By: Breanna Jacobs
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
We’ve all heard that expression. In fact, most of us have probably uttered it at least once in our lifetime. Whether saying it under our breath to make ourselves feel better or saying it to a friend after they took a particularly rough jab at us, our exposure to it has been limitless.
But is there really any truth behind the expression?
We have been taught that we are living in a changing generation; we are supposedly more accepting of alternative lifestyles and different ethnicities and religions. We’ve been told that we are more respectful of viewpoints that rival our own. We have been taught that our minds are more open than our parents’ will ever be and that our grandparents’ beliefs are archaic.
And yet here we are, living in the year 2011, and bullying is still more prevalent than ever.
Anyone that has walked through the angst filled, hormone ridden halls of a high school can tell you that they have seen someone being bullied, or that they themselves have been bullied. They may even tell you that they are guilty of bullying someone else because, let’s face it, we’re all a little guilty, aren’t we?
But bullying doesn’t start in high school. It happens anywhere and everywhere, at any time of the day, at any age.
And with the advent of social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, bullying has taken on a new, even more malicious form. Venom filled words can be Tweeted or posted on a Facebook wall within seconds, and in a few more seconds, those posts can be seen by hundreds of people.
With the continuous evolution of technology, one can also hide behind the guise of anonymity, thus being allowed to bully without consequence.
But words can never hurt us, right?
In a physical sense, perhaps the expression proves true.
However, if we reevaluate the expression from an emotional standpoint, we may realize that, perhaps, words are stronger than a stick or a stone could ever be.
Words have the ability to penetrate the human mind like nothing else.
If someone tells us we’re not good enough, we believe it. And if someone tells us we’re not good enough repeatedly, we start to accept it as the absolute, unchanging truth.
But bullying reaches far beyond someone being told that they’re not good enough.
In the past few years, we have heard about hundreds of young men and women that have taken their own lives because of the words of a few ignorant people. It is disheartening to imagine that the last thing they heard before they left this earth was something negative; something about their sexuality, or the way they acted, or even just the fact that they were different than everyone else.
It is even more disheartening that these young people, who had bright futures ahead of them, felt that the only way they could combat the pain they were feeling was to take their own life.
We should not need the loss of a young life to shock our society into taking action.
If we live in a generation that is changing for the better, shouldn’t we be able to stop the cycle of bullying and abuse? Shouldn’t we stop pushing these issues under the rug, and instead expose them to the light and find a resolution?
Shouldn’t our parents and teachers be telling us that bullying is never acceptable? Shouldn’t they be modeling the correct way to act, so that we may in turn model it for our children someday?
Shouldn’t we all show compassion for our peers because, after all, we never know what struggles they privately face?
So, back to the original expression: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
Let’s be the generation that stops the cycle.
On Tuesday, February 15, the Indianapolis Colts announced that their 4 time NFL MVP QB, Peyton Manning, would be receiving a franchise tag. Two days later, on Thursday, February 17, Colts owner Jim Irsay announced that Manning will most likely be signing a “record-setting deal.”
Manning, who will soon be turning 35, is expected to sign a significant contract extension worth much more money. Irsay says he thinks the QB may sign a 5 to 6 year extension, which will make Manning 40 when his contract expires.
While playing under the franchise tag, Manning will not be allowed to fraternize with other teams and he will be making about 23 million dollars next season. Currently, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is the highest paid QB in the NFL, but it seems as if Manning and the Colts are looking to surpass Brady’s 18 million dollar per season contract.
The Colts and Manning’s agent are looking to get this deal completed before the NFL’s widely disputed Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on March 3. Manning has not commented on his future status and contract with the Colts.
It was confirmed today by an NFL spokesperson that Brett Favre has filed his retirement papers.
The last time Favre filed retirement papers, after the 2008 season and a tearful address to the media, he came out of retirement and played for the New York Jets after the Green Bay Packers chose to move forward without their long-time quarterback.
This season was Favre’s second season with the Minnesota Vikings and head coach Leslie Frazier said that he cannot think of a reason for him to ever ask Favre to come back and play.
After a very public scandal and various injuries this season, it seems that Favre’s retirement will be for real this time.
In the NFL, bandwagon fans have existed for centuries. Well, maybe centuries is a bit of an exaggeration, but they have certainly existed since the creation of the league. Everyone has a team that they favor, but what happens when that team doesn’t make the play-offs? Well, that’s when you jump on another team’s bandwagon.
The bandwagon fan is an interesting specimen. He or she usually chooses to support the team with the most momentum, the team with the best chance of winning the ultimate prize, that shiny Lombardi Trophy that so many football players have hoisted above their head in previous years. How many of us can say that we jumped on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon last year? I know I did. It was hard not to; the Saints went nearly undefeated during the regular season and they were playing for a city that had lost so much when Hurricane Katrina hit. But that causes me to question one thing: what happened to the support you had for your team, the team you rooted for in the regular season?
Well, I think there’s a simple explanation to this question and to the bandwagon phenomenon: fandom is a fickle thing. That’s one thing I’ve learned, especially recently. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan, always have been, always will be. There’s no better example to the bandwagon phenomenon than Bills fans. When the Bills are winning, the fans can barely contain themselves; they go crazy for the Bills. But when the Bills are losing, it’s a whole different story. The fans are angry at the team, the coaches, the management, the other fans, the officials, their mom, their dog, other countries; basically they’re mad at everyone that you could possibly be mad at. And more than once, I’ve heard a Bills fan say “We suck and the other team is better, let’s cheer for them instead.” And therein lies the problem of the bandwagon fan, a fandom that every NFL fan is susceptible to..
As a fan of a professional sport, you learn that your team isn’t always going to win. But when they lose, does that mean that we as fans should jump ship and focus our energies on another team? I don’t think so.
The NFL is a year round sport. Sure, the regular season is done in early January if your team doesn’t make the play-offs, but the rest of the year is just as crucial. The NFL Draft, free agency, coaching changes, trades: these things are just as important as the games played during the season.
The last thing that the players on an NFL team want to hear about is their own fans losing faith in them. Isn’t that the opposite of what a fan should be? A fan should support their team, no matter what the circumstances. You should be there through the wins and losses, through the changes, the successes, the failures. You should always have faith in your team, always.
But, that being said, there’s nothing wrong with joining a team’s fan base during the play-offs, because, let’s face it, every team can’t make it to the post-season.
So which team’s bandwagon will you jump on during this year’s play-offs? The Philadelphia Eagles, who had a break-out star in quarterback Michael Vick? Or how about the New England Patriots, the AFC East team that often times humiliates its opponent? Or what about the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that no one expected to be as successful as they are?
Go ahead, jump on a bandwagon, I won’t be mad at you. In fact, I’ve jumped on a bandwagon myself: the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, remember this: don’t desert your own team during the offseason. Take an active role in supporting your team. And don’t lose faith because, eventually, your team will have a chance to do something big, whether that be making the play-offs, or getting to recite the iconic “I’m going to Disney World” after winning the Superbowl.
But until the play-offs are over, welcome to the bandwagon.
On September 27, 1992, the Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots 41-7 at Foxboro Stadium. September 27, 1992 was also the day that I was born. I am often told that that day, my dad had the Bills game on in the hospital room after I was born. This is also the explanation my parents give when people ask when exactly it was that I became a Buffalo Bills super fan.
While I cannot tell you the exact moment that I became such a huge fan of the Bills, it is true that I may be considered a “super-fan.” My bedroom at home is painted Bills red, white, and blue and signed Aaron Schobel jerseys hang on my walls, flanking the sides of a life-size Lee Evans cardboard cutout. Half my wardrobe is Buffalo Bills shirts, sweatshirts, t-shirts, socks, and my favorite hat with the Buffalo horns on top. One of my summertime haunts is Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fischer College; I’m there as often as I can be. I’ve met countless players, been to five games, and my most prized possession is a football signed by Trent Edwards. This may seem crazy to some, but when you grow up in upstate New York, just an hour away from Ralph Wilson Stadium, you know that being a Bills super-fan is not out of the ordinary.
The past few years have been tough for the Buffalo Bills, this season being one of the worst seasons ever. This season, the Bills finished 4-12, with two tough losses in Week 16 and 17 to two AFC East opponents, the Patriots and the Jets. In those last two games, the Bills turned the ball over 13 times and were outscored 72-10. This has left many wondering what Bills fans have to look forward to in the future and even my fellow Bills fans are starting to turn against their team.
I, however, am still a BILLIEVER. I wouldn’t be a true fan if I lost faith in my team when things started getting rough. I wish other Bills fans thought that too. While Buffalo Bills fans love the team, they are often fickle when it comes to supporting them. When the Bills are winning, the fans go crazy for them. But when they’re losing, the fans are negative and slanderous towards the Bills players, coaches, management, even the guys covering the game on TV. And this is where my problem arises with my fellow Bills fans.
The Bills are a team that hasn’t had a truly good season since 1994 in which the Bills appeared in their fourth consecutive Superbowl. But does that mean that we should turn on them? The Buffalo Bills show a lot of potential. Under first-year Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey, the Bills have showed that they have the talent and the ability to contend with play-off level teams such as the Steelers and the Ravens. They have showed that they play with heart and that they never give up. While this season wasn’t the break-out season most hoped the Bills would have, it was a step in the right direction, regardless of their 4-12 record.
As the Bills look back on the 2009-2010 season, I do think they have things to be proud of. The Bills should be proud of Stevie Johnson, a 3rd year WR who had his first 1,000 yard season. They should be proud of Fred Jackson, their starting RB who almost reached 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in a row. They should be proud of OLB Arthur Moats, who ended Brett Favre’s starting streak at 297. They should be proud of Kyle Williams, their 5th year nose tackle who finished the season with 5.5 sacks. They should be proud of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who finished the season with 3,000 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and an 81.8 QB rating.
The Bills, and fans of the Bills, have a lot to be proud of. And I have no doubt that the Bills will have a lot to be proud of in the future. While there is many changes and adjustments that need to be made, such as tightening up the run defense (which is currently ranked last in the NFL), bulking up the offensive line (which always seems to be extremely susceptible to injuries), and acquiring new players on both offense and defense, there are many things that look promising for the Bills.
Maybe I’m an optimist, or maybe I’m crazy, but I think next season is going to be drastically different from this season for the Buffalo Bills. I think they’ll have more games in the W column than in the L column. And I think that maybe, just maybe, Bills fans will start to support the Bills and show their true fandom, even if the Bills are losing.
So for now, I can’t wait to see what the Bills do in the off season and I look forward to what will happen next season.
And no matter what, I am, and forever will be, a Billiever.
On Monday, November 15, Donovan McNabb signed a 5 year extension to his contract with the Washington Redskins. This was a shock to many after coach Mike Shanahan benched McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman in Week 8, when the Redskins took on the Detroit Lions.
However, the Redskins want McNabb to stay. His extension is worth $70 million, and if he is on the active roster for every game of those 5 seasons, McNabb can earn up to $78.5 million. And, on top of that, if McNabb leads the Redskins to the Superbowl all 5 seasons (an unlikely occurrence) he can make a maximum of $88.5 million.
McNabb has $40 million guaranteed to him. The Redskins can release McNabb at the end of the season, if they so choose, and they will owe him no money over that $40 million.
McNabb, however, is confident that he is not going anywhere. McNabb stated that he will “be here next year. Not just next year, but after that as well.”
On September 27, the Buffalo Bills announced that they had released QB Trent Edwards. Edwards was in his fourth year with the team. Edwards was named the starting QB at the beginning of the season over Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, and rookie Levi Brown. Edwards started the first two games of the 2010-2011 NFL season, but was benched after the second game in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Although Edwards performed well in the preseason, he was unable to show level of performance in Buffalo’s first two games. News came out Sunday night that the Bills were “shopping” Edwards around and that a few teams (Jacksonville, New York Jets) were looking to perhaps acquire him.
Today, it was announced that Edwards is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville, apparently frustrated with their current QB David Garrard, are expected to finalize a contract with Edwards on Wednesday. In order to acquire Edwards, the Jaguars waved Alvin Bowen, who was, ironically, drafted by the Bills in 2008, but was later injured and let go.
Edwards could get a chance to start in Jacksonville if Garrard continues to perform poorly. For now, they will move ahead with Garrard. Hopefully Edwards will get a chance to prove himself in Jacksonville, otherwise his future with the NFL is questionable.
After being released from the Buffalo Bills on August 4, Aaron Schobel has decided he will retire. Schobel, a defensive end, played with the Bills for nine years and will retire having only been a part of the Bills franchise.
For a while Schobel was unsure of the decision he would make; if he would return to the NFL or if he would retire. However, Schobel made his final decision this past Friday. While money influenced Schobel’s decision (he was willing to give up a few more years of a multi-million dollar salary), family also played a large part in his decision. Schobel has three young children who were spending half the year schooling in Houston and half the year schooling in Buffalo. Schobel was ready for his wife and kids to have a stable environment.
Schobel said that if any team tries to contact him, he will be unlikely to listen to their offers. Schobel is ending a wonderful career with a team that meant a lot to him.
C.J. Spiller, the first round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills, is finally ready to report to training camp. Spiller, a running back out of Clemson, and the Bills were finally able to reach a contract deal, something Bills fans have been waiting on for a while.
Spiller was signed to a five-year contract that will earn him twenty-five million dollars ($20.8 million guaranteed). Spiller, the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, is expected to make an appearance at Buffalo Bills training camp today.
Brett Favre, QB of the Minnesota Vikings, famous for his longtime career with the Green Bay Packers, still has not made a clear decision about whether or not he will be returning to the Vikings for the 2010-2011 NFL season. Favre has become well-known in the football world for retiring and then re-entering the league, but this time, he is waiting to make an official decision.
Favre says that if he is healthy, and if his body can withstand another rough NFL season, he will be returing to the game he loves. Favre had ankle surgery in May (his ankle was injured in the NFC Chanpionship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints), and right now, that could be the only thing that is holding him back. Favre has a doctor’s appointment next week, and his agent, Bus Cook, said they should know more about Brett’s health after that.
If Favre does choose to extend his NFL career, he will return to the Minnesota Vikings.