UV-E football season ends on a downer

Patrick Newell

The last day of the football season for UV-Edmeston was one that I will always remember – although, preferably, I wish I had selective amnesia. UV-E hosted Oxford on a Thursday evening in a non-league matchup to round out each team’s nine-game schedule. The two clubs had exactly one combined win, so as expected, we saw some good moments, and plenty of bad ones. The Storm looked to avoid a winless season, and Oxford hoped to salvage a rebuilding year with its second win. At the outset, I told Evening Sun photographer, Frank Speziale, that I expected a tight, competitive game. It was. Statistically, there was little difference, and each team scored three touchdowns. The final difference – two points – was the Blackhawks’ success on one more two-point conversion. What followed the game was plain ugliness and disrespect – from an unruly fan/parent or two, as well as a couple of players. No one, and I repeat NO ONE finds a winless season acceptable. That includes all of the players, coaching staff, along with the program’s supporters. The time to air grievances is not in the middle of a playing field. What I observed first was the loud berating of the UV-E coaching staff as it prepared to go through the handshake line – in full earshot of the players. Subsequently, a couple of players walked away – spurning their teammates in the post-game huddle. The discourse that ensued is not printable here. It’s easy to pass the blame on to someone else rather than take responsibility for one’s actions. Sure, a player may not agree with every tactical decision made by a coach, but the coach isn’t on the field missing blocks, missing tackles, dropping passes or fumbling the ball away. I am reminded of a quote from Remember the Titans: “We will be perfect in every aspect of the game. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. You fumble the football, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts, and then you will run a mile. Perfection.” As most people know, the movie was based on a true story, and the man who uttered the quote, Coach Herman Boone, ran a fairly simple offense with just six plays – six! Even the most basic of offenses I see today are more complicated than the one Coach Boone used to win championships. Perhaps more than any other sport, proper execution is the key to success in football. And football is an ultimate team game where the success or failure of the team may hinge on any particular player on the field at any time. It is unfortunate that the emotions of the moment override good sense. It is even more unfortunate that my final impression of the UV-E team is one of the more sour moments in my 14-year career covering football.