One day left.
It feels different than the ones I’ve been alive for. 03, 07, 11, this is something else. Feels like we’ve all got more invested in this, like it has to prove something. It has to right some wrongs. Not just the pride lost 8 years ago (arguably, that’s been done already), but things older than that. Like it’s a referendum on just a little more than the football.
That somebody who’s failed, and failed spectacularly, can have the greatest success. That a man who was digging ditches in 1979, whose blood and voice are as muddy as ours, can be the greatest. Coach O is a caricature of somebody that everyone down here either knows or is themselves, except that he absolutely isnt. We all know five people just like him, probably related to one or two of them. Cajun to the core. Ornery and fiery. Drinks too much. Fights too much. Wouldn’t put a new bumper sticker on that 1991 Silverado because the bumper fell off at least 15 years ago. Calls you on an April Saturday morning and you answer by asking when he’s boiling. Would walk through hell itself for his family and friends. THAT GUY is who’s trying to complete the impossible fairy tale, One of us. Some crazy fool from don da bayou can really coach elleshoe to a title.
And we all want it SO BADLY. Even if you live north of Lecompte, or anywhere around the world, it don’t matter. If you love LSU, or even if you just enjoy watching them, you want the dream to be real. That it’s possible it could happen in this day and age of college football, when everything is so buttoned up at the top. When these are really multi-million dollar corporations, designed more and more every day to wring the lifeblood and every single dime out of the sport (something LSU itself is guilty of, if not moreso than most others). Where risk is ironed out so thoroughly that every coach at the top is a soulless tactical robot and someone like Dabo counts as a “personality.” That amid all that, there’s a dude who starts a summer morning by pounding a red bull, ripping his shirt off, and running the levees as the early sun tries to boil him away. That college football can still have weird and wild people at the pinnacle.
And it’s also so much more than just him. Burrow. The Jefferson family legacy. Chase, Marshall, and Moss. Clyde’s years of determination. Aranda. Ensminger and Brady. Rashard Lawrence. Chaisson. Cushenberry and that AMAZING O Line. Delpit. Fulton. Everybody on that defense who spent a month being questioned and then shut them all up. Cade York and our 29 year old punter. And all the young guys who have made everything they could out of their opportunity.
It feels like we’ve invested too much into this. The images and stories from this weekend of the many of you already in New Orleans have been incredible. If the unthinkable happens, we may have gambled too much to land safely. A nightmare upon all of us, the season that could have been, but never was. Running full speed at Everest’s peak, and a misstep will send us all once again careening into oblivion (for a few months anyway).
But that’s the only way to live. Overinvest yourself in what you love. Even if it’s college football. Especially if it’s college football. Because it’s the greatest sport in the world. Nothing can give you the same raw emotions of awe and terror in the same breath like this game can.
And when it hits, when it all falls into place and the dream becomes real, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
And that could be tonight.