It’s how you play the game


16 October 2006, 21.53 CET

College Football

On Saturday MD and I went to a college football game, a first for each of us. Our team lost (they haven’t won and probably won’t win a game this year). The defense played pretty well, but the offense simply couldn’t move the ball. The best part of the game was when our defense returned an interception for a touchdown, our only score of the afternoon.

We both had a lot of fun. It was a beautiful afternoon, our new stadium is terrific, and it was fun being around people who were there for love of the game and the school, not simply because we had a chance to beat a rival school.

I was most impressed with the football team. We’re one of the few (and maybe the only?) Division I football team who doesn’t relax academic standards for athletics. I’ve heard that compared with 10 years ago, when only 3% of the top high school football players were academically eligible, this year only 1% were eligible. Needless to say this makes recruiting extremely difficult. Yet, my school is stubborn, refusing to relax standards or to go to Division II. We’ve been successful in the past, and next year will no doubt be better (it’s a young team).

The players played valiantly the whole game. They didn’t seem despondent, angry, dismayed or anything like that. They exhibited strength, camaraderie, and confidence. They represented themselves and the University extremely well.

[Update, 11 November 2006: WE WON! Finally, an upset win over Washington and former head coach Tyrone Willingham.]

[Update 2, 30 November 2006: Turns out our athlete graduation rates are virtually indistinguishable from those of non-athletes, another (sadly) unique achivement of Stanford Athletics.]

[Update 3, 19 December 2006: Stanford just hired Jim Harbaugh as the new football coach. Hopefully he has better luck and talent as a coach than he did as quarterback for the Chicago Bears.]