When I woke up to temperatures in the high fifties and a steady downpour of rain, I assumed this was not going to be a good way to kick off 2010. It certainly didn’t look like a good day for football.
But like the proud Florida State grads that we are, my friends and I soldiered on and adapted to the situation (read: we bought ponchos) because this wasn’t just any game–this one was for Bobby.
Between the weather and the traffic, we didn’t make it to the stadium until about half an hour before kick-off. By the time we located our seats and settled in, the rain had slowed to a manageable drizzle. The pre-game festivities were a wonderful, tear-filled tribute to a legend, culminating with Coach’s participation in FSU’s most honored tradition–sticking the flaming spear into the field turf.
Unfortunately, the good feelings from the pregame hype faded in a flash as West Virginia was jumped out to an early lead while our offense, led by redshirt freshman QB E.J. Manuel, looked a little befuddled. But as the rain finally stopped and the sun clawed its way out from behind the clouds, things started to turn around for the Seminoles in a big way.
It was an amazing game, and while I still wish that we could have sent Bobby into retirement with another national championship or at least a season with a better record than 7-6, at least we maintained his streak of winning seasons at Florida State and won his final bowl game with the Garnet and Gold.
As much as I’m going to miss Coach Bowden next season, I’m excited for what’s to come for FSU. I am dadgum tired of watching the Gators have it all, while my team drifts at sea without direction or enthusiasm. I long for the days of the nineties when I was a kid and we were on top of the world. Those were the years that drove me to go to FSU and while we may never be able to establish that kind of decade-long dominance again, a few years of 9 or 10 win seasons would be really nice. At least the world of college football will be more enjoyable next year without the likes of that boy Tad Teto.
In the coming off season, I will do what I can to prepare myself for a Seminole sideline without Bobby Bowden, something that I’ve never seen in my lifetime. It will be strange, it will be sad, but someday–and I find this to be saddest thing of all–I will get used to it. Someday I will not look for him, trotting along with his hands behind his back, chewing ferociously on his gum and sporting that trademark hat, a lackey in headphones trailing along behind him.
Someday that day will come. I just hope it’s not anytime soon.
Thanks for everything, Coach. It was an honor to work with you and I hope retirement treats you well.