Hapless? Hopeless? Looking out from the dumpster fire

To all those whose teams’ seasons are over already:

It’s not that terrible. Your team isn’t undefeated after three games. It’s OK. Most teams aren’t.

Maybe your boys have a losing record. It’s OK. They’re not doomed to finish under .500. Heck, some 1-2 high school teams are pretty good (I’m looking at you, Calvary Cavaliers and Huntington Raiders, among others).

Perhaps your squad hasn’t won. Might not have been close to winning (Fork ‘Em, Demons).

It’s what we do as fans, so it’s OK to look ahead and go game-by-game and see the dark side. We’re mostly pessimists, once your club has stumbled more than once before Halloween decorations begin popping up all over.

Expect the worst, be pleasantly surprised if you’re wrong. It’s the emotionally safe approach.

C’mon! To summon motivational speaker John Blutarsky, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

True, some teams are floundering. Some teams might seem hapless.

Your struggling bunch needs 1) a different quarterback; 2) a change at offensive coordinator; 3) to fire the head coach, 4) all of the above, plus ….

We all want better. Alabama fans want better.

Driving in Baton Rouge many springs ago, when after a rocky February weekend in Houston, I heard sports talk caller Boudreaux saying he reckoned ole Slip Bertram was too old, had lost touch and had stayed just a little too long. All the LSU Tigers did that season was WIN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES.

Fifth one for the washed up Bertman.

There’s hope. Maybe your team bounces back, learns from these tough times, and pulls it together. Can happen.

Twenty-five years ago, I saw it up close. My NSU Demons were 1-4 after getting dough-popped, 50-7, by the dastardly McNeese Cowboys in Lake Charles. How’d that season end? Cradling a Southland Conference co-championship, rewarded by an FCS playoff berth, bringing back the core of a team that not only won another Southland crown in 1998, but steamrolled to the national semifinals, finishing a quarter away from the national championship game. Best NSU team I ever saw.

I’m not here suggesting your team, or mine, can flip the script like that this fall, or even the next one.

But maybe it can.

I am here telling you that the players and coaches on every team not off to a dream start have not given up. They are doing all they can to win this weekend. They are pushing every day to be better than they were the day before.

My junior year at Jonesboro-Hodge High School, we were 1-9. A few of my teammates piled into the Ireland family Country Squire station wagon and made the half-hour ride down to Winnfield to watch our despised rivals play a Shreveport Catholic school for the state championship on a cool December night in the woods.

Number 7 (a guy I got to know later, John James Marshall) fluttered the prettiest 62-yard screen pass you’ll ever see, the Jesuit (nee Loyola) Flyers somehow blanked the high-powered, homestanding Tigers 7-0, and we drove home amazed.

And determined. We were unbeaten the next fall, and played for the state championship our own selves.

Can’t promise that sort of turnaround is in the cards for your team. But I can promise you, those guys didn’t put in all the work earlier in the spring and summer to surrender after three weeks, or six, or even in the moments between the third and fourth quarter of their last game this season.

Those band kids, those cheerleaders and pom-pom line members, those trainers and managers, they’re giving it all they’ve got, too, every time they enter the stadium. They deserve just as much support.

No, your team’s season is not over already. It’s only just begun. You never know where the victories will be – maybe not often enough on the scoreboard, but more often than not, they’re in there, somewhere.

Contact Doug at sbjdoug@gmail.com