Losing is all they know
Winning extends beyond the scoreboard.
There needs to be a will, a want to be victorious. A hunger and thirst to come out on top. But how can a team expect to win when they are surrounded by loss?
The idea of losing has been ingrained into the minds and hearts of the Idaho Vandals football team — both on and off the field.
With their last bowl appearance a distant memory, this team has seen a steady decline in the win column, culminating in a winless start to this season.
But the bigger losses have taken place outside of the Kibbie Dome.
This summer, everyone who proudly sports their Vandal allegiance lost a member of their community. And for the football team, a member of the family.
When Ken McRoyal was murdered, the Vandal football program suffered its biggest loss in years — a loss that they’ve memorialized with flags, wristbands and signs. The loss of a human life can’t be healed by material items, but through a grieving process that takes more than a few months.
Has the absence of McRoyal affected the team’s on-field performance. Yes, but it’s not his skill on the field that is missed, it’s his personality.
Then other players faced more loss, which with the tightness of this team means that everyone dealt with it.
Followed by five defeats on the field — one expected, two painful and two embarrassing — everything came to a head on a soggy North Carolina day.
But as Hollywood has taught us, even the saddest of stories have a few happy scenes. This weekend — Homecoming for the Vandals — may just be one of those scenes. A new season starts tomorrow, at least that has been the message from players and coaches. So why not bring a fresh attitude and demeanor onto the gridiron.
As hoards of students, alumni and locals pile into the Kibbie Dome Saturday in what will probably be the biggest crowd of the season, make sure to leave the negativity outside. We are all on this ship together. In 2009 we were sailing at full speed, and now we’re sinking, but that doesn’t mean anyone is jumping off.
All this team has faced in the last year is loss. It’s time for them to get a win — they deserve it more than anyone gives them credit for.
Madison McCord can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org