Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sun Devil Pride vs. Arrogance

Perhaps it can be said that Sun Devil football performances for the last few years had significant lapses in Sun Devil pride. Certainly, ASU needs to learn how to keep its swagger for every game, as opposed to selective games. In particular, the swagger of Sun Devil pride needs to appear consistently against nationally ranked football teams.

It's a funny thing: American vocabulary. We can use the same words and have opposite meanings for those words. This issue of Sun Devil pride needs clarity, so that we can give recognition to the appearance of pride; and not a recognition of some cheap and illusory counterfeit. A case in point on this was the news conference of Omar Bolden. Did Omar show pride, or did he show foolishness through arrogance towards our opponents?

Here are some definitions:
Swagger #1: act in an arrogant, overly self-assured, or conceited manner
Swagger #2: to walk with a lofty proud gait, often in an attempt to impress others; "He struts around like a rooster in a hen house" (Source:

Notice that the word "overly" has a boldness of font added in the first definition, and the word arrogant appears, as well. Arrogance: offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride. Certainly. arrogance can lift the team from some of the levels of low pride displayed last season; but is it enough? Can a team have "self-importance" without an earned importance? Will such self-importance stand when the heavy adversity hits?

Let's look at the second swagger definition. The words of arrogance and conceit do not appear. And yet, such swagger can truly come from performance in the face of adversity from ASU's opponents. OSU, UW and SC are opponents, and swagger is certainly desired when one measures up to such opposition.

So, did Mr. Bolden show an "overly self-assured" manner. Or, has he earned the gait of one who is certainly proud from past performances on the field. Perhaps, it's time to look at the following definition: Pride: the best of a group, class, society, etc.: This bull is the pride of the herd.

Future Sun Devil swagger can come either from arrogance or from pride. Pride will be earned, as Omar Bolden has earned his press conference. Pride does not demean the opposition. It honors opposition as a measure of one's capabilities. Omar is obviously proud to be a Sun Devil, and simply removed the other candidates from view. He showed dramatic entertainment for the media and will continue to do so on Saturdays.

Decades ago, there was a swagger in Tucson after an ASU loss found in the words, "Tempe, you choked!" A few years ago, there was a swagger as wildcat players danced upon the Sparky logo after earning the Territorial Cup. Pride would have honored the opponent, in this case ASU, showing the vanquishing of a team with strong ability. Demean that team, and the winning performance itself is demeaned by self-importance and conceit.

Sun Devil Pride: That's what was shown in the team performances against U of A, since the day that they danced on Sparky. When the arrogant Cornhuskers swaggered into Tempe in 1996, they met up with the Sun Devil swagger.

And may that Sun Devil swagger never be defeated from within by a cheap imitation, as has been demonstrated at times by those who are south of the Hassayampa!!

No comments: