College Football

The Inspiration called Virginia Tech

Living overseas, I’m only exposed to the main sports headlines and whatever they decide to talk about on the games I’m lucky enough to see.  Today, watching Virginia Tech beat Boston College for the ACC title and a birth in the Orange Bowl, I’ve been struck by the lack of talk about the one thing that was on most of our minds back in September when the season started, the drama of the Virginia Tech campus shooting.Sports teams have gone through personal dramas throughout history.  Recently, the death of Sean Taylor has dominated many NFL headlines.  Players have been known to collapse and die during practice and games.  It is not a new phenomena and it will never go away.  It is, simply, a part of life.

Virginia Tech started their season with the memory of a tragic event that cost the lives of 32 students and faculty members still fresh in the minds of most of the country.  Although the event happened in April, much talk of it was directed towards the football team especially when they played LSU in the second game of the season.  Many reporters tried to liken the plight of the Virginia Tech players to  the emotions LSU had to deal with being so close to the Hurricane Katrina saga.

After LSU dominated Virginia Tech in that game, most people wrote them off as just a decent team and nothing spectacular was expected anymore.  For Virginia Tech, this might have been the greatest gift.  They were allowed to fly under the radar for the rest of the season and only lost 1 more game…a 10-14 heartbreaker to Boston College.  They have now avenged this loss in the ACC Championship Game and are on their way to the Orange Bowl.

I don’t expect that the entire country will be rooting for Virginia Tech in Miami.  Their probable opponent is Georgia and that is also a likable team out of a very respected conference with a very likable running back.  However, we can all feel good about this team being in a BCS Bowl.  It is no small accomplishment to make it to one of the top games, especially this season, and they’ve done it by rebounding from a horrible tragedy on their campus and a nationally televised embarrassment against LSU.  Making it this far is a testimony to their coaches and players who managed to put all the distractions aside and perform on the field when it really mattered.

A wonderful article has been written recently by Yahoo! Sports columnist Terry Bowden who has suggested we are forgetting two other teams who deal with tragedy on a daily basis.  The Army-Navy game features two groups of athletes who see their comrades go down daily in the Iraqi conflict.  I would never want to undermine this thought and have even sent Mr. Bowden a note congratulating him on his consideration of this.

However, I also want to salute Virginia Tech for putting together a solid season and earning a well-deserved trip to the Orange Bowl.  They are an inspiration and we should all hope that the life lessons learned in the last 8 months will carry through in the lives of these young men long after football.  If such resiliancy is predominant in our newest generation of leaders, we can feel very confident for our futures.

By Flemish American

I am an American who has lived in Belgium for 20 years. I found myself out of touch with American sports for years and then the Internet re-introduced me to my favorite past-times. Now, I even get back to the States more often and I have a network to see most events I want to. Life is good.

One reply on “The Inspiration called Virginia Tech”

1st Prologue Well, the opponent is Kansas instead of Georgia.  Maybe the rest of the country will be rooting for Virginia Tech afterall since most of us spent this fall wondering when the team would return from the land of Oz and play someone of value.  When they finally lost to Missouri you could almost hear the nation breath a sigh of relief.

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