Penny Pincher, Emma Clueless, Alec Smart, Jacque Sniffer and chairman Doc Dogood, members of the latest Cal State Northridge committee on athletics, convene for the first time--sometime in the 21st century:
Doc: I'm calling this meeting to order.
Emma: Hey, what kind of gavel is that?
Alec: It's a ruler, the one Coach Kim Chandler uses to measure the vertical leap of her women's basketball players.
Emma: It's not very long.
Doc: Doesn't have to be. Anyway, it's time to get down to business.
Jacque: Yeah? Well, who put you in charge?
Doc: Hey, somebody's got to show some leadership around here.
Alec: Hard to argue with that.
Doc: We all know why we're here. Our athletic program is at a crossroads and the top-level mucky-mucks in administration want us to take a good long hard look at the situation and make some suggestions.
All: Not again!
Jacque: When is this gonna stop? Hell, groups have been studying athletics around here since Reagan was President.
Alec: Ronald Reagan, you know, the old actor.
Doc: There were committees studying athletics before we made the step up to NCAA Division I status.
Emma: What's Division I?
Doc: I'll explain later. Anyway, there was another committee organized by President Blenda J. Wilson just after she came here way back when. Was supposed to be a "blue-ribbon crew," a panel of experts from across the nation.
Jacque: What did they say?
Doc: They said we belonged in Division I and we should keep our football team.
Alec: Nice choice!
Doc: Then there was another committee to explore the feasibility of instituting some kind of training table or meal plan for athletes.
Emma: A what?
Doc: That's not even worth explaining. Then, after that, another committee was formed to research potential budget cuts when athletics started running at a deficit because of declining enrollment and damage from one of the earthquakes.
Emma: Which earthquake?
Doc: The one in January of '94.
Emma: Oh, that little one.
Doc: Anyway, that's a brief outline of those very first committees.
Alec: How did we get stuck on this committee, anyway?
Doc: The truth? We are the only ones left--the only folks left on campus who haven't served on a previous committee.
Penny: I think we should drop football.
Jacque: Oh, no. . . . Here we go again.
Penny: I'm serious. My husband's friend played football here in 1993 and '94 and he said he felt like quitting anyway. He said that the players were forced to eat leftover pizza out of trash bins and that their coaches hollered at them too much.
Alec: '94. . . . Didn't we win a game that year?
Doc: Yeah, that was the start of the streak. Won three, lost the last five and. . . . Well, you know the rest.
Jacque (chuckling): When people ask, I just tell them we've won as many football games as our sister schools, Long Beach and Fullerton, since then.
Penny: I didn't think Long Beach and Fullerton played football.
Jacque: They don't. Geez, try a little wry humor around here. . . .
Emma: Coach Bob Burt tries. It's not his fault we had to play Notre Dame, Nebraska and Penn State this year just to earn enough money to keep his team in tape and shoulder pads.
Alec: Yeah, but don't you think it's embarrassing? I mean, Rudy Jr. scored twice against us!
Penny: I agree. And those player strikes. One a year for what, 17, 18 years now?
Jacque: Why did Don Fehr have to get involved?
Penny: Well, at least we had the foresight to hire Richard Ravitch to negotiate for us back in '95 when his contract with the baseball owners was up.
Emma: Baseball owners?
Jacque: Remember professional baseball? Went out about the same time as hockey.
Emma: Oh, sure. I remember watching the World Cup.
Jacque: That was soccer. Baseball had the World Series and hockey had the Stanley Cup.
Doc: We're drifting here. Let's get back to the point.
Penny: We should drop football and concentrate our resources on helping Coach Pete Cassidy's men's basketball team. It's easy math. A couple of players and St. Pete will have us in the Sweet Sixteen!
All: Never mind!
Penny: Basketball needs to be able to recruit out of state. We have the weather. We have Hollywood. We con a coupla city kids from Chicago into thinking this campus is oceanfront property and we're on our way.
Alec: One more quake and this campus \o7 will\f7 be oceanfront property!
Emma: Why does basketball need to go out of state for players? I happen to know, and I'm quoting experts here, that California players are the very best because our kids play year-round in our wonderful weather.
(A long silence)
Jacque: That's baseball.
Jacque: You're talking about baseball. Basketball is played indoors. Anyone can play year-round!
Doc: Folks, once again, let's get back to business.
Alec: Sure thing Doc. By the way, what are we calling this here committee?
Doc: I dunno. The guidelines say our charge is to determine whether the committees preceding us did their jobs. What say we call this The Committee on Committees?