Student of the Game is a weekly column by Sam Pouncey (an over-worked and over-caffeinated medical student) examining various aspects of the world of sport. The goal of the column is fairly simple: to provide quality and original content that the reader will find both entertaining and informative. As always, hopefully you will enjoy this. Feedback and suggestions for future column topics are always welcome.
Competition has always been an integral part of my being. I remember being ten years old and playing “Swinging Snakes” with my mom and brother. If you don’t know, it’s a game in the mold of “Jenga” or “Don’t Break the Ice” where you keep adding things to a device and try not to make it fall. Well, I lost on this night. Then, I proceeded to kick the game, cut my foot, and as far as I know never played the game again. I’ve always been a sore loser.
Vince Lombardi once said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
That’s always resonated, but at the same token losing is part of life and sport. Since I graduated high school in 2009, I’ve watched my team win four titles and now watched them lose one. I also watched my team blow a 3-1 World Series lead last fall. So, I’ve experienced my fair share of winning and losing in the last few years, and it’s what I love about sports. Very few things match the high of watching your team win a title, and few things are as bitter as being so close and falling short.
I wrote this today specifically to Alabama fans, but it applies to any team watching their team on an extended run of success. (Patriots fans and insufferable “LeBron fans” come to mind.) Enjoy it while it lasts, because it won’t go on forever. I know plenty of Alabama fans who think that the Tide will be in contention year after year, and that’s not the case. Eventually, and no one has any clue when, they’ll fall back to the pack. The Yankees and Lakers owned the late 90s, and neither made the playoffs last year. Tom Brady isn’t immortal, so eventually he will retire and the Patriots will fall back to the pack too. It’s inevitable, so once again I’ll say it: Enjoy this.
Having grown up in the forgettable “Era of Multiple Mikes”, I’ve seen plenty of bad Alabama teams and I’ll see them again. One day Alabama will no longer be the premier team in college football, and if you want to use the “D-word” feel free, but it will end. They all do. And when it does: remember and savor the good times and endure the bad, because we have a finite number of seasons to watch.
NFL Division Round Picks
New England over Houston 31-17
Kansas City over Pittsburgh 24-20
Green Bay over Dallas 35-31
Atlanta over Seattle 34-27
Cover Photo Courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports