First of all, apologies for being late with this week's missive... I'm not going to drink wine at a tailgater ever again. Then again it might have been the three Guinesses-as-nightcaps with Sully... not going to do that either, at least until next week, with Ungie & Lindon. At any rate, my usual Sunday muses failed to arrive and voila! no Sunday afternoon epistle.
But here I am and Saturday's what-would-you-call-it-anyway left me feeling like I'd seen that movie before; especially the day after'smixture of disappointment and optimism. Oh Oracle of Delphi, have we turned a corner? And if so, where are we? Easy Street or The Blvd. of Broken Dreams? How many more we-lost-the-game-but-seemingly-won-the-recruiting-weekend pronouncements are we going to have to go through? Probably not many - but more on that later. And so, two discordant cultural references came immediately to mind for me - neither remotely similar.
Try and follow along...
The first, painfully obvious one, was Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece, "Waiting For Godot"... described as the most significant English language play of the 20th Century, who here has seen it? Read it?
Heard about it?
Someone other other than Perez this time?!
|"Are we ever gonna good again?"|
I'll explain it in simple terms: two Notre Dame alum, Vladimir & Estragon, wait for the better part of two days for their colleague -we'll call him Ungie - no actually Godot, to arrive. He never shows. So the two talk - a lot - to kill the time. A couple other guys show up, not Godot - we'll call them Biv and Zip, no actually Pozzo and Lucky. They tell V & E that Godot is not coming, at least not today. The two protagonists are not happy about this to the point of even contemplating suicide but are too lazy to do so. They're even too lazy to leave where they're at. The End.
I think you can see the obvious parallels to Notre Dame Football fandom. Waiting and waiting for something that may never be coming.
Frankly, I'm getting tired of waiting. For me, the very notion of the 'good' (read acceptable) loss ends with this past weekend. The Biggest Game of the Year is now the next game. Every next game.
The second, perhaps more accessible, cultural referenceapplies to the concept of "It". Not Stephen King's "It", apparently by the way a pretty good book - I never read it - but an impressively cheesy made-for-TV movie that starred John Boy from the Waltons and Three Company's John Ritter. The star for me, however, was Tim Curry as the prototypical Creepy Clown, who was either satanic or an alien (who can remember?) that torments a group of New England kids, kills a few of 'em, goes away for a bunch of years then comes back to torment them when they're older. Kind of like Beckett except for an impatient Gen Y audience.
Of course, Mr. Curry playing a satanic outer space antagonist is no stretch for those of you who consider themselves afficionados of cult filmdom.
|"It's just a jump to the left..."|
Let's do the Time Warp again.
And let's face it, with this football team... who among us hasn't yearned for a handy time warp to, say, circa 1988?
But I digress.
In this particular case, the "it" I'm pondering isthat ineffable quality which separates the special from the pedestrian. Where Smart meets Lucky... where Success not only walks next to you, it holds the door open for you... it even carries an umbrella for you lest you get caught out in a rainstorm... When you have It, your possession WR who's having a career day, doesn't get hurt before your three final plays. If you have It, your replacement WR doesn't slip on the final play of the game as a perfect pass goes whistling by you.
Urban has It. Saban absolutely has It. I think Stoops does too. Pete found It once he left the NFL behind (and if he's smart, he'll realize that he only possesses It in College Football-land).
Sadly, Charlie doesn't have It. And after five years of trying, I think its safe to say the odds are relatively low of him acquiring It. Bummer for all of us. My question is 'can he still be successful? I actually still hold out hope... I don't think Mack Brown has It either - he actually might have something better, Texas state HS football. The point being that talent can cure a lot of ills and Charlie can be the harder working, Mack Brown of the north.
Then again, maybe not.
So in my usual rapid fire,stream of conscience-like way, here's what I saw:
- Jay was right. No, not the Pujols-to-the-Bosox chatter (though he may only be early on that prediction). Ultimately itwas all about the lines. USC's d-line had at least two 1st round draft choices playing, guys who dwarfed our boys and were as fast as our skill positions. Yowzer. And while Barkley made a couple great, very clutch throws, his jersey stayed pretty damn white all game long. Jimmy was constantly running for his life. The fact is, ND has to start getting a few more of these genuine 'difference makers' on the lines.
- 3rd Down defense. You know what I'm going to say here... our inability to get off the field after playing two really solid downs just drives me freaking crazy.
- Pete Carroll. I came away from this game thinking that Petey dislikes ND a lot more than he lets on. And in his zeal to really humiliate us, I think it almost cost them the game. Throwing when you're up by 20 in the 4th quarter. No wonder you lose to the Washingtons, Oregon States and Stanfords of the world, Pete. It's not good enough for you to simply win, you have to do it cleverly. Fuck you.
- Taylor Mays. Honestly, consider me a little underwhelmed. All I saw him do all day was try to take kill shots on guys. And he too almost cost them the game. I'm sure he'll make a terrific pro but I'm not sure he's the 2nd Coming of Ronnie Lott...
- Golden. Tough as nails;I apologize for all the mean things I said about you in games 1-2.
- Robby. Rockin' the pink Breast Cancer Awareness streak in the hair... looking like the 2nd coming of Pete Demmerle... every ND team should have a white, long haired clutch receiver. It looks like your table is ready, sir. Hope your various injuries don't keep you out too long 'cause it looked like you've got Jimmy's trust.
- Harrison Smith. The next time your name gets called, it'll be the first. But on the bright side, you have a promising future as a torredo - ole!
- Replays. Is anyone else suffering severe review fatigue? I want the correct call made as much as the next guy - and it looked like they did a fine job of it Saturday - but good Lord, there were a lot.
- The (Butterfly) Bradford Effect. Sam goes down. Again. And Team Clausen takes note. Again. Presuming he stays healthy - with our O-line, not entirely a sure thing - a $30 million decision awaits James Clausen, esq. after the season...
- Recruiting. By all anecdotal accounts, le grande weekend was a pretty big success. My bold prediction is that this weekend will represent a prolific haul - IF they win out. I fear all this fantastic buzz will quickly dissipate if we drop any balls. And as I said before, I don't see any more acceptable losses. Even if they're bumming now, they should beat BC.
- Parity. Okay, if USC is the (now) #4 team in the country, what does that make us? Probably a bad example... but did anyone see any of the #5 ranked Boise State game? Or the #8 Cincinnati game? We may not be in Florida or 'Bama's league but we're a lot closer to this year's conversation than a 26th ranking would suggest. But not until we actually, you know, win a meaningful game. Like this coming week.
- A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still... a Loser. Thanks for playing, Mr. Castellini, but time to take your seat on the bench next to Big Al Marcel. Drink your fine wines and mock the remaining participants... next up in the spotlight is the Wills-Ungashick-Behrens-Lindon-Flaherty-Rasmus-McKee grouping.
- Boston College. We will win. As uncertain as I was about 'SC, I'm that convinced about this week's outcome.
Schadenfruede winner of the week: Ohio State, come on down! And Terrelle Pryor, hey, weren't you supposed to be The Next Big Thing? And yet, you aren't.
And finally, once again, a huge thank you to the A Lot Tailgating Armada - that was the largestfestival I can ever remember and everything was spectacular. Onward and upward!