Making excuses

Sep 222002
Authors: Reed Saunders

Excuses are a bad thing. Seems that way in most parts of life.

We’re not supposed to make excuses. For anything. Ever.

This rings especially true in the sports world.

Ever wonder why half the losing team’s quotes following a game begin with the phrase, “We can’t make excuses…” or “I’m not making an excuse, but…?”

Players and coaches alike avoid excuses like the Black Death because, in all honestly, they ARE the Black Death of credibility. No one wants to come across as whining after a loss. No one wants to hear players dishing out blame for their problems. We are a society obsessed with accountability.

This considered, I was not surprised to hear nary an excuse following the volleyball team’s miserable 1-2 weekend in the Coors Volleyball Classic at Moby Arena.

The Rams took everything in stride, blaming only themselves.

“We didn’t step up,” said sophomore Lindsey Kerr, nearly in tears from an arm injury and a loss. “I don’t think we came out focused at all.”

Both of these points are true. The Rams didn’t come to play against Nevada on Friday night. On Saturday, CSU didn’t fare much better, barely knocking off Gonzaga (which closer resembled a team from high school than Division-I) and falling in three games to Cincinnati.

It was not pretty. It was not typical Ram volleyball. And while they might not be making excuses, I am, because frankly, these Rams deserve it.

Though not reported by many local weather reports, a poop storm settled in this weekend directly above the Rams’ locker room. The Rams’ 1-2 showing can be attributed to two huge problems the Rams had nothing to do with (otherwise known as legitimate excuses).

1. Injuries. Someone get the raid, cause there is a huge frickin’ injury bug hanging around Moby Arena.

Injuries absolutely killed the Rams.

I’m not sure I even WANT to imagine what’s going through head coach Tom Hilbert’s head toward the end of the Cincinnati match. “So let me get this straight… my only setter has back problems, my only senior just rolled her ankle and my bench is fortified like an anorexic’s cupboard… I see… where was that noose…”

Hilbert actually went on to say that he had never seen a worse situation for a volleyball team. Not been in. SEEN. That says something.

Two freshmen outside hitters, Dre Downs and Tess Rogers, were forced to set for CSU due to Melissa Courtney’s injury. This is the equivalent of putting Joe Sakic in goal to replace Patrick Roy. Rogers and Downs are good players, but, even though they did perform admirably, they are not great setters.

2. Youth. Having youth on your side is handy if you’re pulling an all-nighter, running a marathon or stripping at the Hunt Club. Youth isn’t so advantageous when you’re competing on a high stage, like, say, Division-I volleyball.

The Rams are young like the day is long. When injuries devastated their lineup, CSU had seven players available – four freshmen and three sophomores. Yikes.

The one solution to both these problems? Time. They say time heals all wounds or, in this case, bursitis and sprained ankles. The Rams need to rest their injuries.

Time will also allow the Rams to practice with their new lineup. Downs and Rogers will get more reps at setter and the Rams will continue to get to know each other on the court. Time brings experience and unity. Things were bad for the Rams this weekend, but it really wasn’t their fault. Not to make an excuse or anything.

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