Many moons ago, I was dumped. I know what you're thinking, "Who could possibly decide they don't want to spend time with you anymore?"
But that's not the worst part. This is the worst part: Myself and my beloved sat in her parents' living room and talked it out for four hours.
Excruciating. I deserved to be dumped, simply because of how I took being dumped.
The bottom line was I wasn't ready to move on, and she'd already moved on. We could have talked for four months and it wouldn't have changed the reality that her heart was no longer in our relationship. In retrospect, four minutes would've been better on both of us.
It's with that embarrassing anecdote that we segue into Brian Kelly's messy (for some) departure from Notre Dame. To me, the decision should be understood and evaluated on two parallel but separate tracks.
1) The when of Kelly's departure
2) The how of Kelly's departure
The when is extremely suspect. Could LSU really not have waited until Sunday to hire Kelly? Notre Dame's chances of reaching the College Football Playoff are incredibly slim, but they still exist. Kelly is correct in evaluating that he'll have a better chance to win a national championship at LSU than Notre Dame -- the last three Tigers coaches have rings, the last four Irish coaches do not -- but Kelly was still two wins away from winning a title at Notre Dame.
More than likely, Notre Dame's season was kaput by Sunday. In the event it wasn't, well, that would've been okay too. Yes, it would've hurt not to have a full-time coach by the early singing period, but it also would've helped LSU's brand to hire a coach fresh off a Playoff run. And if LSU hired Kelly fresh off leading Notre Dame to a national title? What a message that would send.
Unfortunately for Notre Dame's players, we'll never know. (Also, we must acknowledge leaving after the bowl game would've made the same people even more mad. Unless Notre Dame made the national championship game, the Irish's players would've returned home for a brief winter break after their bowl game, rendering an in-person breakup impossible.)
And now for the how.
How do people want coaches to leave? Really, how? Can you people produce a memo or something?
We can all agree Bobby Petrino-ing your team -- announcing your exit on a Post-It note in an empty locker room -- fails to meet the standard, but Kelly rises well above that minimum threshold.
He was recruiting for Notre Dame in California when the deal was agreed upon. Given that reality, it would be impossible to announce his departure to his team in person, so he informed the team directly through TeamWorks. He met with the team in person the following morning.
"There comes a time where you look in your life for another opportunity. I felt like it was time in my life for another challenge," he said in the clip below. "I saw that opportunity in a very short window, and I felt it was best for me and my family to pursue.
"There's no one to blame. There's no one that's at fault. Nobody did anything wrong."
That's.... pretty decent and upstanding, is it not?
If we can all agree that it's totally fine for Notre Dame players and fans to be hurt their coach is leaving -- and miffed he's leaving before their chase for the national championship is officially over -- can we agree the way he informed his team is perfectly fine?
Or was he supposed to strum an acoustic guitar as the players held hands for and sang "Kumbaya" for 45 minutes? Pass out tomatoes for players to hurl at him? Produce a detailed PowerPoint comparing and contrasting Notre Dame and LSU?
He stood there in person and told the team to their face. He owed them that, and he delivered.
Beyond that, shorter and bittersweet is the best way to break up, and to be broken up with. Trust me on this one.