OSU’s ranking wasn’t the only part of the game that’s overrated.
Taunting, jawing, poor sportsmanship, whatever you want to call it-- I’m calling it overrated.
I can’t remember seeing a targeting call ever but this weekend I saw two in one day. Was it the right call in either game? I don’t know. I’m not a ref or a coach, and I wasn’t there. I’ll admit I don’t have a problem with taking a hard line on this type of penalty considering football is a game in which players are supposed to fling their bodies at each other. (Side note: a few years ago The Onion posted a hilarious piece about God saying the human body was not designed to play football. Google it.)
So fine, let’s call the alleged targeting unintentional and accidental. I’ll concede the benefit of doubt. But, what is with Cam Williams calling for the crowd to cheer louder as he is ejected from the field? And what’s with the crowd applauding a player as he’s ejected in the first place?
Does besting someone in a competition make you an infinitely more awesome person? Acting like it seems to be the way of society and I’m over it. I just want to see a good play, the ball handed to the referee with a “thank you sir”, and then right back in there for the next play. It’s just a game. Let’s make it a friendly competition.
Watching Urban Meyer, and many other coaches, pretend they don’t see that kind of behavior makes me crazy. You are the coach. You are supposed to be teaching these kids how to be decent adults. Say something. It’s not okay even if it is the norm.
In the midst of writing this blog, I suddenly found my own words familiar. Haven’t I written about this before? I pulled up an old blog from 2013 about sportsmanship. It was written after an awful loss to--you guessed it--Ohio State. Remember they ran the score up on us in the name of “making a statement” while Urban Meyer feigned good intentions? I know you remember last year’s refereeing debacle. Is respecting Ohio State overrated? I don’t enjoy watching them anymore. Am I just being a sore loser? Or does their team dynamic seem different to you, too?
I included this Paterno quote in that blog: “If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually.”
It’s so frustrating to watch a team without true excellence experience so much success, especially while our own excellent team finds it elusive. I expect this to be an unpopular sentiment, but I’ll say it anyway: success is overrated. Success is lucrative but short-lived, popular but perishable. I truly am far less interested in our team’s success than I am in their excellence.
A student athlete’s worth should not be defined by making a great tackle or catch or kick. A college team’s worth should not be defined by big wins or epic losses. Michigan’s punter, Blake O’Neill, is his worth defined by his mistake? Was Sam Ficken’s? Athletes and teams should practice excellence always; that’s what defines their worth.
Joe’s quote continued: “People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success.” I taught seventh grade for ten years. I have a toddler at home all day. I know a thing or two about patience. I will wait for success with honor.
We didn’t enjoy a successful outcome to Saturday’s game. Yet, we have had success in the past and in this season, and we will have success in the future. What we have always, always had is excellence.