a National Anthem “nazi”.  That is, if you can’t perform it well…don’t do it at all.  I think our national song should be performed with artful interpretation, yes, but with dignity, skill, and talent, as well.

I don’t want to hear groups and individuals make that one minute, thirty seconds that it takes to perform the anthem about themselves or their interpretation.  I want them to make the words and the music a tribute to America.  No warbling, no hip-hop, no political overtones…just sing the song.

Well that said, I have nothing but compliments for the performance of Lady Gaga (whose given name is Stefani Germanotta) and the way she sang the anthem on Sunday.  Yes, she drew it out for an extra minute.  And yes, she warbled just a bit.  But man, what a voice, and complimented by nothing more than a grand piano on the stage with her.  It was classy, it was classic!

I’ll admit, the red glitter eye shadow she wore was a little demonic-looking, but I’ll confess, too, that while she sang I closed my eyes and just listened to the music.  I didn’t notice the eye shadow until I saw her on You Tube.  It was quality, the best since Whitney Houston.

And two, much has been said about what we’ve published over the past month about the “knuckleheads” in Wisconsin (the words from a reader response, not ours) over the matter of in-game sportsmanship and post-game displays of class.  Students can’t chant “air ball” and “why so quiet?” anymore in Wisconsin because they say it’s unkind and taunting to an opponent.

I’ve written for years that people who demand public displays of sportsmanship don’t understand the emotion of competition.  And too often it’s simply too much to ask, and to expect, athletes to be gracious and genuine in the face of disappointment even an hour after the fact, let alone mere moments.

Such was the display that Cam Newton put on after Sunday’s loss, as he sat before the media and stone-walled, pouting over the way he played, his team played, and no doubt how fate had betrayed him through the outcome.  It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t the same Cam Newton we’ve celebrated for the fun he brings to football and the fans when he’s WINNING!

Sonny_inset0211Understand, I’m not ready to call Newton a poor loser.  But I do recognize and acknowledge a passionate competitor when I see one…and I know when you should leave well enough alone.

We all would have been better served if Newton had remained in the locker room and out of sight.  No two athletes are alike.  Some need an hour, some need a day, and some need a week to put the game into perspective.  Bottom line, no one really needed to hear him, or gush over his being a gracious loser, regardless of your generational ideas about sportsmanship.

On the other hand, Peyton Manning couldn’t have been more understated and humble in winning.  No braggadocio, no rubbing anyone’s nose in it.  Which only shows that different people respond differently to different stimuli.  And no mandate from the NFL, or the state federation, is going to change that.  Peyton Manning has grown into what he’s become over the years.

We can only hope the same for Cam Newton.

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