Saturday, January 27, 2007

Moving On

You knew it was coming. You know that a die-hard Clemson fan like myself doesn't just let such a situation as the ".6 controversy" go by without a blog entry. Around the blogging world right now, there are talks of conspiracy, positing that Coach K is satan incarnate, and repeated jokes about Duke Lacrosse.

In the midst of everything that has gone down, especially the recent press release from the ACC stating that a mistake was made, I have some self-congratulatory thoughts about Oliver Purnell.

Back in the fall, there was a huge controversy in college football over an onside kick call in the Oklahoma-Oregon game. The Sooner faithful were convinced that they had been screwed and video evidence confirmed that they were right. Everyone in the entire state, from the fans to the coaches to the political leaders, were so outraged that they made public calls for justice, including an official reversal of the game's outcome.

Although the Duke-Clemson should have gone to overtime, Oliver Purnell has not said anything to anyone. The Clemson administration have shown their displeasure and vowed to move on. The Clemson players will show up on Sunday against Virginia and will play their game. All of this is because of a coach who truly understands the game. Purnell knows that there are always 13 players on the basketball court. While some of them are held to higher and more official standards of success, they are still players. Coach Purnell knows that you can't reverse a game's outcome because an opponent made an impossible play, or because a teammate missed an easy play. Why, then should a game be reversed because the officials messed up? They are part of the game, and that's what every player, coach and fan accepts when their team walks on the basketball court.

Coach Purnell demonstrated to the nation that he and his players were above whining and moaning over a mistake. They set an example for youth leagues, parents, and athletes everywhere. Whining isn't a virtue, and sporting outcomes shouldn't be the business of government officials and school presidents. They let it go, and by doing so, they have helped me to let it go. Thanks Coach.

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