DISCLAIMER: I'm an unabashed lover of college football so you'll probably see this theme crop up in more than one post in the near future :)
Yesterday was the first game of the Ohio State Buckeye football season. I love me my Buckeyes, but yesterday was special since it was the first time in over 70 years that a Service team has played in the Shoe. We welcomed Navy in what turned out to be a very exciting (nerve wracking!) game filled with good football and a lot of great tradition and honor of those who serve.
Arguably there is some trepidation in Buckeye Nation. We lost a lot of experienced players last year and for many, "all hope" rests on the shoulders of a very young 19 year old quarterback named Terrell Pryor who likes to run crazy routes and make insane things happen while all 105,000 of us in the stands hold our breath for fear he ends up hurt.
During an offensive drive yesterday, "TP" was trying to negotiate a play action pass. From the left side, a Navy defensive man came around the corner, untouched, with a direct route to a solid hit on our QB. At the last second, with the defensiveman a split second away, TP completed the pass and we got that much closer to the end zone and the defensiveman PULLED UP.
Its this defensiveman from Navy that I chose to honor today. You won't see this play on any highlight film. And since I am not one of those fans who records the game and watches it over, and over, and over (Ahem, Stephen) I can't even tell you who this player was. But I want him to know that I saw him do it. In our celebrity culture today, that spreads over into sports, its routine for someone to take advantage of an unabated path to the quaterback - knock him to the ground, embarass him, maybe get in his head a little bit, grow your own stats, celebrate and get a personal highlight clip. None of that happened.
Stephen and I both saw this happen and THAT is all we talked about for the next few minutes, and Stephen said "that's the discipline of the Navy and this team", I thought about that, and I also offered, "Navy players know exactly how to put a football game in perspective". Later, I thought even more that perhaps this young defensive player knows how important one's body is to what one has to do in life so why senselessly go after someone unless you have something important to gain. Yes I recognize the irony that we are putting a lot of mature thinking on the back of someone who, still, no matter if they are a midshipman or not, is still playing in "just" a college football game, but the fact remains: most players wouldn't act as this young man did. (and no, he wasn't finking out)
To us, it showed respect for his role, the game, and his opponent. We have chosen to transpose this young man's thinking to be part of his Navy "upbringing" and quality of character. So, today, to the midshipman who chose NOT to take a hit on a quarterback, who will someday be serving to protect all of us in America, I honor you.
2 weeks ago