War never changes.
And as The Smoking Musket’s patron saint of “2007 was cancelled because of the war,” it’s very convenient to use that fact to duck our collective heads in the sand and ignore ten years of simmering angst and money you spent on tickets to a game in New Orleans that you didn’t get to go to. But after a day of sifting through the terrible, terrible hellscape that was our Facebook comments during the mothership’s retrospective of the absolute clusterfuck of hilarity that was the 2007 college football season, I’ve made an executive decision. I’m cancelling the war. It happened. The West Virginia University Mountaineers lost a game of American football to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, 13 to 9 on December 1st, 2007. It was really fucking cold.
But we’ve got to get the hell over it.
2007 has been the shadow that’s loomed above a fractured fan base for ten long years of trying to get back to that summit we fell from. Three years of unprecedented success somehow became something that had to be replicated year in and year out, or everything was a failure. It has, at times, been extremely not-fun to spend my Saturdays rooting for this team because of the overwhelming negativity that stemmed from flying so close to the sun and burning up.
During the 2008-2016 post-Rod, Stewart/Holgorsen era, nothing has been good enough to please people who saw the apex of a program and made that the banner to be reached every year. Every loss was program defining and besides a few fantastic moments, every win wasn’t quite good enough. It’s an exhausting, backwards way to enjoy your sports.
There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting this team to reach the summit. I go in to every season believing it can happen. It will, eventually, happen. I watched one of my Cleveland teams win a championship last year. God probably has just enough magic left in his back pocket after making that happen to throw Morgantown a bone at some point. However, to treat every season without a national championship as a failure, to be mindbogglingly angry after every loss and overwhelmingly negative after a win that wasn’t quite up to your standards is a betrayal of what this program has accomplished--and will accomplish--despite the absurd odds that are stacked against it.
2007 was weird and will always be weird. It was a whole lot of awesome with one moment of heartbreak. And from this point on, I’m choosing to remember the awesome. It’s been ten years, and the war is over. Comparing the teams of the present to the highs and lows of the past is no way to enjoy this beautiful, stupid, wonderful game of college football.
For us, this network retrospective should be a final chance to move on from those demons and focus on September. It’s a new day and Will Grier is about to dunk on some fools.
And we’ll be there, always waiting for the team that reaches the summit.
War never changes.