Thursday, September 07, 2006

Baghdad Bob in Happy Valley | by Pat

During April of 2003, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka "Baghdad Bob" quickly gained minor celebrity status for his daily pronouncements of how well things were going for the Iraqi army. Soon, he declared, the American scum would be surrendering to the vastly superior Iraqi warriors. Like Chip from Animal House, Bob kept at it right up until the end, whereupon he quickly disappeared to who knows where.

There had been some speculation that he was living in the United Arab Emirates, but it's come to our attention that he may have resurfaced right here in America, in the sleepy village of University Park, PA, with a job that requires his particular skill set: official biographer for the Penn State football team.

Yes, the Nittany Lion roster biographies showcase a written style that has all the hallmarks of Bob; namely a flair for the dramatic and a complete lack of regard for hyperbole. Consider these flowery entries:

Deon Butler

Deon Butler’s mother, Valerie, had a favorite saying for he and his brother, Lee, growing up: “Reach for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll be a star.” Butler, a former walk-on defensive back, made those words prophetic in 2005...
Tony Hunt
A former standout at T.C. Williams HS, made famous in the movie “Remember the Titans,” this Penn State senior is quietly putting together a career that will have many saying, “Remember Tony Hunt.”
Justin King
There’s something that can be said for players that can successfully do just about anything and everything on the field, especially ones that do it all very well...
Paul Posluszny
With a trophy cabinet overflowing with accolades, an equally impressive grade-point average (3.57 in finance following the spring semester) and a humble, yet piercingly intense demeanor that inspires the respect and loyalty of teammates, All-American Paul Posluszny easily could have been a too-good-to-be-true character ripped from the pages of a 1950’s teen novel...
Anthony Morelli
...the tremendous arm strength, quick release and multiple skills of the Nittany Lion junior quarterback have been the subject of much conversation. Penn State followers have caught glimpses of the accurate, tight spirals and head-spinning velocity...
Derrick Williams
History’s rarest athletes have been defined by both the physical and mental gifts to meet and then exceed the hype that precedes them. Hailed as the nation’s top recruit and a difference maker when he bypassed more than 50 Division I offers to “go somewhere [I] can have an impact,” Derrick Williams did just that in helping ignite a team that would go 11-1 and claim Big Ten and Orange Bowl titles in his freshman campaign. Playing flanker, slot, tailback and return man, Williams’ speed and athleticism spurred an evolution in what became a potent Penn State offense while his contagious confidence helped restore the swagger bred of championship football. Earning a starting berth from game one, he excelled under pressure (hauling in a 36-yard game-winning TD with 51 seconds remaining at Northwestern), delivered in big games (scoring a pair of TDs in a 44-14 romp over Minnesota) and shined on the brightest stage (scoring Penn State’s first TD in a 17-10 win over Ohio State before a national TV audience and a throbbing Beaver Stadium). His cool maturity and engaging personality prompted Joe Paterno to set aside a long-standing rule preventing freshmen from speaking to the media (Williams met the press prior to the season) and he won the respect of teammates for his work ethic and team-first demeanor grounded in an affinity for the “old school.” Posting six plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage and averaging 11.7 yards per touch, he struck fear in opponents both running and receiving but also won praise for his terrific downfield blocking.
And in the face of this onslaught of daunting ability and overwhelming force, I say to you, trembling Irish fans, "Remain calm! All is well!"