With 42 seconds left on the season for his persevering Kansas team, Mark Mangino let his guys know that he would have a heart attack if they doused him with the ice-filled heart stopper called the "Gatorade Shower."
But while the pre-party, pre-range eating, and pre-heart attack for Mangino was happening on one side of the field, the Hokies had their heads held low, looking for a place to hide and bathe in the excuses and disappointment of the loss.
But in the end, both teams will get back on the buses, make the trip home, and live their lives. In the infinite number of moments that will follow they will rarely think of the Orange Bowl of 2008. Neither will you and I.
In the past tense, the game doesn't seem to be as significant as it appeared on the field. Especially compared to what the players have survived and witnessed earlier this year, and will likely have to deal with as life goes on.
It’s just a game, right? Well...no, it’s not.
For the four hours from kickoff to final celebration, the game is the most important thing in the world for those breathing the same air, smelling the same smells, and drinking Coke in the stands or sweating together on the field. That's what makes it great.
For those four hours, whether you were in the stands or on the field, chances are nothing else really mattered.
Sure, someone might of had a sister in labor, just broken up with a girlfriend, or didn’t find pants that fit right—that ruins everything! Trust me.
But for everyone else, the minutiae of everyday life was forgotten for four hours. Nothing mattered but a great defense being carved up by a surgeon-like QB, who had to use a club instead of a scalpel at times to get the job done.
What mattered in those four hours was the sheer thrill of the pick six, the reverse kickoff return for a touchdown, and the agony of waiting to see what the flag was fr.
That’s what mattered. That’s what makes it great. That’s why they play and why we watch.
For those four hours it doesn't matter that our boss hates us or our neighbor dumps grass clippings in our yard. It doesn't matter that your trying to diet and feel like eating the chair your sitting on. It doesn't matter that we can’t live on this huge planet together and not kill each other.
We don’t ever forget, we can’t. But for $100, we get a seat and an opportunity to let go of all of that for four hours. Tomorrow, we will get up, go to work, and talk about the game, but we’ll be at work.
It is just a game. Let it be a game. Let it be a game and you’ll get four hours.
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