by Joanne Wu
Expectations never seem to translate into reality, in more ways than one ? especially when it enters the athletic arena.
For example, being a resident of Boston, I was naturally optimistic about the baseball action I was going to experience at Fenway Park.
Loaded with a deep and talented pitching staff, as well as reliable and solid hitters, I thought the Red Sox were going to have a good shot at breaking the Bambino and going all the way this season. But leading hitter Nomar Garciaparra?s wrist fell apart. A domino effect happened as solid offensive players Manny Ramirez and Carl Everett started to ache.
But just as Garciaparra underwent rehab in the Minors, the cycle continued with ace pitcher Pedro Martinez?s right shoulder holding the team back. Then, last season?s closer Derek Lowe started to look like he had forgotten how to throw and regressed to his earlier years.
Couldn?t get any worse? The Sox then switched its skipper as big wigs like General Manager Dan Duquette decided to oust Jimmy Williams and replaced him with former pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan.
No offense to Kerrigan ? I think he?s a good guy and a great scout for talent, but that promotion did not show signs of a complete turnaround for the team. The Sox continued to struggle, slipping into a 9-game losing slump with a complete meltdown against the Yankees.
But Kerrigan brings something novel to his players and their fans that Williams lost touch of ? energy, enthusiasm and the desire to explore new possibilities.
Kerrigan?s desire to try new ways was something that I saw in head football coach Mark Kreydt. Kreydt debuted his new Yellowjacket offense in the record-breaking win against St. John Fisher College in the best Campus Spirit Kickoff I have seen in the four I have experienced.
Aside from the whopping 44-6 victory over the Cardinals in front of a crowd of 4267, the opener was a showing of the talented coaching abilities of coach Kreydt and his staff.
The new flexible ?no-huddle? offense is a different style in collegiate coaching and its effectiveness was more than validated Saturday.
Despite a rough start, the Yellowjackets found its new groove after a TD in the early portion of the half and, for the first time, I sensed a renewed confidence in the UR football program from roaring fans and all 99 suited players.
And as UR trampled on towards their goal, driving the ball on the ground and through the air, the Cardinals definitely looked confused by Kreydt and his staff?s new offensive attack.
What St. John Fisher expected and what they adjusted to was just not what the Yellowjackets had in mind.
It?s not easy starting a new season with a new staff and new talent.
A lot of times the expectations of success and the fear of failure drives many leaders to shy away from shifting things around too much and starting a fresh approach.
Red Sox?s coach Kerrigan went into his new job with a lot of fresh thoughts but with a lot of expectations and outside pressures. But he stood strong, went with his guts.
He has yet to find a winning combination and his hopes of post-season success have faded, but his determination to explore new possibilities is what the Red Sox needs to renew its faith in breaking the curse.
UR?s football coach Kreydt is just a step ahead of Kerrigan ? both have the same enthusiasm and desire to try something novel, something challenging.
Kreydt and his staff started this fall with the loss of key linebacker Lance Ramer in defense and with the gain of fresh talent that added to their experienced solid players.
Last season, UR wrapped up with a finish of 6-4 ? the most wins in a season since 1992 ? and this year is expected to be better.
I am impressed to see the football staff tinker with game plans. The new approach has been a success and helped to improve the team beyond expectations.
Good job coach.
Keep it up.
Contact Joanne Wu at jwu@