Gaffes of my (very) recent past
THIS PAST Sunday, I wrote of West Virginia University's most important football games of all times. It was supposed to be a fun piece, meant to stir debate.
But I made mistakes. I heard from many of you. (Thought after all these years as a sports writer I'd have heard all the digs. But you are creative devils.)
Folks claimed that on Jan. 1, 1954, West Virginia actually lost, not won, the Sugar Bowl against Georgia Tech.
Of course, that's correct. (Thought, though, maybe that's why Georgia Tech is the Ramblin' Wreck. Thought that's how Georgia Tech became the Ramblin' Wreck. Figured Tommy Allman and the boys wore out Tech so badly that day ESPN switched to the Las Vegas Bowl.)
Then there were the emails correctly, um, let's call it "informing" me Virginia beat WVU in the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.
So I dove into the Gazette archives. And sure enough, Al Groh and his Cavs whacked the Mountaineers.
"A not-so-funny thing happened on West Virginia's drive toward a final Top 10 football ranking," read one Gazette account.
"In the Continental Tire Bowl, the wheels came off."
That account was written by ... me. From there.
Truth be told, I've never had a very good memory. I'm terrible with names. (I do, however, get that honestly from my mother. She keeps asking me for updates on Travon Austin. Yes, Travon.) Odds are, I'll go directly to the wrong floor in the company parking garage after I finish this.
And keeping facts straight? That's why I take notes, folks. Lots and lots of notes.
My recollection of WVU's national championship appearance? I remember it clear as a bell. It was in the Fiesta Bowl in one of those sandy Arizona places. WVU quarterback Major Harris was knocked out. Then that Darren Studstill came in and had his helmet twisted all around, right?
OK, I'm kidding.
The truth is, some of my friends suggested I use humor to diffuse criticism. Heck, I had a whole column written trying to suggest (tongue in cheek) WVU really did win that Sugar Bowl. That the score was simply reversed because the NCAA uncovered "Pappy" was excessively texting recruits.
But you know. Those who know me know. Those who don't know me know.
I messed up. I flat-out messed up.
I own the mistakes. I take full responsibility. I was cross-referencing scores and rankings and, well, got crossed up.
Since then, I've responded to every kind or unkind email that pointed out the mistakes. I made sure the column was deleted from the Gazette web site. We ran a correction. I apologized to my Twitter peeps - twice.
I take it seriously.
I will, though, pass along one line forwarded to me. It was forwarded by my ex-wife Karin, who knows how to put things into perspective. It was a line from that old famous theologian Yogi Berra.
"If the world was perfect," said Berra, "it wouldn't be."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.