BCS Finale, Playing vs. Practicing
The BCS finale reminds us of the Importance of real-time play.
In the first 15 minutes of play, the teams showed more than enough rust, combining for three turnovers in what can at best be described as a sloppy mess – and that had nothing to do with the condition of the field.
Yes, in the end Auburn’s last-second win was exciting. Yes, the teams started to play better as the night went along. But that first quarter… it reminded me of peewee football but a bit less entertaining. Everyone was sloppy, everyone was confused and it was a general mess. It was a live advertisement for why the BCS and the entire bowl system has become a joke.
This column, though, isn’t entirely about Monday’s game, about the BCS, or about the entire flawed college bowl system. It’s about the importance of doing something as opposed to doing nothing.
Don’t get me wrong–I know that these teams practice like crazy in the month (or longer) between their final regular season game and whatever bowl in which they may participate. And for that matter, I know that practicing is at least as important – probably more important – than playing in games when it comes to honing athletic skills.
But for our purposes, we’re talking about the two best college teams in the country (don’t even say it, we can talk about that later). So do they really benefit from six weeks of practice? Do they really need six weeks to prepare for an opponent? Or do they just get sloppy, anxious to hit someone in another jersey and out-of-practice?
It would appear that it’s the latter, and the quality of play suffers with the long layoff.
The same formula applies in any sport, including prep and youth sports right here in Hazelwood. For that matter, I can even attest that in old man, out-of-shape slow pitch softball (the leagues in which I play) the same theory applies. Playing through the fall (games, not just goofing around) made a huge difference when spring came around in the years that I was out playing through early November instead of quitting in August. And no, just playing catch or going to the batting cages doesn’t get it done.
So take heed, young athletes, coaches of young athletes, parents of young athletes and anyone else still reading – you’ve got to have touches, you’ve got to have reps, you need to play.
It’s as simple as that. Talking about playing the game (whatever your game may be) won’t prepare you. Practicing is helpful, but it’s not the same as game action. If you want to avoid losing the edge or getting sloppy, you’ve got to compete.
Then again, that’s just my two cents.