HANK for HEISMAN!!!
I’ll get back to that. But first, Helen and I are leaving town for a couple of weeks, so I will be missing a couple of these Monday Musings. I plan to send the next one on September 23. We will be in Iowa, doing lots of fun things. But one of my favorite things is reading, so I had to find a book big enough to last two weeks. I found The World is My Home, the autobiography of James Michener.
He begins with a childhood memory of an apple farmer with an apple tree that had stopped producing. So he drove eight big rusty nails into the trunk of that tree. The next season it produced a bumper crop of big juicy red apples. The farmer explained: “Hammerin’ in the rusty nails gave the tree a shock and reminded it that its job is to produce apples.”
When I was nearly eighty years old, I had some fairly large rusty nails hammered into my trunk — a quintuple bypass heart surgery, a new left hip, a dental rebuilding, an attack of permanent vertigo — and, like a sensible apple tree, I resolved to resume bearing fruit.
Hence his autobiography. Long as all his books are long. Like the apple tree, it was adversity that got him going.
Saturday morning, Coach Harsin was being interviewed prior to the Boise State game. He was being asked about his freshman quarterback. He said that the key point of the game would come when Hank Bachmeier got his first taste of adversity. It happened. He was sacked. He was intercepted. There were flashes of brilliance, but not nearly enough. The Broncos had fallen way behind. But he didn’t quit. And his team didn’t quit. Even in conditions of heat and humidity that were adverse to say the least. It was the home team that wilted. Not Boise State. They came from behind and won a game few expected them to win. Boise State typically schedules tough teams for their non-conference games. Unlike Penn State. (Sorry Vandal fans.)
I learned during the broadcast that Florida State was the first game Hank Bachmeier had ever played without his dad in the stands. His dad had brain surgery two weeks ago. More adversity.
It reminded me of an old story. I won’t promise it’s true, but it’s a good story even if it isn’t.
A football player had a dad who was blind. His dad came to all his games, even though he couldn’t see a thing. Then his dad got sick. Very sick. The first game his dad missed, this football player played the game of his life. He was interviewed afterwards, and disclosed to the reporter that just before the game he received word that his dad had died. He explained, “This is the first game my dad has ever seen me play.”