Laker nation will rebound after tough losses
Saturday, Dec. 3 was a rough day for Grand Valley State athletics.
The football team lost to rival Ferris State 47-32 at Lubbers Stadium in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinal. The Lakers were the top seed in their region.
The soccer team lost 3-2 to Western Washington in the NCAA National Championship two days after defeating Columbus State in the National Semifinal (Thursday, Dec. 1) in Kansas City, Missouri. The Lakers were going for their fourth straight national championship, which would have tied the longest streak in NCAA history.
Two of the most promising programs in the fall postseason, after cross country women and men came in first and second respectively, both dropped their weekend games in heartbreaking fashion. A football team that had not lost a game all season, and a soccer team that had never not won the last game of the season over the past four years.
For a university that has been blessed with successful athletic programs for the better part of the 21st century, it's an unfamiliar feeling. The saying of, "It's just a game," could not be more wrong at this moment.
Right now, it hurts.
It hurts for the players. It hurts for the fans, and it hurts for the community. But we, as a community, will rebound from this.
While both teams were eliminated, we should be proud of both. The soccer team continued a dynasty for another year, and the football team reclaimed the notion of being a Division II national powerhouse. The legacy of both teams is not defined by a loss, but what they brought to the community and the way they represented the blue and black 'GV' on their chests.
The football team broke the Lubbers Stadium attendance record this season (16,889 fans, Saturday, Oct. 8) and won a GLIAC championship with their first undefeated regular season since 2008. The soccer team's seniors compiled a total record of 92-5-5, and broke the school record for attendance with their Friday Night Fútbol game at Lubbers Stadium (2,893, Friday, Sept. 30).
Tomorrow is another day, and GVSU athletics will continue to compete with the top teams in the country. The basketball, swim and dive and track and field seasons are under way. Spring sports haven't even started yet.
Yes, these losses will sting for a while. But let's keep things in perspective: We have the winningest football team in Division II. Quarterback Bart Williams (3,334 passing yards, 30 touchdowns) and running back--not to mention, Harlon Hill award finalist--Martayveus Carter (1,908 rushing yards, 20 touchdown) are only sophomores. Our soccer team is the team of the decade.
Life goes on. The NFL's Buffalo Bills lost four Super Bowls in a row in the 90s, how do you think they felt? Sports fans never really actually get over tough losses--they just carry on. Win or lose, sports create a sense of community like nothing else can. Live for the big wins, the happy moments and remember one thing.
Life will carry on, and so will the Lakers.