It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to blame. It’s easy to pile on.
But I’m not going to do that after Wake Forest made it easy for Duke to beat them last night with a field goal to go ahead 24-21 as the clock struck zero after, almost beyond imagination, Wake committed two unsportsmanlike penalties and two untimely turnovers — all in the fourth quarter.
Who am I to be upset with my favorite sports team and what does it say about me if I howl and whine? What kind of person am I when things don’t turn out the way I hope? And how about you?
They didn’t want to make all these mistakes. The bad things just happened – as is often true about life — and because they’re now history these things, these misfortunes, can’t be changed. I’ve made mountains of mistakes in my life. I’ve missed free throws late in a game to cause my whole basketball team to go home non-winners, allowed a baseball to roll through my legs as a high school outfielder leading to a loss, quit teams because my ego was bruised, been a selfish and shallow teammate, gotten angry at co-workers, pressured my kids too much, and been plenty jealous of successful people.
I’ve been unsportsmanlike, unworkmanlike, and unparentlike.
Who am I to pile on with the onslaught of other fans and media people who since that game last night have been saying all sorts of bad things about how Wake gift-wrapped Duke the win last night, no doubt questioning the coaches and players for not knowing how to win.
Leave these people alone. They need encouragement this morning that there will be, for sure, plenty of better nights in their lives, that they are still loved and we’ll never quit being their fans because they’re worthy of our love and we’re not jerks.
They need to know we are not abandoning them. They need to be reminded they have inspired and thrilled us many times with their play. Have we forgotten already the utter bliss we felt just two weeks ago when the Great Santino stuck the pass in Cam Hite’s arms to beat Pitt as time ran out?
Relish that feeling we had. This same group of guys gave us that moment that will stay with us long after this season.
Many years from now the pain of how they gave away last night’s game will ease and they’ll derive strength knowing they could and did move on and learn and bounce back to achieve plenty of successes. It is the losses in life that fuel our longing to win. It’s the sting of getting beat that drives us to feel better, to get back on the practice field and try again, and again, and again. Viewed one way, last night and this morning are our collective self-evaluation moments, to check ourselves to see if we will choose a positive or negative attitude.
Every day of our lives we have this decision to make, be critical or kind, and we all know which one should be embraced because it’s a better way to live, spreading upbeat vibes to others, letting this team know we’ll always support them.
Negativity is almost never right especially when people try their best. Blaming is bush league.
Let me be direct: I love all you guys and coaches in the Wake Forest football program. You have brought more joy to my life, a real reason to feel enriched, than you will ever know but I am fully attuned to. You have given me hope and that’s more valuable to me than almost anything else.
Whether you win or lose another game, I support you guys.
Keep striving. It’s all you can do.
It’s what you will do.
And we will keep loving you no matter what.
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