Monday, May 10, 2004

HokiePundit Likes Losers

Well, that's not entirely true. However, as implied by the post directly below this one, I value effort over achievement. One way this was made manifest was this past year.

I'm in the Marching Virginians and the University Pep Band, meaning that I play at the football and men's basketball games. If they go to a bowl game or tournament, we usually go as well. So far, I've been to two Gator Bowls and the San Francisco Bowl with the football team. I would've had the chance to go to our first and last Big East tournament with the basketball team, except that I already had plans to go to Chester over that weekend.

I prefer football to basketball, but I think going to the tournament would've been more important to me than any of our bowl games. While our football team is good, and tries hard, there are times when I'm just underwhelmed. The archetype of this, in my view, is DeAngelo Hall, who would run his mouth all week, then allow his man to get ten yards before tackling him. It's not that the team wasn't trying, but just that I didn't see them giving their 110% when it came down to the wire.

In contrast, our basketball team probably could have a TV movie made about them if we weren't Virginia Tech. For our first three years in the Big East, we always just missed out on the tournament, often appearing to give up near the end. This year, under the leadership of head coach Seth Green and players Bryant Matthews (our only Senior) and Bryan Randall, we made it, beat Rutgers, and played #1 Pittsburgh in a close game. Do you know how we got there? Pure heart. We had two games that I saw where we were down by around fifteen, only to battle back and win by one point in literally the last second. You don't get that by giving up. Most of the players were young, had come to a losing program with a new coach, and weren't really expected to do all that much. Instead, they stepped up, despite plaing against quality opponents and dealing with this year's Big East officiating.

Back to football, I've got a somewhat similar view. Bryan Randall, by all accounts, works very hard at what he does. Even when it looked as though he'd be benched, he worked to help his replacement. Marcus Vick, by all accounts, seems to think that he's Michael Vick 2.0 and is therefore both an awesome player and above rules. I'd rather have a team of people like Randall and lose all of our games (well...beating UVA and Miami would be nice) than win the championship with people like Vick. I seriously plan on booing Vick whenever he starts or replaces Randall for something other than an injury. That may seem wrong, but I think character counts. Bryan Randall and our basketball team have character.

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