I missed the game again today. Sundays are generally a busy game day at my local game store, and I’ve been pretty absent during the football season. But there was a tournament today and I felt somewhat obligated to be there to help with the turnout. I finished last, so maybe I should have watched the game, but with or without me, the Bucs pulled off a nice win.
I had the ESPN game tracker running on my phone, so all I saw was “3rd and 19” followed by “Winston scramble up the middle for 20.” That was unbelievable enough on its own. But then I actually saw the play, and how Winston was pretty much stopped cold, looked like he fumbled, then emerged and rumbled the rest of the way to the first down. Now I’ve seen so many plays like that not go our way over the years, it was great to see us cause someone else some heartbreak for a change. And to see our QB put the team on his shoulders and not crumble under the weight.
We’re now 6-6 and playing meaningful games in December for the first time in three years. I don’t harbor any illusions that we’re going to run the table and go 10-6. I’m not even counting on 8-8. And even if we do either of those, a wildcard spot might still be out of reach. But this was a team that won two games last year, and often didn’t even look like they belonged on the field they were playing on. Now, even when we lose, we don’t feel out of it. You can see the effort. You can see the improvement. And you can see Winston’s leadership rubbing off on this team.
So I’m going to enjoy being relevant this late in the season, however long it lasts. When you’ve been down so long, even being mediocre is a change of pace.