Sidelines with Silverstein: Bishop Sycamore

It’s a Sunday night, and you’re flipping through the channels, looking for something to watch during one of the least eventful stretches on the yearly sports calendar.  College football is just around the corner, the NFL season is a couple weeks away, and baseball is … well … baseball, so your only option left is whatever is on ESPN.  And that happens to be one of the strangest high school football games ever, with an even more ludicrous backstory.

IMG Academy, a school you’re familiar with for its dominance in a variety of sports and penchant for churning out highly touted college prospects, is cruising en route to a 58-0 victory.  Their opponents? A “school” by the name of Bishop Sycamore, apparently from Ohio.  You’ve never heard of this institution, and soon enough you realize that nobody has.  That’s because Bishop Sycamore isn’t a physical high school.

Somehow, a scattered collection of high school-aged athletes, who played their second game in three days, with a barren website that looks like a sixth-grader started it and left it unfinished, without an actual street address, maneuvered their way onto ESPN’s main channel.  When it was 30-0 halfway through the second quarter, the commentators showed their confusion with the rest of us, admitting they couldn’t find anything in their database about the Division 1 prospects Bishop Sycamore claimed to have.

My question is simply this: How? How was nobody, whether that be IMG Academy or ESPN, able to realize that Bishop Sycamore was, as they claim to be, a non-charter, non-taxed online school?  And even more so, how was Bishop Sycamore able to pull the necessary strings to make their way onto primetime national television?  In the aftermath, many have looked deeper into how this bizarre matchup came to be.  But one thing is for certain: sometimes the downright absurdity of sports makes us appreciate them even more.  As much as we can cheer and boo during the routine watching of our favorite leagues and teams, we can also take a step back and find ourselves shaking our heads, laughing in disbelief over stories we’d never care about otherwise.  Perhaps in this way, a high school of sorts called Bishop Sycamore has united us.