The Saddest Thing In Life Is Wasted Talent

by | Oct 4, 2023 | 0 comments

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Are you happy to be here Knight Nation OR ARE YOU HAPPY TO BE HERE KNIGHT NATION?!

One of my favorite movies is A Bronx Tale. It’s my go-to background noise when I want a lazy Sunday afternoon with the laundry going, and I’m still a little over-saturated from a Saturday college football slate with no appetite for the early NFL games. If you haven’t seen it, (you’re crazy) it’s a coming-of-age crime drama of a young Italian boy in 1960’s New York dealing with the duality of man. After encountering a local Mafia boss, he’s torn between the temptations of organized crime and the values of his honest, hardworking father. Chazz Palminteri is the foil as the charismatic mob boss and Robert DeNiro is the honest hardworking bus driver father trying to do things the right way and show his son the righteous path. Absolute banger. One of my favorite quotable movies with great scenes and my 1B to Goodfellas. I enjoy watching old classics because it’s a mindless sound for the mundane multitasking of getting prepped for another work week. There’s no angst or intrigue because you know exactly how it’s going to end. 

This was not the case last Saturday afternoon on the east side of Orlando. It had the makings of a monumental day. Our first Big 12 game home conference opener. It was against a team we got our first Big 12 Bearskin pelt ten years ago in the desert. Our first contest in our new level of realized success in the Bounce House. I was so damn proud walking campus Saturday morning seeing the mix of Baylor gold intermixed with the gridlock of tents and giddy Knights enamored with the fact that we were hosting a Power Five matchup for the first time. Met so many visiting fans and their sincere praise of feeling a warm reception and enjoying their time in Orlando based on the hospitality from our fans was so rewarding. 

I didn’t even care that rain was threatening the entire day. Nothing was going to put a damper on a moment I had longed for nearly half my life as a fan. I love our UCF community, and it’s fun to have this ecosystem of talented coverage and passion for our alma mater. Spent most of the day with Brian W. Peterson aka Wild Bill. Just a good soul that I’m glad I finally got to meet in person. Our Saturday shenanigans were the Big 12 buddy comedy I didn’t know we needed. Walking through campus we met up with Mario who was a chore to walk with, as every dozen tents, he’s stopped by an old college flame, who can’t believe he made the 10-hour trek south for a home game. The absolute best. Finally got to meet Jebshreds and his awesome wife. Emily Banister and Nick Pontiff did the damn thing like they always do, with the best JELL-O shots I’ve ever had, my first Bounce Berry Blast and hospitality from Lauren to all faithful from both fanbases. FINALLY got to meet Adam in person with his awesome family. The boys deleted our fair share of alumni tailgate brews. The Wrights blessed me and Wild Bill with an eleventh-hour seat upgrade to Stadium Club. 

EVERYTHING was in high gear. Vibes were immaculate. 

One of my favorite lines in A Bronx Tale

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” 35-7 baby. That’s what we wasted on Saturday. Listen, every game has its arc. Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some. Things come down to the wire. Some moments happen and the ball bounces your way. Sometimes magic strikes. I will always be here. I can’t go anywhere. This is my alma mater and team. That loss was disgusting. I’m sorry but for the magnitude of what Gus brings to the table and his pedigree that loss is inexcusable. Is Hinshaw calling plays or just having input on the throttling tempo? I’d be fine not seeing another Defensive Coordinator with Williams as a surname under Malzahn ever again. Maybe UCF and Malzahn are the perfect fit for each other though. He’s coasting off of Cam Newton, “Kick Six” and catching Nick Saban more times than most, like we’re coasting on a 2017/2018 run, McKenzie Milton and “Reservations for Six in the Cabana” on Black Friday. Newsflash, it’s been well over half a decade. Figure this shit out. That finish was inexcusable, embarrassing and quite frankly, very pathetic.

We honored the 2013 team that jumpstarted and embodied what UCF used to stand for. Scrappy, tenacious and locked in. These guys weren’t highly recruited or expected to be BCS busters. They were a mix of good enough players, with a chip on their shoulder, and a belief in themselves. When men were men. These guys were real hunters. The real dogs where the only whiteout they cared about was rolling into Happy Valley on a September afternoon and handing the Nittany Lions their only out-of-conference loss, which still stands to this day ten years later. REAL DOGS, not Monday morning podium pooches. 

This is not a “future of college football” I want to be a part of if it’s going to look like this. 

I’m still pissed if you can’t already tell. Just a complete disaster finish on a momentous day. We have everything in place. Fan support (for most quarters), location, resources, and an amazing opportunity ahead of us. SEIZE IT. This playing 500, backyard ball routine with the neighborhood kids is not going to cut it. We need to be sound in all phases of the game. It’s four quarters. Snap to whistle. You don’t think future college football powerbrokers don’t look at a sparsely filled stadium to start the second half on what should have been an ass in every seat until the final 0:00 day? You don’t think people are looking at this crumble as evidence that UCF doesn’t belong in the upper echelons of the sport blowing a four-touchdown lead AT HOME to a 1-3 bruised Baylor team? A day when our league commissioner was in attendance and we hosted the most talented crop of blue-chip recruits ever, and we lay an egg like that? Gross man.

We have the personnel. We’ve lined the resource$ on the ledger. We’re tapdancing for all the county dollars. It’s time to execute. It’s time to have some moxie and get our edge back. We haven’t had it for quite some time. An attitude of executing in big moments. A will to win. Maybe take a hint from real dogs, like a ranked Fresno State Bulldog that came in clutch a lot for us last year. A lot of loser fan support on the timeline, saying this loss is okay because they had us going 6-6 or 7-5 at best to start the season. We only lost by one point. It’s our first year in the Power Five after all, you know? Shed that diseased G5 mindset out of your system. It’s like watching your house burn down with all your belongings but saying, “Well, it’s whatever we were planning to move at the end of the month, anyways.” 

Stop the madness.

Are you happy to be here Knight Nation OR ARE YOU HAPPY TO BE HERE KNIGHT NATION?!

We’re 5-5 in the last time ten games folks. The second time we’ve blown a 20+ point lead to a one-win team. None of those wins came against a Power Five opponent. Another abhorrent program trajectory changing loss at home. The Midshipmen Meltdown now has company with the Miracle at the Magic Kingdom. This coaching staff needs to do some soul-searching and get this team conditioned and I’m not just talking about in the physical sense. Mentally they have to be able to put that game away. You have to show mental fortitude to push through and seal that win. Bleed clock. Keep your foot on the gas.  CLOSE. Have some damn pride. In the era of NIL, the transfer portal and the rapidly changing college football landscape maybe that doesn’t mean as much to teams today. Total disrespect to the 2013 Fiesta Bowl team in attendance though with that performance.

Hopefully, we can put it together Saturday in Lawrence, because we need to.

My only fear is there won’t be many UCF Students in the stands at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. 

I know how important that is to this team’s on-field success.

‘Til next time, take care of the damn ball and each other. 


About Dali
Proud UCF Alum ⚔️ | Big12Conference Fan | Avid Content Creator & Marketer | Curator of Good Times | Believer in “the sweet is not as sweet without the sour.” Twitter: @Dali_Drama


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