I’m not sure if the three-game winning streak in Jacksonville has sunk into our collective subconscious as fully as it deserves to. Every once in a while I run into stories that help bring it into perspective, though, like this one about Florida receiver Solomon Patton, for whom things were going so well in 2012. Until…
Then it all came crashing down in the biggest game of the season against hated rival Georgia.
Patton was dragged down from behind, broke his arm when he hit the ground and just like that his season was done. In the blink of an eye Patton’s firs real opportunity to be an impact player was taken away. Suddenly that sad, lonely, empty feeling he felt as a freshman paled in comparison to what he felt as a junior.
“My mindset [after the injury] was that I was done. I felt like I had just finally got my chance and then I just hit rock bottom having my arm broken,” he said. “That was the saddest time. I was sad every day, all day. My parents, everybody just tried to keep me encouraged but that was real hard. I had finally got my shot and I felt like I was doing my best to take advantage of it and it was all over. It was pretty hard.”
This is ordinarily the kind of story we used to read about some hapless kid suiting up in the red and black. Except it’s not.
Sadly, the article left out my favorite Patton moment – the senior getting baited by Leonard Floyd, of all people, into committing a personal foul that pushed his team back just far enough to lead to a whiffed field goal attempt in a game that Florida lost by three. Again, that’s the kind of knuckleheaded moment you’d expect from our side. Except it wasn’t.
You need to savor this stuff, people.