Facing a crucial play in the third quarter of Stanford’s close loss to Notre Dame, David Shaw looked down the sideline at his assistant coaches and players. In their faces, he saw only blankness and despair. Said Shaw after the game, “I remember just being hit with a large wave of existentialism and thinking to myself, what is life really about? 3-1 team, struggling offense and down in the third quarter, what was I to do? Then it hit me, like a bolt of lightning from above. Call a run up the middle. Why change what works, you know?”
Reports indicate that many players and coaches were surprised to see the normally placid Shaw run screaming down the sideline, yelling, “I’ve solved it. Run it down the middle! Run it down the middle, Kevin!” Shaw would later state that years and years of practice had brought him to the realization, that at the end of the day, it was a numerous series of grinding, slow, two-yard rushes that were what he needed in his life. Although, to many reporters, this seemed like no deviation from Stanford’s strategy in previous games, Shaw disagreed. “What people don’t know is how much thought went into that call. All my life experiences and emotions convalesced into one mighty wave of inspiration, a true insight into the meaning of life as we know it. And what was that meaning? A run up the middle. Preferably on 1st and 10 when everyone on the defense knows it’s coming and can stop it. No-one ever said life made sense.”
While Shaw’s self-discovery may have had personal benefits, the play resulted in only a 2 yard gain. Faced with this challenge to his philosophy and his thoughts on life, Shaw pondered the greatest of questions once again. And the answer, once again, was a run up the middle.