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Sunday's Word: Grace

The long offseason of Lehigh's football team starts now, with the lingering image to my left being the lasting memory of the 2006 season.

Next week, we learned, Lafayette will have to play mighty UMass up in Amherst, MA, as a reward for beating us. I'm not sure if the Leopards will be able to compete with the strong defense and powerful running game of the Minutemen. But there's plenty of time to talk about that, predict the playoffs, and honor the seniors who did their best yesterday.

It's time to talk about "grace".

We're in that difficult situation right now where we need to find some "grace". Something inside us that puts the loss behind us, and allows us all to cheer for Lafayette next week. But these losses hurt, and you can't go through that much emotion without feeling some lingering bad feelings. I have them too. The view of the (thankfully few) drunk Lafayette students swearing and cursing out the Lehigh players as they left the playing field just fills me with loathing, but thankfully I know enough Lafayette fans to know that these bozos were only a very small minority. Unfortunately, with "The Rivalry" so raw right now, it's things like that which linger in my memory at the moment.

It's the risk of "The Rivalry". You win, and it's the sort of wind that puffs your sails for weeks afterwards. You look back at 1995 when WR Brian Klingerman made "The Catch" and you smile. It never goes away, either - if you were there for that catch and you were a Lehigh fan, you remembered it. But you put yourself at the precipice. When things don't work out, you're in this mire of thinking... what went wrong? How do we not let this happen again? God, those Lafayette fans were jerks.

Keep in mind that I am very aware the reverse is true as well. I'm certain many Lafayette fans have memories of "some Lehigh jerk" doing something stupid too, and someday they will be talking about RB Jonathan Hurt and QB Brad Maurer in hushed, revered tones the same way we talk about WR Brian Klingerman, QB Luke Cianello, or QB Phil Stambaugh. But when you're on the edges of "The Rivalry" - it's still so raw.

"Grace". It will come. The time will come to honor the seniors, to look back at the positive things that coach Coen has brought to this team and this program, and to scout out the I-AA playoffs. (Not to mention to try to figure out how Portland State was left out of the I-AA playoffs.)

But know this. Coach Coen's hiring was not meant to simply continue what was here before - he was here to build his own team and instill his philosophy here. It will take time for these seeds to take root, and I think that we will be reaping those benefits in the future.

In the meantime, the word is "grace".


Anonymous said…
i could use some right now. this is my 5th year at lehigh, so i've been here just long enough to watch that junior-college in easton storm their own field 3 times, see the game lost at our house in the last minute, and watch lehigh win one on the television because my car broke down on the way back to school.
i felt they could win this one... for me and my buds that have been to every home game since before we understood what "lehigh-laf" meant. i wanted for once to come back to lehigh after the game to celebrate.

but such is life as a fan. i'll be back every year until they win it, and then i know i'll love it so much that i'll come back every year after. but damn, that was not the way to end my undergrad years as a diehard lehigh football fan...
Anonymous said…
"...i've been here just long enough to watch that junior-college in easton storm their own field 3 times..."
BWAHAHAHA.... so, you are getting whooped up on by JCs now? That wouldn't make me feel any better.

Anyways, you make it seem like it is bush league to storm the field. In my 4 years at Lafayette, we didn't win once and it really wasn't even close and not once did the Lehigh fans storm the field. Apparently they were too much above that.
Well, you know what? It's a game and getting our asses handed to us and being told over and over again that we didn't belong on the same field bred alot of contempt. And the jackass Threet saying that it was "their" trophy was another insult. Our fans care alot about this game now. Certainly alot more than when it was 9 in a row for Lehigh.
It is all cyclical, your fans will have a day, that is certain. But one thing you don't see is ANYONE from Lafayette talking about how this game doesn't matter anymore. There is no talk about how Lafayette has trancended the Patriot League and should move to Division I and play Penn State and bull like that.
The players from both sides will be sure to keep this game always in focus from now on.
And it is tough for me to believe that a group of Lafayette players will be going into their Senior year, having never lost to Lehigh.
Anonymous said…
I think the absence of storming the field at Lehigh had a lot to do with the fact that neither a PL championship nor a playoff bid was on the line. That's how its been for the last 2 meetings in Easton. Please think through the thought before posting.
Anonymous said…
Wow i knew that was a Lafayette guy even before he said he went there. Nice comment. Sedale didnt said it was his throphy he said he wanted it back. You know, when you win a rivaly game you get the throphy for a year. Do you understand that concept? Lehigh fans care about the game just as much as Lafayette fans do.
Anonymous said…
BTW: In 2002, the students took down the goalposts and it wasn't for a trip to the playoffs. It was just for beating Lehigh.
Lehigh74 said…
I preface this comment by admitting that I might be just a little biased. We know that when you have any large group of people, such as a student body or a group of alumni that some people will be classy and some people will be jerks. Since Lehigh's student body is twice the size of Lafayette's, you would expect there to be roughly twice as many jerks. However, my perception is that for some reason it seems to be the other way around. I remember back in the early 70's some students from Lafayette visited Taylor stadium the night before the game and burned into the grass with herbicides the letters "Lehigh Blows". In each of the last 2 Lafayette victories I heard Lafayette students chanting "Lehigh Sucks". Although I am not saying it has never happened, in all my years being associated with the Lehigh Lafayette rivalry I have not witnessed Lehigh people doing these types of classless things. If I was a Lafayette Alumni I would be embarrassed by it.
Anonymous said…
Lafayette alumni here.
All I want to say here is that I might be biased but as much as I heard the Lafayette student section chanting "Lehigh sucks!" and "F U Lehigh", all I heard on the way in or out of the stadium was "Lafayette is a F-ing joke" or "Lafayette sucks!".
Don't even get me started about what I heard from the Lehigh student buses as we were walking back to our car.
The classless behavior is not just a one-way street.
Ngineer said…
Emotions, alcohol and youth are an excellent mix for creating jerks and cretins. Both schools have them, and it's a shame. Not just at football, but basketball as well. It's bad when parents are reluctant to take their kids to games because of what they will be subjected to, but that is life in our society today. Growing classlessness, crassness, and no sense of manners
Anonymous said…
Amen Ngineer, amen. But its impossible to fight pop culture...unless they schedule
BYU vs. Liberty. And then, pushing may break out at the hot chocolate lines.

But that being said, I believe in cycles, and when LU finally gets a handle on those pesky spotted cats, and gets their chance to run it up on LC, I hope it gets real ugly. The crowd at Goodman deserves it after these last 3 years. Andy, we put our hopes on you. Get us some big, strong blockers, some linebackers, and some playmakers, and we promise to reward you with delirium.
Anonymous said…
Love the blog and love you too, Chuck, but there is no way in hell I'll be cheering for Lafayette this weekend. I couldn't care less about the prestige of the Patriot League - I hate that school. If it were any of the other PL schools, maybe I'd root for them, but NEVER LAFAYETTE. I'd root for the Iranians if they played Laf.
Drunken Engineer said…
I'll drink to that! Just can't cheer for the pards. Not to keen on the minute men, either. And don't get me started on the blue chickens from down south.
Anonymous said…
this is coming from a recent grad/player from your lehigh team, our program is a hault right now and in order for us to become a premier team in the league again we have to compete on and off the field with the other teams, the rest of the league yes i said the rest is moving ahead of us..from facilities,recruiting, the way they treat their athletes and the whole experience. im telling you all this in all honesty but about 99% of the team is on board but all 99% feel like they arent getting the full experience of a real program, there is alot of little things such as getting one grey workout shirt,gold shorts,grey undershorts for 4 years! one pair of cleats for the WHOLE year as well as not having up to date nutriotion and workout supplements that other patriot league schools are getting. If lehigh wants this program to remain close to the top alot of changes have to be made, in order to remain on top you have to recruit better than everbody else..i give it 3 aybe 4 more years and lehigh will be the 4th best team in the league why? because the program hasnt advanced since the 70' if you think im bullshitting ask any current or former player.....lehigh needs to keep up with the rest of the pack the sprint is downhill now and lehigh athletic dept still thinks we are miles ahead like we use to be little have they understood that everybody else has opened up stride and is now a few steps ahead...tradition isnt old time sakes tradition is Winning in order to keep winning you have to be bigger, badder, and better than everybody else..someone please express this to joe sterett, hell the basketball team can get renovated locker rooms and football cant? please...were are behind the 8-ball i want to see lehigh back as the team! no a team in a league!

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