2012 year of frustration for LSU fans
By Scott Rabalais
June 26, 2012
How will you remember the 2011-12 athletic year at LSU?
How about calling it the Year of Living Frustratedly?
LSU athletics never had a year quite like this one. LSU teams kept climbing Everests, only to snowball down the mountain once they got close enough to the pinnacle to plant their flag.
Certainly there were highlights: the women’s track and field team securing the NCAA outdoor championship, LSU’s 47th national title. That’s the most of any Southeastern Conference program. LSU’s women’s athletics finished fourth in the national Capital Cup standings, while the LSU men rank second behind only Florida. Those are achievements any Tigers fan can rightfully point to with pride.
But it’s the disappointments that will linger most. Time and again, LSU lit the fuse on fireworks, only to have someone drown it with a bucket of cold water.
LSU comes within 60 minutes of what was being lauded as the greatest season in college football history, only to do a pratfall with a 21-0 loss in the BCS championship game to the team (and coach) Tigers fans love to hate most: Alabama. LSU’s baseball team comes within a game of the College World Series, then comes up short against a Stony Brook team practically no one around here knew existed.
Such great seasons, reduced at the end to a punch line. How many tweets and message-board jokes have there been about LSU not crossing the 50 (no one seems to recall the Tigers reached the Bama 32, but wound up back at the 50 after their deepest penetration)? How many snide comments about how the LSU baseball team fell victim to one of the greatest NCAA tournament upsets ever?
Even LSU basketball, got to throw those teams in the pool, too — the men got drummed out of the NIT in the first round at Oregon, the women got to the SEC tournament final and lost to Tennessee.
What is it about sports fans that makes them make the most fun of the teams that get the closest to the top and fall just short? It’s the Buffalo Bills syndrome: “Oh, what a bunch of bums for getting to four straight Super Bowls and not winning.” No one ever seems to recognize what an achievement it was for the Bills to get there four straight times, so very close to winning it the first go-round.
No one makes fun of Mississippi State (OK, not for that reason) for just going 7-6 in football and just getting to an NCAA baseball regional and losing. Why? Because the Bulldogs didn’t come that close to the top and lose. They didn’t let anyone down. They didn’t make anyone feel foolish for believing in them.
In the end, that was probably LSU’s greatest athletic sin this year.
Logically, we all know what is better. It’s better to get to college football’s ultimate game and lose, and it’s better to reach a super regional and not be so super. Because the experience and the exposure of reaching for those brass rings can only be an impetus to climb those heights in 2012-13 — and to make it all the way.