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A PROGRESSION OF CONTINUAL DISBELIEF

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LET A FLUMMOXED REPORTER SHOW YOU HOW TO PROCESS YOUR FEELINGS

THIS MAN IS ALL OF US, ALL THE TIME

ONE

THIS IS ME RECOGNIZING THIS TEAM’S PROBLEM

The reporter is you, and me, and everyone beholding a team and going: Why? Why, when everyone knows the problem, do we still have a problem? Other people do the thing you can’t. And you’re so good at other things! In Texas Tech’s case, the issue is defense, and it is always defense, even when everyone knows the issue is defense and presumably knows what to fix in order to keep the entire team from bursting into flames.

For three years running, they’ve either been ninth or tenth out of ten in the conference in scoring defense. There are no surprises; There are no solutions, either. That is when you make this face. You are outlining the problem, the one everyone knows, in an effort to draw the monster that keeps eating your team accurately and completely. It’s a methodical thing, and not irrational.

TWO

WHEN DISBELIEF RIDES A CAVALCADE OF ANGERS TO THE FRONT

The irrational comes with the next stage. It hasn’t take the reins completely yet, but it is reaching for the steering wheel. Maybe you perseverate a bit on the problem with your team. You have so many smart people! And talent! And coaches and people who know what it is! You’re repeating yourself now, like a sports radio caller left on the line a little too long. Maybe there are some compliments thrown in to balance the invective—the anger that only just got started, really, now that you started talking about it. That’s how anger works. It reaches for compliments to hide itself, because anger knows it’s hideous and frightens the authorities, so it staples “BUT YOUR OFFENSE IS WORLD-CLASS” on a Post-It note to its face and pretends to not be a monster.

Our man is struggling here, and it’s because by the time he finishes this stage, he’s lost half the wheel to his anger, and is fighting with his feet for control over the brakes.

THREE

SO? SOOOOOOOOO?

Finally, there’s some resolution. Some: You’re clearly infuriated, but you’ve made your point about whatever impossible, repetitive failure your team has embraced as its brand. This is the face of a dad wondering why, with all the advantages in the world, you decided to go mudding in the Prius. This is a man at the end of his rope, but he’s clearly mentioned the issue of rope-end, and how we always seem to end up at the same place under the current management.

To put you in this spot, let’s review major teams’ current brands of failure, marginal though some of them might be (hi Alabama):

  • Ohio State: Urban Meyer forgets to have a passing game once every four years or so
  • Alabama: KICKERS AND HURRY-UP OFFENSES WITH MOBILE QUARTERBACKS DAMMIT
  • Florida: Quarterbacks, what are they, and where do you find one, and is catching one a matter of simple game trapping, or do they require days of tracking, scoping, and capture setup?
  • USC: Why are we bad, ever, at anything?
  • Oregon: Defensive players are allergic to our climate
  • Georgia: Winning stuff? It’s a problem, for some reason
  • Texas: How, with all the money in the world, do we ever lose anything, you say, reclining on a papasan chair made of money
  • Illinois: Why?
  • UTEP: ¿Por que?
  • Wisconsin: [burp]
  • LSU: Listen motherfucker a quarterback is here somewhere and if you make fun of us for it you know goddamn well I carry a knife and WILL use it—
  • Michigan: Well actually, there are no failures, just opportunities for changing behavior to a more optimal level of performance without variance
  • Louisville: Our returnin Heisman quarterback has at least two rolling desk chairs starting on his offensive line
  • Auburn: Why isn’t this gigantic television automatically making us good at football?
  • Tennessee: I don’t know, just—[gestures at program and makes the face of the man above while shaking slightly and sighing]

Did we sleep on Raider Red back there? Like, Raider Red looming behind this man like he’s about to get him out of the picture if he keeps going. Raider Red hears what you’re saying, sir, and he’s also got brass knuckles custom-fitted to a mascot’s huge, puffy hands. Doubt the existence of someone who makes custom-fitted brass knuckles for mascots, and then remember this is Texas—and that the mascot is already carrying two perfectly functional firearms at all times.