Skip to main content

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."


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…