I said last week I haven’t enjoyed this year that much. And it’s true. And I was going to take this week off, hanging out with some old friends who couldn’t care less about LSU. Then that score popped up on the screen: Troy 31, LSU 3. I scrambled to find a computer, loaded up LSU Sports Net, and listened to the fourth quarter. And it was awesome. That was an enormously exciting game, especially when you don’t suffer through the whole falling behind part. Rude? Yes, but this is LSU’s season on the brink.
By the end of the game, it was like we had won the national title again. OK, we never should have been that far down to Troy, but I just enjoyed the hell out of that comeback. It showed heart. The team had their backs against the wall and the season looked like it was about to spiral out of control, and instead the team rallied and launched a huge comeback. You can question the talent or the play-calling, but don’t question this team’s heart. This was gut check time and the team came through.
Games like this are why we are fans. LSU turned what looked to be the most depressing loss since UAB into a pretty magical night. In five years, you’ll be able to meet 100,000 people who were at the game and were one of the few who didn’t leave early. I was proud to be an LSU fan because the team showed grit. They didn’t throw in the towel. They didn’t let themselves be embarrassed.
I was proud of this team.
OUR HISTORY AS FANS
Pittman and I went to LSU at the same time. We were there for the end of the Curly Hallman Era and the beginning of the Gerry Dinardo Era. I think it is safe to say, we were students during the absolute nadir of LSU football history. And I went to every game and cheered my fool head off for the Tigers.
I don’t think this makes me a better fan than anyone else or anything silly like that, but those losing years have definitely shaped my attitudes towards rooting for LSU. Somewhere around the sixth straight losing season, I made a promise to myself that I would never, ever bitch about an LSU team that wins eight games. Because, frankly, that’s what got us into the Archer/Hallman mess. The fans demanded LSU fire a coach who went 8-3 every year and then we ended up praying one day we would go 8-3 just once ever again.
It’s a scene that has been repeated at other programs as well (ask an A&M fan about RC Slocum). Going 8-3 and being ranked in the top 25 every year is a very healthy program. Would I rather we win a national title every year? Of course. But that doesn’t happen most places, and it’s never been the case at LSU until this last half decade. I’m not saying we shouldn’t complain about 8-3 because we shouldn’t demand excellence, I’m saying going 8-3 every year IS excellence.
The sense of entitlement our fanbase has acquired in such a short period of time is truly staggering. I can understand the student body not getting it, but they have actually been the same rowdy student body we should expect. It’s the alumni in the stands who are leading the boo birds and leaving games early (yes, I understand people leave early sometimes – but three-quarters of the stadium? What about the Georgia game when people left in droves as well?). Who the hell are these 30+ year old fans with no memory of losing games in the 1990s. We’re not talking like it was eons ago. The bring back the Magic Game was a mere thirteen years ago. You’d think we’d remember the losing years a little more clearly.
I can't bring myself to be upset over a team headed towards a New Year's Day Bowl. I live in Dallas, so if it is the Cotton Bowl... party at my place.
The comments here over the past week have renewed my faith in the LSU Nation, and I’m hoping we do represent the Silent Majority of LSU fans who are disappointed, but still go out there and cheer our fool heads off for the Tigers. We don’t take joy in the failures of players, and we certainly wouldn’t boo or harass these kids who represent our university to the best of their ability for no pay. These guys sacrifice their bodies for our enjoyment, and most of them don’t have an NFL paycheck waiting for them. The payment they receive is the cheers of the crowd and the status of being an LSU football player. We should remember that before we open up our big fat mouths to talk bad about them.
Criticizing a player is certainly inbounds, but it shouldn’t cross the line into nastiness. Personal attacks, it should go without saying, should never happen. And taking a perverse delight in a player’s misfortune is just mean-spirited. So, on behalf of Jarrett Lee, who I think has composed himself with a great deal of class and dignity this season, I will say what I’m sure he would never say to those who have booed him, made fun of him, or threatened him: f*** you, you losers.
I’ll be honest. Jarrett Lee is becoming one of my favorite Tigers ever. Because it takes a lot of strength to listen to so many boos and so much negativity only to keep coming out there. I find it hard to relate to great players, but I can relate to Lee. He has failed, sometimes spectacularly so. I hate to lay the Alabama game on one player, but he did play a pretty miserable game. But he also had a great drive in the fourth quarter of that game. He never, ever gives up. He knows there is no one to back him up, he’s the only option. In the spring, he was our third string quarterback, and now he’s the only quarterback we have. He wasn’t ready, but he hasn’t whined or complained. The fans have turned on him pretty viciously, but he still plays his heart out for them. And he has delivered. Not always, but enough. He has this team at 7-3, which isn’t too bad for a third-stringer.
I may be proud of the team, but I’m especially proud of our quarterback. I don’t care who Pittman hands out the hardware to, but Lee is my ATVSSECOSPPOW. Thanks, Jarrett. We’re cheering for you.