My friend Sarah let out a giggle as I clicked “request” and my desire for friendship (among other things) traveled away from her basement and through cyber space to await his next Facebook log-in. Fingers crossed, I silently prayed that my secret crush on the East Grand Rapids’ tailback would indeed stay a secret.
In my hometown (where aside from the beautiful beaches, football was our only identity), “Joe Glendening” was synonymous with the end of our beloved high school team’s season. I remember watching helplessly from the stands as Joe and his well-oiled EGR machine handed us not one, but two painful post-season defeats.
Those memories were ones our little town on the lake tirelessly attempted to repress. At the time, it would have been treasonous to admit him a talented football player let alone think him cute.
Years passed and it had been a long time since I’d thought about Joe. That was until I saw who FSU would be facing off against in this season’s home opener. On Sept. 2, Top Taggert Field welcomes Hillsdale College. The visiting Chargers are led by a familiar face.
So, we meet again, Joe Glendening. How ironic it is to be opening this collegiate football season against the player who was responsible for ruthlessly ending so many of my high school seasons.
Fortunately, circumstances have changed. For the Bulldogs, “Joe Glendening” is synonymous with “opportunity.” Last year, Joe was the top rusher in the conference (1,485 rushing yards with 15 rushing touchdowns) as he was named All-GLIAC and Hillsdale qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Chargers will enter the 2011 season ranked 19th in the nation in The Sporting News’ preseason Division II Top 25 poll.
An opener against such a formidable opponent presents the perfect chance for this Bulldog team (picked to finish near the bottom of the GLIAC’s North Division in the preseason poll) to prove themselves to the rest of the GLIAC. The first game of the season is just that: the first game of the season. It’s a fresh start. An opportunity that would be foolish not to seize. Almost as foolish as a crush on Joe Glendening. n