Thoughts on the game written more or less in the style of Shakespeare and presented to no one. Read at your own risk.
Nineteen years past, nearly to the day, Pitt did beat Penn State. And there I sat, high above the fray perched on the edge of an aged Colosseum, watching with bated breath as Walt Harris’ charges mounted as fine a defensive effort as could be hoped. 225 meagre yards the Lions totaled, and a mere 161 through the air. ‘Twas nothing less than glorious.
Today we face those same Lions, (though they be outed and shamed) not on the edge of three rivers, but in their house of deceit and decrepitude. And if we are to emerge victorious, a similar effort will be needed. For I fear (and it is evident) that our offense will be offensive. Pitt has no Kevan Barlow who can deliver nine-and-ninety yards of rushing (nor offensive line to pave the way). No seasoned and mistake-free quarterback. No young Biletnikoff candidate. At best, our charges are young and untested. And to think that they might succeed against the starry might of Nittany would be the height of naivety.
And so we rely then on the strength and savvy of Twyman and Watts, Alexandre and Jones. We rely then on the speed and quickness of Johnson and Pine, Campbell and Bright. We rely on the cover skills of our vaunted secondary. And should any one of the eleven tire through the day, we rely on the untested depths of our roster, who might chisel for themselves a name in the hallowed halls of this fabled rivalry, if only once in their lifetimes.
We rely on the fates, those three spinners of our destiny, who with one warp or weft can nudge our future to one of greatness or one of despair. Oh Apollo come again and ply them with wine, trick them into an outcome most favorable, for we will gladly find them a replacement sacrifice from the ACC Coastal.
We rely on the leg of Kessman, unreliable though as it may be. The underhanded hands of Christendoulou. Far they’ve travel’d, and steady we hope they arrive. We rely on the sure-handedness of Ffrench if such a thing can be realized, and the sure-tackling of all coverage teams. We rely on the hope that we can withhold our holds during any and all returns of the kick. We rely on the kicks of Christendoulou as well, may they atone for the sins of previous encounters.
Alas ’tis likely these hopes will be dashed upon the rocks of ineptitude. For this team, while it aspires to greatness, seldom achieves it. Is it too much to ask for thirty men to once play above their mortal capacity for sixty minutes? Is it too much to ask for one pure dose of perfection? For if not there is another dose more potent that awaits, sweet and brown, one that befuddles the senses and leads to a deep and yet fitful slumber. Play on Pitt Panthers, play hard and play well. Lead your passions to the field and leave them there, for they will do you no good on the morrow. And when the closing rays of the afternoon light shine upon that decrepit house the hope will be that we refrain:
Hail to Pitt, hail to Pitt every loyal son.
Hail to Pitt, hail to Pitt ’til the victory is won
For if not, we shall despair forever.
Loyal sons (and daughters) once again defeated.