I Are One: Why LSU Fans Need to Remember Where We Came from

Henry BallSenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2009

IPSWICH, QSL - JANUARY 03:  Members of a skydiving team pay their respects at the site of a crashed Cessna 206 January 3, 2006 in Ipswich, Australia. The aircraft crashed into a catchment dam on January 2, 2006 after taking off from the Brisbane Skydiving Centre with seven people aboard killing five. Among those on board were two English and an Irish national.      (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

I was 10 years old and already a long suffering Tiger fan when LSU hired Jerry Stovall, a legendary player at LSU and in the NFL, who would be the first head coach AM (After McClendon). 

Actually he was the second head coach AM but Edward 'Bo' Rein, who had been hired as Charlie McClendon's successor, died in a tragic plane crash when his plane veered off course by over 1,000 miles before going down in the Atlantic Ocean.

A harbinger of things to come.

Stovall's tenure started on a promising note going 7-4, but 1981 would be an abysmal year as the Tigers would only win three times and finish the season by getting blown out by Tulane in New Orleans.

In 1982 I learned the lesson that I want to share with you in this article.  Still smarting from the '81 season, Tiger fans were elated when the Tigers won their first three games—including a huge win over No. 4 Florida at The Swamp in Gainesville. 

The following week I was at Tiger Stadium when the Bayou Bengals tied in a disappointing nail-biter with the Tennessee Volunteers.  After the game I was pissing and moaning about what the Tigers did wrong and who wasn't playing well and on and on and on...

My big brother told me to SHUT UP and be happy, the Tigers were still "undefeated."  He then reminded me that if they lost the rest of their games they would still be better than last year.

Well that didn't happen. The Tigers won the next four, including the famous "20 to 10" game that knocked Bear Bryant and Alabama out of National Championship contention.

It was the best year in my young memory of which there would be few and far between for the next two decades.  Like Bo Rein's plane, the Tiger's Football Program would find itself pilot-less and way off course searching desperately for the right coach to bring it all together.

Through that 20-year sojourn in the wild blue yonder there was one constant, though.  One thing that you could always count on, one thing that made LSU a sleeping giant, a team that intimidated even when they weren't intimidating. 

The Fans.

The purple and gold-blooded Tiger nation has always been known as one of, if not the most, loyal and supportive fan bases in the nation.

Fast forward to 2009: We have arguably the best program of this century; a loyal, tough, and proven head coach; a successful and experienced coaching staff; one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country; and a big fat 2-0 record in our first two games.

Yet it would seem like Les Miles is on the hot seat.  He and the team has been berated and torn apart by virtually every sports publication in the state and on the web. What's more, Tiger stadium is half empty at halftime in a close game against a pretty good SEC team, and fans are booing a 19-year-old kid who had the misfortune of being thrown to the wolves in what was supposed to be his red shirt freshman year. 

So in the words of my big brother that changed my perspective so many years ago, let me say to you Tiger fans that are pissing and moaning, "SHUT UP, we are still undefeated and we have a lot to be thankful for!"

GEAUX Tigers!!!

By Henry Ball – Syndicated Writer and Bleacher Report Scribe

Make sure to check out this article: Was KY Coach Responsible for Player’s Death?


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