It’s like watching two brothers fight. Only a parent can step in and stop it, never mind — even then, both will take up for one another — and 10 seconds later be back to beating the snot out of each other.
The funny thing about emotion is it allows you to perform either way better, or way worse, than normal. It’s the fuel for the greatest battles and advancements known to mankind. Lack of it is the reason for some of the greatest defeats of all time.
It’s what spearheaded the colonists against the British and the Screaming Eagles against the Nazis. Peary and Hillary had it, so did Magellan and Columbus too.
It was also the secret ingredient missing for so long during the postseason in the Atlanta Braves’ clubhouse. It’s why, despite winning an unprecedented 14 division titles, the team has only one World Series ring to show for it. It’s also part of the reason McGovern flopped in 1972 and Mondale flopped even bigger in 1984.
Nothing wrong with being methodical if you have a great formula or system, but in a short series or battle, history shows time and time again emotion can top superior talent.
This point also plays out in the all-time series between Spalding and Griffin. Spalding, which has been an underdog since the series resumed in 2008, has hung in there against overwhelming odds on two notable occasions.
The first occurred in 2008 when Griffin, which had been preseason ranked No. 1 in the state, found itself — much to its shock — trailing Spalding 13-0 after Will Jeffcoat booted field goals of 49 and 37 yards in the first quarter and then, with :54 left in the half, Casey Moody threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Zae Fuller.
The second occurred last year when Spalding carried the Bears — much to Griffin’s surprise — scoreless into overtime.
Of course, Griffin prevailed both times — scoring 62 unanswered points to win 62-13 in 2008 and surviving 3-0 on Wilkes Hope’s 31-yard field goal in overtime last year.
In-between those games, Griffin scored victories of 42-10 in 2009 and 40-0 in 2010. Who knows what tonight’s contest between Region 4-AAAA Div. B champion Griffin (7-1) and last-place Spalding (1-6-1) will bring?
You can bet it’ll be interesting if emotion has anything to do with it, because as they say: “When rivals play (and things get emotional), you can throw out the records.”
(Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.)