I've Figured out a new rule for all sports. I call it the Smart Kid Rule. I think it will revolutionize college athletics. I think it will return a sense of dignity to the pros that has been disappearing with each Dennis Rodman kick to the groin, with each Robbie Alomar expectoration, with each billion-dollar contract handed to a true knucklehead. I think this rule, done right, can change the fabric of American life.
The Smart Kid Rule.
How does it work?
Every team in every sport has to have a designated Smart Kid. He (or she) is a genius, a scholastic whizbang. He (or she) is a full-Hedged member of the team, wearing the entire uniform, the skates in hockey, the pads in football, the batting helmet with the earflap in baseball. There's a special place for him (or her) at the end of the bench. Maybe next to a pile of books and a good reading lamp. The Smart Kid Place.
The Smart Kid doesn't see action often. He (or she) reads, does a little homework, maybe types a thesis. But then, suddenly, if the game ends in a tie: Overtime! Extra innings! That's when the Smart Kid comes into play. Instead of the present system, a shaky way to settle matters because everybody is tired from playing an entire game, we have a Battle of Smart Kids. Great drama. Great theater. The best.
The referee stands in the middle of the court or field or ice or whatever and announces a topic. The Smart Kid from each team runs off the bench to answer a question. Or maybe a series of five or 10 questions. The team whose Smart Kid correctly answers the most questions wins the game. Sometimes we get strung out for a long time in sudden death as right answer matches right answer. The fans go crazy at the end. They tear down the goalposts, cut down the nets, carry the Smart Kid on their shoulders. The Smart Kid is the hero. Sort of like the Kid Who Kicks the Winning Field Goal.
Can you imagine the change this rule would bring to sports?
Let's see. The game would be close. The camera would focus on the Smart Kid. The announcers would say, "Look at how calm So-and-So, the Memphis Smart Kid, is. He just sits there, reading his Descartes with the game on the line. How does he do it? And there's So-and-So of Louisville. What's he doing on that personal computer?"
Every college would need Smart Kids, so there would be Smart Kids recruiting. There would be scholarships. Bob Knight and Jerry Tarkanian and Tom Osborne and Bobby Bowden would be running around the country trying to find the smartest Smart Kids. The pros would need Smart Kids, so there would be bidding wars. There would be a Smart Kid section at the NFL draft combine. There would be Smart Kid stats. There would be Smart Kid endorsements. Smart Kids would become rich, famous, cool. Smart Kids would have agents!