COLUMN: It's Time To Face The Changes
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 00:09
When you’re a kid, the first day of school is the day you’ve spent all summer dreading.
The serene afternoons of summer instantaneously pass over into a blank slate of uncertainty. Leaves that were a lush green a day earlier suddenly appear bronzed by the looming arrival of autumn. Laughs shared with your buddies on the beach and at the ball fields become ghostly echoes.
Each first day brings a cyclical set of changes that are profound—that is, through the eyes of a grade-schooler. There’s the new backpack, a fresh pair of kicks, and the apprehension of finding an open seat on the bus.
Before you leave, Mom snaps a photo of you with your new gear and uneasy first-day smile like she does every year for posterity. And then you put those new sneakers to the test in a sprint for the bus that begins another nine-month odyssey.
After a while (or at least by junior year), you’d think the first-day jitters would disappear. But despite the annual routine of embracing the new, one can’t help but feel that a seemingly predictable routine has changed—that somewhere along the line, you too have changed.
No matter how old you get, there’s an excitement to it.
Like a kid on his first day of school, the teams at Boston College are embarking on another yearly journey with hopes to write a winning script. One year leads to the next, with similar predictions filled with optimism and apprehension. There are the team photos, preseason outlooks, and the uncertain comfort of a clean slate. When the season starts, the teams are thrust into action and take flight to chase a dream.
The yearly sprint to the proverbial bus begins.
But this year in BC sports is poised to disrupt a routine of repetitive expectations and going through the motions—in most cases for the better, and in some cases for the unknown.
On the gridiron at Alumni Stadium, there’s a football team with new leadership, nameless jerseys, and a renewed intolerance for losing. Even down to the finest details of its pregame Eagle walk, the start of the 2013 season has marked more than the turning of a calendar. Yet a revitalized defense and a driven group of veterans do not want the first-week excitement around the program to quickly erode as it had in two consecutive losing seasons.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from our school days, it’s that precious days fly by too fast. BC fans look ahead to late autumn and see a men’s basketball team that just yesterday looked like a group of freshmen trying to battle through the growing pains felt by a rebuilding program. In the blink of an eye, that same squad has grown into a veteran contender with legitimate aspirations to “go dancing” in March.
What was a pipedream just one year ago is now a realistic goal—darkness has given way to a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Like the uneasy freshmen wandering the halls of a new school for the first time, however, the BC men’s hockey team will be heading into uncharted territory without a senior class that reeled in two national titles and a Beanpot trophy every season. Even under the watch of head coach Jerry York, there are voids to be filled and work to be done after taking an early exit from the playoffs last season.
For these teams and their respective transitions, there is a world of new possibilities as they’re called to meet new challenges under different circumstances. Their ceilings of potential remain endless under an athletic director who has worked to steer the ship away from troubled waters and toward new beginnings.
As with everything in life, time in the world of college sports passes too quickly. Years of patient transition can culminate in a golden moment that comes and goes in an instant. Then we’re left with memories.
Embrace the bus chase and take change in stride, but don’t let it pass you by. When upset victory is won or a title is clinched, take a snapshot and frame it like a mother’s picture on the first day of school.