Just savor the moment
By JACOB JAFFE, COLUMNIST
Sometimes sports hurt. Sometimes sports envelope your life with pain and isolation that nothing can cure. Sometimes being a sports fan physically and emotionally bombards your body and soul with unimaginable agony. Sometimes you might even question if sports are worth watching because of the effect they can have on you.
And then there’s right now.
Right now, the world is perfect. Everlasting peace is upon us. Poverty has been eliminated forever. Bloods and Crips are forgetting their differences and joining hands in song. The One Ring, the Death Star and all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes have been destroyed. Stanford football is 12-1 after a decisive, thorough and historic beatdown of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
So maybe the first few aren’t true, but it’s hard to imagine any of them making me any happier than the last one is making me right now.
Stanford led 13-12 after a bizarre first half, but the result was very much in doubt. Miami was intently anticipating the second half, ignoring the flashing lights and feeble pump-up efforts of the halftime show, and questions about the quality of Andrew Luck, Jim Harbaugh and the entire Stanford program swirled around media outlets and worrying fans’ minds.
Then the Cardinal came out of the tunnel for the second half, and it was over. Everything worked. Every play call was perfect, every arm tackle was broken, every pass was on target, every blitz was effective. (Ok, so Nate Whitaker missed another extra point. But let’s not forget that he still outscored the entire Virginia Tech team in the second half. So he can have that little blemish.)
Andrew Luck was simply masterful, a true pleasure to behold. Three plays into Stanford’s first drive of the second half, Luck was 10-15 for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He didn’t throw another incompletion, connecting on all eight of his remaining passes for 195 more yards and three touchdowns. Unbelievable.
The defense was disgustingly good, stifling every Virginia Tech drive and battering its offense into a pulp. Delano Howell looked like Troy Polamalu and a 25-year-old Jim Edmonds morphed into one. Shayne Skov finally got a real estate license after setting up shop in the Hokies’ backfield. Vic Fangio had to turn down offers to lead several European nations. As a team, the Cardinal had more sacks than Minnesota had all season (no, seriously).
Coby Fleener set an Orange Bowl receiving record. Jeremy Stewart almost tripled his season rushing total on one carry. Heck, James McGillicuddy had as many rushing yards as Ryan Williams and David Wilson combined.
Are you smiling yet? Beaming with glee? Running around hugging random strangers? All right, maybe that’s just me.
But if you were watching the game, if you’ve been watching this team all season and certainly if you were among the cheering hordes at Sun Life Stadium, you know what I mean.
This season has been unreal. From a road shutout in the Rose Bowl through Marecic’s consecutive touchdowns through Whitaker’s game-winning field goal through the Big Game shellacking (how does the grass taste, Sean Cattouse?) through a thorough destruction of Oregon State on Senior Day, the 2010 season has felt too good to be true. Last night, the feeling became overwhelming.
I’m not normally the most cheerful person you’ll ever meet, but right now my smile is bigger than Stanford’s offensive line. The emotions running through my body as Stanford had its way with Virginia Tech on both sides of the ball and the crowd’s calls of “Go Stanford” echoed around Sun Life Stadium could probably power South Beach for the next 20 years.
Much has and will be written about this season and about the future. Far too many people will speculate (with or without valid opinions or reasoning) about the fates of Harbaugh and Luck. And while the future of Stanford football is more important to me than almost anything, for this short period of time, I honestly don’t care. As both coach and player said, let’s savor this game and worry about that stuff later.
So please, do as our glorious leaders have said. Take a moment and forget about all that other stuff. Classes, homework, exams, applications, girl problems, boy problems, work, drama, taxes, bills, pollution, roommates, politics, war…all that can wait.
Because right now, life is perfect.