Dedication. That is one of the many aspects that sets good fanbases apart from great fanbases, especially in college athletics. The true Lynah Faithful are not a collection of fans that support its program only when its teams have been successful. Were that true, there would not be generations of Faithful that supported the program during the bleak decade between 1986 and 1996 when Cornell won no ECAC Championships and made only one appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Nor are the Lynah Faithful a fanbase that realizes that there is a hockey program at its beloved institution only when the college football season has ended.
Listen to the leaders of this team: the 97th team to represent Cornell on the ice of intercollegiate play. They have heard the murmurs from detractors that have begun after two weekends of disappointment. Cornell has played eight games of what will be a 37-game season. Cornell has played less than 22% of its season. This is not intended to chide fans, but if after this short a span of minor setbacks you embrace the "next year will be the year" mentality then you should consider how faithful you are.
A statement will be made during the game against Michigan in the second period. Cornell, a program that has a steadfast adherence to tradition in its choice of uniforms, will don commemorative camouflage jerseys during the second period. The jerseys will then be auctioned off at alumni events after the Frozen Apple game to raise money that will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project. There are few causes as worthy. I am glad that Cornell has chosen to use this opportunity to raise funds for a deserving charity.
The Wounded Warrior Project assists those servicemen and servicewomen, and their families who have showed unwavering dedication to their mission and their countries. While reflecting on this unequaled devotion in the second period, each Cornell fan should examine if he or she is truly dedicated enough to be considered Lynah Faithful.
Each year brings with it its own relative expectations. History, experience, and talent inform each year's expectations. It is not every season that Cornell has the latent potential to win a national championship. Anyone who thinks that it will take until next year for Cornell to be on the cusp of winning a third national championship ignores the talent of this team in its senior class and the maturing skills of the underclassmen. Anyone who thinks that this team cannot accomplish its goals because of a few setbacks cannot call himself or herself a member of the Lynah Faithful.
Only one member of the senior class at Cornell has not tallied a point in the first eight games of this season. Three of the top five point producers for this team are members of the senior class. Leadership like that found in captains Axell, Birch, and D'Agostino is uncommon. The offensive reliability of Mihalek cannot be ignored. The explosive offensive talents of Esposito and Miller can change the course of the game and will be missed sorely when they depart from the Big Red. This senior class is special. Its contributions and roles will be missed dearly next season. This year is the year.
This team has endured disappointing results but it has not disappointed. The Cornell ethos is very apparent in all of the statements from this team. The players know when they can perform at a higher level. More importantly, they invest the time and work to improve themselves. There are no hollow words from this team. That is why there is little reason to doubt that it will achieve its stated goals.
Next year may be another year. Cornell fans are right about that. It is true that Cornell will remain very talented after the departures at this season's end. However, one must not ignore that this team has the skill and potential to win a national championship as it desires. Let no one doubt that; to do so is to be unfaithful.
We welcome those Cornell fans who attend the Frozen Apple game on Saturday. The added charitable dimension of the game makes it all the more deserving of attendance. These Cornell fans for whom this may be their first Cornell hockey game need to realize that it takes more than attendance to become Lynah Faithful. It takes passion. It takes belief.
Those Cornell fans who have considered themselves Lynah Faithful at one point but find themselves doubting this team need to exercise a little introspection. New Cornell fans need to realize that they need to dedicate to Cornell to become Lynah Faithful. Formerly faithful Cornell fans need to rededicate to this team. This team is special. This season is special.
Rededicate to this team if you have wavered. If new fans dedicate and wavering fans rededicate themselves to this team, they will not be disappointed. This team has given you no reason to doubt its ability to achieve its ultimate goals. It defeated one of the best programs in the nation in a convincing fashion. It will not be the last time this season that Cornell delivers such a result. Thousands of Lynah Faithful know this. Believe in this team.
We believe in this team.