I’ll post the audio later, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got some sympathy for the caller.
The problem is this — when the reality is bleak, the columns are bleak. There’s only so much you can dress things up.
I remember in my reporting days hearing Pat Forde talk about a column he was going to have to write, and saying, in a somewhat resigned manner, “Well, I guess I have to go [pee] in the Corn Flakes.”
A lot of times you’d rather not. It’s easier all around to write happy stuff. God knows, I write my share, and I prefer it, to be honest. My favorite stories are the ones where I get a chance to go on at some length about a kid like Jackson Kelly raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or Tom McCarthy training a Derby starter at age 75, or Wesley Korir’s inspiring story of escape from violence in Kenya.
But, like with life, you get the good and the bad.
The problem with a game like Saturday’s 25-23 win over Southern Miss is that you have to feel happy for the players, if you’re around them. It’s a first-class group of guys. They care about what they’re doing, they work hard, and you know it’s tough for them to go through the kind of losing they’ve gone through.
At the same time, the main story around U of L football right now is the bigger picture of the direction of the program, its coach, and its future, and to ignore that is to shirk your responsibility, in my opinion.
So I’m afraid my columns on U of L football are going to read like the glass is half-empty. Maybe more than half.
With a single win, you can focus on a group of players who few people believe in blocking out all the distractions and doubt and fighting their way to a come-from-behind victory in a must-win situation for their coach and program.
That’s one way of looking at it.
Another way is this — they beat a Conference USA team by two points, and scored only 25 against a team that has given up 30 or better in each of its past four games.
And then there’s this. Look at the last 10 scores for U of L against C-USA competition:
Memphis: 35-28 win
Tulane: 55-7 win
Cincinnati: 70-7 win
Houston: 65-27 win
TCU: 55-28 win
Memphis: 56-49 win
South Florida: 41-9 win
East Carolina: 59-7 win
Cincinnati: 43-40 win
Houston: 66-45 win
Clearly, that level is light years from where the program is now. And that gives a big-picture perspective that shouldn’t be overlooked.
So to my caller, I’m not about to slash my throat, or wrists, or anything else over this. And yes, I do feel like Oscar the Grouch some mornings. I worry that the Monday Morning Quarterback is becoming a weekly tale of woe, with the local teams losing more often than not.
I do have some ray-of-sunshine stories coming up, and some good ones. But you can’t ignore the clouds.