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The End of a Mediocre Sports Year

The 2009-20010 LSU Tigers athletic season is over.  Thank God.

The teams weren't bad this year.  In fact, most teams were quite good.  LSU, outside of basketball and swimming, was highly competitive in every SEC sanctioned sport.  Still, the overwhelming feeling at the end of the year is disappointment. 

This year was just a year of undelivered promise.  The football team set the tone, with the least impressive 3rd place finish in SEC history.  LSU was the best team in the conference outside of the two powerhouses of Florida and Bama, went to a January 1st bowl, and only lost games to teams ranked in the top 25 (and held a lead in the fourth quarter of three of those games).  It was a competitive team that ultimately fell just short.  Several times. 

Basketball season was a brutal slog, and the less said about it the better.  At least we won a game in conference.  And hopefully, Jrlz has fixed his door. 

Baseball had promise, and even climbed near the top of the polls before the bottom dropped out.  The team seemingly forgot how to play for an entire month, and LSU fans had to go on the road in the postseason - the first time since 1989.  The Mongol Horde was disappointed by baseball's failure to get out of the regional, though the loss to UCLA is looking better and better as the CWS rolls along. 

Even the "minor" sports were a bit of a letdown.  Volleyball won its first SEC crown in nearly two decades, which was a great accomplishment.  Then they promptly crashed out of the NCAA tournament.  Susan Jackson won the individual all-around national title, capping one of the greatest careers in LSU history, regardless of sport.  Despite her best efforts, Gymnastics still fell short of a national or conference title. 

And those were the highlights.  Track earned a midseason #1 ranking, but couldn't bring home the hardware.  Golf had a great year, making the tournament, but they fell short as well.  Softball had an exciting season with super frosh Rachelle Fico, but failed to get out of their host regional. 

It was just that sort of year.  Every team got our hopes up, got to the cusp of greatness, and then settled in with good to very good campaigns.  This isn't a bad thing, really, and it's tough to complain about a bunch of teams that made the postseason and competed well, but this was just a year when every team came up a little short of the title.  LSU programs took home just two conference titles in all sports and no national titles to our pretty hefty all-time haul. 

That doesn't make this a bad year.  The title-or-bust mindset can be pretty toxic at its extreme, and it would be a mistake to say LSU programs failed this year.  They didn't win titles, aside from volleyball and Susan Jackson's individual titles, but they weren't losing all that much either (except for basketball).  The teams were competitive in all sports and the reason it's so disappointing they did not win the title is that we felt LSU was capable of winning titles.  It just didn't happen.

Some years aren't meant to be.  It's not going to be a year we celebrate as one of our greatest years, but it wasn't a disaster either.  It was just a good, solid year.  Good, solid years are fine, especially when they follow up or precede championship seasons.  And that's what this summer is about for LSU.  Working to turn this year's disappointments into the motivation for next year's successes. 

As Batman reminds us, why do we fall down?  So we can learn to get back up.  Time to get up, work hard, and bring home some titles next season.