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Luke Martin – The benefits of a 3-7 season

    Many Georgia Southern football fans are disappointed with the results of this year’s team. Coming off an 8-3 regular season and – well, there’s no good way to say this – a collapse in the second half of their playoff game against Texas State, many fans were looking forward to a championship run this year with much of last year’s team coming back.
    Unfortunately, it was not to be as Georgia Southern fired coach Mike Sewak and his staff and brought in Brian VanGorder to lead the Eagles to the Promised Land. Much like Moses and the Israelites, it may take us a while to reach the promised land of a national championship.
    Heck, at this point, I think a lot of fans would like to see the “Hey, remember the playoffs” land.
    But all those Negative Nancy’s are overlooking the good that VanGorder and his 3-7 have brought us by failing to make the playoffs.
    First of all, our student-athletes will be able to spend Thanksgiving with their families, something that’s only happened one other time since 1997. With all effort and dedication the players put in for the program, it was exceedingly kind of VanGorder to give the players a losing season so they could spend the holiday with their family.
    Surely they wouldn’t want to spend that week preparing for another playoff run and possible national title when they could be playing in the back yard with their younger brother and sister.
    We hear a lot about family values in this country, but VanGorder is practicing what he preaches and, for that, deserves a pat on the back.
    Also, without the hassle of preparing for playoff games, the student-athletes will have more time to dedicate to their studies. And if they’re like most students, they’ll want all the time they can to study before their final exams. Fortunately, they won’t have that pesky practice for playoff games to get in the way of their academic pursuits.
    Under Sewak, the school lost scholarships due to academic issues, but thanks to VanGorder’s losing season, our players will have time to study.
    Obviously the student comes first in student-athlete with VanGorder.
    And while the players may reap the benefits, let’s not forget about the coaches, who will get an extra month to recruit players that we haven’t had in the past. Instead of breaking down film of our next opponent, they can break down film of high school payers and try to convince them to become an Eagle.
    But enough about the players and coaches, what about the benefits to the fans? For years, we had to sacrifice our Saturdays during the end of November and December to support our team in their quest for another national title.
    And while many of us didn’t mind doing such, it drastically cut down on the number of available shopping days we had before Christmas. Let’s face it, traveling to Boone, N.C. or San Marcos, Texas on a Saturday for a playoff game isn’t the best use of the valuable holiday shopping time.
    This year, fortunately, we’ve got the full allotment of Saturdays to complete our holiday shopping needs. That likely wouldn’t have happened had VanGorder not been here.
    So all you Debbie Downers out there complaining, “woe is me, my team didn’t make the playoffs and our team greatly underachieved,” need to take a step back and realize how much VanGorder has done for this team and for you as fans.
    While others around town may be upset with you, Mr. VanGorder, I am quite pleased with how you’re looking out for both the students and the fans. Pay no attention to the nay-sayers and I look forward to many more years of your excellent leadership.
    Luke Martin is a reporter for the Statesboro Herald who tries to keep on the sunny side of life. He can be reached at (912) 489-9454 or via email at lmartin@statesboroherald.net

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