A Brief Guide to Delusional Optimism

I'll be honest with you. At this point in time, I'm feeling like Thursday night could be one of the worst Mountaineer beatdowns in history.

The most discouraging thing is not that they are very good, but that we've been so bad. Delusional optimism is so much easier to accomplish when your team has played impressively at some point in the recent past.

But it's not impossible. And to help things along, I've developed a five-step plan for convincing yourself that not only are the Mounties going to bring home a victory on Thursday night... we might just lay a beating on them.

Step 1: Watch tapes of old Mountaineer victories. The Maryland and Cincinnati games absolutely cannot be the last images in your head of the Mountaineers before kickoff Thursday. If you let that happen, not only will you unable to convince yourself that victory is possible, but you may feel like hurting yourself. My video collection is limited, unfortunately, but I'm damn close to having the 1984 ESPN broadcast of the Penn State game memorized. It's a noteworthy game not only because we won, but it was also the last time Paul McGuire was commentating a football game and I didn't feel like throwing a brick at his forehead. It's the tape I use in situations like this one.

It doesn't matter what game it is, watch a tape of the Mountaineers winning a big game on national television. The 1997 or 1993 wins over Miami would be ideal, but the important thing is to put yourself in the mindset that WVUcan conquer in big games. This will set the tone for the week.

Step 2: There are ways to look at the game factually, but the emphasis you place on certain facts needs to be extremely selective. You have to learn to ignore things like, "West Virginia is 1-3 with an offensive line that could generously be described as questionable," and "Miami is the 2nd-ranked team in the country." 1-3, and #2... they're just numbers. Numbers have no place in the mind of someone seeking delusional optimism. You just can't trust mainstream media, you know? Lies, all lies. How do I know that Miami hasn't played scrimmages against a Cuban Barber College, and lost 39-0? That's the point, I don't.

But there are things to focus on. For instance, when we played in Coral Gables two years ago, the Mountaineers played solidly and competed with the Hurricanes for a substantial part of the first half. Last year, the outcome was in question for a longer period of time, Miami not pulling away until the fourth quarter. If things progress as they should, this is the year we should be hanging around for a longer period of time, somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty minutes. In fact, we could win by two touchdowns. A couple other things to look at: All three players who killed the Mountaineers last year, Ken Dorsey, Andre Johnson, and Willis McGahee are gone; and two of our three wins against Miami have come on the road.

Step 3: Disconnect your cable, burn your newspapers and don't talk to ANYONE. The haters will have you believe that we have no chance; they will scoff if you mention the possibility of a win. Or you may get some people that feign agreement, but will laugh at you behind your back.

It is imperative that you avoid contact with people that will discourage you. If you have friends or co-workers that you suspect will cast a doubting eye on the Mountaineers, tell them you have the flu or extreme gas, and they'll leave you alone. What do these people know anyway? Are they college football coaches, are they journalists, are they former Heisman trophy winners? No, they're not. Their opinions have no validity. They probably can't read.

On television, however, or in the newspaper, you might actually see a former coach or a former Heisman winner who thinks we have no chance, and that's why the TV has to go. Again, the mainstream media, they depend on forcing lies down your throat. Don't even turn the TV on, and if you do, don't let it get close to ESPN. Watch Lifetime if you have to. If you watch enough episodes of The Golden Girls, you'll eventually see Bea Arthur and Betty White as good representatives of the athletic ability of people in Florida.

Step 4: Substance abuse. Far be it from me to suggest the abuse of adult beverages on a family website such as this one, but the simple fact is that alcohol helps. If you're a Mountaineer fan, I probably don't have to tell you this, but cheap beer or whiskey is most effective. It's hard to picture a good fit of delusional optimism being brought on by Heineken or wine coolers. Natural Light should just go ahead and print "BEST WHEN USED RIGHT BEFORE THE MIAMI GAME" right on the side of the can. Jim Beam needs to make no such claim. It's understood. If this doesn't work, and you are still unable to convince yourself that we will win, drink until you pass out, because no one else wants to hear it.

Step 5: Find something orange and green, and be destructive. It's childish, it's depraved, sure. But if your goal is to convince yourself that the Mountaineers are going to win on Thursday night, childish and depraved aren't necessarily bad qualities.

This helps establish feelings of dominance. You may be skeptical, but I'm telling you, it works, and it's important not to undertake this step before you've thoroughly gone through Step 4. Say you've got a Sebastian the Ibis doll (or, if you want, feel free to use the actual Sebastian the Ibis), and you set it on fire. If you're not substantially under the influence, you'll be thinking, "I'm an adult, and I'm burning a doll. What the hell is wrong with me?" But if Step 4 is properly completed, you won't see it as burning a doll, but as conquering the entire Hurricane nation. And it works with anything, so if you don't want to spring for a Hurricanes t-shirt or hat, print something out from Miami's team website, take it outside, tape it to a tree, and unload a clip into it.

I'm early in the process right now, but by Thursday night, in the mind of MJD, Miami will be 10-point underdogs.

M.J Darnell is a columnist at BlueGoldNews.com. He maintains his own web site as well. The opinions expressed herein are his own.

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