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The confetti poured from the ceiling of the SuperDome last night after LSU beat Clemson for the National Championship. Hometown boy and LSU head coach, Ed Orgeron could not grin any wider as he stood with his wife and team to celebrate. The pride and joy has to be immeasurable. I'm sure he was taking it all in, but don't you think that there were moments he thought of the down times from which he came? Absolutely. It's what makes those moments even sweeter, right? While you and I are unlikely to be found at the center of such a scene, there are victories we can attain that are just as sweet.
Down times suck. You live long enough, you will find yourself on what seems to be a good path and forward momentum is going your way, but then the walls cave in. It's a major body blow that sucks the air out of your lungs. I'm sure Ed Orgeron felt exactly that in December 2013.
"Coach O", as he's called by many, was the interim head coach at the University of Southern California for only a few months. It was a huge dream of his to be head coach at that University. He loved the university and the players and fans loved him. He turned around what was a bad start to the season (Lane Kiffin was fired early in the season) and pulled off a 6-2 record the rest of the way. I am a USC fan, and I watched with amazement at his ability to turn around what was a nightmare into a near dream come true. He was a hero in Los Angeles. But, in December of 2013, the idiots at USC hired another coach to run the program. Coach O was passed over for someone else. Why? Some believe, as do I, that the Athletic Director at the time (Pat Haden) wanted someone more like Pete Carroll and who didn't talk like Ed Orgeron. Ed was pissed, so he left. I don't blame him.
After taking a year off, Coach O was hired as a defensive line coach at LSU. A year later, LSU fired their head coach, Les Miles. Orgeron was again tapped as the interim head coach. He again went 6-2 for the remainder of the season, but this time he was rewarded. LSU removed the interim tag and made him head coach in 2016. Last night, we saw the culmination of all of his hard work and passion for the game, the players, the coaches, the university, and his home state. Meanwhile, the university that spurned him is mired in mediocrity and with no clear promise of better days. As far as I'm concerned, USC can eat the poo sandwich they've made for themselves.
Things happen for a reason. For all the passion and joy he had for The University of Southern California, I would find it hard to believe that winning a National Championship in Southern California would be better than winning one in his home state. After the extreme let down at USC, not only did he earn the crown jewel in college football, he did at a place that is home and with people who love the way he coaches and the way he talks. As a USC fan, I could not be happier for him.
The lesson for us all is simple: stick with your passions and strive to be the best you can be. Also remember that vision you have of what you want to become can come true....and it can also be better than what you had imagined. I really believe Coach O loves the taste of victory in Louisiana far more than he could have in southern California. Ca c'est bon!