dropped a 27-17 heartbreaker in the NCAA Semi-Finals to #2 UW-Whitewater. Anyone that followed the game knows that Linfield held a 17-10 lead early in the 4th quarter and looked to be in prime position to pull the upset and advanced to the NCAA Championship game but you have to credit Whitewater for making enough plays to overcome the Linfield lead and pull out the victory.
It was such a bittersweet feeling for the players, coaches, and fans of the 'Cats. Linfield has NOTHING to hang their heads about but everyone in the Purple, Red, and White knows that it was there for the taking but it just wasn't to be. However, that's part of football/athletics and in some ways life. Sometimes you are of the verge of doing something great and for whatever reason it just doesn't happen. In those moments you tend to find out really who you are as a person and from what I saw after the game made me feel pretty dang good. The 'Cats, even though they were bitterly disappointed, handled themselves with class and dignity after the game. True, there were tears, but they stayed together as a team and held each other up in a very tough moment. These guys truly care about the 'Cat next to them and are very proud of what they did this season as they should be. It was an incredible season by anyone standards.
I'm not going to get into a huge recap of the game with the usual "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" because it just doesn't feel right for me to break down that game. Bottom line, it was a awesome game with two excellent teams trading blows. Yes, Whitewater made the play to win the game but everybody at Perkins Stadium knows that game was up for grabs up till the finals minutes.
What I would like to write instead is just pour out some thoughts on the season. You know that I'm a Linfield honk in the highest regards. I have blind faith in the values of the programs and the people who run it. That may not be the healthiest perspective to have but it's for a good reason. This program will always try to put their best foot forward when it comes to preparing young people for their lives after Linfield and also try their best to put out a high quality product on the field.
That is what this 2009 team did this year. They worked everyday on putting their best on the line. Not just on fall and winter Saturdays but in the early mornings during Jan term and in the springtime when the eyes of the 'Catdome family were not on them. This group of young men earned everything this season. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect at the start of 2009. Sure, we had some very talented ballplayers but we were young in spots and unproven in many others. However, what we didn't know is just how tight the bond of this team was headed into the year. That believe in the player next to them is what carried this team to the heights they reached and will carry the program forward into 2010. They need to be applauded for their effort and performance. It was truly great.
To the Senior Class of 2009. Thank you. I don't know how else the 'Catdome can express what you men did for this program this season. Myself and others can't really know the pressures and frustrations that you all felt the previous few seasons when the program was so close but see the season end at 6-3. The classes of 2006-08 each worked very hard but they all had a taste of the success of the 03-05 seasons and that is something you guys had hanging over your heads coming into the year. Instead of letting that break you down, you guys came together and moved forward, formed your own identity, and carved out your own piece and place in Linfield history. What you did this year was special and it may be one of your greatest memories of your college lives and it should be. You once again set the standard for the teams that follow you and the 'Catdome family can't thank you enough.
WC11 wants to encourage any fans, students, or parents to drop a thank you in the comment section. You can do it anonymously or you can leave your name...it doesn't matter. Just let the 'Cats know how much you appreciate their effort this year. Go 'Cats!