I wasn't there, but I saw it happen.
It was at the 10:30 mark in the second quarter when Darwin Cook, the safety from West Virginia, tore through the back of the end zone where you happened to be standing.
It was at this moment that Mountaineer nation collectively reeled. Time froze, and for a split second, we hoped—prayed—that Darwin would somehow avoid you. He didn't.
As you crashed down onto the turf, it became clear that it was no longer about the touchdown, but about reckless treatment of an innocent fruit.
Now, before you say anything, know this: Darwin is a good kid.
He's from East Cleveland, and though I've never been to East Cleveland, I'm not sure they see a lot of Oranges there. So, aside from making the biggest play of his young collegiate career, maybe he saw you through all the chaos and thought, "That's the biggest orange I've ever seen. I'm gonna go say hi."
Or maybe, worse yet, he thought you were a Clemson player. I mean, to be fair, you are, uhh...orange. And, considering that a Stanford player recently tackled his own teammate, mistaken identity is not out of the question.
Of course, I thought you'd shake it off pretty quickly thereafter and resume being the rhapsodic mascot that you are.
Then we saw you getting sick.
Nausea? Seriously? Did Darwin give you that much of a jolt? I'm sorry if he did, but there couldn't have been that many g-forces impacting you on your way down.
Maybe celebrating so hard down on South Beach the night before wasn't the best idea.
Or maybe it was because you were so overwhelmed by the Mountaineers' scoring torrent. It was intense, I'll give you that.
It was so overwhelming, in fact, that Kirk Herbstreit himself apologized for his awful pregame prediction.
That's saying something.
The important thing is that you kept going from that point on. West Virginia certainly didn't stop, and I'd like to think you had something to do with that. You were a constant visual reminder of what they were playing for—a big bowl of oranges.
Basically, the whole thing was a big misunderstanding—no harm intended. And, as if Darwin couldn't be more sorry, he then found out that you are, in fact...a girl.
Not that I'm saying girls aren't tough. I mean, we had a female Mountaineer for cryin' out loud.
But it's definitely a measure of your bravery that you stood in there and took that hit. Clemson could learn a thing or two from you, if they ever work up the courage to pull the game film.
So don't hold any hard feelings towards Darwin or the rest of Mountaineer nation. We're great people and certainly enjoy a glass of orange juice in the A.M.
And if West Virginia does end up back in the Orange Bowl sometime in the near future, I'd pick a safer vantage from which to spread orange-ish cheer. Darwin Cook is a human heat-seeking missile after all, and there are plenty more like him.
So, thanks for being a part of Mountaineer history, and if you did wake up the next day feeling a little sore, just keep this in mind—at least you weren't playing for Clemson.
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