Colby Skelton: An Injured Hero
Saturday, in The Game, Colby Skelton tore his anterior cruciate ligament.
It was on a reverse, in the second quarter. The play completely fooled Yale, and the speedy flanker rocketed down the sideline in front of the Harvard bench. Finally, Skelton was knocked out of bounds.
That's what did it. Somehow, his foot must have gotten caught on something; his knee popped; and that was the way it happened.
The football season is over now, but Skelton's is just beginning. He'll have surgery soon, and then comes rehab and more rehab. Maybe, if he's lucky, he'll play next year.
As anyone that follows sports knows, ACL injuries suck. It takes extra-special dedication and presearveance to come back 80 percent of the way, and it is near impossible to come back all the way.
I tried calling him up last night. He was home with his parents, his room-mate said and might be home later.
I wonder how Skelton feels about it now. It must be terrible to see all of your teammates celebrating the win of all wins and agreeing with them on that but at the same time having a career-threatening injury.
I think again of the play. Harvard was up 7-0, and with the 38-yard gain the Crimson was set to score again. In many ways, the entire team can thank Skelton for the win.
And thank Skelton's injury. For it and the run are one and the same, two events that are intertwined. Therefore, in a way, Skelton gave up a his leg so that his team would win. The team thanked him the night before as well, naming him the team MVP for the season.
Of course, the injury wasn't a conscious decision; no arbitrator came up to Skelton before the play started to ask for a signature on a release form. Everything took place on its own.
Nevertheless, if I were Skelton, and had the opportunity to trade my ACL for a win over Yale, I'm not sure that I wouldn't do it. (Then again, I've never played a down of football in my life.)
This is The Game. The Game The Game The Game. And when your coaches are telling you in the pregame pep talk to give everything and hold nothing back because this is it, the entire season rolled into one, how can you not do everything in your power to win? A leg can heal. A memory never goes away.
Maybe Skelton will limp for another year. Maybe for two. I'm sure it hurts like hell, and we're sorry it happened.
But as Skelton sits at home, with his family, I'm not sure he doesn't agree with me.