When I was a kid, we had a municipal pool in the little town that I grew up in that opened in the Spring and stayed open until School started and then they shut it down and drained it for the winter. My hometown was and is a small town (I had all of 52 students in my graduating HS class) and fortunately the town had a benefactor that made that pool possible. The kids there loved that pool. If you will indulge me, I will fill you in on a JUMP of my own after we all jump down the page.
When I was 7 or 8 my Aunt used to take my brother and I to the pool during the day ostensibly, to let us have fun. The fact that she was a HS Senior that looked good in a bathing suit had nothing whatever to do with it--right! Anyway, I always wanted to go into the deep end of the pool where all the big kids swam, but was usually rebuffed as being too young to go in the deep end.
We had two diving boards, one was maybe three feet off the water and then there was the (clearing throat) HIGH DIVE. The high board looked to me to be about 100 feet up and there were all kinds of stories about kids that had gone off the High Dive before they were ready, only to improperly enter the water and wind up breaking their ear drums or dislocating a limb (none were true stories but to a seven year old, it didn't take much convincing). Well, I never did listen too well...
One fine afternoon when my Aunt was busy showing off for Senior boys, I saw my chance and I took it. I climbed the ladder that was damn near straight up with steps that were as narrow as any I can remeber being on, until I stood on the HIGH DIVE with a line of kids behind me waiting. I was scared spitless. I looked over at the water and believe it or not, it looked farther down than it did from below looking up. I suddenly realized that I couldn't look like a baby after having climbed the ladder and scream to go back down the same way. I was going to have to jump! While I was waiting for a helicopter rescue (or at least the odd eagle to swoop down and carry me away), the rest of the swimmers were getting impatient and the cat calls of "scaredy cat" began. That was all I needed. I ran straight off the end of the board, into...nothing.
I will never forget the trip down. It was the shortest memory of my life. BOOM! I was in the water and GOING DOWN! Now the panic began. I started clawing and kicking, trying to find my way to the surface. I finally managed to get air, but I was in the middle of the pool a long way from the edge. Suddenly, there was my Aunt, swimming to me and telling me to calm down. SCREW THAT. I WANT THE EDGE AND I WANT IT NOW!
Needless to say, I remain, but my pride was severly injured and it took awhile before I felt like going back to the pool. I guess you could say that swimming in the deep end was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
I wonder if this "swimming in the deep end" experience is what our defense feels like (or felt like) right after the Texans game? I mean, when I climbed that ladder I was ready for anything. When the time came to actually do the deed, I kind of realized that I wasn't quite ready for what was about to happen. Never the less, I jumped. Just like the defense did in the fourth quarter last Sunday.
I thought everything was under control until I got a bird's eye view of what was actually before me. Then I realized what I had to do and I was very unhappy about it. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Chiefs were unhappy until the game ended but when that gun went off, this team was probably as collectively unhappy as they have ever been. With a young team there are a lot of firsts. This was their turn on the HIGH DIVE. I think they realize that now.
“Had a chance to look through that one. Pain hasn’t eased a whole bunch but I told the fellas that sometimes the best lessons are the most painful. I think that game has a chance to be a real good building block for our young, developing team from the standpoint that it’s hard to win on the road, especially against good opponents and especially as explosive as that team is. We had opportunities in that game to end that game much earlier and we just didn’t. When I keep saying we’re not quite there as a team yet, that’s kind of what I’m referring to. I think that if we were there as a team, if we have taken the steps necessary to be a good team, we would have recognized multiple opportunities in that game where we could’ve made that go in our favor and we just didn’t quite see it. We weren’t quite able to make those things that would’ve had to happen. It was a very painful loss for us, but again, a great lesson for us and thankfully we’re one game into the second quarter of the season and we’ve got a chance to get back to work today, which the entire team ran together and lifted together and it appeared to me that guys were starting to understand where we are and what we have to do. We’re continuing to understand where we are and what we have to do.”
I know that my experience with the HIGH DIVE from then on was very different from that first leap. My respect for what I was doing went up about 300 fold. No longer could I let anybody see me look like an idiot because I took my actions to lightly. I never became an olympic diver, but I sure didn't run screaming into the abyss again either.
What remains to be seen now is if this young and quickly maturing team of ours can put that same level of understanding to work for them, just as I did in that pool. For me, the Jury is out and will stay out until I see the same kind of performance that we saw in the San Diego game. Until these guys are pressed against the wall, we really won't know how they will react.
Haley points out exactly what happened. Not by throwing anybody under the bus (like other coaches have done), but by very eloquently stating that this team understimated what was needed to get this W on the books.
we were at a point in that game, I don’t know, midway through the third quarter where it appeared we were in control of the game – we were a couple touchdowns up and the offense had, for the most part, been able to move the ball successfully – had just moved it successfully and chewed a bunch of time up again in the third quarter. To that point, you would’ve felt pretty good about how the defense had played, yeah we allowed a drive, we allowed a couple big plays by then that they were able to make and we weren’t able to make, one of those being a third-and-goal from the seven, which are hard conversions, that the quarterback kept the play alive and was able to find a receiver that hadn’t been covered and the defense had played very well to that point and you’re thinking you have chance to hold them to a field goal without a touchdown, but as I said, midway through the third quarter, I think you would say that we were doing things the way we had to do them to have a chance to defend a team like that. They made a couple great plays, we didn’t make a couple plays we could’ve made and then it became a shootout pretty quickly before guys understood what had occurred or what was happening and at that point then, it was too late. That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about we develop as a team and working our way to becoming a good team – we’ll recognize that situation a little better. I’ve got to take my hat off to that group. That is a good offense, maybe the best offense we see, may really be the best offense we see from a multi-dimensional attack. That quarterback played really, really good and I think that midway through the third quarter point, early in a drive with us up 14 points, they threw a ball over the middle that was deflected and WR Jacoby (Jones) catches it. That’s a great play, because I’ve coached receivers a long time and I know I don’t ever give a drop if you don’t catch a deflection and that ball was deflected, he makes a great play, it’s too big of a play and that kind of enabled it to keep rolling as opposed to stopping it at that point. I think it’s a lesson we’ve got to learn from; I believe our guys will. It’s painful, it hurts, it hurt them. That was not a happy plane last night but I think that’s a sign of us making progress.”
Sorry to pull so much from Haley's press conference, but I like the way Haley uses our opponents focus and killer instinct to make the point that what they did, is what it takes to win against good teams.
I am really looking forward to the defense taking the field next Sunday. It's their first trip back to the pool since they fell into the deep end and panicked to a loss. I want to see how they look coming off the board now that they know what taking a dive is all about.