Saturday, November 29, 2014

One Final Shuffle

It has been a rough year for the Alma mater on the collegiate gridiron.  A season that once upon a lifetime ago appeared to hold at least the possibility of some success grinds to a halt early this afternoon at Folsom Field.  If the Buffs do something they have yet to do this season and defeat a fellow member of the Pac-12, then they shall finish their twelve game schedule with three wins.  A defeat to Utah, which is more than a distinct possibility, will make 2014 the second time in the past three seasons when the once-mighty Buffaloes have lost at least ten games.  Inasmuch as the Buffs have not had a winning season in a decade, it is not possible to chalk up their recent absence of success to mere bad luck.  They have simply been bad.

Today, however, marks the final game for twenty-one members of the University of Colorado Buffaloes.  For many of these young men, today shall be the final time they shall play an organized game in a sport that has likely dominated a considerable portion of their relatively young lives.  Six of the twenty-one student-athletes who shall wear the Colorado colors for the final time today have - over the course of the past five years -  endured three different coaching staffs.   Two of the twenty-one, Tony Jones and Terrel Smith, are Jersey guys who, much as I did a generation-plus ago, went West as a young man for college.  Both have already earned one college degree and are working their way towards a second.  While neither has a future in the NFL, both seem more than adequately prepared to succeed at the next level.

As kids, a lot of us dream of being star athletes.  In the movie that plays on a continuous loop in our mind’s eye, we make big plays in big games.  We compete for championships. For this group, the real-life version of the film has not played out that way. On-field successes proved to be few and far between.

All any of us can really control is the effort we exert doing whatever it is we do.  As a general rule, the outcome is beyond our control.  This group of twenty-one young men has not enjoyed a great deal of success while following Ralphie out onto the field at Folsom.  Each of them, however, has given an honest, best effort.  They have played with clear eyes and full hearts.  However, because they play in the real-life world of the Pac-12 Conference and not in the fictional world of the Dillon Panthers, far more often than not they have lost the games that they have played.  

As a proud member of the University of Colorado Class of 1989, I thank them all for their effort and I wish them well.  No one wanted them to succeed any more than each and every one of them did.  It simply was not meant to be.  That lack of success however is neither a measure of what they have done nor what they shall do as they head off to tackle whatever next great adventure awaits each of them.  

Shoulder to Shoulder Now.  Shoulder to Shoulder Forever.  

-AK 



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