|The Irish put a whole lot into Books' hands.|
No truly competitive athlete or sports legends ever speaks of losing kindly. Michael Jordan said "I despise losing and would do anything to avoid it." Outstanding coaches are no different. NFL great George Allen said, "Every time you win, you're reborn; when you lose, you die a little." Amen.Vic Braden added, "Winning is one thing. They don't remember their victories as much as their losses. Losing is a more powerful energy for them." I can give you another "Amen." I agree. But that energy is not always negative or heavy. It's powerful and it bears reflecting upon because it's not what we might not expect—it's neither draining nor burdensome. It's lively. It has verve. It must be why we love sport.
When the Irish did not convert on 4th and 9 with 12 seconds to go, I knew the game was over. I was disappointed. I wish things could have been different, but I stood there and really meant what I said and texted: I am so proud of our guys. I wish we had converted on more third downs in the second half, that we hadn't committed so many penalties. Yes, I hate that Book threw two interceptions, but I also saw that the defense prevented UGA from scoring TDs on big plays. I don't know that anyone can appreciate just how loud it was inside Sanford Stadium, filled with 93,000 fans—85,000 of whom are wearing black and red (they gave the University 8,000 tickets to purchase; I did not win that ticket in the lottery!) However, the team could and it still did not stop them. I could see Team 131 has proven to be a team that has a lot of dog in this fight; they aimed to prove the pundits wrong. They did, loud and clear.
The Notre Dame vs. Georgia game lived up to its billing. Not all ND games carry the weight put onto them, but this one did. After the game, I hugged my friends with whom I watched the game. All I could say is "that was a great game." I walked out of the game watch venue and felt this powerful energy pulsing through my veins. I found myself thinking, "I can't believe some of those plays...and some of those misses." I decided that I would just keep walking; I had to for I carried a mix of gratitude, pride, passion and "well...yeah....but...agh" inside.
I love the Irish and I love a great game. After a long work week, I got to spend a warm Saturday evening in an Irish pub with two good friends, about 100 ND fans and Irish Football making a great run for it. To tell you I personally lost would be a lie; I didn't. What I gained will be placed in that miscellaneous file....it's more full than you might think.