Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Reevaluating my Expectations

“I sprinkle sand into the waters of night. The grains burn as they fall, reminding me of another in times long passed away. I watched him even then as he fell, his face undefeated, his eyes still proud.”

While it’s possible that Neil Gaiman wasn’t talking about the 2006 Florida Gators when he wrote that, I doubt it. My expectations for the season may have fallen, but I am still a proud (some would say cocky) Florida Gator.

It’s just time to be realistic again, along with the pride. At the beginning of the season I told myself that this was not a Mythical National Championship season, that the schedule was too difficult and the team too young. I said that if we could split the LSU and Auburn games I would be happy. I even went so far as to say “If I had to choose a game to lose, I would pick Auburn, because I do not want to lose at home on homecoming.” (Speaking of: if I ever meet the man who scheduled LSU for Homecoming, I will stab him in the soul). I set the SEC Championship and a Bowl Game as the best case scenario.

Then something happened. Someone passed me the Kool-Aid, and damn, it was Great Bludini delicious. I drank and drank. All of a sudden, I could not see the team’s obvious flaws. I talked myself into an undefeated season not just being possible, but being likely.

Now my hopes have been murdered, and it’s time to readjust my expectations. The SEC Championship game is now, once again, the goal. I’m not going to focus on the various crazy hypotheticals that could put UF back in the Mythical National Championship picture.

It was not long ago that I set realistic goals for this team, to be disappointed that the team has accomplished them is ridiculous. No more Kool-Aid, no more overconfidence…well, some overconfidence, you’re not a Gator fan if you cannot use your cockiness as a weapon against rival schools. However, a balance between realistic expectations and a slight overconfidence is necessary to retain my sanity. Otherwise, another night like this past Saturday in Auburn could drive me to murder some Volunteer fans (Sure, it was Auburn that beat us, but their fans were too nice for violence).

While it's unlikely being driven to Vol-murder would send me to jail, as I have yet to meet a criminal judge in Central Florida that is not a Florida grad, the murders would be a bad idea because I do not want even an unsuccesful murder charge appearing on my bar background check. My career is dependant on keeping my football expectations realistic (I won't bring up basketball, as it is physically impossible to keep those expectations grounded).

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