As I said in my last post about Josh Freeman being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this week provides a symbolic closure between one era (Prince and Freeman) and another as Bill Snyder leads the Wildcats in his first game back as the head coach.
Normally, a Spring Game at Kansas State is an uneventful activity, and that's especially true when Bill Snyder is running the show. However, this time it feels different. While excitement may not be the best word that I can use to describe my emotions, it probably comes as close as any other adjective that I can conjure up.
It's no secret that I've never been sold on the Snyder re-hire, and as I've said many times, it has nothing to do with Bill Snyder. I felt, and still feel, like we've sacrificed long-term thinking in exchange for a short-term need of the security and comfort that a coaching legend like Bill Snyder provides. We know his plan, his methods, and demeanor, and all of those things tend to mesh well with the intrinsic values of the Kansas State collective. So, in that sense, having him back on the sidelines this weekend is kind of exciting. It's like going home after you been some place new for a while.
Remember what it was like when you left home for the first time? Maybe it was joining the military, or maybe it was the day you moved into your dorm, frat house, or apartment at Kansas State. Regardless, those first few months are always hard. Sure, the new environment you're in is probably exciting. In the case of folks that leave home to go to college, it's a time to meet new friends, experience new things, and start exploring what it's like to be out in the great, big world on your own.
Maybe, though, your experience isn't a positive one. Your new roommate is a slob, or you've hit a rough patch with your school work. There's always the possibility that your high school sweetheart let you know that she met someone new, and that you should go your separate ways. At that point, where do you turn? Where do you go? What's the one place in the world where you feel safe and comfortable?
You go home.
There's something to be said about going home after you've been away for awhile. You have some stuff in a duffel bag, a cell phone full of numbers from old friends that may still be around, and family that you know will always be there for you when life gets mired in "the suck". You go back to your old room, you drop your bag on your bed, and for a second, everything is back to "normal". You're safe again. That comfortable feeling wraps you up like warm blanket, and you stop worrying about what's upsetting you.
In a way, the Spring Game this year is a lot like going home. Sure, life away from Bill Snyder's been tough. We tried something new, and it didn't work out. In fact, it was a disaster. But that doesn't matter anymore. We're back where we belong, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and just like it was when everything was right in our world, the legend himself is walking the sidelines with his headset on, obviously discussing the intricate complexities of football that we could only hope to grasp.
It doesn't matter that in a few months, when the games really start to count, we've got uncertainty in a lot of key positions. Long-term plan? Hell, who cares? Snyder's going to coach until he croaks, so we've probably got another good ten to fifteen years out of him right? Worrying about recruits who are wowed by the sudden resurgence of the Missouri Tiger program and the smoke and mirrors of Mark Mangino's Jayhawks isn't our primary concern. For a couple of hours on an April Saturday, we've got football, and that's worth celebrating.
More importantly, we've got Bill Snyder, and we're "home". This season, and maybe the near future, won't be as bright as we hope it will, but at least we can feel comfort in knowing that the father of Kansas State football is there, and he's at least trying to make it all better for us again.
Proud of This House (via sharpwildcat)