Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Enduring Truth

Whatever happened to you and me?
Whatever happened to the way things were supposed to be?
We started out fast but eventually....
....whatever happened to you and me?

- The Ballad of The Can't Miss Kids

It was one week ago today that Greg Schiano announced he was leaving Rutgers University to accept the job as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. Given that Coach Schiano's departure was less than one week prior to "National Signing Day" the touts who make their money projecting which high school athletes are going to be stars on the collegiate level (my favorite faux profession but a rant for another day) predicted heartache for Rutgers football fans. A mass exodus of the kids who had given non-binding verbal pledges to come to school on the Banks of the Raritan was inevitable. Do not take my word for it. Go online and check out what the "experts" were saying.

This morning we are at National Signing Day +1 and while I could not and would not pretend to know what the future holds for any of the kids who signed their binding Letters of Intent yesterday - whether for Rutgers, for Colorado or for any school - a trait I submit that I share with the experts, I know that the feeling at Rutgers was one in keeping with the weather on February's first day: Sunny and unseasonably warm.

While only time will tell whether the youngsters whose names appeared on the Letters of Intent that Rutgers received yesterday actually turn out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, it appears based upon the presence of those names as if the rumors of Rutgers' demise were in fact greatly exaggerated.

If you have nothing but time to kill, then feel free to scour the virtual world over the course of the next two or three days to look for the admissions by the touts that their dying declarations made this time last week were based on nothing other than a belief in the 21st Century maxim that he who screams the loudest is most likely to get heard. Volume having replaced substance as the day's watchword, it mattered most who said what they said first. The veracity - or lack thereof - of their words? Sadly, that mattered not at all.

I hope that the young men who signed their names to pieces of paper - whether at RU, CU or Whatsamatta U - enjoy productive, positive college careers. Call me a pie-eyed optimist, but I hope more of them earn degrees than NFL paychecks.

And for those of you who like me, follow and enjoy college football, be careful not to declare a youngster sporting your team's colors for the next few seasons a "bust" irrespective of how he fares on the gridiron. Remember that life, much like football, is not a drama comprised of a single stanza. 'Tis not a sprint after all but an endurance race. As the great American philosopher Lawrence Peter Berra once observed, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

And when exactly it is "over" is not something that can always be predicted with certainty on Signing Day or on Opening Day for that matter. Again, do not feel compelled to take my word for it. Ask Bobby Sabelhaus. He knows all about making the proper halftime adjustments and coming back strong in Life's second act.

It is an enduring truth after all. Noise abates. Strength remains inviolate.


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