The weather in terms of the atmospheric conditions was impeccable today in Chicago. The skies were clear, the temperature was around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was a comfortable breeze. During the afternoon, I was in the sun all day watching the Northwestern football game against Northern Illinois University.
In terms of the football, though, it was quite a stormy day on the Northwestern side. Ever since last season, Northwestern’s offense has been largely ineffectual, going three-and-out or turning the ball over, or having an intermediate-length drive snuffed out by a holding foul. This often forced a tired defense back on the field after they had just taken a break from defending. Somehow the losses since last season have mostly been in one-possession games (i.e. margins of 8 or fewer).
Today’s game was a slop-fest in the first half, as neither team put any points on the board. Northwestern only got as close as the 40-yard line of NIU, and NIU missed a field goal from close range.
The ‘Cats couldn’t solve the Huskies’ run attack, and this led to third downs being converted seemingly at every critical juncture. NIU struck first with a field goal, but Northwestern’s best drive of the day thus far followed to score a touchdown and make it 7-3.
From there, though, it was all Northern Illinois until too-little-too-late. They scored 20 consecutive points on three possessions, and then Northwestern’s starting quarterback was down with a “lower body injury.” The relief quarterback engineered an efficient drive that cut the deficit to 8, but then the defense could not get a stop.
Thus, Northwestern’s football team is now 0-2 on the year. It is the first time since 2004-5 (when I was a senior in high school and Southeast started 0-2 en route to a 4-5 record) that the season has started that way for one of my teams. It is a long season, though, with time to turn it around. Still, I am concerned about the stormy weather surrounding the team, as there seems to be a lack of OOMPH from the team when they are playing. It is more than just the physical part, but the team seems to lack chemistry.
Even so, having grown up in Nebraska, where the school song states “We’ll all stick together in all kinds of weather,” that became a defining characteristic of loyalty to my schools’ teams. I will NOT leave a game early due to the impending result (whether a win or a loss). The only time that I leave a game early is foul physical weather (e.g. thunderstorm at an outdoors event), or schedule conflict (e.g. intramurals, student organizations in which I have been involved, or transportation dependence).
People can vote with their feet when they are fed up with a game, but I am not and will not become a bandwagon / fair-weather fan. In some sense, therefore, this is Part 1.5 of my “Superfan” sequence. (Part 2 will be coming in a few days… stay tuned!)
Today is the two-hundred and forty-ninth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirty-five weeks and four days.
Today is the fifty-fourth day of the Character Building Trial. That makes seven weeks and five days.