Sunday, August 26, 2007

Toughness Over Talent

I live in Johnson County, Kansas. A big percentage of the county I live in is the Shawnee Mission district. This includes the high schools of Shawnee Mission East, North, South, West, and Northwest. The coach of Shawnee Mission Northwest, Ben Meseke, has recited in a recent interview that toughness is ranked higher than talent. There has been a long debate in the world of sports of the importance between mental and physical prowess on the field of professional sports. As far as professional sports goes, physicality is a given. You cannot reach a certain point in athletics without the God-given talents of physical achievement. The zenith of ones’ career, however, relies purely of his/her mental makeup. The most recent example is the story of Boise State football.

After one of the most captivating bowl games of modern college football history, the underdog school of Boise State University is taking a page from one of the most prolific franchises of the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. The season opener after every championship, the Spurs’ home opener opens up like this: Ladies and Gentlemen, your San Antonio Spurs! For every other team, the words “defending champion” is included after the “your”. As the most consistent franchise in the NBA, they pride themselves on having acting like they’ve been there before. The last season is behind them, and they are defending nothing. The actions of this selfless team are a reason to fear the BSU football program for the years to come. After a captivating 13-0 season, the Broncos ended the year with one of the most dramatic endings the NCAA has ever seen. An underdog, with an almost sealed lost to a heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners squad; Boise State reenacted the Stanford/Cal return run, capped off with a “Statue of Liberty” play that sent the sports world in disarray. Oh, and the put the cherry on the top, star running back Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend minutes after the win, to which she responded, “Yes”. Hollywood could not have scripted it better. After pulling the strings of the collective heart of the college football enthusiasts, you would think BSU coach Chris Petersen would ride the snake as far as it would take him. How easily we all are mislead.

During training camp this offseason, Petersen held a rally that shows what BSU football is all about. He had every player write a memory on a note card that they wish to leave behind them, and to throw it in a bonfire. After every player had burned away their regrets, the coach did something that may very well be the defining point of his legacy. Holding up a Fiesta Bowl t-shirt, the bowl where his Broncos upsetted the Sooners, he threw it into the fire. The most important season in Boise State’s history was over. This is a brand new season for the Broncos. With freshman who turned down the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Ohio State and Florida State now practicing on the blue turf, coach Petersen wants to leave last season behind. While the BCS may never respect BSU the way most college football fans do, there is one thing for certain: Toughness overcomes talent, every time.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article, but for some reason the line that stands out is "...ride the snake..." Just got an image of Jim Carey wearing a beaded car-seat cover, haha!

JFishSports said...

Imagery is key!

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