Saturday, November 25, 2006

Football - We all hurt some

Yeah, I'm hurting too. The Jackets lost ANOTHER heart-breaker to the mutts in Athens, this time 15-12. You know, I was almost totally confident this one was going to be different. The way the football elements work, you were almost certain Tech was going to pull this one out, even if it took some weirdo play. The personal foul on 3rd down on the last series was just what I thought would happen. Oh, I didn't know what it would be. I just knew something like that would happen. A big part of me wanted to believe..............but it turned out to be a cruel hoax. No sooner were we starting fresh with a 1st down with about a minute to go, than the ball was heaved downfield only to be intercepted............ game over

.............. shock............. denial............. anger............... sadness.............. depression............. acceptance............. hope

Where are you in the grief cycle? Honestly, I'm already close to acceptance. It won't take long to begin looking ahead to the ACC championship game. The hurt is still there, but more than anything I just feel for the team. You just don't want a senior class to walk away without a victory over our in-state rivals. Just doesn't seem right.

I tell you - the guy I probably feel the most sad for is Joe Anaoi. That guy has a heartbeat. He plays his guts out. He left it all on the field tonight. I'm really proud of his effort out there and he deserves better. So many on this team deserve better. Tonight will sting.

So how much of the game should I actually discuss? Should I breakdown the dismal performance of our wide receivers and QB and OC? Should I talk about the fact that real players step up to make plays at the most important times in a game, and NOBODY did that tonight? Even our defense, which single-handedly kept us in it all night DESPITE the offense, let UGAg march right down the field at the end of the game and score a TD. Do you just want to single out Reggie Ball, who made poor decision after poor decision? Maybe you want to extend that conversation to bash his entire career at Tech and the legacy he will leave................ Do you want to talk about James Johnson - who looked scared to try and catch the ball? Do you want to talk about the offensive play-calling, which seemed timid, disoriented and ineffective? ...................

Maybe you're a "look on the bright side" kind of person. Maybe you want to focus on how Tashard Choice stepped up and put on a show, rushing for 147 yards on 23 carries. Maybe you want to extend that conversation to the nice play of the offensive line. Maybe you want to once again cannonize Jon Tenuta............ or maybe not.

Tech fans will go through the stages of grief and they'll cope differently. Some will meltdown. many will take it out on their keyboards as they spew venom on the message boards. Some will wax poetic about giving 18 year old kids a break. Some will blow it off and focus on the ACC championship. However, we all have something in common - we are all hurting to some degree. If you say you're not, it just means you're in the denial phase. Keep pushing through............... things will get better.

Here's what I chose to do - focus on next week - the ACC championship. Why? What is my personal gain by dwelling on this loss. It happened. We looked bad. We give up bragging rights for another 365 days. Our lives in offices and family get-togethers will continue to stink when mutts meet Jackets. We can't do anything about it now.

Here's what else I am going to do - let the coaches make decisions about who to play. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a lot of discussion about whether Reggie Ball should be benched in favor of Taylor Bennett. I would also place 100:1 odds that Chan Gailey defends his honor and continues to rise and fall on the arm of Reggie. I will trust Coach to make the right decision. Why? Because we're about to play for the ACC championship and that is in no small part due to the decision made by Chan Gailey. I will say this - QB is a tricky, funny position. Bill Parcels repeatedly told the media that Tony Romo was not the guy to run the QB spot at Dallas. He continued to play Drew Bledsoe and his team continued to struggle. He finally gets forced to put in Romo, and he looks like the next coming of Troy Aikman. That ain't gonna happen here, but Tech fans sure think it might................... We'll just have to trust coach to make the right decision.

Continue to move through your phases but make sure you get through it. While we are playing for the conference championship, the mutts can watch us on the tube.

Now go to bed.