By Joshua A. Swanson
Want a prediction? You want a bold, in your face prediction from the master of bold, in your face predictions? Here it is. The Bison will repeat as national champions. Place your bets, plan a few days off from work, and book your plane tickets and hotels, if you haven’t already. On January 5, 2013, the Herd will capture our tenth national championship – one ring for each thumb – and folks from the Frisco Chamber of Commerce will be singing “Hail the Bison” all the way to the bank.
How confident am I? I’ve started growing a playoff beard, the “Frisco Beard,” that will not meet the shiny blades of my Mach 3 until the Bison hoist another trophy into the Texas sky that first Saturday in January. This in itself should be interesting (and/or comical) as I’ve never attempted growing a beard. No matter. But if my facial hair isn’t enough to do it for you, let’s really put some skin in the game. I’m placing this wager with all my willing kelly green and white coworkers foolish enough to pick against the Bison.
If, and when, the Bison win, they have to wear Bison gear to work for an entire day, a weekday. Most preferably during a full firm meeting. If the Bison don’t repeat, I’ll return the favor and wear University of North Dakota gear for an entire day. Although wearing kelly green and white may, in all likelihood, cause me to spontaneously combust, I’m willing to make this deal. I know what you’re thinking. Swanson finally lost it, lost his damned mind, went off the deep end without a lifejacket. Why risk a photo that will undoubtedly follow me around for life? A photo that could end up in the pages of this magazine, and worse, will most definitely be plastered all over my office?
I’ll tell you why. Because when you commit to something, you go all in. It’s that simple. There’s no hedging, no half-measures, no escape hatch. You’re either all in, or you’re entirely out. You step onto that limb without a safety harness, completely exposed, and say, “Hey, I believe in this!” There’s no alternative. That’s the level of commitment required for doing anything worthwhile – including winning a championship. The risk of falling hard is worth the reward of reaching the mountaintop.
Now, for me to risk wearing kelly green and white might not sound like much to you. After all, it’s only clothing, right? To paraphrase Lee Corso, not so fast! It’s a big freaking deal. For those who know me, they’ll tell you this is anathema to everything I grew up believing, everything I stand for. Heck, Ma Swany might not let me into the house for Christmas. Seriously, no joke. This is said with no disrespect to my friends from the north. I proudly teach at the law school there and work with, and know, many fine folks that fly the kelly green. But I’d rather give money to Karl Rove, listen to Rush Limbaugh and vote for Michele Bachmann than wear UND apparel.
I’m a man of my word. There will be no backing out, no excuses. After all, we’ve got it in writing, so we’re legally bound, right? I’m fully prepared to live with the consequences of this column. Fortunately, I won’t have to. Like I said, on the evening of January 5, after the national championship game, after storming the field, after high fiving and hugging everyone in sight, but before hitting the downtown Frisco Marriot lobby, I’ll shave my playoff beard while wearing a brand spanking new championship t-shirt. Then I’ll text my coworkers who took this bet and get their sizes for the Bison gear they’ll have to wear. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in some final terms and conditions. Not only does the loser have to wear the other school’s colors, they have to fly the other school’s flag in their office … for an entire week.
This shouldn’t be misconstrued as overconfidence. It shouldn’t be misinterpreted as me saying the road will be easy. It won’t. The road to a championship, or anything worth having for that matter, is never easy. In fact, it’s incredibly hard. But when you commit to something, you go all in. It’s that simple. I believe in our team! I believe in our coaches and our players! I believe the frenzied denizens in the Fargodome will rise to the occasion! I believe that when the dust settles, we will be champions. I’ll see you in Frisco. The march is on!