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The magical flying tortilla needs our help

 by Tim Agne
 published on Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Tim Agne<br>The State Press/issues/opinions/292600
Tim Agne
The State Press
 

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I've been to every ASU football home game this year and, in general, I'm a pretty good fan.

I wear my gold shirt, cheer until I can no longer talk and closely follow the action. I bark for the defense and curse the refs. I especially like to say, "Welcome to Nellyville," when Cornell Canidate scores a touchdown.

Admittedly, I'm not the greatest fan. I'm not an active member of the Student Alumni Association and I don't paint my entire body before every game. Heck, I'm not in the same league of fandom as guys like Phil Root, the fully painted, mohawk sporting grad-student often referred to as "the Devil."

My biggest fault as a Sun Devils fan is not that I'm not loud, excited or inebriated enough (games are still fun sober), it's that I'm never adequately prepared. I should have a sign that says, "Welcome to Nellyville," and, more importantly, I should bring tortillas.

Tortilla throwing is a deeply rooted Sun Devil tradition. Its origins are shrouded in mystery and debauchery. I hypothesize that long ago, some students threw some tortillas, realized their aerodynamic design and brought them to a football game.

Other historians theorize that the stadium once gave out free tortillas and many fans elected to throw them rather than eat them. More conservative thinkers believe that God opened the sky and flung tortillas from heaven onto the field.

Regardless, the only thing that compares to the powerful rush of whirling a tortilla into an end zone is the sight of a golden flock of tortillas sailing out of the student section.

Tortillas are members of the bread group, the solid foundation of the Food Guide Pyramid. In some religions, bread symbolizes the body. Maybe that's why we feel so good sending it soaring through the air.

Let's take a trip to my hometown to look at a distant cousin of the tortilla: the bagel. Fairview Heights, Ill., rests atop a bluff overlooking St. Louis from across the Mississippi River.

Recently, a restaurant and bakery called the St. Louis Bread Company opened in a new Fairview Heights shopping center. As the name implies, they make bread. More importantly, they make damn fine St. Louis-style bagels.

One St. Louis Bread Company employee decided to show his spirit by hooking up his fellow students during homecoming week at Belleville East High School.

Some current Belleville East seniors and faculty still remember an irreverent and dorky/sexy Terrace Scroll columnist named Tim Agne. No current Belleville East students will forget what happened last Thursday morning.

The Bread Company benefactor came to school with trash bags and a wheelbarrow full of day-old bagels. As a friendly gesture, he began handing them to students on the outdoor terrace. As demand increased, he began throwing the bagels to people.

Somewhere deep within their teenage psyches, the bread-throwing instinct kicked in. They started throwing the bagels back. Chaos broke out as students and faculty alike bombarded one another with hundreds of bagels.

The Bread Company employee was suspended from school for 10 days for "instigating a riot." Administrators went to work on establishing a zero tolerance policy for bagels.

But some students, the ones who will one day be great college football fans, were inspired.

Looking at soggy bagels sitting around days later, my brother Mark and his friends resolved to instigate mass bagel throwing on the Thursday of every homecoming week of their high school careers. They will water the seeds of a new tradition that could be for the Lancers what tortilla throwing is for the Sun Devils.

Now Sun Devil Stadium is cracking down on tortilla throwing. A tall menacing man paces in front of the student gates before every game. With his hands behind his back, he gazes ominously at student ticket holders and asks, "You got any tortillas?"

Inside the stadium, guards walk up and down the rows, checking for tortillas and confiscating them.

I don't care. I'm going to take a cue from my skater-punk little brother and stand up for a proud and fun tradition.

I'm not going to tolerate zero tolerance. This Saturday, I'm strolling into the stadium with tortillas in every pocket. I'm letting them fly at every Sun Devil touchdown, interception, sack, and, God willing, field goal. I'm going to break the distance record, nailing some alumni on the other side of the field. And I'm not consenting to any searches of my person.

Let a lot of Sun Devil pride and a little hometown inspiration fuel your flour or corn projectile this weekend as ASU kicks some Oregon State Beaver tail.

Mark Agne is a high school sophomore. Reach his brother at tim.agne@asu.edu.



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