For those of you who stayed home to watch Missouri puke on their own shoes again, wish you were here.
For those of you who just couldn’t take it anymore, Todd Reesing says hi.
Okay, I’ll admit it: dragging myself to Memorial Stadium Saturday was a little tough. After all, I watched the overtime from the sidelines in Lincoln. I’d seen the Texas A&M and Okie State collapses in the friendly confines. I couldn’t resist the temptation of listening to the second half when I heard KU was up 35-17 at Baylor. Maybe I should’ve.
KU’s season wasn’t dead, but it was close to being on life support. Saturday, though, I knew I wanted to be there when something good happened to this team. I wanted to see it when all their hard work and persistence was rewarded.
I just had no idea that the reward would come in the form of a 20-15 comeback win and a much-needed shot of adrenaline from Todd Reesing. Reesing may describe himself as being “five feet and some change, but to the fans in Memorial Stadium, he looked six-foot-six and bulletproof as he walked the west sideline like he owned the place.
At the same time, he looked like a little kid as he sprinted downfield, holding his fist high over his head after his touchdown pass – his first – to Jon Cornish.
You couldn’t help but smile as the kid jumped into the arms of his offensive linemen and smacked them on the helmets after he took off and rushed three yards for a touchdown – again, his first – on the next possession to take the lead.
His final TD was a five-yard pass to Derek Fine to put the game out of reach, despite a CU touchdown on a 95-yard return of a fumble by – you guessed it – Todd Reesing.
As fans, we could all learn a little bit from Todd Reesing showed us Saturday afternoon. From listening to fans and reading Phog.net, you’d think all of us truly, sincerely had a dog in this fight.
But we’re just fans. No one’s been closer to the frustration of multiple single-digit losses than Reesing or anyone else on the team.
Let’s face it, folks: Some members of this team are – how do I put this? – giving less than 100 percent. Something has worn them down. Maybe it’s the disappointment of a magical season turned mundane. Maybe they’re beaten up and tired. Maybe it’s a character issue. Maybe they’re not as invested in the program and as devoted to their teammates as maybe they should be.
Todd Reesing’s utter joy and enthusiasm, along with his outstanding performance, should remind us of two things.
First, it’s a game. It’s not that complicated. As Derek Fine said after the game, “It’s a game. When the lights come on, you put on your helmet and you play. You do what you need to do, whether you’re playing in front of 40,000 fans here or 85,000 in Lincoln. You give what you can. But it’s just a game.”
Second, this is supposed to be fun. If anyone had reason to collapse to the turf in a fetal position, it was Todd Reesing. He’d never even taken a snap in a college football game, let alone taken one against a Big XII opponent, down nine points and with his team’s season in the balance.
Saturday, Reesing stepped up, and life looks a little more rosy for the remainder of the 2005 season. I’m not saying KU will run the table from here on out. I can’t even find it in me to predict a bowl berth, although I think the Jayhawks will be bowl-eligible.
One thing I will say is that we’ve found a more-than-capable backup quarterback for the ailing Kerry Meier.
Todd Reesing won’t win every game he plays in, but I bet any game he plays in will be fast-paced and fun to watch.
We’ve had our fill of close calls, injuries and frustration. Fun has been the one thing sorely lacking from this season. Maybe Todd Reesing has reminded us that it’s okay for us to think Kansas Football is fun again.