November 14, 2005
Kathryn L. Knapp
NO EXCUSES. IT'S TIME TO WIN.
NCAA Championships Are Underway. It's Time to Make Things Happen.
As I sat there watching the Indiana Hoosiers fall to Penn State yesterday in the title game of the Big Ten Championships, I had a flashback. Actually, it was a bunch of flashbacks. I think it has something to do with following soccer for the past 10-plus years.
Indiana dominated play for the majority of the game. Penn State finished one of its two chances and that was enough. Indiana had nine shots on goal, but they were all erased when Penn State sent one into the net. I’m not saying Penn State didn’t deserve to win. After all, they finished their chance. But I am saying, Indiana played better and maybe deserved it a little more.
Let me take you back to 1997. In that season, the Hoosiers set all kinds of records, including winning 23 straight games. Two more wins and they would have a perfect season. But UCLA spoiled IU’s dreams in NCAA semifinal action, handing the Hoosiers a 1-0 loss. It was devastating.
In 1998 I was given the opportunity to voice my opinion about IU soccer in the Indiana Daily Student. I was made a soccer columnist. I had a million opinions and I let them be heard. Fellow writers said I was too “pro-Indiana.” But I just wrote things the way I saw them – the emotion, the talent and the truth. It’s hard to say bad things about the top program in the nation.
Now in 2005, I have the opportunity to do the same thing. I want to send the following message to all soccer players, actually all athletes. This is something I’ve observed over my years of writing and following programs. And I hate to say it… but the advice comes from songs. You might recognize them. You might not. The bottom line is… it’s true.
So read it. Memorize it. Live by it.
“I get knocked down, but I get up again. And you’re never going to keep me down.” That line comes from what could possibly be one of the most annoying songs ever written - Tubthumping. But it’s true. Any player or team that loses an important game will have the chance to do it again. It won’t be the same game. But it will be another chance. So you have to take advantage of it. Take control. And win. Play every game like it’s your last. For some people, it might be the last game of a certain stage in their lives.
Then there’s “Nothing can hold you back if you really want it,” from Ricky Martin’s Cup of Life. Again… true. And personally, I love the song. But think about it, at the end of the day, you’re the one who make things happen. You have the opportunity to finish your chances. You have the opportunity to stop opponents. So do it. No excuses. Just make it happen.
I hope no one has lost respect for me after I called upon these lyrics. But they’re true. At the end of the day the team that wants it more is going to find the way to win it. Or in the case of the Hoosiers… when challenges arise, the heart of the Hoosier comes out.
It’s playoff time people. Time for the strong to step up. After all, one loss and the season is over. No excuses. No more chances. It’s time to win, plain and simple.