Upon The Playing Fields of Eton

Eton fields
August29/ 2015

“The Battle of Waterloo was won upon the playing fields of Eton” is one of those really cool quotes that I bet not one millennial has ever heard of.

NOTE: I also bet not one millennial knows Richard Starkey’s more renown sobriquet; or even what a “sobriquet” is.

…. Eton is/was a posh Boy’s School over in England which was, supposedly, “The Flagship” as it were of posh English boys’ schools at one point.



“…. playing fields of Eton” was immortalized by either The Duke of Wellington (a/k/a Arthur Wellesley), Bennie Hill, or  Pippa Middleton.   Depending upon which Google urban legend debunker you swear by. Please don’t tell me it’s Snopes.com. Snopes has itself long been “debunked” as “about as non-partisan as Tom “Z Smith” Ross” or RobRielleWho.

Those who still trust Snopes for their debunkering believe, among other doozies, that Nostradamus was the great great grandson of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and that Barbara Bush was “the 2nd assassin on the grassy knoll in Dallas in 1963”. Be wary of anyone who still consPippa Middletonults Snopes.

….lets get back to those legendary “playing fields of Eton”. It was NOT Pippa that said it by the way.   My pal John Shelton Reed has been over in “Merry Olde” all summer and is sure “it wasn’t Pippa”.

Wellesley / Wellington uttered the line upon observing a highly competitive cricket match at Eton years after he (Wellington) had whupped Napoleon at said “Waterloo” (which is in Belgium for all you millennials in Rio Linda.).

The phrase refers to the incredible advantages that society gains via “the manly character induced by games and sport”.

Without “sports” (especially cricket) The Duke is telling us England would be speaking French today. Historians can / will debate that one.  Americans would still speak English however as Waterloo came after Yorktown by 30-some years.

It could be a phrase that bragging rights-obsessed Fat Cat boosters and their little board monkey minions might evoke these days as

Big Time intercollegiate “revenue-sports” (Football and MBB) can’t seem to go 24 hours without “shooting its eye out” with various versions of an Official Red Ryder BB gun.

This week ain’t exactly “been one to write home about” for proponents of Big Time College Football (BTCF). Three “Power Five Programs” – Auburn, Va Tech and Illinois – were revealed as somewhat other than the ideal academic / athletic symbiosis that said “proponents of” like to tout.

FWIW, as the brickbat headlines of condemnation fly from all the usual NON-proponents of BTCS, these latest “uh ohs” – like kidney stones – “will pass”. I have such confidence in America’s terminal addiction to the “bread & circus” hypocrisy personified by BTCS, that the similar headlines we will keep being appalled by each week will bounce off BTCS “like snowflakes off a Hummer”.

If those three Power Five Programs “incidents” caused a wee bit of embarrassment for their partisans, the effect will be short-lived.

Fighting illini, War Eagles and Hokies will quickly regroup…. harrumph the “everybody does it” mantra…. and get all gussied up for this Fall’s “color & pageantry”.

Assuming there even is a “breaking point” where “America” says ENOUGH (and I do not believe there IS such a point), that mythical line in the sand is still “way out yonder”.

MAYBE when the Muslims, ChiCom and North Koreans meet at Washington’s Hay Adams Hotel to divvy up which one gets which parts of these absolutely not-United States…. maybe THEN it will dawn on the Duhs and the Huhs that perhaps we had our priorities a bit askew…. but probably not.Kendall Jenner

When Americans can name more Kardashians than Founding Fathers…. we got a problem. WHAT….. you thought there were “only three” K-girls. Nope…. there is a 4th – “Kendall” who is actually “a Jenner” or “a Caitlyn” or whatever. Millennials DO know that.

A quick update:

Auburn took UNC’s The Scheme to a new level. Rather than “two well-meaning Dean disciples who just wanted to help young “at risk” AfAm basketballers experience the warm feeling of undeserved A’s”; at Auburn, the AthDept wanted to “buy an entire academic department” to insure the “eligibility” of their “young at-risk student-athletes”. ….. THAT ONE is so brazen that no one is claiming “everybody does it” but surely 4-5 other Power Five programs are now considering it.

Up in Blacksburg, VaTech’s Bud “the Guru” Foster blurted out his and Frank’s “scheme” of fining “young at-risk Hokie student-athletes” for a litany of malfeasances using the young at-risk Hokies recent $$$$ windfall as the bank from which said fines would be withdrawn.

…. Needless to say this scheme did not go over well with video game retailers in the Blacksburg-area who were targeting that $$$ windfall for themselves…. to be shared with area tattoo parlors and purveyors of gaudy bling.    If you actually thought those $3,000 checks were going for sustenance items such as pizzas and bus tickets to Grandma’s funeral…. YOU are part of the problem, not the solution.

And then we have The Fightin’ Illini in Champaign-Urbana who fired their Head Football Coach ONE WEEK BEFORE THEIR FIRST GAME.

This was historic as it beat the “eight days before Fall practice begins” when The Butcher was fired by Holden The Chancellor on July 27, 2011. That record, of course, had stood for four years and was considered as safe as Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. All records are made to be broken….. they say.

The Illini fired Tim Beckman over charges that he grossly mishandled a player injury situation putting a “student-athlete” at-risk as a result of “coach playing doctor”.

Anyone who played BTCF up until just a few years ago is rolling their eyes over “this one”. Screaming coaches verbally abusing a “student-athlete” via questioning his manhood, or lack of, over the severity of a “supposed” injury (wink, wink) has been a staple of BTCF since before Brent Musberger was even born.

The time-honored scenario has a head coach designating one or more of his assistants as “screaming nutjobs”. Every staff had’em. At UNC during the Dooley Days they were called “Carmodys” or “Spooners” but again every staff had’em.

These diabolical whack jobs dispensed such astounding medical advice as:

“just rub some dirt on it” …… “tape a salt pill to it” ….. “can’t make the club in the tub” ….. and the universal cure-all of “Suck It Up You P***Y”.  Ahhhh the good ol’ days…. when men were men and so was Bruce Jenner.

Alas, these evolutionary throwbacks still exist “out there” and won’t go away with Tim Beckman’s ouster. But not to worry…..

Another Cardinal Rule: Stories of very scary goings-on behind practice field fences and in locker rooms happen pretty much everywhere ….. EXCEPT at “your school”.

I’m saving 58wolfkennel the trouble of reminding us that, under his ever-watchful eye, his beloved alma mater:  (1) does not tear that warning label off of mattresses….. and (2) flosses after EVERY meal including snacks. ….. and (3) hasn’t won an ACC Football Championship in 36 years.



Richard Starkey’s sobriquet was “Ringo Starr”.  If you don’t know Ringo Starr, excuse me while I sob uncontrollably.

Maybe what the Duke of Wellington was trying to tell us re: Eton’s playing fields was….. “get rid of Football and play Cricket… or Quidditch.”

Before you ask… did Eton’s cricket team had a team chaplain or not?  If so I am certain he was a fine fellow.

Did Eton have a plush jock-dorm for their cricketeers?  I understand Wellington was trying to raise the necessary $$$ for such from among his Fat Etonian alum pals.   Cambridge had one so, of course, Eton HAD TO have one too.

Whose Jumbotron was bigger Cambridge’s or Eton’s?  Trick question…. Oxford’s was larger than both by over 26 sq feet as any Oxford board monkey will remind you.

Say good night, Gracie….


Don’t Forget to Check The Quirkies !!!

Especially re: “The Sleeping Giant”   🙂


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