“You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafes.”
This morning yet another day is upon us. No cataclysmic refusal of a sun
to rise, no ridicule followed the performance of young men in a game to
my own personal nightmares. I am reminded that we are fans. Nothing
more and nothing less.
Fans are a very important piece to the puzzle that is college athletics.
There is a sort of tribal or territorial pride involved. We spend our
money, we cheer, we revel in victory and agonize in defeat. But too
often we put ourselves ahead of the truth - that which is most
important. The players and coaches care more than do the fans. When we
got up this morning, our future was not dependent upon the outcome of
last night's game. Some of us will work today, most of us tomorrow.
But there are 11 full time coaches and 85 scholarship football players
who are more distraught over the performance last night. They fought
with their blood, sweat and tears to bring fans a moment of perceived
joy, glory, happiness, which ever adjective best describes why we revel
in victory. Rodney Hardrick has had eight major surgeries during his
football career and faces a ninth this off-season. He is college
What is often lost after such a devastating defeat on the field is that
wins and losses are only a small piece of the puzzle. Every year 25 or
so young men arrive on a college campus having not really known what it
is like to be an adult. Coaches take these young men and attempt to
develop them into men who will bring positive to the world. The young
men, while spending 20 hours per week in football related activities,
also attend college full time attempting to not only develop into men of
character, but educated men of character.
This, you see, is the primary objective of college football. Education.
Character. Of course, coaches are measured by more than just graduation
rates and character development. Wins matter. But as we wake up this
morning, we have become Hemingway's expatriates.
“You're a fan. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious.
Fake SEC standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You
become obsessed with winning. You spend all your time talking, not
working. You are a college football fan, see? You hang around message
These moments should be what they are for us. We are fans and we will
feel upset, betrayed almost, when the team for whom we cheer somehow
lets us down. But I can guarantee you that the players and coaches are
considerably more ruminative about their troubles in San Antonio than
any of us could hope to be.
I woke up today to snow. I hate snow. But my dog ran and played in the
stuff and that brought joy to my wife and, consequently, myself. It is
just a game. A game played by young men. At the end of the day, it was
great joy to watch this season unfold at times, and painful at others.
My pain, though, is temporary. There is another season to come. A season which will begin with the same hope as all seasons.