I love my job

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2001


Just a glance on the internet will tell you why I love my job. In a buyer’s market, tickets to the College World Series matchup between Tulane and LSU are fetching up to $400. I just called the Tulane Media Relations Office and secured a press pass for all the games during the weekend. To get paid to watch baseball – ah, what a life. But although I’ve lived here all my life, I’m still not entirely sure I’ve got the LSU-Tulane rivalry figured out. Skip Bertman said at the press conference Thursday that he was familar with the venom between the schools but not with the excitement being generated by the matchup. Venom? I decided I needed to do some more research, so I went to a popular Tulane hangout to drink a few beers and take the pulse of the people, maybe get some statements about the rivalry, maybe stir up some trouble. Well, if that was the pulse then the people are dead. No one had any comment about the Super Regionals- there was more interest in the Diamondbacks-Giants game on ESPN. I decided to call the most rabid LSU fan I know- former L’Observateur managing editor Sandy Seal Cunningham. Cunningham, who had wrapped her child in swaddling clothes that said “This is my first LSU T- shirt,” gave me a shock when I was first hired by saying that my choice of colleges would be an issue with my employment at L’Observateur – only because I had gone to Ole Miss and the Rebels had beaten LSU a few times in football these past few years. Cunningham couldn’t be reached though- I assume because she was traveling to Houston to negotiate with a scalper for tickets to the game. But, at the bar I was able to look at the rivalry with a little bit of perspective. Sure, Tulane got the lion’s share of the 12,000 tickets available, but that was only fair considering how Tulane would be the host team. Tulane had even done LSU right by giving them 1,000 tickets to sell instead of the NCAA mandated 600 – tickets that could have gone to 400 more green and white clad fans yelling Go Wave. What struck me as key was the fact that for the majority of the hundred odd years of intercollegiate competition between Tulane and LSU, LSU had been better than Tulane. There is no more simple way to put it. LSU had a better team, be it football, basketball, or baseball. But, with the Bertman dynasty coming to a close and two regular season losses to what most fans view as an upstart team, LSU supporters are worried. Well, let me assure you of something- they have every right to be worried. Tulane’s team is that good. It comes down to a simple truth or two- LSU was, is, and probably always will be the top dog in the state. Tulane has the power to humiliate that top dog by beating them in any sport- a chance that every team has to take whenever it steps out onto the playing field. This weekend, the top dog is in the unusual position of being the underdog, and the LSU fans don’t like it one bit. It means that Bertman’s team will have to work very hard this weekend, because more is at stake here than just a chance to play in Omaha- there’s honor, too. What does it mean to the rest of us? Great baseball. J. EDMUND BARNES can be contacted at L’Observateur (P.O. Box 1010, Laplace, La, 70069, 652-9545) or by email at josephusbarnes@hotmail.com.