They Drew First Blood

There’s an interesting confession article up at Bulldogs Blog with some quotes from strong safety, Bacarri Rambo, concerning last Saturday’s match against the Gamecocks.  He’s pretty hard on himself.  Take a look:

“I was loafing a lot,” the sophomore said. “I’ve just gotta do better, because I’ve got a lot of guys looking at me as a leader. I’ve gotta fix myself with that.”

And:
“From now on I’m going all-out,” Rambo said. “I’ve gotta give it all I got. I feel like I was holding something back. I left a lot of what I had in the locker room instead of taking it out there with me.”

First things first. Why, Rambo? Why would you loaf? Why would you hold anything back? Why? I don’t mean to be accusatory in any way. I certainly don’t know what was going on in the locker room prior to the game nor would I presume to have an intimate knowledge of our players’ day-to-day lives outside of football. And so I’m not trying to be all like, what the fuck, man? But, honestly, what the fuck, man?

These games that you guys play are for sure taken very seriously by the fans of the program. We live and die by your successes and failures. But that’s it. We’re in it for the entertainment value. Sure, there are things like school pride and just the sheer joy of seeing something that you love destroy opponents. But when that final whistle blows, it’s over for us. When we aren’t victorious on the field, some gentle ribbing at the office or on message boards by fans of other programs might be the worst that we have to face. And it hurts, this gentle ribbing (like a sucking chest wound). But that’s all it is.

For the players, the game is a means to an end. I would wager that a very high percentage of those who dedicate their lives to football hope and pray to make it to the next level. Yes, the players also play for school pride and the sheer joy of destroying their opponents. But they all have something much higher at stake as well: their livelihoods. You’ve got to play for yourself, Rambo. And you don’t want to loaf on yourself, do you? I thought not. Your admissions in that article tell us that.

And speaking of admissions, I don’t recall any players coming out after a bad game and taking responsibility for a loss during the Willie Martinez regime. It could be that I’m misremembering. I admit that I have repressed a lot of memories from those years that will surely come back to haunt me at the most inopportune moments:

We love you guys. We really do. And we want to see you do well because not only does that mean that we’re probably winning. It also means that we’ll get to keep seeing you winning. For years. And we’ll continue to love you guys and cheer you all on, even if you’re wearing a different color jersey and playing on a different day.

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