Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week 1 Thoughts

This is the time each week where I can add "some thoughts following Georgetown's 48-20 loss to St. Francis Saturday", but there will be another time for that.

It's a game of timing. One step early may be grounds for a penalty that brings back a touchdown, one step late may give up a score. One step, one moment, more or less, from William Martin or one from Ty Williams might have, in theory, skirted the collision that has the thoughts and prayers of the college football world, but we will never know.

We never do. Football is a game where split-second timing is the difference between winning and losing, and no player can be long be successful second guessing where they will be at any one moment.

It was a play that, 999,999 times out of a million the players get up, shake off the dirt, and get back to playing a game they love.  It literally is. Like the proverbial bolt of lightning, we can't predict it and we sure don't want to be there when it inevitably comes to the ground.  A man has a 1 in 280,000 chance of being hit by lightning in any single year; yet, in a five year study of NCAA football, the odds are 1 in 1.08 million of a catastrophic injury on any single play. It is both very, very rare and very, very dangerous.

And this is also a game of focus. A lot of fans probably didn't immediately recognize the severity of the injury, certainly the St. Francis announcers didn't. But players know. They intrinsically do. Hunter Kiselick motioned for the training staff as soon as Ty Williams went to the ground. The quick work by both Georgetown and St. Francis officials in getting help to Williams was crucial. The support of the UPMC Altoona staff, including a specialty orthopaedic practice in the hospital, was (and remains) vital.

And it was that focus that was deservedly somewhere else as the defense gave up three touchdowns in the first quarter and put the game out of reach. St. Francis may well have been the better team regardless, but it's no easy task for a team to give it their all, with the knowledge that one of their own is fighting for his life miles away, and that they can't change that.

It's been less than 36 hours in this story and there is still a lot that will happen. We can talk about this game later, we can certainly talk about Marist in a few days.  For now, we pray for strength, for fortitude, and ultimately for God's grace upon Ty Williams and his family in these critical hours.