Skip to main content

Sunday's Word: Aristotle

So here I am, trying to come up with a word on this week in Lehigh football, and I stumble upon David Brooks' NY Times editorial about the Mets. It was pretty serendipitous, as I could care less about the Mets and the World Series in general (well, now that my beloved Red Sox stunk up the joint in August and September, and the Yankees were happily humiliated against the Tigers). But Mr. Brooks did have a quote from Arisotle that I thought was worth repeating.

"As Aristotle says, the more one is possessed of excellence, the more one will be pained at the thought of elimination."

After reading this, I realized that I had found the sentence that perfectly describes the angst of the Lehigh fan not just this year, but for all time. We, as Lehigh fans, know we have good, talented teams. But the pain of losses, the potential of losing the Patriot League title again this year, despite our obvious talent, is real. Aristotle, man. He put all of our angst into one easy-to-remember sentence.

We look at the Georgetown game and, rightly or wrongly, see our Mountain Hawks as a team that is "possessed with excellence" and should have been destroying them. We've got Sedale. Good running backs. Solid receivers. A good "O" line. A defense that has been getting turnovers and getting better each week. All this, and we were facing a team that has struggled to score points and get any offense going this year. Yet this game, going into the 4th quarter, we were in real danger of giving Georgetown a way back into it.

Ultimately, we did put the hammer down. Paul Fabre forced the fumble, and Julian Austin grabbed it. Sedale led the change for the TD drive, and Marques Thompson iced it with 2 TDs. But we're not focusing on being "possessed with excellence" in a 28-3 win. We're focusing on the "potential pains of elimination" at the end of that 3rd quarter, trying very hard to give Georgetown a chance.

It wasn't what I wanted to see. As a long-time Lehigh fan, I wanted to see fewer mistakes, less hubris, less "we're going to show up and win without even playing, and we're going to jaw at the Hoyas even though we're 1-3 just like they are". 10 penalties for 81 yards were inexusable, especially since the miscues negated countless good returns and runs. 5-of-12 on 3rd down conversions? Unacceptable. Does that sound like a team that has the right to jaw at anyone?

I would hope that the Yale game next week - a team that beat Lafayette and is 3-1 on the year with their only loss to a nationally-ranked opponent - wouldn't see a repeat of the jawing and sloppy play of last week. Normally I'd say about the Yale game that it would be nice to keep up the winning ways, or to see a good game without a slipup. Now, it becomes crucial to win this game against yet another quality opponent and keep the winning ways coming. I think the psychic factor of beating Yale, who is 3-1 and also beat that college in Easton, could be huge.

I think what we all wanted Lehigh to do this week was learn how to win. After this week, despite the fact that we came away with the victory, it's clear this Mountain Hawk team hasn't learned that yet. Hopefully they will very soon. Hopefuly they'll learn to put teams away early and not kill themselves with penalties and mistakes. But Yale won't be an easy time or place to learn. If we go into the Yale game with the attitude that this game doesn't matter, or that we're not going to play 60 minutes of football, we'll be 2-4 with more questions than ever about the mettle of this team.

Hopefully this Lehigh team will understand that.

In the meantime, like Aristotle says, we Lehigh fans will have to remain "pained with the thought of elimination" -- for at least one more week.


Anonymous said…
yea i doubt lehigh wins this game. There is one thing that makes me think we have a chance. They have a great running back who is the focus of their offense. I like our chances v. a great Rb rather than a great Qb. Lehigh might be able to stop him and keep this game low scoring. I doubt it though. Sedale will most likely have to outscore another team. 2-4 wow that doesnt seem right at all. Well Lehigh isnt the only other great powerhouse that sucks this year, georgia southern is 2-3 i think.
Anonymous said…
Last poster has jerk of the year all locked up! Way to go jerko!
LBPop said…
"Yet this game, going into the 4th quarter, we were in real danger of giving Georgetown a way back into it."

I wouldn't be as hard on your team for allowing the Hoyas to stay close. I would bet that if you asked Georgetown's previous opponents they would tell you that the Hoyas have some talent and play hard for 60 minutes. If it were not for the turnovers (you can always argue whether they were "forced" or given away), a couple of the Georgetown losses could have been W's. At that point in the game, Georgetown was down 14-3 and driving (really driving) and then unfortunately a great kid lost the ball.

Beating the Hoyas this season may be a frequent accomplishment, but not an easy one.

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…