…or, A Call to Arms for All Chicagoland U-M Alumni (and Fans)
[Warning: this is long. But adequately documenting a gross injustice is rarely trivial. It’s also intended to be somewhat amusing (and dry, and perhaps even infuriating), so please consume appropriately.]
With all of the ND-bashing going on around here, there may never be a better opportunity to pile on with my own ND-related gripe (strike while the iron is hot, and all). And who knows, maybe this could be the start of a glorious grassroots effort by Chicagoland-based MGoBlogFaithful to right yet another ND-inspired wrong (one can dream). As if the NBC contract weren’t insulting enough. Read on.
I lived in MD for 12 years, where the DC chapter of the U-M Alumni Club has smartly taken the opportunity to have U-M alumni specialty license plates fashioned for MD (and I believe they were attempting to do the same for VA). This is clearly allowed under MD Motor Vehicle Administration policy (pretty much any school can do it), and I was thrilled to have such a plate for six years.
Upon moving to IL and faced with the prospect of new plates, I naturally wanted to know if a U-M alumni plate was available. Chicago is closer in proximity to U-M than MD (and has a large/established alumni chapter and base) and I’d seen a number of Fighting Illini plates around (among others), so I figured my chances were good.
If only it were that simple.
My initial visit to the Secretary of State’s website made it apparent that collegiate specialty plates available in IL were limited to state institutions. At the time (April 2008), all of the plates on the page were in-state schools. I was bummed, but all was not lost. If there was a policy/law that provided for the creation of collegiate plates, due diligence would require verification that it specifically excludes out-state schools. So I continued my research.
Before locating the state law that provides for the creation of collegiate plates, I discovered that ND (in South Bend, IN, for the geographically disinclined) had very recently been approved for collegiate plates in IL. This was an encouraging sign! Perhaps ND was blazing a trail that U-M could follow, being the first out-state schools to have collegiate plates in IL. I was invigorated! And there was NO way that ND was going to be the only out-state school to have a collegiate plate! They’re only the second winningest football program!
Sec. 3-629(b) of Illinois General Assembly Public Act 095-0444 states:
The design, color, and format of the plates shall be wholly within the discretion of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may, at his or her discretion, issue the plates for any public college or university located in this State or for any degree-granting, not-for-profit private college or university located in this State or a contiguous state. If the college or university is located in a contiguous state, there must be not less than 10,000 alumni of the college or university residing in this State.
I call your attention to the underlined passages – underlined in the Act itself – which signify changes that were adopted in August 2007. Prior to the revision, the law only allowed plates for in-state public or private institutions. But the revision effectively allows plates for…we’ll get to that in a minute.
Problem is, I got excited, went off half-cocked, and overlooked the “private” criterion. Does U-M have 10,000 alumni in the state? Easily (confirmed by the Alumni Association). Is U-M located in a contiguous state? That begs some interpretation. Definition? Definition:
1. touching; in contact.
2. in close proximity without actually touching; near.
Michigan doesn’t meet #1, but certainly meets #2. I initially argued that the two states are separated only by a useless swath of IN (“Da Region!") and are therefore “near.” But a friend noted that the two states are only separated by a lake, necessitating a border. I was concerned about bureaucratic resistance to this interpretation, so I e-mailed and called the SoS to discuss. After checking with the legal-types in his department, the polite gentleman from the plate division still wasn’t sure how that would go. Then he dropped the bombshell (paraquote):
“This is known [around here] as the ‘Notre Dame law.’”
Excuse me? Shock turned to confusion, which later yielded to outrage. I wish I could tell you that my first thought was, “our politicians don’t have more important matters to attend to?” Sadly, that didn’t arrive until later.
The nice gentleman proceeded to explain how the law was effectively amended for the sole purpose of allowing ND to be the only out-state school to have a collegiate license plate in IL. Re-reading the law, the critical placement of “private” then became clear to me.
Who, as I understand it, pushed the law through the state legislature? None other than the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan, an esteemed graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
(I would say that now I’ve seen it all, but that would be patently untrue.)
I was dejected, but I refused to be defeated so easily and in such an underhanded fashion. Since that time, I’ve scoured the IL General Assembly website (on three occaions) to identify State Senators and Representatives who are graduates of our beloved U-M, in hopes that a modest letter-writing campaign would persuade them to eventually pursue a similarly covert change to the law that would open a loophole for a U-M alumni plate. I can’t say that such a change wouldn’t open the door for other out-state schools, but the 10,000-resident alumni requirement should effectively limit them to a handful, at most (and likely Big Ten schools).
So I floated this crusade-like idea, without as much detail or direction, to the Chicago alumni chapter leadership, and the response was "Good luck, let us know how it goes!" Needless to say, one letter isn't likely to have much effect.
Friends, I haven’t yet continued the fight, but I haven’t given up hope. Perhaps my account of this injustice, along with the renewed interest in a nationally-relevant UM-ND rivalry, will serve as a call to action for my fellow IL-based alumni. If you feel so inclined (and can envision the pride-swell of having your own U-M license plate), please consider writing a letter to one or both of the following “Blue” state reps, encouraging them to consider introducing legislation to appropriately modify Public Act 095-0444 and allow for a U-M collegiate license plate:
(I would encourage non-Illinoisians (?) to write, but I suspect letters from non-residents don’t carry as much weight with legislators.)
Other suggestions are, of course, welcomed.
(And please, spare me any pessimistic, douchey “you’re silly if you think this’ll really work, like an e-mail petition to get Rosenberg fired” comments. I say to that: The Speaker of the Illinois House didn’t think it was all that silly. Nevertheless, I’m realistic about the prospect of success.)
Go Blue! Crush the Irish!
Well M fans, it's that time of year again. An army of rowdy, religious zealots is set to invade Ann Arbor, and hopefully, this time, they won't leave behind a law school!
That's right, it's Fightin' Irish week! Perennial national power Notre Dame comes to town along with their genius coach Charlie Weiss to take on the Big Blue.
M Passing Offense vs. ND Passing Defense
Ryan "Tate" Mallett and Donelle "The Shoe" Robson maybe the talk of the town, but give me the poise and gritty determination of veteran Nick Sheridan any day. Maybe if he comes up with a clever nickname for himself, he'll start getting more buzz!
M Rushing Offense vs. ND Rushing Defense
Jon Tenuta may not really be Catholic, but that won't stop him from looking the other way while his players attempt to molest, fondle, and castrate our runners!
ND Passing Offense vs. M Passing Defense
Jimmy Clausen will look to hook up with targets Golden Taint and Michael Floyd all afternoon. Expect the All American QB, who is chasing his record third Heisman in a row, to have a big day.
ND Rushing Offense vs. M Rushing Defense
Mike "Mike Martin" Rechsteiner is thus far doing an excellent job living up to the legacy left on campus by older brothers Rick and Scott. Expect him to execute a few signature Frankensteiners on Clausen this week!
You'll see a lot of pasty faced, flat chested women around town. But don't worry, they'll all be gone by Saturday Night! 38-0 Michigan!
PS - Domers, fear not. If you're planning on making the trip to Ann Arbor (A2 as we call it!) you'll be welcome with open arms! Just be sure to stop by Blimpy Hamburger (where the motto is "Cheaper Than Food"!?!) and a little, out of the way gem known around here as Briarwood Mall. The cookies at local favorite Mrs. Fields are just wild!
I thought this was the most appropriate since we are playing ND this weekend. It gives you an idea for the keys and rotation. There is considerable discussion for blitzes as well with a jump to the original story. [Emphasis mine]
Mod Edit: Click on the link if you want to read the full description of the plays as they are more interesting. Also, note: don't copy and paste full articles. Everything that's not a quote from here down is in place by the moderator, emphasis still his.
"This is a stop the run first type of defense. We want to outnumber the offense to either side of the ball. [...] The open side of the alignment is the flex side and the tight end side is the strong or solid side. [...]
The defense is the under/flex package used to outnumber the defense on each side of the ball by loading one side with linebackers while the other side gets safety support.
The Mike Linebacker plays the first back out of the back field to the strong side. The Free Safety plays the first back out of the back field to the weak side. [...] If we get a full flow by the backs to the strong side the Mike linebacker takes the first back and the Will linebacker takes the second back out of the backfield. [...]
Obviously the middle/mike is the first to the play, so he'll most likely be met with the blocking back who comes out first. This seems pretty obvious.
If it is a full flow weak side play the Free Safety has the first back and the Will linebacker has the second man to the weak side. [...]
In this case, the FS has the first blocker. Less plays are run to the weak side, which is why the defense is willing to risk the FS being the first attacker rather than a LB who can fight of a block easier and still make a tackle.
If the offense comes out in a different look such as a Twins look to one side, the basic core of the defense stays the same.
So it's easy to stay in base. Huzzah! Thus concludes this moderators attempt to show you how to quote articles.
It is very long and interesting to listen to him discuss base philosophy which is where you draw the parallel to GERG. What was most useful was the types of players needed by position and how they rotate by base set. Is it exact? No, but I found it a good proxy for our team. I don't have a similar detailed talk from GERG to refer to. This is so long I split it into two diaries depending on topic.
Mod Edit: Again with copy/paste. I thought both of these were great links, but you (collective) can't just rip their whole article here. Anything not in quotes from here down was moderator, not OP'er.
"Before we go any further, let’s talk about personnel. You want to get your best players on the field. The open side Defensive End has to be one of your best football players. Size does not matter as much. We want an athletic player who can move around.
That's just on example, but they go through the entire defense in the article, but they do a quick specialization at the end about secondary play.
There's more where that came from, and I highly promote checking that article out (link at top).
If you have a million reads for your secondary you are crazy. They don’t need that even at our level. All they need to know is their primary responsibility and then secondary. At the highest level in the NFL the pass game is as complex as you can imagine. However if a defender can play the post and the seam route then they can learn to play at that level. The thing that kills and breaks down a defense is a ball being thrown over the defender’s head for a touchdown.
1 Touchdown Jesus
2 Because The University of Michigan is better than Notre Dame. End of story
3 They have an Irish Mascot but their name is French. WTF?
4 Because Notre Dame made some Michigan fan make this horrible website.
5 Phantom PI calls.
6 The fact that they claim God is on their side when most of their best players aren't even Catholic.
7 Urban Meyer!!!! Jon Gruden!!!! BEST JOB EVAAA
8 Stealing perfectly good/talented prospects and turning them into underachieving sallys.
9 Those shitty slash marks that they paint in the endzone...
10 Brady Quinn's hot sister marrying a buckeye
11 How about 2005 Henne-sneak touchdown that was somehow missed while a 5yard random penalty on ND was called, then Henne fumbled the next sneak.
12 South Bend is the undeserved home of the College Football Hall of Fame
13 Because Hawaii should not be used to go over .500.
14 Hogging the use of 'return to glory' for like a decade and not allowing a more deserving team to use it.
15 No Excuses
16 They got their uniforms from Navy
17 Bud Light: Real Men of Genius - Hopeless Notre Dame Fan
19 Pedophilic priests
20 Lack of conference and a TV contract big enough to feed their coach
21 "The most underrated coach in America..."
22 Potato famine...too soon?
23 Is "golden" a first name?
24 Firing Ty Willingham for going 21-15 over 3 seasons but keeping Charlie Weis despite going 29-21 over 4 seasons and claiming race has nothing to do with it.
25 Games against Michigan could go either way, but they find a way to lose to [TEAM REDACTED] every year
27 The Grotto
28 Because I can't eat Lucky Charms for breakfast the week of the UM-ND game.
29 The fact that the Fighting Illini are insulting to Native Americans, but the Fighting Irish are totally cool.
30 I had to drive through South Bend once in 1995 and I still can't believe what a crap-hole that place is.
31 the 'icy hot stuntaz' have yet to give membership to Jimmay.
32 They don't play night games, oh wait..
33 That ND dude who hangs out here and adds thoughtful comments to every thread, especially ones that have nothing to do with ND.
34 They keep all their money while everyone else splits
35 Their refusal to install video screens in their stadium. Also, my vainglorious strumpet of an ex was a ND fan. Enough said.
36 Joe Theismann
37 They grew their field out to try to slow down Reggie Bush. Worked real well.
38 That they really think their players trend more towards the student in student-athlete than all other D1 schools.
40 Captain Front-Butt
41 Wanna see my Super Bowl ring?
42 the fact that the most impressive win of "genius coach" Charlie Weis' career is a loss to USC.
43 the fact that they actually thought there were two crutches in the universe able to support Weis.
44 Ron Powlus on the Sports Illustrated cover.
45 Their neverending television contract with NBC. Notre (Dame) Broadcasting Company.
46 Regardless of your political views, this event seemed to piss everyone off in some capacity:
47 They're not even the best Catholic football school
48 They got rid of O'Leary
49 they think their fight song is better than ours...idiots
50 Because of 38-0... er wait that's not right...
52 My deep, deep seeded catholic guilt.
54 Brady quinn, and all of the strange feelings I have when I see him stretch with his shirt off.
55 Nicholas Sparks
56 Automagic BCS bid if they win 9 games.
58 Because they get a free pass to the BCS after getting blown out by the two teams they play that have a pulse.
59 Because their fans threw snowballs at their own players after losing to Syracuse.
60 because of the "you are. state school" chant
61 Because they need a sign to tell them to "Play like a champion today"
62 Jeff Samardzija
63 Because Fielding Yost thought Knute Rockne was a freakin' prick.
64 Reggie Ho
65 Leprechauns are creepy
66 Because they refuse to join the Big 10.
67 God's team? Pleeeaaaase! I talked to God this morning. He told me He really doesn't have a team (and He got permission from Bo to say so).
68 South Bend
69 My wife likes them. Enough said.
70 some of their fans identify as Ohio State fans too.
71 B/c Michigan had to go down there to "teach" them how to play football around the turn of the century
72 "Did you know Tom Zbikowski is also a boxer?!?"
73 B/c they build their stadium w/ the blueprints of Michigan Stadium
74 because of the Inquisition.
75 The theme song makes babies cry. It really does. I saw it the other night. Twice.
76 Having to hear "Return to Glory" every single season
77 All of Powlus' Heismans
78 Beano Cook
79 decided schematic advantage
80 Stupid green jerseys.
81 ND people telling you "Good Notre Dame football is good for college football" as if you give a shit.
82 Jimmah Clausen's stretch Hummer
83 Their mascot
84 Jerome "The Bus" Bettis
85 Pat Haden and Tom Hammond.
87 That's what losers do
88 Was apparently on the glee club with my grandfather back in their days. Back when my grandfather remembered such things, he said he was a total dick.
89 regis philbin....
90 Brady Quinn
91 The lady i sit next to at work this morning, "did you see those irish!?", who is unable to name a single player on the team.
92 "To Hell with Michigan!"
93 Rudy sold his own story to Disney. Knowing that the movie was his own idea makes the movie even worse.
94 Lou Holtz
95 Rudy was offside.
96 Charlie Weis...he takes up a large chunk of the list.
97 because Rudy didn't die at the end of the movie. Or did he? Never fucking saw it and don't care.
98 2002 phantom touchdown
99 The Rocket
100 They apparently have to rely on luck
101 the fact that their colors are blue and gold, but their fans wear GREEN.
102 Jeff Jackson
103 The Golden Dome
104 The Notre Dame Victory March
105 Because no one has nicknamed Weis "The humpbacked Whale of Notre Dame".
107 It's in Indiana.
108 Because my mother in law tells me every effing day that her dad played for the irish. well, ya know what, he's a douche caboose.
109 their helmets are made of "real gold".
110 The "Here come the Irish" chant
111 The stupid cow-milking hand-gesture thing the fans do.
The World Baseball Cup (WBC), the baseball alternative to the World Cup, only smaller, with less professionals, and without an Olympic counterpart began today with the initial pool play. One Michigan player made the roster of the 16 teams, catcher Chris Berset.
Berset is the starting catcher for the Great Britain national team, although I have yet to peg his connection to the isles. In day one against Japan, the team favored to win Group D, Berset went 2 for 4 with 2 runs, a walk, and a strikeout. Berset actually reached base in four of his five plate appearances, as one was a fielder's choice. Chris also was thrown out at one point trying to score.
The final score was Japan 9, Great Britain 7. This being the first game of pool play, GB will need to win one of their next two games to stay alive.
The Brits will take on Nicaragua next, tomorrow in Zagreb, Croatia at a listed time of 10:30 local (Central European Time), or around 4:30am ET (if my math is correct). There are stat tracking services mentioned at the schedule page for the WBC, but according to BaseballGB, a blog covering the Great Britain baseball team, they are absolutely unreliable.They play host Croatia the following day at 16:30 local, 10:30am ET (again, if math is correct).
A final note, all the names Chris has been listed under during the WBC:
- Christ Berset
- Chrisopher Berset
- Christopher D. Berset (forgot where I saw this, but it does exist)
- Chris Berset
All of this has made for fun times trying to track Chris with google precision. I'll try to keep up with him as the WBC goes on. I've been waiting on the minor league seasons to wrap up to get a solid update on the alumni as well. Look for that next weekend.
UPDATE: I also found the GB Baseball blog, which had some interesting pictures of the field/scoreboard.