Two up and down seasons converge in Blacksburg tonight as Virginia looks to end a 10 game losing streak to Virginia Tech. There’s no time like the present for the Cavaliers to bust the streak, as Tech enters the game with a losing record and on the verge of missing a bowl game for the first time in 21 seasons. The Hokies are also coming off the low point of their season, a 6-3 OT loss to Wake Forest that went into the overtime period knotted in a scoreless tie. It was the first game since 2005 to go into overtime with goose eggs on the scoreboard. That game also produced this screen-grab of Frank Beamer celebrating a missed Wake field goal that sent the game to OT, which neatly sums up the Hokies season:
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ —
The entire day really couldn’t have gone any better, up to this point. My weekend excursion to New Jersey had included some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, a tailgate menu worthy of it’s own review in the Food section of The New York Times, several different beer fueled BS sessions with friends old and new and an ill gotten yet spirit lifting win for the 49ers. Did the Niners deserve to win? Probably not. But as an East Coast Niners Fan, leaving a road stadium with a W in my back pocket doesn’t get old.
When a college basketball season ends, a trophy is given to the team who survived five months of basketball followed by three weeks of March Madness, while a losing team wipes away some tears and trudges back to their locker room, as a gentle confetti storm in the color of their opponents jerseys falls from the rafters, sticking to their sweaty and exhausted bodies.
Every day, people retire. On November 5th, 2014, at the age of 23, Marcus Lattimore retired from professional football.
Retirements from professional football at such a young age more often than not aren’t a headline grabber. Typically, very talented yet undersized or under skilled athletes stop getting phone calls from teams offering a practice squad tryout and a guaranteed contract that might last a few weeks. A life spent playing football ends abruptly; the only life these players have known ends in silence. No more phone calls, no more locker rooms, no more pads cracking into moving targets.