Monday, November 2, 2009

Idaho 10/31/09

The week has finally arrived. Idaho is up next! It's a Halloween night in the Kibble & Bits dome! What a crazy looking dome on top of a high school stadium. I did some research on what the heck a Vandal is. The research path first led me to the Vandals were a tribe in ancient Europe. Nope I was wrong, Idaho’s student-athletes go by a name earned nearly a century ago by a basketball team coached by Hec Edmundson, whose teams played defense with such intensity and ferocity that sports writers said they “vandalized” their opponents. The mark made by that 1917 team went far deeper than wins and losses on the court. In 1917, Harry Lloyd “Jazz” McCarty – a writer for the student newspaper, the Argonaut – subtly tagged the team with a new nickname in a pregame write-up: “The opening game with Whitman will mark a new epoch in Idaho basketball history, for the present gang of ‘Vandals’ have the best material that has ever carried the ‘I’ into action.” McCarty’s indirect suggestion stuck. By 1921, McCarty and Edward Maslin Hulme, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, succeeded in their push to have Vandals officially adopted as the nickname for Idaho teams. That’s enough with the history lesson. I wonder if we can turn the corner and get a road victory. I know we are capable, but Saturday will tell us for sure. The travel business had its highs and lows this week. Last minute travel and 2010 spring break questions were the main topics for the week. Matt and I talked every day this week. Practice and weights had gone well. They had worked on several different kicking schemes during the week. I understand that the game dictates where the ball is kicked to and you practice all 5 possibilities of that during the week, but when you warm up for a game you only execute one scheme. I know that you don't want to give the opposing team any indicators, but in my mind it sure makes it difficult to get you leg warm for the other possible 4 motions. Classes have gone well this week and the grades continue to rise. Matt said they were going to leave earlier on this trip. I am not sure exactly what time they left, but I did receive a text from Matt at 2:00 CST that they had landed in Lewiston, ID. He said it was about an hour to the Kibble & Bits Dome and it was about 45 degrees. They were going directly from the airport to the field for their walk thru. I spoke to Matt late Friday evening and the team was in good spirits and most were watching the West Virginia game. He said when they left the field that there were people walking around with gas masks. He said that was pretty strange. He said the goal post is bolted from the wall and is held in position from the ceiling. There is no middle bottom post. Now that is just weird! Matt loves mashed potatoes with cream gravy and he thought the mashed potatoes would be awesome in Idaho. He said wrong! The mashed potatoes at the team dinner were yellow and sweet. They were terrible! Saturday could not get here soon enough! I will be watching the game alone again. I decided this week I was going to go back to what worked and will have my own Red Out! I got my red shirt from the Hawaii game, two pair of red drawers that I put on backwards (TMI) and I found a pair of my wife’s red socks and there I was. All ready for the game. I know I am crazy, but I need some combination of clothing to work. My adult beverage was going to be red wine and my wangs were marinating in my Louisiana hot sauce mixture. Besides wearing red shorts I was about of red as I could get. Game time was here and I was already into a couple of glasses of red wine. I would start watching the game on ESPN 360 and at 4:30 the game would be on Altitude 2 on DIRECTV. The first kickoff is on the way and oh no, they run it back for a touchdown. This is not the start that I expected. Looks like I am going to have to move to the kitchen and watch from there. The first quarter comes to an end and we are up 21 - 7. It looks like the kitchen is where I will stay, plus I am close to my refills of red wine. Where has this team been? Idaho scored early in the 2nd and we would score at the 6:19 mark in the 2nd quarter making it a 28 - 14 lead. I am feeling really good right now. Idaho scored in the 3rd making it 28 - 21 La Tech. We came back early in the 4th and scored and then something happened that has not happened all season. Matt missed a PAT. I wonder what happened. How can I fix this? Out of 141 PAT's from high school until now, this is only the 3rd PAT he has ever missed. Calm down and breathe. I am ok because the way we are playing and feel our defense will rise to the top. I was a nervous wreck during the rest of the 4th quarter. What have I done that I should not have done? I was red across the board. After I had steamed my wangs before they would go in the oven and I had put them in the fridge during the 3rd quarter. This must have been it so I took them back out of the fridge and placed them exactly where they were in the first half. My pacing was wearing a new path in the kitchen as Idaho took the lead with 52 seconds to go in the game. I need more red wine! We drive down to the 39 yard line with 1 second on the clock. Wow, this is an opportunity to kick a game winning field goal, but oh no, this is a long ways. A 56 yard field goal? I am not sure I can watch. After about 5 minutes of time out icing from Idaho, the snap was made, the hold was down and the kick was on the way. Oh no it sailed left of the upright. I watched for a few minutes as Coach Dooley came up and hugged Matt and the cameras followed Matt for another minute or so. Since it was Halloween night and with no candy, I did not have any lights on and I sat on the kitchen floor for what seemed like hours. How can I take this pain away from Matt? How we he handle the critics? How will Janet be? How can I make things better? Why did the red out not work? All of this is going through my head. The next thing I know Matt is calling me. I was not sure what to say or ask. I asked him how he was doing. He said he was ok, but disappointed with the missed PAT and field goal. He felt like he let the team and especially the seniors down. I told him I was proud of him and I loved him and he said "Dad, while it hurts right now, this is another one of life’s lessons. I have to pick my head up and move forward. The only thing that matters right now is my next kick. My goal is to always be 1 for 1. Dad I need to call mom because I know she is going to be a wreck." We said our goodbye’s and I sat in the dark for a while. I did ask Matt what did Coach Dooley tell you after the kick and he said "that was a heck of a kick and don't hang your head down." I had many family members call an voice their encouragement and it was greatly appreciated. I know this could be tough on Matt this upcoming week. I think he is about as mentally tough as they come, but I always worry. I got a text from Matt about 2:05 AM and they had arrived into Monroe. He hit his apartment around 3:30 AM. I spoke to Matt later Sunday evening. He was already in Boise St mode. Stretch & Stride had gone well and he broke down film with Coach Dooley. They looked at the missed PAT from several different angles and the snap was the same, the hold was the same and the ball was on the same part of the foot as all others. The ball just drifted right. I thought it had to be a slight movement in the angle approach. I just don't know. The film showed that the field goal had enough distance to make it. Matt said that Coach Dooley visited with him on the flight home. He wanted to know how he was doing and Matt said I have been better Coach and Coach Dooley told him that all good place kickers go through these feelings. It is up to you what you do next. Matt also received a call from Coach Russell Sunday night. He said his sister had gone to the game and to keep his head high. Everyone knows what type of kicker/person you are and if Coach Dooley did not have the confidence in you he would not keep sending you out there for 55 plus yarders. Wow, what an emotional roller coaster weekend. I am so proud of Matt and I know that this will help him in the long run. I am not sure where the rest of our season will go, but I like our chances finishing the season strong. I know Matt will be glad to see Chris Boniol as he will be in attendance for the game. I hope they get to spend a little time together before the game. I will defiantly have to adhere to a different dress code for the upcoming games. I can’t wait for Friday to get here. I will be making the trip over on Thursday and will be at the stadium bright and early Friday morning. I will be in tailgate spot #52 and will have many family and friends in attendance. I know Matt and the team will be ready for some Bronco Butt kickin' I want to give a special thanks to Tom Morris for letting me use some of his photos again. If you ever need any pictures of your favorite kicker please visit LaTechSportsPix. I can't wait to hear my friends at BleedTechBlue on Tuesday. Good luck this coming Friday night against Boise St. Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!