Recognizing success as more than overcoming challenges
Opinion Column: I Hate Writing
An explosion of noise so deafening that, even when expected, it can jolt your heart — cannons firing, fireworks exploding, people screaming hysterically. Sounds resembling a scene from War of the Worlds. Mass chaos. Pure joy. A moment so consuming that for a couple of seconds, nothing else in the world seemed to matter. A culmination of years and years of countless seasons and months of pain and tears, that in the past appeared worthless but in the moment presented itself as so obliging. A taboo of sorts, where no one is sure exactly how this moment contributes to any greater good in our world, but everyone agrees that it was worth the wait. Sort of like when you buy the new iPhone 25 even though you just bought the still new iPhone 24S that came out two months ago. You can’t exactly put your finger on what particularly excites you about the new version of the phone besides its 36-inch display and eye scanning unlock feature, but you and everyone standing outside of the Apple Store for the last 24 hours share the same sentiment for one moment. I mean in a few weeks the charger is going to fray and the screen is going to crack a little and then later on crack some more, forcing you to spend money to fix it or buy another phone. These moments seem to repeat themselves over and over in our first-world lives, but nonetheless bring the same grandeur to our everyday monotony.
Now speaking from a biased perspective of a football player, buying a phone is irrelevant compared to the excitement of a big play or touchdown during a game. The crowd and team alike put aside differences to share this camaraderie for a single instant. Yes, after the game or even the moment we will revert back to our individuality, but for now we enjoy the bliss. Just as for every new iPhone that is purchased, there is a naïve soul who purchases a Galaxy. Bottom line is, not everyone wins. What of the people on the other side of these timeless moments? Just as one team gathers the excitement of thousands behind them, the other feels the weight of thousands against them, particularly, a team that is playing at another’s venue. A team that has only the support of the 200 people on their sideline and a small section of family and friends in the nosebleeds. These people, against more than 70,000 at any given opponent’s stadium. But when the team’s fortune turns very bad, our numbers dwindle to just the people in the huddle. Just the players and coaches that put in the pain in the weight room, the countless hours in the film room, the distress of practice and the dreariness of the training room. Not only are they left alone in this moment, but quite frankly the only ones equipped to not only handle but attack this moment.
Lost in the depths of Indiana the Rutgers football team found itself in a very vague but all too familiar place. A place where we work so hard not to be. As a team you never truly prepare to be down 25-points in the third quarter of a game. And to be completely honest, there are very few people that have the faith to keep fighting in moments like these. Very few people on our sideline who could envision a possibility of winning. Not that everyone wasn’t giving their upmost effort at the time, but when we believe, our threshold for effort becomes a wee bit greater. There are no words to explain this feeling of despair when Murphy’s Law kicks in. One can simply look to their left and right to assess the extension of their soul, their teammates: their brothers. Then after realizing who we have in this battle with us, we must look within ourselves and evaluate what we have built our own character on. What characteristics do we identify ourselves with? Whatever they are, we must optimize them to do whatever we can to change the outcome of a bleak showing to this point. I can’t say who it started with, but one man believed, then another, then another. Eyes opened, hearts widened, belief deepened and points tallied — we won. I was not the originator of this belief. I must look at myself and say unhappily that I was one that had to be brought onto the belief bandwagon.
I cannot begin to express the respect I have for my teammates for their perseverance. We were the team on the other side of all that makes college football great. We were the people on the other side of all that makes life great. But in football, like life, we must believe until our last breath. In football, like life, we must look back for a short stint to enjoy our accomplishments, but realize there are more challenges coming. We must not simply handle these challenges, we must meet them and attack them. No, football is not life and death. No, our lives will not be defined by one moment, but handling all of our little moments the right way will make all the difference.
Julian Pinnix-Odrick is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in communication with a minor in human resources. His column, "I Hate Writing," runs on alternate Mondays.