There was an unusual guest sitting in the student section of last week’s Georgia Tech beat-down. At the halfway point of the second quarter, former Miami basketball star Jack McClinton and one of his buddies decided to take pictures, shake hands, receive congratulations from other students (myself included), and try to watch a little football. He was nothing but courteous and friendly, which surprised me quite a bit.
Not knowing him personally, I was only familiar with his on-court persona– strong willed, no B.S. arrogance with ice water in his veins. In other words, the epitome of Miami swagger. But to see him as a normal, seemingly nice guy was a bit of a letdown. Where was this down-to-earth star athlete coming from?
Jack figured out something that most of us are refusing to admit. Swagger is dead: more dead than Abe Lincoln, more dead than Elvis (allegedly), more dead than Sarah Palin’s presidential candidacy.
Why is it dead? Because we killed it. From the mid 80s until a few years ago, Miami couldn’t be referenced without some cheesy SportsCenter co-host mentioning our football team’s charismatic reputation. It became such a cliché that other schools tried to steal it from us (I’m looking at you, Gainesville).
Everyone wants to have swag, but the very act of seeking it removes any legitimacy. We were not deemed as a school with swagger because we went around saying “Hey everybody, we got swag in the bag.” It was because we didn’t care what the hell anyone thought.
Like all good things, those times came to an end. We were tipsy with swagger, it eventually devolved into a drunken stupor, and then we were left with vomit on our shoes.
If Jay-Z can announce the Death of Auto-tune, then I’m taking down the myth of swagger. The notion of it has been entirely overplayed, and as a fan base it’s time to move on because our athletes already have. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be cocky, arrogant or flamboyant; anything less from our fan base would be inexcusable. But please, leave the clichés for Scott Van Pelt and the rest of ESPN.