Thursday, June 04, 2015

Dazzy Boy: why are we really playing in Ireland

The long speculated, oft-rumored BC Football game in Ireland is finally happening. This is good for BC and good for BC Football. I am excited and I hope you are too. However, there is still a lot of BS surrounding this game. The only thing an Irishman (like myself) enjoys more than spinning a few tales and painting a romantic picture, is being the Irish guy in the corner of the room saying "he's full of s--t." So let's cut through the BS and get to a few truths about the game that you won't read much between now and 2016.

This is about Irish tourism, not BC's connection to Ireland
BC and Boston do have true ties to Ireland. Probably more than any other American school. But that is not why we are playing this game. BC was the first team to play in Ireland (1988) yet we haven't been back since. If these matchups were purely about Irish ties, do you think Pitt, Rutgers, Penn State, Navy and Central Florida would have played since our last game? This is a TV event that will serve as a 3 hour commercial for Ireland. Aer Lingus is the title sponsor. The game only came together because of the Irish government and Irish tourism ministry. Every commercial break will feature bumper shots of Dublin or the country side. Even now, just by reading this post, you are probably going to be served Irish ads on different website. The fact that BC fans have a connection and affinity to Ireland is just gravy for the Irish. Believe me, if Alabama was willing to give up a home date and travel across the Atlantic for a game, they would be there now. Irish ties or not. Heck, BYU will probably get a shot at this game in the near future.

Not many BC fans will travel to this game
I don't know what BC expects, but I predict less than 3,000 BC fans travel to this game. While there was plenty of excitement on social media Thursday morning, I think the realities of the game will limit those who actually go. Think of our turnout at other sporting events in the past ten years, that were easier to get to and less expensive. The once in a lifetime opportunity and the long sales time will help efforts, but for many of our fans time and money will always be an issue. The older, emptynesters of Irish decent will go. They should. Those same people make up the key demographic for Irish tourism. But your younger fan, who is a BC diehard is less likely. I hope that BC grads in Ireland, the UK and Europe turnout, but overall, this will be a neutral crowd that might cheer us on because we're Catholic.

This is a TV event
I already explained it is a big commercial for Ireland, but it is also key TV content for ESPN. It could start at a later and provide a better viewing time for BC and Georgia Tech fans across the country. But ESPN doesn't really care about BC or Georgia Tech fans. They care about college football fans and a 7:30 am ET kickoff time gives them wall-to-wall coverage on the first Saturday of a college football season. The fact that it comes with a natural title sponsor to buy up that commercial time is even better.

This is about recruiting
BC is giving up a home game for this. That is one less chance to host recruits. But they are also getting something to sell and promote. They can use it on the current recruiting class: "come to BC and you will get a trip to Europe!" and something that we can sell to future recruits. Follow any of the twitter feeds of the BC assistant. They are selling Wall Street connections and BC guys in the pros. This will be just another tool to differentiate ourselves. "At BC you'll play on an international stage!" The players that go will enjoy the trip and hopefully get what they can out of the experience of visiting a new country. As long as they come back selling future recruits on all the cool things that go on at BC, the trip will be a success.

If you are excited about going, start supporting BC and the team now
Almost by definition, if you're reading this blog in the offseason you are a BC diehard. And like me you probably know plenty of semi-casual BC fans who watch one game a year and still think Spaz is the coach. Of course many of these same people were quick to post "road trip" on Facebook the minute the Irish announced the game. I hope they go and we need all the support we can get. But if you are thinking of going remember the team will play 12 games this year and could use your support throughout. Watch a non-Notre Dame game. Learn a few players' names. Also, I know plenty of people who think nothing of shelling out $3,000+ for this trip but don't give to BC annually. I don't like telling people what to do with their money, but BC would appreciate even just a nominal donation. It all makes a difference and supports BC in ways that going to Ireland cannot.

Now that I've poked a few holes in the motivations for this game, let me restate how excited I am for the game. I doubt I will go, but love the idea and love any game that has a unique angle. Now I just need to learn "WE ARE BC" in Gaelic.


SaturdaysOnShea said...

Tá muid BC

Danny Boy said...

Dazzy, it is a peculiar trait of the Irish to take something fun and exciting and turn it into a steaming pile of green depresssion. But I guess it was Irish who immigrated to the USA that had the wide-eyed optimism, not the timid souls who stayed behind for another kick from the English boot.

I love the classic Irish cynicism at the end: "let me restate how excited I am for the game. I doubt I will go."

'tis himself

tweigman said...

It is exactly this kind of "life under a cloud" attitude -- typical of so many of the Irish -- that has kept me from developing a deeper relationship with my own Irish roots. While there are Murphys and Sullivans and Farrells aplenty back up my tree, I have found the cynicism and "woe is me, this is going to suck" attitude way too prevalent, and have spent my life seeking more upbeat friendships elsewhere.

My wife and I have been talking about finally going to Ireland because it is almost the only country in Europe we have not visited, and saw this game as the final straw to tip us in that direction.

Hope you got a huge kick out of taking the first conceivable opportunity to rain on my and everyone's parade, and hope others will join me in assuming someone just really pissed in your Cheerios this morning.

I have enjoyed your site, but this diminishes your views in my eyes.


Big Jack Krack said...

I have spent my life staying away from the "woe is me, this is going to suck" crowd.

I've had a few in my own family, including a first cousin who's nickname was "Boo Hoo" around the fire station. :-) Kid you not.

But in all seriousness, I have met and interacted with truly wonderful people on my 5 previous trips to Ireland. So Tom, I highly recommend that you and your wife go and use this game of the excuse.

And spend some time touring if you can.

Danny Boy - I'm sorry for your own peculiar trait - but it doesn't apply to the rest of us.

It just might be that you suck, unless you're just trying to be funny - in which case you fell short.

ATL_eagle said...

"Life under a cloud" or turning the game into a steaming pile of green depression! Come on. I am just mouthy, I guess. But what should I expect? I've seen fights break out at Irish events (Thanksgiving, funerals, First Communions) over less. No one pissed in my Cheerios. I was just cutting through some of the stuff that came out related to the game. I've been doing something similar for a long time on the blog. Why is this different? In a real press conference, the Irish Ministry would have said: "we don't care who plays in this game, just as long as you come and spend money." Bates would have said: "I am going to hit up everyone who goes for a donation for the indoor practice facility" and Addazio would have said: "when is this press conference over? I need to go text some more recruits about our trip to Europe." Is that cynical? Sure. But it is also true.

This game should be fun. I encourage you all to go. That will be good for BC. I don't think I will go. Not because I am not interested, but because I doubt it will fit my plans and schedule.

I can be excited and still see through some of the BS. I get excited about BC playing anyone. I get excited about any unique BC game, setting or opponent.

Don't worry about what I say. Enjoy the game. I know I will.

ToTheHeights said...

Why couldn't Bates schedule another game in California again?

ATL_eagle said...


I think we will get a West Coast game again soon.

ToTheHeights said...

I hope so. I hate to trash this Ireland game, but I don't see how it elevates the program.

If I were Bates, I would have been on the phone with the ADs from UCLA, Stanford, Cal, etc the day after the (LA) USC game. Traditional power + fertile recruiting grounds + large alumni base = no brainer. What does Ireland really bring to the table?

In fact, scheduling an 'away' game at Fenway Park and then a 'home' game in Ireland feels like the fan base is getting a shakedown.

Oh well. Go BC...

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Could not agree with you more. The Fenway deal and Dublin just seem lame all around. Nothing like getting sand kicked in our faces by ND on our own turf. The only thing that will nullify that is if we defeat them convincingly. But if we get beat - the whole Fenway thing will be humiliating. Not sure about Bates - yes better than his predecessor and very articulate and corporate - but not terribly impressive in the actions/leadership department so far.

mod10aeagle said...

Sounds like there's plenty of pissed-in Cheerios to go around. This looks like a fun trip with my ancient roommates.

Hoib said...

If you go, make sure to allow some time to see the west. That's where the country is most beautiful, and the people are the warmest. Maybe fly through Shannon. I'm biased though, because that's where my people are from. BTW Bill, Dazzy Boy, very clever. you are a typical Irishman blessed w/ a clever wit.

Bravesbill said...

Geesh, I've got nothing negative to say about this post or the game. Some people are definitely trying to dethrone me from my pessimistic throne.

:) said...

Ireland > California

Very excited for this game regardless of the reasoning behind it.

In less that two years, BC will have played at Yankee Stadium, Fenway and in Ireland. And people are bemoaning?! Especially after too many recent years of a boring product on the field. Though things look positive for providing continuous excitement on the field, at least we are getting exciting fields.

Go BC!

eagleboston said...

My wife was in the color guard for the first excursion to Ireland in 1988. I remember getting up early and watching the game on ESPN. Sure enough, after one BC TD, the cameraman got a shot of my wife dancing with other color guard members in the endzone. She said the '88 trip was a wonderful experience and it would be fun if I could join her this time. Just have to figure out what to do with the one kid still living at home (no way am I leaving him home alone....I won't have an intact house when I return).

@timstwrt said...

BC's got the biggest endowment ($2.2b+) of any Jesuit school. They're not desperate for our pennies.