Read Time:4 Minute, 16 Second
Around a circular meeting table, the Wake Forest football coaches, with head coach Dave Clawson, met to discuss the tragedy at North Carolina yesterday and, somehow, quickly pivot to focusing on how to beat NC State next Saturday to get the inside track to an ACC championship game.
“Hey Sportface,” says Clawson. “What do you have to say for yourself today now that you let down our entire football fantastical season? You made yourself our defensive coordinator weeks ago preaching your electrical football acumen. Then in one of your endless shameless marketing stunts, when you should have prepared for the UNC game you opened the Sammy Sportface Sammies Shop and gave them to the UNC protesters in Kenan Stadium. You were so unprepared that we gave up 58 points to UNC in one of the worst defensive performances in the history of college football.”
“Sportface went all selfish, coach Crab Claw,” said Sportface. “It’s all on me. I figured I could open the new business in the same week as I was preparing our defensive to stop Sam Howell from throwing for 19 touchdowns and rushing for 1,900 yards — an all-time NCAA record for one game.”
“You thought wrong, Sportface,” said Crab Claw. “You need to get out of here right now. Go write some stupid sports blogs that nobody reads. You’ve let down your alma mater and this entire football organization.”
“Ok, but before I go I wanna leave you coaches a plate of Sammy Sportface Sammies figuring you’re going to be here all day and night trying to figure out how the worst defense in college football history is going to beat NC State on Saturday.”
“Out Sportface,” said Crab Claw.
Seconds after Sportface departs, Claw becomes infuriated. “All of you coaches, out. I’m disgusted with all of you – and me. We should have won that game yesterday but we blew it. How many penalties did we have? 45? How many absolutely asinine and insane late-hits that absolutely killed us?”
All the other coaches leave. Like a character in Shakespeare on the verge of losing his mind, Clawson realizes he needs something to calm him down. He goes to his smartphone and types in Youtube.com and a song by his favorite band The Talking Heads called “Once in a Lifetime.”
He thinks to himself. Once in a lifetime do you get your football team to an 8 and 0 record and have the chance to be undefeated and finish in the top 10 in the country for the first time in school history. Once in a lifetime. That was this season for his football team. And they blew this once-in-a-lifetime chance.
He knows it. Whatever was so great about this football team and its season two days ago on Friday night has taken a dark turn since then. He switches to another tune by his favorite band: “Burning Down the House.”
Watching that game’s fourth quarter yesterday, he thinks to himself, was like watching North Carolina burning down the Wake Forest house and that’s not just any house but the house he built called the Wake Forest football team.
The house was burning and he couldn’t stop it. The fireman hadn’t arrived; there were no fireman. There were only his players who could not stop Sammy Howell from burning down the Wake Forest house right to the ground creating ashes everywhere to be spread all over the Wake Forest fans who have seen this house burning movie 80,000 times before. It’s not a movie any of them ever wanted to see again and they figured the house couldn’t burn down again not during this magical season.
But it did. The house burned down to the ground. And we were all still in the house when that happened.
Then Clawson went with one final Talking Heads tune to finish off his musical journey into the depths of despair. It’s appropriately titled “Same As it Ever Was.”
Clawson thinks about how the Wake Forest program has come back to the same as it ever was by building up the hopes of its fans and then totally screwing up the season at exactly the wrong moment. Wake excels at this skill.
When it matters most, when optimism reaches towards the sky and touches it, those hands get cut off and the fans fall from the sky back down to the ground with a shuddering thud.
Life is the same as it ever was for the Wake Forest football community. It’s a time filled with hopes and maybe yes is this year but then a crushing blow right between our eyes.
We fall backward and to the ground with a face starting to puff up and blood starting to come through our skin. Beaten we are, beaten as we have been, been as we always will be.
It’s the same as it ever was.
To be continued…