Almost Winning in Compelling New Ways
Oct 4th 2009 - Written by: John Webb
A couple of members of the Greenville minivan posse, with wives and kids, gathered at Chez SectionHrowJ today to watch our beloved Tigers play Maryland. At least the food was good.
I would like to say that never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would be 2-3, but that’s just plain disingenuous. Clemson football will deliver the same results as long as we lose close games. For the record, we have lost three games in 2009 by ten total points. Speaking of records, here is Clemson’s record the last ten years in games decided by six points or less:
Can you believe that? That’s five years where we break even, five where we don’t, and this year where we are off to a disheartening start. There’s not one year in which we close the ledger with a winning record in close games! We can talk about toughness, or “hanging loose” in the fourth quarter, but our mediocre numbers are the cold hard facts the minivan posse talks about at Chez SectionHrowJ after losing to Maryland, facts that leave us hanging our heads and staring into suddenly forlorn looking plates of bratwurst and potato salad, contemplating our miserable existence and lack of production on offense.
But here’s a truth that gives me reason not to asphyxiate myself in a heaping helping of potato salad: Clemson’s losing is not my fault, and fixing the team is not my responsibility. For all the talk of what to do to address drops (a harsh suggestion: you drop a ball, you lose a finger. Now that is skin in the game in every sense of the phrase), red zone impotence, and bone-headed execution – these are problems that Dabo et al have to solve. I don’t care how he does it – demote Napier; promote Napier; make Napier wear a funny hat. My only metric for the head coach is winning and the lack thereof. His job is producing the only metric that matters, and my job is making a lot of noise on Saturdays, a job in which I favorably compare to kindred slack-jawed fans across the South. A caveat worth mentioning is that “the only metric that matters” matters most at the end of the season. Think of judging the coach as something to fill time while procrastinating about Christmas shopping.
Having said that, am I ALL IN with Dabo? You bet (though naturally neither of these gambling terms should serve as my endorsement of poker, games of chance, or more generally, addictive behavior and bad decision making.) I believe that Dabo is a special coach and I hope that he does special things at Clemson. This unanswerable question is the one thing that gives me pause: Is my hope the headwater of my belief?
Does my snarky optimism fall under the rubric of drinking the orange Kool-Aid? I am self-aware that I am not good at metacognition, the self-awareness of one’s own mental processes, paradoxically. I dunno. From here on out I am choosing to cheer on our anemic offense, and to take my blood pressure medicine.
If you would like to comment, please email sectionHrowJ@gmail.com .
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