Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Habit of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act,
But a habit. 
- Aristotle

Tonight, deep in the place where "the stars at night are big and bright", the Colorado Buffaloes football team shall attempt to do something that it has already done this year on ten occasions.  It shall attempt to win a football game.  After a decade-plus of wandering in college football's wasteland, Coach Mac's Buffaloes shall do their level best, tonight, to have an Alamo (Bowl) worthy of remembrance. 

In San Antonio this evening, the Buffaloes shall line up against a very-talented opponent (and an old conference rival from Big 8 and Big XII days), the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.  Mike Gundy, the Okie State coach, was the Okie State quarterback three decades ago when I was a student at CU.  My memory of him as a player is that he was tough as hell and talented to boot.  His coaching career has proceeded very much along the same trajectory, and like many of us, he has encountered his share of interesting moments along the way, albeit not too many nearly as "interesting" as this one...

A number of young men for whom I have spent the past four or five Autumns rooting are playing their final game tonight as Colorado Buffaloes. It is a collection of young people who arrived in Boulder as children, endured an almost-unfathomable amount of hardship and disappointment as athletes, and have swum through a veritable river of shit only to emerge safe, sound, and on the bank on the river's other side. For the majority of them, tonight shall be the final time they take the field and participate in an activity they have played - and hopefully enjoyed - since they were small children. While I shall root enthusiastically for them tonight - as I have done for the last thirty-plus years and I really, really want them to win the game, I hope that each of them emerges from tonight's contest uninjured and - regardless of the outcome - proud of the effort each has put forth simply to have made it to this particular place at this particular time.   

One last time with feeling, gentlemen.  One last time with feeling. 

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