"DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE!" All the Hokies chanting, high-fiving and hugging me thought he made the catch. I didn't. Not because it din't look like a catch, it did, I saw it on replay. It looked good. It looked like a game winning catch. One of those big catches that's featured on SportsCenter and bootlegged onto YouTube. Everyone's sharing that video the next morning in the office. Your coworkers are huddled behind you ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing watching it while they sip their morning's coffee. I knew it seemed too good to be true.
That team made me proud.
No we didn't win. I'm sure a lot of y'all are pissed about some play calls. I am. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan, especially on short yardage situations. But this wasn't the Orange Bowl last year. We didn't get our balls beat in. We didn't get throttled. We didn't get out-coached. We didn't get out-played. No one punched us in the throat... And that's why it hurts.
I have an ache in my chest right now too painful for words to describe. We came sooooooooo close, but failed. That's a strong word, but it's accurate--we failed. We came to play. We came to fucking play this game.
Someone has to lose though. That's football. That's why we love this fucking game. That's why I love this fucking game. I love beating UVA 38-0. I love winning ACC Championships. But the thing that makes all those wins fun, is the chance you can lose. The fear that you can lose. The pride that you can lose, and win. Those feelings of missed opportunities, regret and disappointment. Every game my soul places a bet on the Hokies, and it's painful when my chips get raked in. But when I hit, when I put my pride, joy and love for Virginia Tech on double-zero and it hits... Well, you know the feeling... It's Miami in 2003. It's Tyrod-to-Coale against Nebraska.
I love this team. I love what those kids did tonight. They played hard. They played really fucking hard. Lanier, who I've given more shit to over the last four years and essentially called out after the Orange Bowl last year, played his ass off. David Wilson played his ass off. Our young defense did what no Big Ten team did and stuck it to Michigan. We moved the ball from the get go on offense. Myer, kicked better than anyone could have imagined. I have no complaints.
I guess I'm getting into the habit of writing eulogies at the end of the season. We lost our teeth in the Orange Bowl last year. Our hearts got broken tonight. I'd rather be pissed than crestfallen.
This team won 11 games. The seniors have never lost to Virginia. They've won 3 ACC Championships. We'll be pleasantly reminded of that in Lane until we'll too old, too fat, too dead to go to games. This year however, we didn't beat Clemson, we didn't beat Clemson and we didn't beat Michigan.
I love this team. I love that they finished strong. I love that they contended. I loved that they did more than was expected. I love that the core will be back next year. I love that they broke my heart.
I do. Really. The day I don't care, is the day I'm not a Hokie. That day was not today.