Pausch’s words applicable to current RocketsWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Like life, sports is full of lessons, surprises and unexpected twists and turns that can alter the game permanently. Just when you think you have someone or something figured out, that individual or situation can turn out to be completely different than what you expected.
Whenever I encounter those people or situations, be it through my everyday life or through covering sports, they always make me think of the late Randy Pausch. In case that name escapes you, Pausch was the former Carnegie Mellon professor who gained worldwide praise and fame after he gave his moving speech about life and achieving childhood dreams to a packed auditorium at the university in the midst of his battle with pancreatic cancer. I watched Pausch’s speech in my news writing class during my junior year at the University of Toledo.
In honor of the great man Pausch was and because it is the three-year anniversary of his speech this month, there was one thing he said that still sticks with me to this day that I wanted to write about. Pausch was quoting advice he got from Jon Snoddy, who was running the team that was working on Walt Disney Imagineering’s virtual reality project at the time and it is as follows:
“Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.”
This reminded me of how the Rockets have played so far this season, particularly on defense.
In this crazy technological age that we live in, we’re a society that has become accustomed to getting things at the push of a button, such as instant uploads and downloads, e-mail straight to our phones, Internet access anywhere, and a whole slew of “apps” that we don’t really need. That same attitude of wanting results quickly can be applied to today’s sports fans, especially in Toledo.
If America is the melting pot of cultures, then Toledo is the melting pot of numerous favorite sports teams. Having grown up and been educated in T-Town, I know that I’m more likely to run into a Cowboys or Steelers fan than I am a Lions or Browns fan, even though the latter are closer to home. The same can be said for college football. I know I’m more likely to run into a Buckeyes or Wolverines fan than I am a Rockets fan. A lot of that has to do with losing.
People like winners, and Toledo football has not done much of that the past few years. I get it. So far this season, however, the Rockets are 2-1. Both of those victories came on the road against not only two quality Mid-American Conference opponents in Ohio and Western Michigan, but two opponents that were picked to finish better in their respective divisions than Toledo was in the preseason poll done by the MAC News Media Association. This early-season success for the Rockets is directly related to the play of the defense through the first three games, in particular the defensive line.
After limiting the Bobcats to just 46 yards rushing for a 1.6 yards per carry average in the second contest of the year, Toledo was even more impressive against the Broncos, allowing just 13 yards on 26 carries. The Rockets recorded seven sacks, four interceptions and forced two fumbles for a total of six turnovers in its game with Western Michigan, bringing its total to 11 so far on the year.
“I just would credit it to our schemes that the coaches put in all week,” said senior cornerback Desmond Marrow. Marrow was the second Toledo player in consecutive weeks to be selected as the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded 10 tackles, one pass breakup and two interceptions against the Broncos, returning one for a touchdown.
While Marrow was elated after getting the first two interceptions of his collegiate career that wasn’t the best thing about his performance.
“I think the best thing about the interceptions was our D-line,” Marrow said. “Our D-line is playing really well this year, and as a DB, it’s the best thing to have when a defense has a D-line. If they can get to the quarterback faster, then you have to cover shorter, and you get interceptions and everybody’s happy.”
And while it may be a tall task, it’s not a stretch to say that the Rockets are capable of coming out of Ross-Ade Stadium with an upset victory over Purdue on Sept. 25. Like Pausch said in his speech, if you give people long enough, they’ll surprise and impress you.
Just ask Michigan about that day in the Big House.