...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
One man's grit is another man's gripe
DISCLAIMER: I didn't read all the discussion at the end of the original MGoBlog HoF article, so someone may have already proposed this.
So there was talk awhile back about having an MGoBlog Hall of Fame that was spawned by the little talked about Grit Pantheon. It seemed like there wasn't too much agreement about what should constitute the rules of admission for the MGoBlog Hall of Fame, which is fine. We're a rowdy bunch. I wanted to propose a radical solution: we do it like the Catholics do sainthood (i.e., requiring two "miracles"). Don't worry, I hate Notre Dame, and this is not about them.
Before you start burning your couches and tweeting me with advice to FOLLOW MY HEART, hear me out. Instead of making admission to the HoF weighted heavily statisical element (# of sacks, tackles, yards, two-time All-BIG -- things that are ultimately not awe-inspiring), I'd prefer to hit on the emotional aspect of certain players' contributions, since that is why I watch sports. I don't watch to find out if Denard gets 120 yards rushing or 140 yards rushing. Plus, statistics are often taken out of context, like using a comparison of the passing yards of pro QBs now vs. 1970s. Would you rather have Roger Staubach or Fran Tarkenton as your QB or Matthew Stafford?
To give the criteria for these "miracles" some context: I think that any play/game/act of heart, selflessness, or pure grit that appears to divinely (don't hate me Atheists) inspired counts as a "miracle". Actually, I'd prefer to call this a "grit point", but I'm partial to grit as well as shrimp and grits.
Examples of obvious grit points/miracles: Charles Woodson's one handed interception against MSU, Molk playing the Sugar Bowl with a shredded tendon, Desmond's Catch, Denard's 1st play from scrimage, that play in hockey back in the 90s where our guy lifted the puck up on his stick and wrapped around to the top corner (sorry, I don't know my hockey history well), Hoke's reaction to Hagerup dropping the snap against Ohio, the Kork Coupons MGoMeme, etc.
Other, more debatable acts of grit/miracles: Van Bergen going beast on Indiana after letting in a touchdown in 2009, Denard patting Gholston on the ass after Gholston tried to break his neck, Vincent Smith handguns, Bloody Novak, Kovacs 4th down stop on the option against Northwestern, Dennis Norfleet's bouncing back up and cactching the winning touchdown after slamming face-first full speed onto the concrete at the Florida Max Preps, Taylor Lewan's playing hurt against MSU, Martavious Odom's block against Minnesota in 2008, Gibbons' redemption, All of Notre Dame game 2011.
The players who would've made it on stats will still likely make it because you don't accumulate stats like that without some defining moments. But this way, we don't get caught up on the details. Players like Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, and Denard Robinson have at least three obvious miracle plays already. Kovacs probably makes it. Players like Van Bergen, who I personally believe should be in the Grit Pantheon may or may not make it based on fan-base perception of their "great works", which is fine. Ultimately, though, I think this refocuses the discussion on the true impact and legacy of a player rather than details taken out of context (which feels like comparing the passing yards of pro-QBs now to ones in the 1970s).
Sorry this article is football heavy. It's just the sport I follow. I think the Grit Panteon/MGoBlog HoF/Mount Schembechler should be graced by athletes of any sport who meet the criteria.