How to appreciate greatness

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by Jake Brend, SC TV News Director

As I was the last fan remaining in the upper deck last Friday, after Iowa State’s 48-14 win over TCU, a quote from Andy Bernard from The Office resonated with me:

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

That victory was the last time that Brock Purdy, Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, Mike Rose, Greg Eisworth and Enyi Ewazurike would play football together in Ames. 

Sitting in section B by myself watching as the seniors embraced each other at midfield, all I could think about was how little I appreciated the Brock Purdy era of Cyclone football. As a starting quarterback, Purdy went 16-1 as a starter at home against Big 12 opponents. He beat every single Big 12 team at least once, went to a Big 12 Championship and won a Fiesta Bowl. 

This senior class is undoubtedly the best in the history of Iowa State football. Yet, during their big wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or West Virginia, I never even processed it. 

But now it’s done. Most of these seniors will enter the NFL draft and go their own separate ways. After their final bowl game, they will no longer contribute to the team. 

I’ll be honest, I was pretty mad at myself for not appreciating the football that is now behind me. 

Similarly, on a much harsher scale, when Kobe Bryant tragically died in Jan. 2020, I was left to reflect on his professional career, and more importantly his life. 

When Bryant was in the NBA, I was what you might call a “hater.” I have always hated the Lakers, so naturally, I cheered against them and their best player. Despite Kobe being an all-time great and arguably the best player since Michael Jordan, I didn’t even try to appreciate him.

Now that he’s gone, he leaves a legacy as one of the best players in NBA history, and I was able to witness it. But instead of appreciating it, I debated with others saying that he wasn’t as good as Lebron. It was a waste of time and energy when I could’ve directed it at appreciating the greatness that Kobe Bryant was.

So how does this relate to reality? After all, sports are great, but at the end of the day, they’re just sports. 

Lately, I’ve come to the realization that my time at Simpson is well over halfway done. I (hopefully) graduate in May of 2023, so I have roughly three semesters left. 

Just like my treatment of Iowa State football and Kobe Bryant, I feel I haven’t appreciated my time enough. I have some great friends, I love my major and am involved in some great organizations. But, I still wake up, rush through my day and don’t take time to enjoy the moments that make my college experience special. 

Over the next year and a half, I’m going to try and appreciate the little moments, every day that I have left in college. If I don’t appreciate it, it will be gone before I know it.