Skip to main content

Sunday's Word: Blessed

This will probably be the shortest "Sunday Word" ever. 

It will not deal with the playoff field, or much about the game Lehigh lost last weekend.

There are a lot of disappointed fans, players, and people around the football program.  The Patriot League championship this year is Colgate's.  They earned it.

But the season is not over.

And it's time, instead, for Lehigh to count their "blessings".

Playoffs will happen, or they won't.  10-1 will happen, or it won't.  But this team is so "blessed".

Lehigh is "blessed", every year, to play an important game the weekend before Thanksgiving every year.

So many kids, at so many schools, do not have the opportunity to play in such an historic Rivalry game - only a select few.  Just like at Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Army, Navy, Notre Dame, and USC, Lehigh and Lafayette kids play in something special.

No matter what the record, the game is important.  So many do not get to do that, to play in front of a sellout crowd, to play with so much crazy on the line. 

Lehigh is "blessed", this year, to be 9-1.

Only three other FCS teams are 9-1 in the entire subdivision - Old Dominion, North Dakota State, and Montana State.  Think about that a second - no other FCS teams can say that.  121 schools, 4 can say they are 9-1.  And only only five schools have 9 wins, if you include Stony Brook.

That is a huge achievement, even if casual observers don't really understand exactly how difficult that is.

Lehigh is "blessed" to have a winning record three years in a row.

Lehigh is "blessed" to have gone down to a hostile environment, Liberty, played in front of 20,000 crazy fans, and found a way to win.  Liberty, a team still alive for the FCS playoffs.  Not many football programs get to do that.  I went there; that may as well have been Lehigh's FBS game this year. 

Lehigh is "blessed" to sweep the Ivy League this year.  Admittedly, Columbia is down and rebuilding at 3-6, but Princeton was a hard-fought battle, and is no slouch.  If Penn stumbles against Cornell and they get past Dartmouth, Princeton will be co-champions in the Ivy League.

Few really understand that these are great achievements, but they are.  Nobody can take this away from this team, even if the season ended today.  Winning seasons; big-time environments; these are "blessings".  And this team, even though it might not have felt like it, this weekend, is very fortunate.

Coach Coen in the post-game press conference talked about his time as an assistant coach at Penn - how hard it was, sometimes, to get the kids to play in the final weekend of the year against Cornell.  Penn/Cornell is an historic rivalry, for sure, but it's not The Rivalry, with sellout crowds, craziness, a bowl game to enjoy every year.

There should be one goal this week for this group of seniors - and that's to be a perfect 4-0 against Lafayette.  There are no playoffs.  There is no title.  Just one bowl game, and one win.  Just remember how "blessed" you are to play this game, and that you can play in this Rivalry, and do this thing, and any other "blessings", that hopefully happen, will happen. 

There is one "blessing" you can control.  Get it done.

Comments

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…