Column, Football, Sports

The Conundrum Of Complacency: Why We Expect BC To Lose

If you’ve ever walked around campus late at night, you may have noticed something that seemed unusual at first. You might have noticed a pair of eyes, watching you from the other side of the Mod fence. Maybe they were watching you from the Boston College flowers outside of Robsham. Wherever they were watching you from, you were probably a little surprised to see them.

The rabbits that inhabit Boston College’s lower campus are both ubiquitous and out of place. BC’s campus isn’t necessarily urban, but there isn’t really enough green space that you would expect to see rabbits hopping around all over the place, either. They feel like they don’t belong here.

After you get past this feeling, however, you come to appreciate it.

It’s the same feeling you get when you see an open Josh Bordner in the middle of the field, and so does Tyler Murphy. Or, more likely, it’s the feeling you have when you don’t see any open receivers down the field, and neither does Tyler Murphy, so he runs for 21 yards instead. It’s that great feeling when the other team has a third-and-long and it seems inevitable that BC’s defense will slip up and the quarterback will throw a 45-yard pass, but BC comes up big with a sack instead.

The Dudes of Chestnut Hill thrive on these magical moments, the ones that feel like they don’t belong at BC. They feel like they belong in Tuscaloosa or Tallahassee, or if they’re at BC then they belong in Kelley Rink—but not Alumni Stadium.

I’m not talking about Harry Potter-style magic, either—the type that you’re born with and doesn’t take much real development. I’m also not talking about David Blaine holding his breath for 17 minutes, which I’m not even sure can be called magic in the first place.

To equate the football team’s magic to these would disparage all the work these players put in on a daily basis. I’m talking about the magic of a perfectly executed play, when all that hard work comes together in the way that we’ve come not to expect here at BC.

Last Saturday against Colorado State, we got a glimpse of that magic, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t there the entire game. You can try to break it down into what went wrong, and you would probably be successful. The defense wasn’t making tackles in the second half, Murphy made a bad decision in the red-zone, and BC was again haunted by ghosts of field-goal attempts past. In the end, however, things just didn’t come together the way they needed to.

For some reason, BC fans have come to accept this as the norm. Losing is what happens here, it would seem, and if BC happens to pull off a big win, we call it magic and start making metaphors using campus wildlife just to explain it.

At schools with traditions of winning, the fan bases do not accept losing. For example, after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team lost the National Championship game last April, attendance was sparse and the players looked dejected at a ceremony commemorating their title run that, by any other standards, was a huge success. Coming into the tournament as an 8-seed, not many people had UK advancing past the round-of-32, let alone playing for the right to hang a national championship banner in the rafters at Rupp Arena. At the ceremony, however, it was clear the players knew that they had not given the people what they wanted.

Last Saturday, however, the indifference and complacency with mediocrity was apparent. Despite the possibility that in a mere four hours BC could be 4-1 going into its bye week, Alumni was, as usual, nowhere near full capacity, and the student section’s numbers were halved by the time BC’s largest and most visible organization on campus took the field to play us a Michael Jackson classic.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that the BC football players don’t feel accountable to the fans. The face on Tyler Murphy at the post-game press conference was one of the saddest I’ve seen, and Bryce Jones described the game as hands-down the most devastating loss he had endured. For the fans, however, these devastating losses are just a thing that happen here. And if the football team only has an okay season, then at least there’s the USC upset to hang on to.

Before the game on Saturday, I asked my roommate, a former Heights sports editor, what the chances were that BC loses to Colorado State. His answer: 35 percent. “35 percent isn’t bad,” I responded, “but if the weather forecast was a 35 percent chance of rain, I’d bring a raincoat.”

On Saturday, the BC football team forgot its raincoat, and later that night, the rabbits came out again. That’s just what happens here.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

September 29, 2014

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