All For This

Sept. 17, 2005

By Jessica Garrison


SHREVEPORT, La. - When Tulane takes the field against Mississippi State, a battle will already be won.


Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo believes his team's most important victory Saturday will be running out of that tunnel for the opening whistle, in their pieced-together uniforms, and in a stadium far from home.


"I will be very surprised if that stadium is not electric," Scelfo said. Then, he said something remarkable for a head coach, even one in his remarkable situation.


"This isn't about winning or losing," Scelfo said. "This is about persevering. If we can give one person hope, we've accomplished our goals for the year."


That's what this team is about - sure, they're still going to run their plays, follow their game plan, fight to be ahead at the final whistle. But the real heart and soul of the Green Wave is their duty to New Orleans to carry on. Scelfo preaches perseverance from his coaching pulpit, putting the symbolic weight of the city on his team's shoulders. It's a weight he thinks they can handle, and handle well.


While the New Orleans Saints have already picked up an emotional win in the name of the city, Scelfo believes his team's season will mean something different, something for the everyman of New Orleans.


"Us and the Saints are two different entities, because they are the paid professionals," Scelfo said. "They are the white-collared (players) of New Orleans. People can relate better to us. Our players don't have the resources Saints players have, and neither do our coaches. We're reality."


Unfairly, perhaps, Mississippi State will seem like the bad guy against homeless Tulane. While the Bulldogs' campus was not wiped out the way the Green Wave's was, at least 23 Bulldog athletes were directly affected by the storm. Mississippi State has established a relief fund to directly assist those students and their families, while participating in the regional effort to accommodate displaced New Orleans residents.


Jessica Garrison is an Assistant Editor for and will be on assignment in Louisiana this week. She can be reached here with comments or questions.



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