From time to time, I wonder what it would be like to live in a huge city like Chicago or New York and write for a publication in one of those places. I day dream about sitting around with colleagues at our usual bar and having the opportunity to be on the inside of the sportswriting or, even better, the rock writing scene in one of those places.
But then I would most likely miss out on tailgating culture.
Late Sunday night, after my friends and I finished watching Baylor dismantle SMU and the Texas heat had subsided, I found myself knee deep in one of those intriguing, beer-fueled conversations where a sports figure compels a discussion about philosophy.
Former Texas and current SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert sparked our debate. I observed that Gilbert seemed to have the same problem at SMU that he had at Texas — that he threw too many interceptions. The fact that the interceptions against Baylor came as a result of wide receivers bobbling passes only amounts to a technicality, at least to me.
But my friend Ryan took it to another level, suggesting that Gilbert’s performance was indicative of a character flaw. He argued that Gilbert flaked out at Texas and went looking for an easier environment where he would have less competition for the starting job.
Gilbert quarterbacked Texas to a 5-7 record in 2010, which was its first losing season in the Mack Brown era. He began last season as Texas’ starting quarterback, but quickly fell to second string due to a minor injury and the desire of the Longhorns coaches to play younger guys. By the end of September, Gilbert announced he was leaving the Horns and was spotted at SMU practice. And now he’s the starting quarterback for the Mustangs.
Gilbert could go on to have a fantastic season in 2012 and become one of college football’s most prolific quarterbacks, though it’s unlikely given his trajectory to this point that he’ll ever be considered one of the best. And in general, I dislike slamming a player. But Ryan’s point was valid, especially in the sense that it transcends whatever happens to Gilbert.
Essentially, if Gilbert couldn’t stick it out and beat out young pups Case McCoy and David Ash coming up behind him, then he didn’t have much of a chance of being good anywhere else.
So would you rather stay in a place where you lost the starting job and take your chances on getting it back at the risk of becoming a bench rider and mostly just a student, or would you rather transfer to a place so happy to have you that you would be the starter the minute you stepped on campus?
Transferring is the pragmatic answer, but staying and fighting is the noble one. But maybe that’s just the view of men who live in the state that made the Alamo famous.
Photo via Zimbio.