03.Dec.2009 The Great Depression
Let’s get the negatives out of the way in one sentence: there weren’t any, really. The missed tackles, the big plays–those are a product of playing strong and fast opponents. The Ducks gave up big plays to us as well and they missed tackles.
For the record: Riley going on 4th and 15 was the right call. You have to be up by 2 scores at the end of the game to beat the Ducks, because you know they’ll drive it down for at least one. It’s not Mark Banker or Keaton Kristick who can’t stop the spread, it’s every team and player in the Pac-10 (and most likely the nation). Let’s admit and accept this.
The Beavers played their A game tonight. It just wasn’t enough. The most upsetting thing about this game is a theme I see not only in sports, but across this nation: the bad guys always win. Why does the bad guy always win? I asked my lady Beav this philosophical question during the game. She said, “the good teams have integrity and honor. the bad teams don’t have that but they have a will to get what they want anyway they can.” Astute point, and it reminds me why I adore the girl. I feel bad for Yankee fans, Duck fans, Florida fans, Red Sox fans, and everyone who buys their glory. Just as bad are those who weasel their way to glory with dirty recruiting, reinstating LeGarrette Blount, etc. Sour grapes? More like a budding frustration with moral infrastructure in this country.
This might be the only time in my life I witness a game with these stakes, a sad reality, but I’d rather “suffer” through these near misses done the right way than the alternative. I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy the latter. But that’s me. It seems most people can. Whom I feel worse for in all this is Mike Riley. The guy is the hometown, homegrown hero who’s been on the brink of the Rose Bowl twice now. It’s ironic, isn’t it, how success can augment failure? There was a time when Riley would be ecstatic with consolation prizes, but tonight we saw, through his countenance and near-tears, how much (emotion) he has invested in this. Another interesting point is that my girlfriend feels terrible for me, I feel terrible for Mike Riley, Mike Riley feels most terrible for his players. The hurt is deflected off self and put onto others whom you admire. Care becomes circular like that when people do things the right way.
The Beavers played a fantastic game tonight. If that team is representing your school you raise your head high. You take solace in winning the intangible battles tonight. On the field, you try to get better. This is a sad night, but one that demands reflection, at least from those on the right side of the fight but the wrong side of the ball.