Thoughts From the Bleachers

A little different perspective on the world of sports

I don't really care for clichés all too much. They are often overused, often serve no purpose, and are all too often used in place of something that can be said in a more meaningful manner. But I suppose a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

The much used phrase, "That's why they play the game" is one of the all-time favorites of sports writers, coaches, and players themselves. Take for example last Saturday's college football match up between the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines and the Appalachian State Mountaineers. If you would have asked any casual observer of college football who would come out of that game victorious, you might have received a response such as this:

"Appalachian State knows how to win, their head coach knows how to get the most out of his players, but everything has to come together at the right time, and they have to get a few breaks to win this game."

Are you kidding me? That whole response is like one big, poorly punctuated cliché. Might as well just say " I don't know. That's why they play the game."

Which leads me to my next issue (not that I believe you are truly understanding my mindless drivel), the ever popular and oft-used "pre-game analysis", which is often illustrated to the viewers or readers as the all-so-important "Keys to Victory". Oh yes, the thought process that goes into these "Keys to Victory" make the upcoming game so clear and shows some serious time-consuming research. Let's take my "Keys to the Victory" for the upcoming match up between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Penn State Nittany Lions:

Chris' Keys to Victory

1) Play Within Yourself

2) Capitalize on Turnovers

3) Take Advantage of Red-Zone Opportunities

4) Bring Your A-Game

Clear enough for you? I think following those four keys to the game, regardless if it is Penn St. or the Irish, could result in a victory on Saturday. What do you think?

Of course, the polar opposite of this can be quite annoying as well. Let's take a look at what I am trying to get at here (after all, the grass is always greener on the other side):

At your next tailgate, your next watch party, maybe in the stands, whatever it might be, you will more than likely run into someone (or maybe you already have) that will do the following (and believe me you will think twice the next time you decide to ask an open-ended question):

Innocent Bystander: "How are the Longhorns going to do against TCU?"

Walking Sports Encyclopedia : "You know, Colt McCoy, who was 2005 First Team All-State at 2A Jim Ned High School, needs to have a better game than last week. He only threw 8 interceptions his senior year in high school, that year he was also a 4-star recruit, but he threw two interceptions last week. He needs to take his time, and get Limas Sweed more involved. 5 catches for nearly 100 yards is good, and scoring like he did last week was good, but TCU is no Arkansas State. TCU's defense ranked 2nd in the nation last year, and ......"

Get my point?

But that is the beauty of sports. To some, you are that walking encyclopedia, to others, you have no idea what I am talking about. But it doesn't matter, none of what I say really matters. Because when it is all said and done; when the rubber meets the road; you will either win as a team, or lose as a team. And no matter what the score is at the end of the game; in this game of inches, although it is a shame that someone has to lose, one team will rise to the occasion, and the team that brought its "A game" will likely end up victorious. After all, bringing your A-game was in my "keys to victory".

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