Almost everyone in Albuquerque knows that the Lobos sports programs aren't exactly in a great state. They can't help but know, with the Albuquerque Journal plastering coach Locksley's face and body all over the front of the sports section, not to mention his own place in the first section. If no news is good news, to the Albuquerque Journal, bad news must be the best news. Nobody's done a better job of stoking this fire under Locksley's bum than our local paper.
And to be fair, Locks deserves to be held accountable. You won't find a Lobos football apologist here. The team stinks. 2-22 over two years is not only pathetic, it's embarrassing. It's terrible having to talk football with out of town friends, and it's sad when our football team is in the national news for being so bad.
But...Locksley walked into a pretty bad situation, too. Sure, Rocky Long did better while he was here (a lot better!) but he wasn't going to do as well as he had previously if he was the coach these last two seasons. That's the simple truth.
But the real point here? If you focused on the headlines (and especially the national news media), the football team's woes would be the only thing you knew about Lobo sports. And there's so much more:
Our volleyball team just pulled down unparalleled honors in our conference. Coach Jeff Nelson has been rewarded for putting in long hours and tough work, and the women are getting ready to face the University of Southern California on Friday.
Even though we got beat pretty handily, our men's soccer team made a proud return to the NCAA Tournament. The game was especially meaningful because of the connection the Creighton coaches have to the Lobos soccer program. And, sure, the loss was a bad one, but it's a step in the right direction for a program that's been close to the top in recent history.
Of course, after the construction to the Pit last year, people were excited about the basketball team and the semi-new venue. Putting aside the so-called controversy about rich people not being allowed to booze it up, the new Pit seems a success. Similarly putting aside some of the early season jitters - and new big man Alex Kirk getting highlights he doesn't want the men's team looks to be in good shape, winning last night against Southern Illinois University.
These, of course, are not the only sports programs that are succeeding at UNM. The men's and women's cross country teams both did well at Nationals. The Lady Lobos basketball team has been uneven, but is incredibly young, and shows promise.
If Lobo football is getting the average Burqueno down, maybe it's time to try something else out. There's plenty of winning teams, and the best thing is that they're relatively unknown at this point - no accusations of bandwagoning for anyone who jumps on at this point. Support your local teams and you'll be pleasantly surprised when next football season rolls around and you're feeling up for another round.