It's easy to be downtrodden about things after the week we've seen. Earthquakes, hurricanes (of natural and Miami persuasion) and the loss of Rob Henry for the season.
To recap, which I had to actually do because I literally lost count, this is ACL injury number 7 to basketball and football players at Purdue since 2009.
Robert Marve tore his during his transfer year in 2009, then again in the Toledo game last year in 2010 (that's two). Rob Hummel tore his in February and October of 2010 (two more). Ralph Bolden tore his before the season in 2010 (that's five total). Keith Smith tore his early last season (that's six) and was then arbitrarily denied another year of eligibility by the always-rational NCAA. And now Rob Henry has torn his, bringing us to seven. (No offense to any Purdue croquet players I missed.) Oh, and just to make you really wonder, Joey Elliott tore his ACL last month making a tackle in a in Canada. Seriously. (And how far back do you want to go? In 2008, Jaycen Taylor missed the season with... yep...a torn ACL.)
But we move onward from here. We've talked about being a fan before and, well, this shouldn't change anything. You're either a Purdue fan or you aren't. And while it's easy to throw your hands up and be incredulous -- and yes, this is amazing bad luck -- you have to also remember the guys who are still out there.
This team lost a teammate, Sean Matti, earlier in the preseason. Now they've been told that one of their captains is injured for the season. And they're coming off a disappointing campaign.
Marve was a guy that we got the feeling they were all getting behind last year... and then he went down. Now we've heard even better stories about Henry's leadership....and he's down.
There are still 80+ guys on this team who aren't injured, but who've seen Bolden, Marve, Smith and Henry get their seasons taken away. And, as mentioned, the far more devastating impact of a teammate actually dying. These guys are still working hard, they are still doing their best to believe... and they're eager -- you just know it -- to show us all what kind of team we have in a week.
My point is, don't give up now... don't reduce your support. Don't say you're not going to go to as many games as you might have. Don't throw in the towel. I don't think these guys have yet. I know Coach Hope hasn't yet. Show up next Saturday and make them believe... that you believe.
They might need it more than ever right now.