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Monday, November 4, 2013

A Saturday Decision.

The weekend is over, and as much as I don't want to confess to this little crime, I am a big college football fan.  And my team won on Saturday.  Won in thrilling fashion, too.  Down by three, with less than two minutes left they got the ball at their own 18 yard line, and with 4 seconds left threw a huge prayer of pass into the end zone to score the winning touchdown.  It was amazing!  And I was delighted by their good fortune.

Now, if they somehow manage to win the rest of their games they will win a conference championship for the first time in many years.  And, I have started to let hope creep back into my thinking.

I should know better, because twice this year they have managed to fall completely apart and lose games leaving me sad and mourning, and a little angry that I have given so much importance to the performance of people I have never met, young men who are about the same age as my son.

Yet, here I am, again, moving the dial from casual indifference to hopeful optimism, and thinking of glory days in the very near future for young men who work so hard, and endure so much criticism and carry so much extra weight because so many people are counting on them to do so much every week.  Their talent is unbelievable, their burden is terrible, and I don't envy them the expectations, it would crush me.

And the risks they face are horrendous.  Football, played at that level is a violent sport filled with unimaginably vicious collisions, and every week someone gets hurt, and with almost every injury fans watching on television get to hear some version of the same mindless drivel.

"Well, Bob, that is could be huge, they can not afford to lose him."  Yep, here is some young man, writhing in agony, potentially facing long hours of surgery, and months of intense, often painful rehabilitation, and I am worried about how the team is going to deal with this tragedy, poor team, anyway.  Who does he think he is getting hurt like that?!!?!

But, if the game is lopsided, long since over, and there are players whose names never grace the sports page are in hoping for one, brief moment of glory, and to hear their number called out over the PA system just this once, gets hurt, then the tone is so different.  "What a tragedy, a fine young man, let's all hope for the best."  Of course, that sounds so much better than, "well, Bob, that is not much of a loss for the team,  he could change uniforms and play for the other team, and no one would even notice."

Somehow, sportscasters can make lessen both injuries, turning them into mundane talking points, sometimes I swear they get paid by the word, quantity as a virtue.

So, I have vowed to be a big fan, every week, and when they win I will celebrate their success, and when they lose, I will celebrate their effort, and then I will go back to whatever I was doing and hope nobody got hurt very bad.