So while we wind our way through the new millennium Bills 4.0… and hope this is a good upgrade and not another ‘epic fail’ for a football season, I must step aside from my usual blathering to honor someone special. I have a dear friend, whose son is a dear friend… and at noon MST on Saturday, November 16th, he is playing for a state championship for the 2A Big Horn Rams High School football team. Big Horn, Wyoming is a great town with an historic high school football program.
I’ve watched Colter play soccer, basketball, and football, and he always looked like he belonged at a different level in each sport. A higher level. Some kids just have “it”. Colter has “it”. As I listened to his semi-championship game on the radio; the Lovell, Wyoming Bulldogs versus the Big Horn Rams, it was a game like no other!
The Rams headed over the Big Horn Mountains to play Lovell on their turf on Friday, November 8th. We all had a good feeling that Colter was going to have a good game, but he was twitchy before the game. His Mom said he was like trying to keep a rabid dog in the house from busting up all the furniture. Knowing him, I would be nervous for the furniture.
Not only does Colter play RB, but he is also a LB, and kicker and punter. So, he was forgiven when he missed the extra point after running 74 yards for a TD in the quarter-final matchup against Lyman High School on November 1st. That pick-six against them was the one of the biggest daggers the Big Horn Rams inflicted upon their opponent. And Colter, once again, was at the center of it. Sadly, it reminded me of the “season-ending” pick six on Tuel that tanked the Bills football season.
Unlike the Bills who invent new ways to torture their fan base every year, the Big Horn Rams are a swag team. They are like the Green Bay Packers of high school football in this part of Wyoming. They roll opponents with bigger and sometimes more talented players, it doesn’t matter. These guys know how to put a game on their back and will themselves to win.
Some Bills players would do well to remember what it was like to play for the love of the game. If I hear one more player or coach talk about being “professional”, or I have to go through one more set of holidays staring numbly into a Bills Christmas ornament and wanting to wrap it around someone’s head… I could go on but won’t. You get the point. High School football, baby. You can’t beat it!
Must admit it seems like yesterday when Colter was in junior high school and just getting into football. He had already been playing soccer for a long time. Holy crow, I just realized that Colter was about three years old the last time the Bills made the playoffs! That puts things into a painful perspective. Insert the ‘shocked’ emoticon here.
This is a sacred time for a young man whose life is still full of possibility, and there is nothing quite like playing for a state football championship. Watching Colter play football, basketball and soccer made me appreciate the fact that there are certain people who raise others around them UP. Colter has that effect on his teammates, and everyone around him.
I told Colter not long ago that he reminded me of Kiko Alonso. Kind of a quirky guy who is true to himself but always, always demanding perfection from his own performance. However, it’s not just the wiry hair and smirky smile, it’s the “it” factor they both tote around. Kiko loves to play football. It shows.
Colter also loves to play football, and it shows. Win or lose, he will shine because that is just how he rolls. In an age when people are quick to criticize youth of this era, Colter presents a challenge to the thesis that the world is full of dumb kids who will never be capable of ruling the world. Wrong!
Just like the ‘Legend of Kiko’ is taking over Western New York (WNY), so shall the ‘Legend of Colter’ be left at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at noon MST against Mountain View High School. Win or lose, I finally know what it’s like to cheer for a football team that never gives up, and for a young man who plays for the love of the game. Good luck, big guy. Just remember I will always remember you when you were smaller than I am :-)
On Saturday, I’ll be traveling to WNY to see the Bills play the Jets at The Ralph the next day, but my heart will be in Laramie cheering on my good friends. It doesn’t matter what the outcome. As a life-long Bills fan, I know a thing or two about losing.
What is worse than losing is giving up. It’s easy to be a fan when your team is winning. It takes a lot of guts to stand by your team after missing the playoffs for 14 years in a row. Let me be clear in my statement that there is a Grand Canyon of difference between watching Big Horn High School football team and the Buffalo Bills.
The Big Horn Rams come with plenty of banners and swag from past era glory and championships. The Bills come with a legacy of four Super Bowl losses in one decade out of five as contenders. Marrone has vowed to rid the Buffalo Bills of their losing karma, but it will take getting sick of being losers for the Bills to rise out of the ashes of their culture of losing.
As older fans already know. because we actually have seen it happen, is that the players and coaches must completely be sick of losing in order for it to change. They must be united in their mission to rid the stink that has followed the organization for its entire existence on some level. It happened in ’88, and it can happen again.
What it would take is that this Bills team needs to be restocked with Kiko Alonsos and Colter Carzolies. The Bills need to identify players who play for love of the game as well as all the rest of the benefits of celebrity status and big money. Might be difficult, but Colter made me realize that anything is possible in football.
Good luck to the Big Horn Rams and good luck to the Buffalo Bills. I know which team I have my money on!