Millions of viewers tuned in last Friday to watch what they thought would be yet another Bronco victory. But as the Boise State and Nevada scores crept hauntingly closer, a wave of fear swept Bronco Nation.
The game was down to one last kick, one last redemption. Twice. Both were missed and immediate fault for the whole outcome of the game was placed on senior kicker Kyle Brotzman as Boise State’s 24-game winning streak came to a screeching halt.
Almost instantly, Facebook and Twitter blew up with statements criticizing Brotzman and blaming the entire loss on him. Claims that a high school kicker could have made it flooded Facebook walls. Hate continues to flow through social networks days later, as if Brotzman doesn’t feel bad enough.
First of all, who are we to judge him for his mistakes? We faithfully watch the games from the comfort of our respective couches, barstools and sidelines, cheering along as if we’re one of the team.
But something that many people forget is that we’re not part of the team. We’re supporters. Though the kicks were theoretically short and “easy,” we will never know what it feels like to have the pressure of millions of viewers, loads of money and the huge hope of a BCS championship weighing down on us.
“We all have bad days,” sophomore social work major Kimberly Copeland said. “They just aren’t televised on ESPN!”
Think back to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl: Brotzman’s fake punt is what saved the game. But instead of saying “Brotzman won the Fiesta Bowl” we say, “We won the Fiest Bowl.” Conversely, after a loss, everyone is trying to dodge the blame. Instead of “We lost the Nevada game” it’s very loudly “Brotzman lost the Nevada game.”
There is no I in team. This is commonly said of a win, but is more important in a loss.
It’s not Brotzman’s fault the Broncos lost the game, it was a team effort. In society, it’s easier for people to single out one person and place the blame on him or her than it is to blame a group of people.
But is a college football game loss really worth someone’s life?
According to the Associated Press, Brotzman has received numerous death threats and hate mail about the game. When did missing a kick become a good reason to die? It’s college football, not a life-or-death situation.
In fact, many celebrities receive death threats for absurd reasons: Bristol Palin received an envelope containing white powder simply because she made it to the final round of Dancing with the Stars. Justin Bieber receives an endless barrage of hate and threats. Being a finalist in a celebrity dance competition or singing pubescent love songs is not cause for death.
“People get too worked-up over little things,” said freshman Taylor Richardson, a pre-nursing major. “It’s their life, let them live it. Live your own life … don’t take things so seriously.”
Life is a gift and you only get one. Once it’s extinguished, it’s gone forever. Wishing someone would die is a pretty big deal. Telling them how disappointed and angry you are is one thing but hoping they never walk this Earth again is an entirely different ball game. The value of someone’s life is priceless.
Society needs to lay off the hateraid. Who are we to judge people based on their accomplishments or failures? We are in no position to condemn another human being, no matter their offense. People get offended when other people judge them for their actions, yet most don’t hesitate to turn around and do the same to others.
Whether or not Brotzman missed the kick, he’s still a human being and deserves respect. Boise State may have lost a football game but it’s not worth the price of Brotzman’s (or anyone’s) life.