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Game Analysis

By Connor Doyle
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday November 12, 2002

ÎWarrior' still loves playing

Most of the students who went to Saturday's Homecoming football game against UCLA left at halftime. Why would they have stuck around? It was probably the worst game any of them had seen this season, since only a masochist would have watched the Oregon State game on tape delay after hearing the final score.

But senior Jarvie Worcester wouldn't have missed a second of it for the world. In fact, he cared so much about being there that he had a metal plate inserted in his broken right arm. It's tough to complain about ticket prices after hearing that.

After the game, when most of the students who took off early were probably filing into bars or making a beer run, he was sitting against one of the walls in the dingy locker room underneath Arizona Stadium.


It might be difficult to understand why Worcester would do this to himself. The mass of plaster wrapped around his arm won't do anything about the pain that must shoot through his endocrine system every time he goes in for a tackle, or tries to bat down a ball. And the 30-point deficit to UCLA when the final seconds evaporated probably wasn't a salve when he got up Sunday morning to discover that his arm, among other parts of his body, didn't feel like working anymore.

But it doesn't matter. For guys like Worcester, standing on the sidelines isn't an option when you've been cleared to play ÷ nor are excuses. So he sat there Saturday night and cried because he felt he had let his team down.

Not surprisingly, he was the only person who felt that way.

"That's a warrior right there," said senior wide receiver Bobby Wade, nodding at the slouched safety 20 feet away. "I would hate to be injured, but I would love that opportunity to show my teammates how far I would go to play this game. That just shows you what kind of person he is, and what this program means to him."

It takes a strange kind of pride to do what Worcester did Saturday night. Ronnie Lott, the most celebrated amputee in sports history, made his sacrifice for a winning team.

The Wildcats probably won't win another game this season. And while Worcester's injury might not be on the same level as Lott's, it says just as much about how much he loves this team.

"I'd say it means everything, but my family would get mad," said Worcester, with his voice cracking, when asked about this team.

"There's just a bunch of warriors in here. These guys · I love every one of them. If I had to choose a group of guys to walk down a dark alley with, I'd want them."

While dark alleys can probably be avoided, things likely won't get much brighter this season.

But at this point, it doesn't matter any more for guys like Worcester. Vince Lombardi be damned, winning isn't everything for the Arizona football team. For Worcester, just playing will have to be good enough.

"I think college football is the greatest thing on Earth. I've had an unbelievable time playing at Arizona. I'm just so fortunate to have an opportunity to play this game," he said.

Equally as fortunate are Worcester's teammates, who get a daily reminder as to why they started playing this game in the first place.


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