Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Complete Non-sequitur: My Relationship with Maryland Football

I warn you, the concept of what you are about to read came to me at about 3 AM. I think we all feel this way about our teams in some fashion or another...

Ever since Maryland Basketball and I split up, I had been looking for someone who really understood my dreams, my ambitions for Maryland. I don’t want to go into details (it just wouldn’t be right or fair to Basketball), but I guess we had just drifted apart. I felt like Basketball had lost its exuberance, its drive to be the best in the country. It was settling for NIT and not going for that big promotion. The team I fell in love with was gone, and I just couldn’t sit around waiting for Basketball to get its act together.

Then in walked Maryland Football. I always knew it was there, my eyes had sort of glanced over it as I kind of fallen into Basketball’s friends while we were together. Football, however, had that ambition to be the best, and didn’t have a past of success to burden it or worries about living up to legendary performances. Overall there was so much less pressure on football, yet its dreams seemed so much grander. Football was just so charming- so many thrilling players with so much potential, an offensive genius for a coach- I remember sometimes we would sit and talk about offensive schemes for hours together, just chattering away. By the summer before 2007 we were getting very close, even talking about getting an ACC Championship! I was not sure that Football was ready for that step or even whether I thought we could make that kind of commitment, but when you looked at Football you just couldn’t tell it no.

That’s when things started to go south. Everything about Maryland Football started to change. First Josh Portis gets suspended for the year for cheating- Football never had a problem with the law before, this just confused me. Over time it seemed like Football’s whole personality was different. Jordan Steffy was nervous and afraid to throw down the field, the defense seemed slow and bulky, unable to stop anyone on the West Virginia offense. West Virginia I could understand, but then choking against Wake Forest the following week? Football promised me everything would be okay. Football gave me a win over Rutgers- the #10 team in the nation! I have no idea how it afforded it after all it had spent in its losses, but I wasn’t complaining. But it was like this for the rest of the year- three straight losses and right when I was about to leave Football shows up with a win over Boston College.

Sure they had a losing season, but even after all that I wasn’t going to go back to Basketball. Not just yet anyway. Football still had that promise that this year, this year-- would be the year. I was nervous, however. Football had changed somehow, as if I could never count on it being the one I thought I knew from week to week. It seemed like the only way to get Football motivated would be to threaten to walk out. Then it would be okay for one, maybe two weeks, and then revert to before. I told Football I couldn’t do it like that this year, and so it brought in a new offensive coordinator to show me what a great coaching staff they had, and promised me that everything would be better. The defense would be faster, the offense would use a running quarterback, and perhaps- perhaps- an ACC title was possible.

Jordan Steffy was named the starter. I was confused, even somewhat hurt, but Football assured me everything would be okay. When the team barely beat Delaware, I raised questions, but Football pointed out about how good 1-AA teams can be now-a-days. I took its word for it. Then came Middle Tennessee State. That was the final straw. My days with Maryland Football were over- I was going back to Basketball, regardless what they did or how bad they were. I would even go to Lacrosse or Field Hockey if I had to…

Last Saturday Football came to my door with a win over #23 Cal. The Cal Bears! I guess.. I guess I can give Football just one more chance.

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