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Monday, December 8, 2008

Pitt Game Breakdown (FWG Breaks Down)

We lost. My final home game at Rentschler field will be a memory of Dave Wanndstedt's mustache dripping with celebratory Gatorade. The jaws of life couldn't pry that image from my brain. I was caught several times in tears at the game (and in the days leading up to it). The Tuesday media luncheon forced me to consider a truth that, until that moment, I had done a good job of denying: that I was about to play my last home game, and that my days as a college football player were up. I wrote in an earlier post that my career would end without celebration or notoriety. In the depths of my soul, the days that I allow myself to dream, I wished that wouldn't be true. That a crowd of 40,000 would rise to their feet and unanimously decide that UConn football simply could not go on without Rob Lunn. But that is the beauty and tragedy of college football. Every week is a new battle (12 one-game seasons), and every season a crop of younger, better athletes. I whispered in Coach Edsall's ear, "thank you for giving me this opportunity..." I have often felt so blessed to share the field with great athletes and to participate at the pinnacle of my sport. And while I have run through that tunnel, made tackles, and sacked quarterbacks, part of me has always felt on those fall afternoons, with the sun hanging in the sky and the smell of brisk New England air that maybe I didn't belong. I am not a great athlete (there is stark difference between the athletic prowess of myself and Cody Brown) and I have caught breaks that gave me my opportunity to play. I have enjoyed every minute on the field, whether in Morgantown or Piscatway and now my playing days are over (well, almost). No one wants to play their last game, but I find a little comfort in knowing that at least I got to play mine. Corny and cliche, but we are the lucky ones. God gave me two legs (however uncoordinated) and the ability to use them on Saturdays. Basketball players can always play hoops, and swimmers can always swim. There will be beer-leagues for everything from hockey to baseball to bocce. But never again will I find 10 other guys that want to strap it up and terrorize opposing running backs and offensive linemen all day. My life is about to make a major shift. In the last five years I've read more offenses than books, I got my education on a field and not in a classroom. The lessons I've learned sweating and bleeding and crying with brothers (and I do consider them my brothers) are the most important ones to me.

These lessons were instilled by a man of such high moral and ethical caliber that it can be more than frustrating at times. I've called him a boy scout and a saint (in the most sarcastic of ways) and while I didn't always understand it, at this point in my life I strive to be it. To hold accountability above all else. To do it is maddeningly simple: Just do right things, every day. Take that as why I came to his defense in the Jeff Jacobs article. I found that Jacobs didn't have a reference point to make such sweeping (and inaccurate) allegations. Sentimentality aside, no one on the outside will understand the bond or commitment we have at this level.
I've been told that the same theory applies to the "teams" I'll be a part of in the future (look out McDonald's). No one in corporate America will ever be as unified in a cause as the 2008 Huskies were. True. Very true (I'd like to see the guys at GM running those stadium steps). In 25 years I'm sure we'll all be All-Americans and Heisman winners in the stories to our grand kids, because those superlatives will be the only way to mildly convey the sentimentality of our playing days; the moments we spent on the field we felt simply the best. Almost immortal, like nothing could touch us. Except, that which touches all things, eventually did: time. And with it, change. 5 years, 47 games, and eventually the end of my career.

Again. Tears in my eyes. But this time also a smile linked to the fondness with which I recall it

(prepare for a switch in tone)

Well done Donny "DDB" Brown. When is ESPN going to recognize and give due credit to this young man (he's one year younger than me...and built like an action figure for those who were curious.). Another 150+ yard rushing game? He can't be stopped (pay attention Buffalo).

There has been talk about the Defense continually bailing out the Offense. True? False? Doesn't matter. Games aren't about one unit or another unit, it's about both performing well enough to win. If the offense has 5 picks, then it should be up to the defense to get 6 and make scores of their own. Tyler and the offense certainly did enough to help us (the defense) out during the Baylor game. Least we could do was return the favor. It's a team sport (don't like it? Go watch swimming. I love you Michael Phelps).
Do I wish we had won? I'd be in the wrong business if I didn't. But I simply won't play the blame game. That would be too easy. All I can say is that we will strap it up again one more time, and get a W for the seniors, the fans, and anyone else that should care to believe in UConn Football (I won't hold my breath for you, Lou Holtz).

Final Thoughts:

Who else saw the best looking defensive tackle in the nation on NESN this week? (No, not Tony Siragusa.) Am I the only one who didn't? Seriously, how do I miss these things. I'll post the link when I find it.
Nice Mullet, Tony. I'd rank it with the greatest mullets of our generation (that's right, you're up there with there with Billy Ray Cyrus, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan).
Does this post really contain references to both Tony Siragusa and The Hacksaw? Yes it does (we call that the double threat).
This just in: Tim Tebow may actually be Superman. I'm just sayin'.
In later news: Bob Stoops arrested in Tijuana after a full cavity search revealed the Oklahoma Sooners coach smuggled 7oz of Kryptonite.
University of Buffalo in the International Bowl. Early match-up analysis coming soon.

Until next time,


Frats_Frosh said...

Yo FWG... thanks for the stories, the thoughts, and a share of your memories. I have enjoyed the perspective you have given on the season, and thank you for the time you have given our school.

Heck, I know you aren't done yet, but based on your tone, thought this was the time to say it.

Go get Buffalo, and remember, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

SHS said...

Thank you for allowing us to see into the game/team a little more online and on TV. It's been wonderful.
One more thing to add to what you accomplished at UCONN are a wonderful role model. As redshirt freshman parents we cannot thank you enough for that.
You have great things in your future and UCONN will not forget you!