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Adversity, a Great War Ally

imageThomas Paine once penned…

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly;”

That quote I used for a civil rights design project when I was in the VCU Arts program too many years ago to count, came to mind this past month.

The quote was a part of the revolutionary’s writings that unwaveringly sparked, inspired, ignited and birthed this great nation against very steep odds which had many ups and downs and it’s share of neigh-sayers.

Relatively, yet far removed, there is some odd relateable-ness. We acutely know all too well here in Ram Nation, yet not so literally dire to our personal futures, about coming from an extreme underdog mentality and fighting for everything all the while not knowing exactly how it will all turn out, but hopefully being lost in the moment. None more visceral and apparent and less desirable than our recent battles of topsy turviness, stemming from literally losing our ‘George Washington’, the general that leads the battle charge, not to mention a formidable Freight Train being derailed a time or two along the way. Two corner stone seniors that were destined for historic moments and to some outside of the camp there appears to be dark, cold and stormy retreating days ahead without these key figures on the battle field. But to some there is a quiet hope and purposeful poise.

But why?

Recently I was also reminded of what happens when relentless and seemingly insurmountable adversity strikes, specifically when it comes up against an army of Black and Gold.

How soon we forget, honestly, of past battles, skirmishes and wars, tough times and rough patches but more importantly and specifically how our troops respond, or more to the point, are led to respond to less than favorable immediate results. None more monumental than that of the month of Feb a few years ago.

And thanks to The Byrd Foundation for their recent showing of local film director Phil Wall’s “Unbelievable is Believable Here” and its great exploration and exposition, documenting and capturing moment by moment the dirty low end of season details of our beloved 2010-11 pivotal and defining and subsequently truly unbelievable March run, for jogging my limited jumbled memory.

I mean I remembered, like most, that we weren’t supposed to get in. All of the analysts saying that we didn’t pass the laugh test. Unforgivable selection by the committee. Though I did have hope, but that is because I didn’t know better, I was more or less a homer romantic. Still am. But looking back, digging in to how we performed during that burned month of February, we were playing our worst basketball, fumbling around, almost falling apart, losing the close ones (except for Shocking those Shockers) and at that point really didn’t deserve to be amongst the 68 top programs from a ‘right now, how we’d been playing’ perspective.

But we did! Thank God, we did!

The trajectory of which brings us to the crux of the argument. How did we get here? Where do we go from here? What happened? What happened next. The reaction, the resolve, the response. It didn’t come out of thin air, yes our players had to mentally throw a switch and actual make the plays. But I am more focused and drawn to the backing, the motivation. What caused all of that glory, that, dag gone it we should have won it all, turn of amazing earned fortune falling just short but in turn creating a better nation, but I digress.

Something, someone had to spark, to rally and hone and ignite and inspire the whole thing. Someone who had been through adversity and come out on the other side better, stronger, more focused and full of purpose. One of the little guys, seemingly from nowhere with a heart of blazing fire and a pocketful of HAVOC! And again, to reiterate because I don’t want to take away, I know the players are in ultimate control of the internal switches, have to make the plays, they are the ones on the battlefield and have to click as a team, and honestly as a side note, after watching that Final Four Doc, we need just a scosh more SWAG and edge and chippy-ness, but maybe not, maybe that is too presumptive. I just want to remind us again and again where another great run is going to come from, ultimately, turning all that adversity into kindling, and eventually fanning it into a raging forest fire aggressively burning down the barns and country side.

Trust me, I’m like everyone else for a moment or two, when we are in the midst of it we very well may not like adversity, we’d rather it not raise it’s weary head, but in the end will end up being our greatest ally in the battle to our ultimate goals, a deep run into the NCAA tournament once again and who knows what else. I can hear Shaka using that quote now!

And let me be clear, this is no Aaron Rodgers call to R-E-L-A-X!

This is a, learn from the past rally cry, to trust the process, to step up our game, to go to WAR!

Who’s ready!?

Battle Cry & Ramble On!

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