Here’s some video my daughter shot yesterday at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The kicker needed to hit this field goal for my alma mater, East Carolina, to win the game against a supposedly better Arkansas team. As you can see from the video, he missed. The crowd of Pirate fans were rather surprised because it was a pretty easy field goal — and he’d already missed one a few minutes earlier.
We went on to lose the game in overtime — after the kicker missed yet another field goal. It was a depressing way to lose after enjoying a dominating performance while standing outside in 20 degree weather for four hours. Still, I found myself in a pretty forgiving mood when all was said and done. I feel sorry for that kicker — he was a senior who will never forget that game. I doubt he’s going pro, so his last memory of football will be this heartbreaking loss at the Liberty Bowl.
My response is interesting because 10 years ago I definitely would be a lot more upset. The loss would’ve left me in a funk for three or four days — and that’s just if I watched the game on TV. I guess I’ve mellowed a bit in my old age — in many ways, not just my emotional attachment to my sports teams. So, apparently I’m able to take losses with a few more grains of salt. Don’t get me wrong — my passion for the East Carolina Pirates remains sky-high. I’m just able to see their losses as part of a bigger picture. Our team will get better because of this ridiculous defeat. We’ll recruit a little better and the remaining players will be motivated to work harder to avoid a repeat. This feels like the right perspective.
And when we do win the national championship in a few years, I can rest assured that I’m no fair-weather fan. Go Pirates! Arrggghh!