Don't Open This Column

I have started and deleted numerous pieces since Sunday afternoon to convey why I am upbeat about AState football. For some reason none of them were just what I wanted until just a bit ago I couldn’t place why.

The answer of why I’m not going to share my upbeat thoughts is pretty simple.

This is sports.

In most team sports frustration, aggravation, and disappointment is part of the package. You might as well learn to embrace it, or at least find some pleasure wallowing in it.

Sports teams are defined by their defeats. We cling to them. They serve as the great “what if”. It will take a lot of Iron Bowl wins for Bama to wash the bitter taste of Auburns FG return just as it took may to soothe “Punt, Bama, Punt”. Our neighbors wallow in a game lost 45 years ago that many of those wallowing in it have no real memory of. I’ve heard more AState fans complain about the penalty in Austin than the winning catch in College Station. Quick. Who caught the go ahead TD?

When AState plays the pre-game hype video I cringe seeing McKissic do his Superman impression because it brings back the loss. The disgust of sitting in the Liberty Bowl parking lot becomes real again.

Very few wins get embraced like losses and the wins embraced are more often than not improbable ones. The unfortunates who sit with me during the hype video get to hear me say “He’s gonna have to throw it a ton” when Corey’s miracle pass comes on the screen and endure yet again me adding “How’d he get up there n get that I don’t know”. Kicking some other fan base in the goodies and ripping their heart out is so much more fun but most wins don’t produce that.

Some people like to say sports are a metaphor for life.

What a load of bull!

When Arkansas State wins, I go home happy along with my fellow Red Wolves, and the fans of the losing team aren’t happy. When AState loses I’m not happy and the other team’s fans are. It’s a zero sum game.

Events happen every day in life where the outcome is bad for all involved and sometimes things happen that are good for everyone, with results spattered across that spectrum.

The closest team sport to life is soccer where it is possible to have ties, sometimes no one is happy, sometimes both sides are happy, with other variations possible. That’s still a long way from being “real life”.

Being successful 58% of the time got Harsin a million bucks a year. A defense attorney winning 58% of the time would be able to command even more.

Hugh Freeze was successful 83% of the time at AState and it got him home and wealthy (at least by the standards of us ordinary fans). A paratrooper failing 17% of the time would gain nothing but a widow.

Sports are about entertainment and fun. It’s a war you can lose without losing your life, your home or your family (unless you’ve got a wagering problem). But you get 12 (hopefully thirteen) cracks at it over the course of the season and then you are left with winter and daydreams of the next season.

AState got thumped Saturday and there isn’t much to do about that except spend winter, spring, and summer with that road trip to Boone, NC on the scores to settle list.

But Thursday night looms upon us.

We are the Texas State scores to settle list.

The Red Wolves are banged up. The weather forecast calls for rain. The Bobcats like to run a power game. Their defensive coordinator is the guy who last January told our back-up QB to get his head up after a pick because he was going to go back out and win the game.

Call me cautiously optimistic. I’ve got my concerns about how many hits the defense can take from Texas State. I certainly worry about what a wet football means for Fredi and the offense, but under good conditions I like our offense vs. their defense more than I worry about our defense vs. their offense.

Texas State is just another step on the journey and when it’s over we are left with one more step (hopefully two) before the gear gets put away and we sit staring blankly at each other wishing football would hurry up and get here again.