Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's A Hard Knock Life For Kickers

It really is tough being a kicker. Sure, when you make the game winning field goal everyone lifts you up and celebrates. Until the next morning, when they're still amped about the win, but don't remember the kick so much. As the week progresses to the next game the memory of that game winner fades even more until all that's left is a great win and nothing more. But if you miss the potential game winner people will remember for weeks, months, years, maybe even lifetimes.

Then you also have backups that attempt to injure you so they can take over the starting position(ok, that's mostly punters, but they still kick the ball). And on kickoffs you always get setup as the last guy to try and tackle someone running full speed that's usually a little more athletic, and then they show the highlight of you getting your ankles broken while attempting some pussified form of a tackle over and over again.

Such is the life of a kicker, and Georgia's Brandon Coutu can attest to that.

On Saturday night, Brandon Coutu kicked a 37-yard field goal to seal the win against Vanderbilt. The win kept Georgia in the hunt for the SEC East title, and Coutu's teammates rallied around him as the game ended. Coutu's excitement was cut short, however when he found out that his home had been burglarized as he was heading back from the Vandy game.

One of the best nights in Brandon Coutu's life quickly turned into one of the worst on Saturday.

The Georgia kicker walked into his Athens home after kicking a game-winning field goal at Vanderbilt and found that burglars had ransacked the place and stolen almost everything of value and some of sentimental value, such as SEC championship and bowl gifts.

"They took a lot of stuff, a lot of things that were important to him," said Ron Coutu, Brandon's father. "They took a TV with an SEC logo on it, an Xbox, iPods, computer, a bunch of electronic-type stuff."

Coutu learned of the break-in on his way back from the Vanderbilt game. A friend had gone to the house and was to meet Coutu there for a celebration. After finding the back door kicked in, he went in, discovered the burglary and called Coutu.

"It was not fun having to tell him," Ron Coutu said. "Obviously it was a big night for him and he walked in there frustrated. But the main thing is nobody got hurt and almost everything can be replaced."

So, instead of basking in the win Coutu got to think about trying to replace the schoolwork(kickers have to go to class, star qb's and running backs not so much) that had been taken with the theft of his laptop. The news of the theft has also partially overshadowed the importance of his kick.
At first, the Coutus thought about not talking to the media about the break-in, but Brandon said he wanted to do everything possible to try to find the perpetrator or perpetrators. If the word got out, he thought, maybe someone would be able to point police in the right direction.

"He has gotten more media attention from this than he did from the game-winning kick," Ron Coutu said.

Just another sad example of the week to week struggles that kickers endure as they practice and perform their limited shots at glory. Hopefully the next time a kicker puts through the winning field goal some asshat doesn't bust into their place and jack their stuff. We all know kickers' psyches are fragile enough as it is.

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