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Sunday's Word: Lagom

I know, you're all wondering: what in h-e-double hockey sticks is the word this time? Let me explain, and I hope everyone thinks it's worth it.

"Lagom" is actually a Swedish word with no direct translation into English. In a nutshell, though, it describes the Swedish worldview. According to Wikipedia, it means the following: "enough, sufficient, adequate, just the right amount." Swedes take great national pride at being well-balanced: not too hot, not too cold. Just right. "Lagom".

I found myself on the way home from the game, genuinely depressed after the loss but needing to stop at a store to run an errand. I passed by a happy anonymous local couple, walking their young daughter around Main Street.

They seemed perfectly "Lagom": blissfully in a wonderful disposition. Not too hot, not too cold.

Evidently, they were unaware of the cruel fate the Gods (or perhaps just Cornell QB Nathan Ford and WR Jesse Baker) had bestowed upon the Lehigh players and the Lehigh fans this Saturday. If they were, they wouldn't have been walking down main street merrily walking to their destination.

They seemed well-adjusted; normal. They didn't seem like they had been dissecting a game in their head for the last hour and a half, calling friends and family on the cell phone, emotional and shell-shocked. As a matter of fact - incredibly - they looked happy. Relaxed. As if their entire Saturday afternoon was spent just enjoying the company of one another.

It sure felt tempting to be them yesterday. Why should I follow Lehigh so closely, anyway, I ask myself? Wouldn't it just be easier to just walk away from covering Lehigh football, and avoid the pain of losses like this? Wouldn't it simply be better to be "Lagom?"

A person who is "Lagom" would probably look at the game yesterday and say, "Eh, well, Lehigh fought fiercely against an undefeated Ivy League team and fought well, but ultimately only fell by a point, which isn't too bad. They did score 24 points, when you said you'd be satisfied with more than 21 points, no?"

But simply I can't do that.

Try as I may, I can't help but get wrapped up in the games. I'm a Lehigh alum, and a Lehigh fan at heart. I get caught up in the emotion. I always want to write about character-building Lehigh wins and interview happy Lehigh players after the game. It's no fun writing about tough losses week after week.

Although the losses suck, the wins are what make it worthwhile. I look at the happy couple and convince myself that they'll never experience the sweet taste of victory over "that school in Easton", or wins against Western Illinois, Hofstra, Richmond or Delaware.

Let them walk blissfully unaware through life. At least I saw Luke Ciannello lead our team to overtime, and when we won I rang the bell at midfield at Murray Goodman. Such moments they will never treasure. They will never eat from the full buffet of life.

The players are not "Lagom", and it's a great thing that they're not. Losing hurts them more than it hurts me. Although maybe senior LB Tim Diamond perhaps shouldn't have hurled his helmet across the field after Cornell's offense made a great play to win the game, we understand, Tim - we the fans understand part of your pain.

Yet maybe it's good - perhaps for just this weekend - to take ourselves out of the realm of emotion and into the world of "Lagom". Maybe, just maybe, there is a lesson here going into a crucial week for Lehigh - as they ready themselves to dust themselves off and start to prepare for a home game against the defending league champions, Fordham.

In Lehigh's case, it means putting this last weekend's game in perspective: that it was only a non-conference game. A learning experience; a tough one, but a learning experience nonetheless. The long-term goals of the season are all still there, completely achievable. Good plays were made in last week's game, and mistakes were made. Don't get too excited about the good stuff, since you'll need to do better for next week; but don't get too down on the mistakes, since they can be corrected to help make a better team for a crucial game next weekend.

Put the weekend's loss completely in the past. Not too hot, not too cold. "Lagom."


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