This is my first time; so try to be kind.
I have had the following thoughts on my mind since the ND game, and like a pimple, it’s time to squeeze and purge this unsightly issue from me. I just don’t know if I am able to convey my thoughts on paper as I see it in my mind. So without further ado…I will attempt to make comparisons, regarding this team and the 2008 football season. The most important ideas of this post, is to remind you, the fan of how important you are to the growth of this team. This team needs the adversity and the suffering that comes with defeat, and well …being just down-right dysfunctional. It is the only thing that will draw the team together as a cohesive and functional unit (IMHO), this also includes our fan base.
In 1983 I served in the Marine Corp (I know...I know... old, huh); to include being part of a peace keeping mission to the country of Lebanon. Our mission was to train, protect and guide this tiny little nation to self governance, in short creating a non-dysfunctional country. We had our downs during this mission (i.e. Marine barracks bombing; Losing 300+ Marines and Sailors) and in the end we sadly failed; but why you might ask. The Marine Corp has never been a dysfunctional military unit, but the country we were supporting and training was (Still is) because (IMHO) the majority didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to hang in there when the going got tough. Whoever is to be blamed, felt and decided it just wasn’t worth it, even with the tremendous sacrifices already given. Regardless of your view on nation building, we made a promise to help them along as a country; promises are not to be taken lightly. It’s a simple contract between parties. Similarly; if you are a true and faithful wolverine fan; we have made a promise (contract) to help them, support them (i.e. cheering, reducing our negative attitude/views to a murmur, watching them play even if it hurts, looking forward to our future, etc…). I realize we the fan base has suffered over the last five games, no doubt about it. Keep in mind; the players are suffering and have suffered the most, and as funny as it may seem, they still believe in themselves, the coaches and the system. Where as we; the non-playing supporters of this team have begun to waver. I truly believe there are better days ahead, but only if we believe in them…All of them as a whole. As much of clichés as this is; “it’s as simple as never quitting on the team”.
I was listening to Detroit Sports radio for the first time on iTunes
today (I live in San Diego), and between talking about the Lions trade
they were putting Rich Rod on blast like nothing I have ever seen. They
were ruthlessly roasting his ass for his poor performance this season.
Of all the callers calling in there was only one guy who attempted to
stick up for RRod, and honestly this guy's argument was poorly
presented, appeared weak, and made him look ignorant.
disheartening. I am a fan of RRod and I believe he can do it, but it
looks like he is under serious fire in Michigan. I don't make
judgements anymore or open my mouth on the issue because I have learned
the hard way how idiotic Sunday morning quarterback fans are. In 2003 I
expected, as a Michigan fan, that UM would have a legitimate shot at a
NC. I stomached the loss to Oregon believing they still had a shot, but
when they lost to Iowa it was a backbreaker for me. In my drunken
stupor following the game, I did the stupidest thing I have ever done
as a fan, let alone one of the stupidest things I have ever done
period. I hastily looked up the UM Board of Regents online and sent
them an email. I COPIED EVERY ONE OF THEM. The subject of this email
was "Fire Coach John Carr." I. shit. you. not. In my haste and stupor,
I messed up the name of our head coach. One of the regents actually
responded, copying every one of the other regents, basically correcting
me, sticking up for Lloyd, and justifying their actions in the most
eloquent and cordial way possible. It was mortifying when I realized
what I had done. The Internet, both a blessing and a curse...
There is a lesson to be learned here. That lesson is that at least 80 -
95 percent of fans just need to shut the hell up because they have no
clue what they are talking about. They do not attend practices. They do
not personally know, or even talk to, the players. Most don't even do
anything more than watch a game on Saturday, and even that is done with
little understanding of the fundamentals of what is going on in those
games. It is one of the easiest things in the world to criticize
others, especially after the fact. As fans, we need to remember this.
There should be standards and expectations for any coach at Michigan,
but in the same respect, excercising diligence and restraint before
criticizing these coaches is absolutely necessary. That is all.
I meant to get an account before the weekend, but ran out of time. I videotape and take pictures for the toledo
marching band, and becasue of this i get to be in the press box for
part of every game the band is at. I have been in toledo's press box,
the cincinatti bengals box, Bowling green and now Michigan. I've been goin to michigan games
since 1994 and have been to at least one game every year since then, so
getting into the pressbox is probably the most exciting thing iv'e
experienced at the stadium (next to going down the tunnel, which i also
did at this game). Watching the the game from the field is an awesome experience, one that i will soon not forget. watching the game from the top is just as exciting. I was reallly torn in this game, rooting for michigan all my life, and going to school at toledo, it kinda sucks. I did however wear both michigan and toledo shirts at the game, to keep the band director happy. This is the part that i wanted to get out before the game but FWIW, i'llput it in now:
You can't look past toledo
We beat pitt a few years ago, destroyed utep and jordan palmer at the gmac bowl, beat kansas in overtime at home (who was supposed to go to the natilanl championship that next year, people seem to forget what happen a year prior) and we almost beat a ranked fresno state.We lost to arizona, FIU, and ball state. we haven't scored an offensive touchdown in 10 quarters, we were SHUT OUT by ball state.
We won because we aren't consistent. no one knows if we are on or off. you have to play us like we are actually a competition. and our kicker is pretty good too
This season reminds me of one of those books where the author attempts to bully readers with one gruesome plot twist after another, until you give up on a happy resolution and just pray the story only gives the characters a merciful end. As is my policy with such novels, I defiantly skipped to the end of the The Rebuilding Year to see how it ends...
"After torching Michigan for a total of 387 yards -- 180 on the ground -- and scoring all four OSU touchdowns, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor revealed to reporters that he decided to be a Buckeye months before signing day, but was urged by coaches to hold off his commitment in order to keep Michigan from pulling in a Plan B.
...[skip part of article replaying key Pryor scores]...
INJURY NOTES: Running back Sam McGuffie (arterial cruciate ligament) did not play, and is not expected back until late next season. D-lineman Brandon Graham (leg amputated) was on the sidelines in a wheelchair providing encouragement to his teammates. Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Barwis was back with the team after a four-week hiatus to attend a court-mandated sensitivity training seminar. Quarterback Steven Threet returned from a shoulder injury that sidelined him since the Toledo game, but was replaced by Nick Sheridan after two plays in which Threet was in obvious pain. Defensive backs Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko did not return after a 1st quarter collision that led to Ohio State's first touchdown.
Michigan players wore maize wrist bands and dedicated the game to Shavodrick Beaver and Tate Forcier, two highly regarded Michigan commits who are suffering from nondescript upper body injuries after a tragic accident Thursday when a Beaver canoe carrying Forcier and Virginia Tech commit Kevin Newsome crash-landed on Beaver's pool deck in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Wolverines held a get-well-soon service for all three players on Thursday, similar to the service held two weeks ago for the entire offensive line, which sustained lower body injuries in a freak water balloon accident earlier this month.
Dammit! Seriously, who told Arthur Miller he could write this?!?
How Michigan fans have dealt with losses through the ages:
- 1900’s – Michigan didn’t lose in this decade, I checked.
- 1910’s – We lost once. People shrugged at that game and said, “hey, Yost had to lose sometime.” They went back to building Model T’s.
- 1920’s – Losing became something Michigan did once in awhile, and most people simply read the score in the paper on Monday, shrugged, and started drinking moonshine to drown their sorrows. Not about the Michigan game, but about living in Prohibition. Then Red Grange happened, and people took notice by selling every stock they had. Which was none, really.
- 1930’s – The first actual losing season (!) forces one forward looking gentleman to write an underground newspaper called www.firekipke.com. Someone responds with www.geraldfordcantblockandwillneverbepresident.com. Just kidding, actually the Great Depression meant the average fan was trying to do basic things like eat and survive and such; that really took the edge off Michigan losing a football game.
- 1940’s – “This newspaper’s like 3 weeks old, but it says Michigan lost to Ohio State. That is not swell at all and… hey, that looks like a crapload of Japanese planes.”
- 1950’s – After many, many losses in this decade, men in dinner jackets write strongly worded letters to the Michigan Athletic Department decrying such bizarre notions as “double-platooning” and “the forward pass.” They do not approve!
- 1960’s – Losses were dealt with like so in the Sixties: Leave the stadium, get a little high from the haze of pot fumes hanging over Ann Arbor, feel instantly better, go home and get seriously tore up. Say a little thank you prayer to whoever made The Pill. This was also the same as if Michigan had won.
- 1970’s – People would catch big games on television, and generally tell Bo he’s supposed to blow the game in the 4th quarter. (There’s direct evidence of this, see The Big Chill. Or don’t, it’s not Kasdan’s best work.) Then they would calm down for a few days, go to work on Monday and commiserate with coworkers, as everyone had seen the big game.
- 1980’s – Because people could see most games on television, everyone began to assume they could do better than the actual coaching staff. I mean, they’re just glorified gym teachers, right? Plus, on TV I can see everything but the pass coverages. How complex can those be? So after losses, everyone says the same things. Michigan should pass more. Michigan defense isn’t aggressive enough. The program is too stodgy. Bo is too attached to the past. He’ll never get better than winning 80% of his games if he sticks to this crap. If I were in charge, things would be different! Of course, you mostly say this stuff to yourself, but on the occasion you say it to family and friends they agree with you because they have to live with you.
- 1990’s – People notice that better players tend to do better on the field, plus they are mesmerized with Mel Kiper’s hair. Losses in this era tend to get blamed more and more on “poor recruiting.” Television now covers virtually every game, so people tend to get very, very invested in Michigan Football. We used to see half wins, half losses because only the bigger games were covered on television. You’d read the box score in the paper while Michigan crushed some scrub school. Now watching every game means you get used to seeing wins a lot more often. Weird schools not named Notre Dame, Alabama and Oklahoma are winning National Championships, and you start to get a “why not us?” mentality. In the latter half of the decade, after a loss, you’d just think about Charles Woodson, smile, and go about your business.
- 2000’s – That National Championship poster is fading a little bit. Losses start stacking up. HD allows you to see pass coverages when the cameraman isn’t a $%^#& idiot. The internet comes of age. It allows you to rant and rave in full anonymity about anything and everything, and also raises your investment in this pastime even further. Recruiting coverage specifically and coverage generally increases tenfold. Everything is analyzed to the nth degree. Nothing is too minute. If the coach doesn’t get the right kind of doughnuts before a game, three different comments are titled “Doughnutgate!” within ten minutes. Ticket prices grow to the point of needing a cosigner, making you feel even more entitled to winning. Mental investment has become literal $ investment. Then Appalachian State happens, which clearly would NOT have if you were in charge. Parity be damned, this is Michigan! You morph into the Colonel from Top Gun, “I WANT SOMEONE’S BUTT! I WANT IT NOW! I WANT SOME BUTTS!” Lloyd offers up his butt. The new coach, who you read approximately 64 billion articles on prior to the season, looks to have a losing season, which all of those 64 billion articles indirectly pointed toward. You go back to the little script you wrote about how this season should go, and find reality has definitely not matched the script! At this point, you realize how close you are to a Notre Dame fan, and come to your damn senses.
(at a closed door meeting with boosters and other highly placed supporters of the University of Michigan, RR gave the following speech which I transcribed. With all honor and respect to Abraham Lincoln because even a jaded, cynical Gen Xer like myself felt unclean bastardizing the sublime prose of Lincoln's second innagural address--especially the last bit about 'the headman's axe.')
AT this second appearing to speak before the Michigan Victors' Club there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of the offensive system to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of six games, during which public declarations have been largely limited to booing every point and phase of the offense which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the football team, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our offensive line, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, totally unacceptable to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
|On the occasion corresponding to six games ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to the impending season. All dreaded it, all sought to avert missing a bowl game. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to making a bowl game, urgent agents were in Ann Arbor seeking to have a losing season—seeking to dissolve my coaching staff and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated losing, but one of them would hope for losses rather than let the my administration survive, and the other would accept missed blocks rather than let the bowl streak perish, and the war came.|
|One-eighth of the offensive starters, not distributed generally over the offensive line, but localized in the WR/RB portion of it, are decent players. These good players constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that the offense was interested in getting these guys the ball somehow in space. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend drives was the object for which the play calling was geared, while the coaches claimed no ability to do more than call good plays. Neither party expected for the losing streak the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the blocking might cease with or even before the fumbling should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph against Toledo, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same rule book and pray to the same God, and each invokes Michigan tradition against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to invoke Bo’s name while undermining Michigan’s rightfully chosen head football coach, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto Michigan because of no offense; for it must needs be that an offensive line come, but woe to that QB who waits while the offensive line recruits cometh." If we shall suppose that the spread offense is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, requires blocking, and that He gives to both Michigan Men and the WLA this terrible season as the woe due to those by whom the lack of decent offensive line coaching, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in Bo always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of losing may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the bowl streak compiled by the 33 years of winning teams shall be sunk, and until every missed block shall be paid by another busted play, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Football gods are true and righteous altogether."|
|With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right Bo gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the season we are in, to bind up the team's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the ball and for his blocker and his QB, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all Michigan Men.|