Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big Things

My beloved Georgia Bulldogs just lost their third straight game last weekend against a scrappy Mississippi State team in front of their giddy home crowd. The Dawgs are reeling, and for the first time in Coach Mark Richt's ten seasons, his program is under fire like never before.

The Monday-morning pundits and the ubiquitous sports bloggers seem ready to offer Richt the proverbial cigarette before covering his head and slipping the noose around his neck. Off you go, loser. Let's get a REAL coach in here. Let's win every play, every series, every game, every week. No excuses, just win, baby.

Richt's teams averaged ten wins a season before the current unpleasantness, but the accrued goodwill of such consistently high achievement evaporated after the latest loss. He has been convicted of the unpardonable sin of failing to garner a group of mostly teenagers into a collegiate football juggernaut in what is easily the most difficult conference in the (sometimes very ugly) business of college football.

To some, it's as if the end of the world is nearing. Their satisfaction in life is far too dependent upon the play of a nineteen-year-old college student in a contest that will, at its end, determine a winner and loser in a game, same as Go Fish or Horse or Dancing with the Stars.

Is it the same as a nineteen-year-old Marine dying from wounds in Afghanistan?

Of course it isn't. And those of us who get so swept up in college football games should take a deep breath and remember that the players who play, win or lose, live to play another day. It's a game, nothing more.

Back to those nineteen-year-old Marines: Does it matter that they played football on a winning or losing team? Or does it matter more that, as athletes, they were taught to give maximum effort, to never quit, to play by the rules, to stay loyal to their teammates and coaches, to get back up after being knocked down?

Keep developing young men, Mark Richt. That has a greater purpose--to them as individuals and to our society as a whole. The winning will follow eventually.


  1. Love you, Mr. G!!! You hit the nail on the head.
    Kimberly Roesler Huch

  2. Never been a Marine, very close to some though, semper fi, Jerry.