University of Washington students stormed the field after their team edged Oregon keeping a national championship run possible.
You know the field rush would be followed up with a campus-wide party, all night long, among rowdy college students, fantasizing about a national title party someplace in January. Wish I had been on that field with them. Wish I was a U. of Washington student yesterday. Wish I could go to college again.
Over in Chapel Hill the Carolina Tar Heels remained unbeaten. A party, all night long, on Franklin Street, a party I would not have attended even if invited, which I wasn’t. Carolina Blue sports teams have given me enough blues for several lifetimes.
In Boulder Colorado, students cried after their team blew a 29-0 half-time lead, ending the most euphoric college campus 3 and 0 football start in college football history.
Syracuse got smoked by Florida State. Bad day for all the Orange but that’s not my concern. My concern is my team, Wake Forest, which fell into the football abyss yesterday losing their third straight game causing their coach to rant relentlessly during the post-game presser.
Football infuriates, fires up, and fuels festivities. It also begets agitating alliteration.
All this emotion, some blissful and some annoying, in one weekend of college football. Saturdays in America during the Fall for our entire lives.
Life is loaded with losing. Life is wonderful, though, because it’s also interwoven with winning. College football shows us this every weekend. Do you wonder sometimes why we care so much about college football?
I do. I believe it’s an escape from troubling, serious thoughts, the strain of thinking sequentially for instance, the nitty gritty of 401K retirement plans, work pressures, and, of course, getting old.
When our college football team loses, a small part of us dies — not literally but you know what I mean. When they win, we feel rejuvenated and have lots of fun slapping high fives at after-parties and texting our friend’s smiley faces. College football is not the most important thing going on in the world, but we care. We really do.
I am thinking about all this in the context of an ESPN SportsCentury video every one of you should see because it’s the best one you will ever see. It shows the full range of sports experiences from uncontrollable euphoria to dark feelings of losing not just a game but a life mission and dedication, deaths of all sorts on fields of athletic competition: Mary Decker Slaney is one. Remember when she fell during her Olympics race and blamed it on Zola Budd tripping her?
Sad, ugly, petty, immature — and yet understandable. Decker had one big shot to win a Gold Medal and she got tripped mid-race and didn’t finish.
No wonder she cried.
There is a video that shows every great athlete you can think of, and every great sports moment – both good and bad – and in all its fullness how people experienced these events.
You’ll see Michael Johnson let a five-inch tear fall down his cheek after winning the Olympic Gold Medal. You’ll see Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi cry. In his antiquated Cleveland Browns helmet, you’ll see mean-faced staring at you as if he’s not impressed nor interested in you.
I was struck, as you will be, by all the athletes who have passed on: Walter Payton, Roberto Clemente, and Len Bias among many others. They enthralled us with their achievements and broke our hearts and their own.
And they’re gone.
All of them, one way or another, lost.
Life’s one-two punch keeps swinging.
You’ll see in this video three of the greatest college football moments of all time: Flutie’s “Hail Mary” pass to beat Miami; Colorado’s “Hail Mary pass to shock Michigan; and UCal’s six-lateral play, culminating with the last player running over the band, to beat Stanford.
You’ll see in this video what you’ve seen this weekend, sports in all its glory, charm, and wicked pain.
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