Meanwhile in Louisiana ...
The LSU football team reported faithfully for their fourth spring practice session Friday, only to learn that the Southeastern Conference had other ideas.
The league said that they could not, under any circumstances, practice football because based on their last few games of the previous year it didn’t appear they needed any practice and, besides, why not give the rest of the SEC a chance for next year.
No, wait. That wasn’t it. Not the official reason anyway.
It turned out that no SEC teams were allowed to practice, not even Alabama (which is only 60 miles from the conference office), effective immediately, as per another classic Overabundance of Caution statement from the league over this coronavirus thing.
Speaking of which, if we might make a slight detour here, I think this week has just about worn out the phrase Overabundance of Caution. Can we retire it now?
We’re probably not done yet. But henceforth any organization wishing to join the parade of cancellations — if even figurative parades are still legal — must come up with a different opening for their bombshell statements. Something along the lines of, “Not wishing to be the last group in America holding something that somebody, anybody, might want to watch on TV, the (insert organization) regretfully announces that ...”
I promise, we will get back to that empty LSU practice field in due time, and with some startling news on two fronts. But while we’re wrestling with the language, consider:
Yes, something good is coming out of all of this.
We might not like all these cancellations, of one season or another getting canceled, but at least we can now spell it.
“Cancel,” that is.
It’s regrettably becoming the most common word in the English language, but when you add an “ing” or the usually harmless “ed” to it, you could shut down the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
You notice when I wrote “cancellation” up there, it has two l’s. And that is spelliphonically correct in all cases.
But using cancelled or canceled (or canceling or cancelling) is to risk starting another Revoultionary War (it’s possible, however, that the USA cancel(l)ing all flights from England is just a coincidence).
Bottom line: Most dictionaries hav just about thrown in the towel and given up.
It seems the (English) King’s English specifies two l’s when adding both ing’s and ed’s. But American English — apparently this is what the Boston Tea Party was all about — says use only one l in those cases.
For whatever it’s worth, The Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 by noted baseball fan John Grisham, notably avoids any variation of the word “cancel” entirely.
Sadly, that’s not the end of the story.
There are whole sections of the internet devoted to this controversial topic — probably growing expoentially over the last four days — and most of them have actually come to the conclusion that even in America, even among Patriots, nowadays it is common and permissable to use two l’s without getting a proper flogging.
Yes — it’s a test takers dream. There is a proper answer, sure, but there is no wrong answer. Spell it any dang way you please, best I can tell.
Still, this is one reason it would be better to postpone these events rather than cancel them. But that’s just a pet peeve and ...
Believe me, if there was any actual sport to cover right now, I’d be writing about it. But these are tough times and we ramble on.
So Saturday morning, for some odd reason, for the first time years I found myself watching “Swamp People” on the History Channel.
Didn’t realize it was still on. Had forgotten how funny that show is. One of the episodes had them tangling with pythons in the swamp, which took it to another level.
And what an amusing twist that, even in the back swamp — Choot heem, Leez-bith! — the show provides close captioning for those viewers who don’t speak Louisiana.
Which immediately reminded me that LSU coach Ed Orgeron is still undefeated against Close Captioning.
Orgeron, by the way, couldn’t spell cancel because had no l’s in his last season — get it?
Which also brings us back, in a roundabout way, to that silent LSU practice facility.
With little coaching to do Friday, Orgeron taped a public service announcement on coronavirus precautions, reminding Louisiana people to stock up on toilet paper.
No, no. Sorry. Just kidding. It was the usual stuff, washing hands, coughing into your elbow, etc.
But there was breaking news, film at 11.
Orgeron did not — DID NOT, I say — end his precautionary PSA with his customary “Geaux Tigers!”
So there it is. CNN analysts will no doubt use this as final proof that this thing is serious business.
But even that wasn’t the big news at LSU’s practice facility Friday.
You’ll remember that the Tigers got there only to learn they couldn’t practice.
Some teams might mope around.
Some might feel sorry for themsevles.
So what did the Orgeron-led Tigers do?
They made do. They called an audible. What they did was, they had a massive team crawfish boil right there.
Some of the out-of-state newcomers no doubt needed instructions, but that’s where teamwork comes in. And anybody who dared dip a crawfish in ketchup will run wind sprints, practice or no practice.
But they had themselves a crawfish boil.
Of course they did.
That’s just the way National Champions roll.