By John Vitale
October 25, 2012
Dear LHU football,
About four hours ago my heart broke. And I know if my heart broke, then your collective hearts must have shattered too. There’s an all-too-often painstaking irony at how a 60-minute football game can whiz by for 59 minutes and 58 seconds, but for those final two seconds, what feels like an eternity can transpire.
I had one of the best seats in the house for your homecoming game against Clarion. From the press box I watched, on that final play, as Ben Fiscus’s pass fluttered toward a wide-open Anthony Becote. And as I watched, I knew the victory you so courageously deserved had all but slipped away. I suppose I surrendered hope before the catch was actually made.
But my willingness to concede victory before the final gun is the difference between me and all of you. It’s also the difference between all of you and the majority of students on this campus.
Whether down by 30 points or winning by four with 2.3 seconds to go you keep on playing and never do you even consider giving up.
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and cowardly bask in the struggles of others. And I find it appalling that so many among our student body choose to do so. What all of you do, on the other hand, is anything but easy.
You sacrifice your bodies, health, and time. Some of you work, go to class, and still choose to play football. You condition yourselves year round. You lift weights in the winter, practice in the spring, run in the summer, and play in the fall.
Of course, victory is the ultimate goal of any athletic competition and it’s no secret that victory has eluded LHU football for far too long. But at least for one homecoming Saturday afternoon you showed this university that the days of blowouts and hopelessness are soon to be a thing of the past.
Coach Allen, you are a good coach and an even better member of the LHU family. Thank you for all you do for your players, as well as the on-campus and local community. There is an improved culture of athletic enthusiasm that was lacking prior to your presence at LHU.
To the players, please know that for every person out there chuckling, there are people envious of your strength, envious of your dedication, and envious of the heart you display on a weekly basis. We have the utmost respect for all that you do.
To those who think LHU’s losing streak is laughable, understand something: Your condescension and laughter say more about you than it will ever say about LHU football. These young men do not cower in the echo of your chuckles; nor do they bow from the backlash of your ridicule.
They do—and will continue to do—what they’ve done for the past four years that I’ve been a Lock Haven football fan. They embrace the challenge, continue working, and continue striving toward that ever-elusive victory.
Maybe LHU wins its next game. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it loses its next 50. Either way, there is no denying that after homecoming the pride surrounding LHU football has reached a level unrivaled in recent history.
Four hours ago, when the scoreboard read “Guests: 30, LHU: 28,” my heart broke, but know that when I put the period at the end of this sentence my heart will be back together. You may not have won the game, but you did win the heart of every single person lucky enough to be in the stands and witness such an inspirational display of teamwork and commitment.
We love you more than ever. We support you more than ever. We believe in you more than ever!
The only thing left to say is, thank you. Go out this Saturday, and beat Gannon.