Fortune Favors the Bold: The Mindset of the Red Raiders & Kliff Kingsbury

Fortune favors the bold

Turnovers. Untimely penalties. Two freshman quarterbacks and mistakes in all three phases of the game that will make you cringe. Yet their absolute boldness, especially during the money plays, continues to carry the day.

There are actually two variations of the phrase. The first can be traced back to the Roman playwright Terence:

Fortune favors the brave

Latin proverb traditionally attributed to Terence (c. 190-159 B.C.) 
Many sources say that the first recorded use of this ancient proverb was in the play Phormio (161 B.C.), written by Publius Terentius Afer, the Roman playwright known as Terence for short. It's a common translation of the Latin phrase "fortis fortuna adiuvat," which is spoken by a character in Act 1 ofPhormio. However, like "Charity begins at home," another saying traditionally credited to Terence, "fortune favors the brave" is not quite a literal translation of what he wrote in Latin and it may have been a proverbial saying before Terence used it.

Credit the second version to the Roman poet Virgil:

Fortune favors the bold

The Latin word fortis (sometimes misspelled as fortes) does mean brave and fortuna means fortune. Fortuna with a capital F, used in some versions of the classical quote, refers to the Goddess Fortuna (Fortune). However, adiuvat is more literally translated as helps or aids, rather than favors (in the sense of liking or preferring someone). In the Aeneid (c. 19 B.C.), the Roman poet Virgil used another well known variation of the saying: "Audentis Fortuna iuvat." Both Latin versions have also been translated as "Fortune favors the bold." (Audentis, sometimes given as audentes, comes from the Latin verb audeo, which means to dare or to be bold.Iuvat, sometimes spelled juvat, means to help or aid.)

Whichever version you prefer, the meanings are virtually the same.  The brave and the bold are often in a better position for success.  Whether in a career, or in life or in a football game on a rainy day in Morgantown West Virginia, fortune favors the bold.

I've always preferred the "bold" version so we stenciled it onto the wall of our son's crib before he was born.  It's a personal philosophy I hope is embedded in him and all of our kids, and I'm so glad to know it's now a philosophy for our Red Raiders.

The game yesterday was incredibly nerve-wracking.  In the 2nd quarter Tech was about to take a 20-3 lead and completely take the crowd out of it but within minutes the teams were heading into halftime tied at 13.  A 17 point swing followed almost immediately by two more touchdowns by the Mountaineers with only one field goal by Bustin sandwiched in between.

So we had gone from potentially a 20-3 Tech lead to trailing 27-16 and a crowd getting ready to burn all the couches. Crazy penalties that kept extending drives kept taking me back to the early 2000's and it really appeared that the game was about to get out of hand.

I was driving the kids around and felt that unease in my stomach and couldn't concentrate and was getting more and more upset by the minute but then I realized something.

Isn't it great to be back in the ring like this?

I haven't had those sorts of anxious moments during a Tech game in years, and I'm so happy to be in this place again. Texas Tech football hasn't been the same for me in a long time and it's back now.  The mistakes and the penalties and the tension and living on the edge of your seat is back.  But more importantly, the swagger and the winning ways are back.

And inside that swirl of emotion and drama and ranting on game day threads there is a head coach calmly leading a team through this chaos and finding a way to win.

No panicking.  Never overreacting. We made a mistake? Let's go fix it. Let's win the money plays and everything will take care of itself.

Sure there are a ton of things to correct.  Texas Tech has yet to play anything close to a great game, but we are 7-0. Let that sink in for a minute.  We've stumbled our way to 7-0 because there is a mindset inside that locker room that finds a way to get it done.  This team wins all the money plays.

Coach Kingsbury and his Red Raiders know when it's time to win the money plays and they do it.  West Virginia was slicing our defense apart in the 3rd quarter but did absolutely nothing in the 4th quarter.  Our offense was sputtering and stalling all over the place but cashed in on all the money plays when it counted most.

We can panic and worry and let Gilbert take over VTM, or we can sit back and think about where we are right now. Undefeated at 7-0 with a brand new head coach and two freshmen quarterbacks and Texas Tech is winning all the money plays.

And Texas Tech wins all the games.

Still not feeling excited?  Think about this.  Nick Saban won seven games in his first year at Alabama.  Coach Kingsbury has already matched that win total, and he has six games left.

Let your brain chew on that for a few minutes and smile.  This has been a helluva ride so far and buckle up because it's about to get really fun.

It feels so good to feel good again.

This story started with Roman playwrights and poets Terence and Virgil, so naturally we'll finish it with a Robert Earl Keen song.  Robert Earl sums up the feeling that pervades Double T Nation nicely.

So I strolled across old Main Street
Walked down a flight of stairs 
Stepped into the hall 
And saw all my friends were there 
A neon sign was flashin' "Welcome come on in"
It feels so good feelin' good again

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