"When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible."— Unknown
The Iowa State Cyclones and their staff circled around with their hands intertwined and heads held high, as head coach Paul Rhoads stood in front of his victorious team fresh off a 9-7 win over Nebraska.
The choked up words from Rhoad's mouth just barely managed to slip out, but these simple words were enough to give any true college football fan instant chills: "I am so proud."
Player's singing a fight song new to the ears of many, chants of "I State.. IOWA", and praise for their former Auburn defensive coordinator-turned Cyclone leader were just a few signs of life in something that seems to be a forgotten part of this great game we call football.
Football is a game of skill, talent, athleticism, teamwork and execution. However, one very important part of the game seems to sometimes go unnoticed compared to the 40 times, violent hits, and rushing yards-passion.
Passion is a combination of pride, motivation, and determination all compiled into one term. Without this single term, a team has nothing to play for, and therefore, is nothing.
Without this trait, a team is nothing more than a group of talented football players. Passion is what makes that same group victors, champions, Heisman trophy winners, and successful players.
Playing with just that, the Cyclones believed in themsevles enough to beat the Cornhuskers for the first time in Lincoln since 1977.
Why is Tim Tebow so great at what he does? Watching him, you wouldn't come to an instant conclusion based solely on his athletic skill that he is a Heisman trophy winner and a two-time national champion.
Instead, look inside the locker room and you find a player with a heart that defines the word passion itself.
Being a Notre Dame fan, I have seen another meaning of passion week in and week out with each passing, last-minute victory by my Irish. This football season has taken it's toll on me and each week has become a stressful adventure which has directed my attention to the win and loss column rather than the true meaning of why I am a fan of this game.
Blind to the fact that my team possessed a great amount of this important piece to the puzzle, I've watched Jimmy Clausen march down the field with Tebow-like leadership and have been more interested in the final outcome than the love my team has for this game, their coach, and their team, much like the Cyclones of Iowa State.
I've seen plenty of post-game celebrations , but none had a greater impact on me than Saturday's scene from the vistor's locker room in Lincoln.
It reminded me of a message that I seemed to had forgotten somewhere between the stats, analysis, and publishing articles-football is a beautiful game and the best on this fine planet.
Thank you, Cyclones.