"Preparation prevents poor performance". I was about 13 the first time a coach said it to me, and I later heard a more colorful version of that dictum in the army. I do try to be prepared. Recently I had the chance to interview: Defensive Tackle, Jeff Owens and Linebacker, Rennie Curran of University of Georgia. Also we were joined by Defensive End/Offensive Linebacker, George Selvie of University of South Florida. You always do certain things to prepare for an interview, compile biographical data, review game tape, statistics, other interviews. You talk to coaches and teammates and then you try to get inside.
Sometimes it’s easy; the story suggests itself like ‘The Blind Side’ football as redemption and a way to connect with a new world, including a new family. Sometimes it’s hard, football is the protective wall an intensely private person lives behind and on field the window opens a crack and perhaps opens wider to teammates, coaches and loved ones but shuts tight to everyone else, sometimes the game is an expression of inchoate rage or a work of art.
In few cases the game is a promise kept or sadly, too often a promise broken. Jeff Owens is an outsized person and personality, Rennie Curran is more quietly intense but burns deeply, but the puzzle for me was George Selvie; he seemed to have lost so much but yet appeared resigned or at least philosophical about his situation. Is he in denial, is he hiding his sense of disappointment, does he just not care? I am not one to judge only to probe. I’ll let the listeners judge what’s true.