Red Towel Diaries

Red Towel Diaries are the writings of WKU's student-athletes about their feelings and observations before, during and after a game or road trip. A New Red Towel Diary will be posted about once each week by a different athlete in a different sport.

Senior Andy Fertick
Men's Soccer
Ashburn, Va.
(Broad Run HS)

Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Dear Red Towel Diary,
48 hours until the No. 1 team in the country arrives on our field. Has Western ever played host to a No. 1 ranked team in Division I athletics?? This is what players dream of from the time that they are five years old. Regardless of your sport, nothing is better than playing the best team in the land. The WKU men's soccer team is getting that chance on Friday night against SMU. With a roster filled with All-Americans and pro prospects, SMU is a giant of college soccer. It's nothing we haven't seen before. With a team composed of 11 seniors, we've played the best in the most hostile of environments.

Practice today was intense to say the least. Physical confrontations become the norm as numerous players struggle to the training room after practice. These bruises characterize our team. We are a blue-collar team that wins with blood and sweat. Every game is a battle no matter who or where we play. Our goal is to bring SMU into our world. Win, lose or draw, we know they will still feel the game for days to come. At the end of practice we come together as a team. We make one promise to each other. Every single player must be able to look his teammate in the eye and know he gave his everything that Friday night.

Thursday, October 4, 2001
24 hours to game time
Dear Red Towel Diary,
The day before a game is one of mental, rather than physical preparation. We go over every play, every bit of strategy with excruciating detail. We know nothing less than a perfect game will do on Friday night. Are we ready? We know we are, these are the teammates who endured the 100 degree August two-a-days with me. These are the guys who ran sprints at 6 a.m. all spring. Sprints that brought us past the point of exhaustion. If we passed those tests, we will surely fulfill the promise we made to ourselves on Friday night. We will leave everything on the field.

Friday, October 5, 2001
7:00 p.m. ...GAME TIME!!
Dear Red Towel Diary,
The rain has been pouring for two hours now. Our field is more mud than grass. The temperature is falling rapidly. A hard-working team like ours love this weather. This is Western weather. Only five minutes into the game and an SMU player is down. The victim of a hard tackle, he's lying in pain, waiting helplessly for the trainer. The message has been sent. SMU is in for a war. Despite a driving wind and rain in our face, Western holds the score to 0-0 at halftime. SMU has scored 13 goals in their last two games. Are they beginning to doubt themselves? Western comes out firing in the second half. A shot is driven to the upper corner only to be denied by the desperate dive of the SMU goalkeeper. Just as we feel our opponent cracking, a counterattack by the Mustangs results in the first goal of the match. Though a goal down, we are not phased. We continue to attack, but to no avail. In a desperate effort to even the match, SMU counters once again with a second goal to put the game away. We lost 2-0 to the No. 1 team in the nation. We played our hearts out tonight. Though we lost the game, we fulfilled our mutual promise. We fought and scrapped for 90 minutes. We left everything we had on the field tonight.