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Sunday's Word: Soup

This weekend, I saw the Lehigh/Princeton game in a variety of areas around Princeton stadium, as I always do: in the stands, on the sidelines, and in the press box. Princeton's press box is a particularly nice one, and for the press corps this evening was something you don't see often in a press box: gourmet "soup".

It was delicious: a potato horesradish "soup" that could have come from any fine restaurant off of Princeton's main street. On a damp evening, two bowls of that "soup" were probably the only thing keeping me from catching pneumonia as I was rushing in and out of the press box.

"Soup" is what Lehigh fans need right now.

"Soup" is comfort food, a taste of something that takes you back years ago - when mother had you stay home from school and eat a hearty cup of Campbell's Chicken Noodle instead of facing the dark, cruel reality which is the world.

For Lehigh fans, "soup" means the traditions that fans have enjoyed over the years observing Lehigh football. That means winning and competing for Patriot League championships, of course, but also watching offenses that score early and often. If you browse some of the games that were being commemorated in the 20th anniversary of Murray Goodman stadium, you saw a lot of high scoring games: Lehigh 36, Harvard 35. Lehigh 41, Colgate 22. Lehigh 31, Princeton 24.

It's a Lehigh fan's version of the Campbell's commercial: win or lose, at least we'll put up a lot of points and put on a show. This is a fan base that last year voted a loss - Holy Cross 42, Lehigh 41 - as the second best game ever played at Murray Goodman stadium. That loss was ranked over a 27-24 overtime playoff win over a CAA team in Hofstra, a 14-13 loss in the playoffs to the eventual I-AA Champs in James Madison, and two different wins versus Lafayette. This is a fan base that worships offense.

To these fans, there is no "soup" in this offense. 19, 14, and 7 points in 3 games just simply leaves people with cracker crumbs when they're looking for cream of tomato.

Now, even a fan base that is expecting "soup" can get used to having something else to satisfy the appetite. While some fans would have still complained if the Mountain Hawks escaped Princeton on the winning side by a 10-7 score, the fans still would have had something to chew on: a hard-fought win, and this young offense would have more to build on for next week.

There seems to be an annoying optimist in me that tries to rationalize things. The first game of the year was played in a downpour that made the field a "soup"-y mess, so maybe a low-scoring game was to be expected in that one. The second game of the year came on the road against a nationally-ranked CAA team - one that just upset the #1 team in the country last week in the exact same venue. And yesterday's team revealed a Princeton team that looked an awful lot like the team that played with a lot of precision in 2006, not the mistake-filled team Lehigh played in 2007.

Plus, it was rainy on Saturday, the annoying optimist adds.

Are these excuses? I don't know; they probably are. Maybe I, just like the rest of Lehigh Nation, have been simply denied "soup" so long that I'm grasping for positives to take out of this game. I'm getting used to losing. I'm getting used to not having "soup". This team has only won three times in its last ten games - beating only Georgetown, Bucknell, and Drake in that stretch. In the seven losses we haven't cracked 21 points.

What I do know is that if Lehigh continues to say "No soup for you!" - especially next week against 2-0 Cornell - it's going to be pretty dark times on South Mountain.

I think I speak for the fan base when I say we're extremely hungry for anything - "soup", or wins. Ideally both.


Anonymous said…
You should have been in the Bronx. Great game, plenty of scoring and a closely fought contest.
Anonymous said…
I have to take the time to write this comment..........never before have I done so. Everyone needs to understand that the players are "boys". Kids who have been sent by their parents and entrust their children to these coaches. When you talk about players, please remember these are kids, maybe even your own children, someday. It is the coaches that I do they lead, coach and guide these young men to become winners, and productive human beings. Football is a sport and yes we should strive to win but with coaches who destroy and not coach will never produce a winning team!
Anonymous said…
...Those who post negatives over and over, and criticize players and coaches should remember that players, parents, recruits may be reading this board. What a foul picture you are painting. You want things to change with the team? Negative enery sure isn't going to make anything positive happen. As an alum, I would point out that our players are also students at one of the finest schools in the country. They are scholar-athletes who are working incredibly hard to do their best for their team. The kind of kid who comes to lehigh to play football is coming because the school (education) and football program are the right fit. If they wanted to coast academically and play football as their "job", theyd have gone somewhere else. Patriot League athletes are different. Ripping apart their coaches, their teammates--its awful--just stop it!here's an idea...go cheer for the team, instead of digging up dirt, why not try digging up positive stories, instead.
Anonymous said…
Thank you very much Mrs. Coen

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