The Struggle with Expectations

ECSAGESTER's picture
December 17, 2013 at 10:43p

In the wake of the excitement surrounding the recruitment of Kwon and Dixon, I think it's necessary for some of us to take some time to understand the repercussions of this excitement. I understand entirely why we get excited about highly recruited kids picking our school. In a similar fashion to the NFL, it's simply the acquisition of talent. Talent breeds success at any level in any profession and for those of us on Eleven Warriors, that profession (per se) that we follow is Ohio State football. Success is a part of the reason why we watch and read and stress and analyze anything and everything Ohio State. And in those moments where we become fanatical, it is easy to view the product on the field as the sum of the parts of some great machine. But this is a game, and as Woody liked to say, "You win with people." 

This amazing, wild, exhilirating, heart-breaking, euphoria-inducing game is ultimately played by a group of men that have little stake but a passion for football and the school they attend. Every year, a new group of kids comes to become a part of the greatest tradition in sports and to play in front of over 100,000 and for over a several million each and every Saturday in the fall. We follow high school seniors on Twitter and watch YouTube highlights in hopes of seeing the next great Buckeye. Every kid is analyzed, graded, evaluated for anyone with Google to read and accept. Every one of them is supposed to be the next great thing, for us the next great Buckeye. We decide this without ever having seen them play a snap in practice, let alone an actual game. Far too often we unfairly criticize a kid for not living up to some ethereal level of potential that a group of grown men with clipboards and stopwatches has described for us, the obsessive fan. The failure to realize this arbitrary potential pisses us off and we label them busts and sometimes attribute it to a lack of effort, as if a kid balancing school, lifting, practice, and interviews isn't trying hard enough. But being pissed off is short-lived and we continue to search Rivals, BuckNuts, and anywhere else for our next great Buckeye. 

My ultimate point is this: the reason college football is the best sport we could ever hope to watch is because of the passion of those who play the game and the allegiance they feel to our school. Recruiting is certainly a part of the landscape of this game and there is nothing wrong with following Urban and the staff around the country to see who we will be pulling for for the next four years. But while we follow recruiting, I think it's important to remember that every kid who decides to come The Ohio State University will give his best effort and is more than the sum of his stars on Rivals. Don't forget those who may not be All-Americans and that next great Buckeye. Everyone contributes to the level of success that the Buckeyes enjoy and does not always deserve the heated criticism we want to pour on them. Pitt Brown never deserved the venom spewed his way, he gave his best effort as a backup and gave his heart and soul to a 12-1 Buckeye team, only to be constantly told by those on the outside that everything he did just wasn't good enough. As we welcome this next crop of Buckeyes, don't forget the ones we have in favor of "the next big thing" and don't lose sight of the fact that these are young men, not professionals. 

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ECSAGESTER's picture

With that being said, I am pumped about Kwon the Chef. 

Breakawayspeed's picture

Is he cooking with Crown Royal?  That never occurred to me.

3cent's picture

Sorry, I meant to up vote.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Taken care of.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

You make a lot of good points. If a prospect turns out to have been overrated, it's the people who did the overrating to begin with who start throwing around the "bust" accusations. Pitt Brown wasn't really a Big Ten-caliber player, but who's to say he didn't completely live up to what was always his real potential, and not the potential recruiting analysts (and of course, a lot of coaching staffs) incorrectly saw in him?
These errors in judgment are why I try not to lose myself in recruiting. It's important -- there's not much about a program that is more important -- but what counts is what the player becomes, not what he is right now.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

OSUNEA1986's picture

A great post! I think tOSU football team is fortunate in having a coaching staff that evaluates the talent well and has realistic expectations for each athlete. Moreover, they appear to have a good sense of whether potential has been achieved and the how & whys if it hasn't.
I agree wholeheartedly that it's prudent to remind the fanbase of these points. It's what makes college football exciting. As I've said in another thread: Dantonio manages to take "lesser recruits" and create the #1 defense in the country and wins the Big Championship. Hmmmm........
Speed is good. Controlled speed, i.e. brains, is better.

Bucks777's picture

1000% CORRECTO!!!                                         

Bucks777's picture

Great fundamental teams, taught where to be on each play, gap integrity, position awareness, and self control on all fakes...

11thAveBuckeye's picture

Love this post. One comment I must make after watching the Championship game though is just because you try hard in practice does not give you the right to playing time. That is what makes us so great. Pitt Brown deserves no PERSONAL venom but the mistakes he made on the field makes fans wonder if he was truly the best man to help us win. He was making freshman mistakes as a senior which I have not seen from a safety of ours in a while. I will always love pitt brown for being a buckeye but do believe there could have been a person to perform better on the field that game to give us a better chance at 25-0.