Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Football - Don't Jump................. please

Well, the lunatic fringe has been out in force the last two weeks. Somehow in the midst of a 9-win season and a trip to the best bowl game in the Gailey era - the Gator Bowl, the lunatic fringe is out there with an "I told you so" rap on why we should can Chan Gailey. Somehow this season has been dumped in "file 13" along with every other Gailey season. Somehow it is now hard for people to see the great progress that has been made. It never ceases to amaze me how the lunatic fringe can throw the baby out with the bathwater. This time it is also spurred on by the rags, as Mark Bradley of the AJC castrates our Coach in print, calling him "weak", among other things. Mark Bradley is paid to sell newspapers and somewhere along the way, dead-beat-writers realized that negative journalism is very good at feeding the fringe. It creates heat. Even if most people disagree with the opinions, it gets viewers. It sells papers. Oh, he knows he better do some puff pieces that also cater to the pro-Tech crowd, but he makes sure there are plenty of zingers in there as well.

Folks, this is definitely a tragedy. It is heart-breaking. However, the tragedy of this season is that it has ended like this - FOR THE PLAYERS!! They are the ones that worked their tails off for a title match. They are the ones who sweated in the weight rooms while the lunatic fringe was off on beach vacations and sitting on their veranda's. They are the ones who did the two-a-days, battled and studied and were good student-athletes, while the rest of the fringe was tearing people down on the internet.

If you have come to the conclusion that this was a terrible season and that you are pulling your support for the team, then YOU need to re-evaluate your priorities. YOU need to re-evaluate what gives you your personal identity. Bee frustrated at the past two weeks. Bee upset that we lost. Heck, question why we don't put in another QB. I agree with that thought. But don't EVER waiver in your support of Georgia Tech, the school, the team and the student-athletes that give EVERYTHING. Don't waiver. You either support Tech or you don't.......... And you know what - it's easy to support teams when they are winning. What's hard about that? Everybody loves a winner. You were puffing out your chests to your UGAg buds about their stuggles during the season in your workplaces and family reunions while Tech was winning a Coastal Division title. That was easy..............

............... then the adversity came.............. the tragic loss to UGAg in a season where fate says we should have won.... HAD to win............. then the loss to Wake in the where are you now?.......... were you embarrassed?............. did you lash out as a protection mechanism? ................. Have you waivered in your support of Georgia Tech?............ are you still a fan? Is your identity wrapped up in rooting for what Georgia Tech stands for as an institution or is your identity wrapped up in only winning football games?........

Personally, I'm heart-broken for the coaches and players how the season ended. They worked so hard, overcame so much adversity that it is truly remarkable what they accomplished. The Gator Bowl is an OUTSTANDING reward for an excellent season. Was it what they wanted? Was it what I wanted? No way........... but it was sure better than I expected in August. Here's the thing. The level of my heart-break was incredibly high at the end of the season, but only because the coaches and players allowed me to dream higher than I have been able to the past few seasons. They won games. They stopped losing games they shouldn't. That's why UGAg and WF hurt so much. We were so close. They took us further and that made us more vulnerable to heart-break.

So which way would you rather have it - struggling to accept another 7 win season, but not being so heart-broken about another loss to UGAg to end the season and going to another average bowl game................. or being INCREDIBLY heart-broken about losing to UGAg and losing the ACCCG because the promise had been built upon the blood, sweat and tears of every one of those guys wearing a Tech uniform? I'll take the promise. I'll take the chance at a greater fall. I'll take the risk. I think most would............... but if the fall comes, what is your reaction? Do you hold up YOUR team and say - you made us proud - now go out and whoop WV on New Year's Day............... or do you say, well, another crummy season and another waste......

There's an saying I've heard from some coaches -

"Football does not build character, it exposes it".

That goes for fans too. How you react to adversity as fans speaks volumes to coaches, players, player's families, recriuts and the general public. I was most proud of the display of the 5-fingers during the WF game as a tribute to J.Abbatte's little bro, even though big-bro was tearing us up on the field. It spoke volumes about Georgia Tech. It spoke volumes about what we stand for. Don't bee part of the lunatic fringe. Speak your mind. Have open and honest and clean debate. But please, oh please, don't let us become what Alabama has become. The fringe has taken over and they are a laughing stock. Luckily, the vast majority of Tech fans are what they should be........... but the lunatic fringe is like the squeeky wheel. We begin to believe that most people are like that because they dominate the message boards and get catered to by the rags.

I hate the way this season ended, but I love Georgia Tech, and that will never change.

Coach Gailey, you've done some very nice things with this team and with recruiting, and you've done some things that haven't quite worked like you thought. I suspect that you will continue to learn from the past, just like you have clearly shown, by changing your staff, changing your recruiting strategies and changing your offensive playcalling. It showed promise early in the season but didn't sustain. However, I am convinced, based on your past, that you will learn and adjust - JUST LIKE YOU SEEM TO KEEP DOING.................

Keep up the good work and get those boy's heads out of the dirt. For crying out loud, we're going to the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day to play one of the best offensive teams in the nation. What's not to love about that?