From the Stands

You bunch of jokers! Get your heads out of the clouds!

I'm sick of it. Absolutely sick of it. You think you're a bunch of hot shots. A bunch of all stars. Just show up and you'll win. Go through the motions, line up across from the other team, and notch a W or 11. Well I'm here to tell you something … you're wrong. Dead wrong!

You guys stink!

Your attitude makes me sick. I go home every night and dry heave during the "Statewide Sportsline" radio show. I read the morning papers sipping Ginger Ale. I read the garbage on the Internet boards with a bottle of TUMS on my lap.

I can't stand the sight of you guys right now!

You're so daggone arrogant, you reek like a bunch of sheepherders around a campfire after a ramps-and brown-beans festival.

You're so full of yourselves you're oozing with a slimy, jelly-like cockiness that's worse than any forehead pimple puss I've ever seen.

You're so overconfident you're starting to sound like a bunch of giddy little munchkins who just saw the Wicked Witch of the West crushed by Dorothy's farmhouse.

You're not what I'd call a pretty sight.

Your problem? You're starting to believe all your press. Favored to win the Big East football title. Picked to finish in the top twenty-five in some magazine. Pegged to end up in the top fifteen in some poll. Even singled out for a top five in some piece of junk preseason rag.

Oh, that's nice and all. It's sweet and upbeat, bright and cheerful, and oh-so optimistic … but WHERE ARE YOUR HEADS! In the clouds? Above the clouds? Maybe just butting up against the Earth's upper atmosphere?

Haven't you seen the movie Apollo 13? The one with Tom Hanks? The one where they had an explosion on the way to the moon and had to jury-rig their ship back to Earth? Don't you remember their re-entry? How they were afraid the capsule would burn as it hurtled through the Earth's atmosphere because of some potentially missing protective heat tiles?

It's hot up there guys! As in burning, boiling and scorching. As in blistering, sizzling, and searing. Think frying-an-egg-on-a-sidewalk hot? Think again. How about that egg evaporating instantaneously, like a tiny drop of water hitting the side of an iron smelter.

That's where your heads are right now. In the hot … real, real hot … zone.

And if not quite that high, they're still so far from "down-to-Earth" that the oxygen levels are fit only for … well, they're not fit for any living beast.

You're believing all the hype and hoopla. You're believing all the press. Every darn one of you.

Take John, for instance. About two weeks into the West Virginia University Mountaineers' spring football drills he comes up to me and says, "So, think the Mountaineers can go undefeated?"

I just stared at him. Said nothing. For 10, 12, 15 seconds.

"What?" he finally said. "You don't think they're that good?"

"I don't CARE if they're that good!" I answered. "It's too early. It's nice to hear that kind of talk from the nation's writers, but not from you fans. Get your head out of the clouds."

And take Curt. "The Big East is ours," he says to me at the gym a few weeks back. "I can't see anyone beating us for the title. Not Pitt. Not Syracuse. Not BC. And shoot, no way Rutgers or any of them other teams."

I just stared at him. Said nothing. For 10, 12, 15 seconds.

"What?" he finally said. "You think Temple's gonna give us a run for the money?"

"Temple? No, not Temple. But Pitt, Syracuse, BC … it's NOT a lock. I like what I see and hear, but it's NOT a lock. Get your head out of the clouds."

Then take Jimmy (we could go on and on, but we'll stop with Jimmy). He saw me coming out of the elevator. "WVU should be in a big bowl next year, don't ya think? BCS game … New Year's Day … do you think they can get a shot at the National Championship with their schedule?"

I just stared at him. Said nothing. For 10, 12, 15 seconds.

"What?" he finally said. "You don't think they have a shot at winning it all next year?"

"A shot? Yeah, I think they have a shot, but I'm not ready to start talking about National Championships yet. Let's play a game or two … or maybe even eight or nine … and see where we are, then maybe ...

"And in the meantime, get your head out of the clouds."

Really. Pull them down. Every one of you. You guys are scaring me. Making me a bit ill. It's too early, and I don't think the Mountaineers are that good. Want to talk eight or nine wins? I'm in. But another undefeated season? No. Not yet. And maybe not ever for the 2004 team.

(And I promise, Coach Rodriguez did not put me up to this. Well, he did, but he doesn't know it. I simply followed his lead all through spring drills. You see, his team needed their heads pulled down back to Earth too.)

See you in the stands.

Kevin DiGregorio is a columnist for the print edition of the Blue and Gold News. You can read Kevin's column "From The Stands" in each issue of the Blue & Gold News, along with more indepth articles and analysis that you won't find anywhere else. Subscribe to the Blue & Gold News today!

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