Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vindicated?

Finally a win!

The Illini, after half a season of wretchedness and yucky, defeated Michigan on Saturday. (And yes, the classic "Muck Fichigan" shirts could be seen throughout Memorial Stadium...it warmed my heart.)

Although rookie wide receiver-turned cornerback Terry Hawthorne must get a lot of credit for using Flash-like speed to stop a Michigan receiver from entering the end zone, my game ball goes to Juice Williams.

Juice looked like the real Juice. He was on fire. The Michigan defense was totally bumfuzzled. It was awesome.

I suppose it counts as irony that, after last week's Purdue debacle, I wondered aloud about whether or not Juice would be able to redeem himself. Would his football career rebound? Or would he settle into a dark trough of mediocrity and anonymity? I'm not sure what Coach Zook said in the locker room at half time, but it evidently inspired his team.

So now, Juice's (at least temporary) vindication has me wondering: if he can do it, why can't I? In college football, there's a very limited number of opportunities to achieve anything. In real life, the opportunities don't stop until you're dead. I'm reminded of my very favorite quote from one of my very favorite movies: "Can't someone be a shit for their whole life and then try to repair the damage?"

I am inspired by Juice. I suppose a lot of things are possible. Although I have tended to have a fairly negative outlook on life, I have been recently realizing that being overly negative can be a serious liability. That's probably obvious for most people, but some of us take a little longer to catch on... In any event, maybe I'll choose to think of myself like a fourth year starting quarterback with a 2-6 record and 4 games to go. The brass ring? A .500 season and possibly the Motor City Bowl? Yeah, it's a long shot for the Illini, but sometimes being a little bit better than you were before is an accomplishment in itself.

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