Koruna Family Swamped by Loss

January 9, 2007

At the beginning of what would prove to be a long night for him, Dan Koruna predicted that things would ultimately go his way. “Yay, Teddy!” he shouted, as Ted Ginn returned the kick-off for an opening game touchdown. “That’s the way we’re going to win the game!” Young Dan jumped up and down on the chair at his grandparents’ house, fists aloft as he celebrated.

But for Dan and the rest of his family, the room grew more ominously celebration-free as the evening went on. Tears started for Dan when his Buckeyes were penalized 15 yards for an egregious face mask penalty by kicker Aaron Petry, thereby giving Florida incredible field position for a short drive into the end-zone. Despite the fact that to all appearances the OSU defense was actually on the field, Dan began to moan, “Where are you guys? Where are you?” A question echoed by many in Buckeye nation.

Tears and moans became full-throated sobs when the Buckeye offense failed to convert on 4th down, handing the ball back to their opponents with nary a whimper. “What were you thinking, Tressel?” Dan cried, spittle now forming on his chin. And Dan’s family wondered what their ultra-conservative-play-calling coach had up his sleeve, only to realize that it was nothing more than his arm, when the top offensive team in the nation couldn’t even go one yard in two tries. Dan’s mother was heard muttering, “But he had to go for it. He had to show them that he has confidence in his offense.” A confidence that was apparently misplaced last evening.

Unable to be remotely buoyed by his brother Rob, Dan and the rest of the Korunas retreated from the grandparents to regroup in the van at half-time. “Maybe a change of venue for us will help the Buckeyes, Dan,” cajoled his father on the ride back home. “Maybe we’ll come out and change the tempo in the second half,” Dan’s father said hopefully.

“But they (the Gators) get the ball after the half,” wailed Dan, refusing to be mollycoddled into believing anything but the worst.

As his team scrambled and stumbled and as his hero, quarterback Troy Smith, was sacked repeatedly, Dan began what would prove to be his third quarter mantra: “We’re gonna lose. We’re gonna lose. We’re gonna lose.”

Dan’s mother had tried to prepare her young son for a possible loss, waxing eloquently and philosophically about how winning isn’t everything and what a great season the team had enjoyed already. But by the middle of the third quarter she was downing Merlot to ease the pain and ignominy of witnessing such a pathetic slaughter. She had no words at that point to ease her son’s frustration.

Finally, midway into the fourth quarter, Dan’s parents put the family out of its abject misery. “If I hear one more damn good thing about Urban Meyer, I’m gonna barf,” said Dan’s mother, though the copious Merlot drinking could have been a factor in her apparent nausea. Dan’s father read that statement correctly, one of the few times during the game that someone actually understood what needed to be done and then did it correctly, and turned off the television.

“I don’t want to wait 365 days to play another national championship,” Dan murmured into his damp-from-tears pillow on the top bunk in his room at the Koruna house. Dan’s mother didn’t have the heart to tell him of the 34 year dearth between championships experienced in her own life.

By going to bed a little earlier than planned, Dan missed the final Gator touchdown, which might have actually killed the lad.

Today has been a quiet one for the Korunas, where even a trip to Frisches Big Boy and an order of pepperoni pizza sticks failed to lift the spirits of poor Dan. He dragged himself into kindergarten this afternoon a sadder and possibly wiser boy. “Mom, your team just doesn’t always win,” he was heard to say when he hugged his mother goodbye.

No Dan. It doesn’t.

But no fair-weather fandom for the Korunas. They will be back after a much needed break to root for their beloved team again next season. And maybe someday in the not too distant future, Dan will witness his team play and win a national championship. We can only hope.

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6 Responses to “Koruna Family Swamped by Loss”

  1. Annette Vasulka said

    I want to know who names their kid “Urban”?

  2. Beth Koruna said

    Amen, my Buckeye sister. *Jim* is a much better name, in my opinion.

  3. AndyWhitman said

    Poor Dan. I remember those feelings of loss and betayal so clearly.

    And it’s amazing to me how quickly they return. I’ve given myself innumerable pep talks, told myself that it’s only a game, that I have a life, that it’s inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. I know all of these things. And I still moped around most of Tuesday.

    But if Dan really wants to learn how to cope with the harsh reality of dashed hopes and massive disappoinment, I strongly recommend that he become a fan of all Cleveland professional sports team. You get the same bitter disappointment, season after season, year after year, without the occasional glimmer of hope that the Buckeyes offer. It’s awesome.

  4. Beth Koruna said

    I’ve been mopey too, but I’m trying to put on a good front for Dan.

    That’s a great idea about Cleveland teams — but really, don’t you think that the occasional glimmer of hope actually makes things worse? It’s like being in an abusive relationship where he’s super nice after every bad incident, and just when you think things are going ok, he hauls off and punches you in the nose. Maybe I need Buckeye therapy.

  5. AndyWhitman said

    But the Buckeyes occasionally win i all. Yeah, I know there are plenty of disappointments. But twice in my lifetime – 1968 and 2002 — they actually pulled it off.

    Cleveland sports team, in contrast, continually tantalize you without ever winning a championship. In 1997 the Cleveland Indians were three outs away from winning a World Series. And they couldn’t get it done. In 1995 they had, by far, the most dominating team in baseball, but choked in the playoffs. The Browns? Oh, don’t even get me started, but there are reasons why short snippets of games known simply as “The Fumble” and “The Drive” are recalled so ignominiously in Cleveland. The Cavaliers? Okay, they’ve never been any good. But now, with Lebron James, I have full confidence that within the next few years they will reach the NBA Finals, and choke in the fourth quarter of Game 7.

    Believe me, as distressing as it is, there is more hope in being a Buckeyes fan.

  6. Beth Koruna said

    Oh Andy, my friend, we need to find you another state/city to root for! (for which to root sounded really stupid even though I know I ended on a prepostition)

    “If only” — the state’s sport motto

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