he grew a beard
So I made the annual trek to Blimpies on Wednesday. But I have to preface that story with a couple from antiquity (late 90s). Back in college a friend and I go to Blimpy. As you probably know, the food's a bit greasy so we both grab a pretty tall stack of napkins. We order the food, etc. and when we get up to the register (the owner is working) he says to us, "too many napkins, you get two apiece." He takes the napkins off our trays and reissues us two apiece. Needless to say, we were flabbergasted. Since then, customers aren't allowed to grab their own napkins... they are dispensed by the staff (two apiece).
A couple years later, another friend & I partake in the yearly artery assassination. Again, the owner is working the register. We're up at the register about to pay. Now, I don't like ketchup and my friend comments that he always runs out b/c they only give you one little ounce in those tiny paper cups. So I say, "Heck, I'll get ketchup and just give it to my friend here." So the owner comes back with, "No way, if he wants another ketchup, he can finish the first one, show me the empty cup, and then he can have another ketchup." Again, we're floored but don't say anything for fear of being blacklisted.
Of course, these stories are just two of the many that build the reputation of the place. So back to the present. Wednesday another friend and I go. The owner isn't working & I don't recognize anyone behind the counter. Now, I don't know if this is due to the owner being AWOL or if the place is going down hill, or what.... but we're in line and there's this guy ordering for like 3 other people who aren't in line. This is pretty unremarkable in most food joints and it turns out that the 'other people' were his kids, but at Blimpie's? No way would that have stood 10 years ago. On top of that, they guy never grabbed a lunch tray at the start of the line! Again, in the old days, he'd be singled out and ridiculed by the staff. Today? They give him a tray with a smile. What's happened to the Blimpy Burger we used to know and lover?
Bumped from the diaries for general excellence. -ed
To: Coach Rodriguez
From: The Michigan Faithful
Re: Michigan Traditions
Greetings, Coach Rodriguez!
By now, we are sure that you are getting acclimated to our fine University and to the beautiful town of Ann Arbor, arguably the greatest college town in the country. Please give all of our best wishes to Rita and the kids.
No doubt you've noticed that we here at Michigan take our traditions pretty seriously. Some would say that perhaps we are a little overly tradition-bound, but when you are the winningest program in history, across three centuries, well you can understand our pride.
We have noted with regret, however, the recent unfortunate incident where you assigned the hallowed #1 jersey to an incoming freshman, violating the sacred tradition of awarding it to the top wide receiver who has earned it during his career. Many of the Michigan faithful were quite upset. Indeed, you may have heard from one or two of us about it.
In your defense, Rich, we take you at face value when you say you didn't know about the tradition. And we appreciate how quickly you moved to address the situation once you were made aware of it. We hope to put this unfortunate incident behind us.
In fact, it occurred to us that there may be other Michigan traditions that you don't yet know about. Even though we are a top program and always in the national spotlight, there may still be some Michigan traditions that have escaped your attention. It would not be fair to just assume that you know what they are.
So as a public service, Rich, here is a list of some important Michigan traditions that you may not have heard about. All you need to do is to uphold these special traditions during your tenure here, and you will always stay in our good graces.
When it comes to National Championships, Coach, Michigan brings home the hardware. Yes, we're proud of our consistency and bowl streak and all of that, but what really defines Michigan is the constant National Championships. You may not know this, Rich, but Michigan has won multiple National Championships in every single decade since the 1800's. Be sure to put it at the top of your list to see the display case of all of the crystal football National Championship trophies, just as soon as they find the missing key to the trophy room. Trust us, they're really quite impressive. We are confident, Rich, that you will have no trouble keeping this tradition alive.
Winning the Rose Bowl:
Plain and simple, Rich, it's a Michigan tradition to dominate the Rose Bowl. We haven't lost one yet, and most of them haven't even been close. It's considered a disaster when Michigan only wins by a touchdown. Sometimes it actually gets a little embarrassing, but it's really not our fault that those west coast teams always show up lethargic, disoriented and not ready to play, while Michigan comes in loose and confident. What can we say? Michigan owns the Rose Bowl. Let's keep it going, Coach.
Unpredictable Play Calling:
Michigan is known for its wildly unpredictable play calling, a tradition that goes back to Bo. We are a very hard team to prepare for. Opponents are always quoted as saying "We never know what they are going to do." To this day, Keith Jackson still talks about how stunned the crowd was when Lloyd called the Statue of Liberty play on 5 straight 4th down's in the 2004 Rose Bowl. Good memories. You have big shoes to fill here, Rich, but we think you are just the kind of guy that can do it.
Coach, Michigan's motto has always been "Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime". Michigan does not dodge the top teams. Our non-conference schedule is always the toughest in the country. While our Big 10 brothers sleep-walk through games with the Ball State's, EMU's, and Toledo's of the world, Big House fans get to see the likes of Oklahoma, LSU, and USC every season. No one will ever forget the year when they had to cancel the National Championship game because Michigan had already beaten all of the other BCS bowl teams.
Night games are a big tradition in Ann Arbor. We typically schedule two or three every season. There's nothing like the electricity of a Big House game on a crisp night against a big time opponent. People are still talking about that thrilling night game against Ohio State in 2005 when the Buckeyes' last-gasp comeback attempt was thwarted as Gonzalez lost the ball in the lights.
Michigan is known for its fast starts in games. We take care of business, and we do it early. Look, nobody ever likes to be accused of running up the score, but when you hang half-a-hundred on your opponent by the start of the third quarter, you're only guilty of cutting to the chase. Why delay the inevitable, you know?
Dominating our Opponents:
Michigan has a tradition of dominating our opponents, weak or strong. We never play down to our opponent's level, our philosophy is to make 'em all play up to our level. So whether its Appalachian State (we sincerely apologize for the humiliating beat-down we put on them last year, the whole college football world is still shocked) or USC, every opponent always gets Michigan's "A" game.
Get used to it, Rich, the Big House is LOUD. You'll have the most intimidating fans in the country behind you. Even the rich old alumni in the expensive seats joke about their "walk of shame" leaving the stadium, when they realize how out of control they got. Be prepared to take a few unsporstmanlike conduct penalties because of it. It just goes with playing in the Big House.
Michigan cheerleaders have always been and always will be, as the kids like to say, "hot". They don't call them the Song Girls of the North for nothing. We know you are very busy, Rich, but someone in your position should be able to have some influence over the selection of the cheerleaders. In fact, it might even be a pleasant distraction from the day-to-day grind of preparing a football team. (P.S. Please insist that they wear the Maize sweaters and matching mini-skirts at all times. If the football team can step it up in all kinds of weather, so can the cheerleaders, right?)
So there it is Rich, some of the important traditions of Michigan football you may not know about.
Now, you may have heard that we are a little hard to please, but nothing could actually be further from the truth. All you need to do is keep our time-honored traditions alive and well, and everyone is happy.
Good luck, Coach, and GO BLUE!
The Michigan Faithful
So I was scanning my feed reader and I clicked on a MSC post that referenced a BTN list of B10 athletes competing in Beijing. Feel free to count for yourselves, but I wouldn't even bother. Michigan athletes make up about 40-45% of B10 representatives. M has more than 25 athletes in China. Second place comes in at 7 athletes. My question: Does this Michigan dominance justify in any way the arrogance of Michgan fans? Or does it just perpetuate the falsehood? Maybe the answer depends on what school you went or what state you grew up in or what team you follow. Maybe it depends on if you went to Michigan or not. Here's what I think: Michigan, more than any other university in the B10 and perhaps the nation, attracts the cream of the crop. Not only athletically, but academically. There are only a handful of institutions that exceed Michigan's academics in most fields. Only a handful exceed Michigan athletically in most sports. Exceed Michigan in both? At most, one: Stanford. So does this list justify my arrogance as a Michgan fan & alum? You bet your sweet arse it does, brah.*
*speaking of brah, where are the Aggies on that list?
Well, since this is kind of my own blog I thought I would share something exciting, challenging, and at times stupid... I am training to run a MARATHON!
I have been training for the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 19th since the beginning of June. Training is going well, and I am getting ready to run 15 miles this weekend. I have been building from 8 miles, and have run a half - marathon, etc... I have been running for the past two years on and off but I have never ran more than a 15.5 mile race in 2007. So I am getting anxious to get my training up to the 20 miles I need in order to be able to run the 26.2 in October!
This morning I was running before work and it was 70 degrees and humid over here on the west side... As I was running I was thinking (as you tend to have a lot of time) about the upcoming training camps - regardless of level - that will be opening in a matter of days. I was thinking holy crap! I can't believe I used to have to wear full pads in this heat and humidity from 2nd grade through college! I am not a small guy (6'2" 210 - have lost just over 40 lbs. since Feb.) so I amout there for a while, and I know I can force my self through it... what I am trying to say is that the game of football to me is much more than x's and o's... it is about life! If you can make it through the camps and the conditioning then can do anything you set your mind to.
I think about the game of football daily, sometimes just remembering the fellas... There are a lot of games that I barely can recall - and this was not that long ago (graduated from college in 2000) - but i remember everything that I did with my boys! The sweating, the pain, the throwing up, the parties, and this is what i miss the most.
I guess what I am trying to communicate is that if I can run a marathon (I hope) and sweat my ass off for a goal (and put up with the aches and pains)... think about the team at M right now... they have been busting their collective asses off and becoming more than just a TEAM, they are becoming a close knit group of FRIENDS (brothers if you will) and proving to themselves what kind of preople they are.
So whenever some critic, fan, etc. worries about or blasts the team for not having a QB, or being young on the line - DO NOT FORGET THAT THERE IS A LOT MORE BEHIND THEM THAN WHAT WE SEE ON THE SURFACE - THEY WILL BE SUCCESFUL IN WAYS WE CANNOT SEE... I believe that this is what will win games this year for the team.
I just think that these are the things that get over looked by the x's and o's the recruiting, the analysis, etc... I leave you with these thoughts:
"Enthusiasm is the force upon which all momentum is created!"
"Anything worthwhile is never easy!"
Let’s get our stereotypes straight here. I am pleased to present the first comprehensive guide (for any Buckeyes that happened by, that was tongue-in-cheek) to our view of rival fans, I stress *our view*, which I will happily update with any of your valid suggestions.
Ohio State fan – Mullet. Buckstache. Balding early in life. Significant other always wears too much make-up. Either is, was, will be, or already has two truck drivers in the family. Would never switch off Buckeye football to watch NASCAR, but the thought has occurred to him. Gets a little too into Ultimate Fighting. Would trade nine losses to clearly inferior teams for a win in The Game. Has man-crush on Jim Tressel, never told anyone that. Once wrote a threatening letter to John Cooper. Checks Ebay for redneck Buckeye memorabilia, can’t afford most of it. Is confused that he likes Florida the place so much, but hates Florida the team so much. Treats Big-10 vs. SEC with the same level of vehemence as if someone spit on his kid. Thinks foreplay is throwing a beer bottle at an opposing fan before the team comes down the tunnel.
Michigan State fan – Says “Brah” a lot. Despite admiring the “hotties” at State, has an actual track record that looks a lot more like an Ann Arbor selection. Drank a LOT. Drinks a LOT. Thinks about beating the Wolverines approximately 300 days a year. Views all other football events as vaguely enjoyable background noise to a possible problem with alcohol. Values “cool” over “successful.” Eats brats over hot dogs. Works for someone with a Michigan degree. Has secrets – secretly wishes he went to Michigan, secretly wishes he loved actual basketball achievements as much as he would love hypothetical football achievements, and secretly reads Michigan blogs and is currently nodding and saying “me, me, me. I’m getting so tore up tonight brah.”
Notre Dame fan – Actually makes Michigan fans say with sincerity, “man is he arrogant.” Gets an inordinate amount of satisfaction from events that happened prior to his birth, even more than Michigan fan. Seems smugly entitled. Thoroughly detached from reality. Did not attend Notre Dame. Believes in make-believe things like Leprechauns, going 11-2, and God. Can rattle off a coaching hire wish-list just a hair faster than he genuflects at the mention of Lou Holtz. Spits after someone says “Gerry Faust” or “Bob Davie.” Golfs a lot, calls it “duffing.” Erroneously thinks Knute Rockne tapped the “Play Like A Champion” sign on the way out to games. Secretly knows South Bend is a dump. Isn’t grinning as much at the Charlie Weis fat jokes anymore. Would vote for W for a 3rd term. Thinks Ty Willingham is the devil.
USC fan – Is boinking a song-girl right now. Born on 3rd base, thinks he hit a double and reached on an error (is right.) Didn't get into film school because he wouldn't play "politics". Looks like Ken. Drives a convertible. Used daddy’s money to buy daddy out. Wakes up everyday and pisses excellence. Owns Ebay. Doesn’t even really care about college football, but believes anything worth doing is worth doing right. Didn’t hear the USC fight song enough, so uses it as his ringtone. Never had a single zit. Employs Michigan grads because they’re not stuck up like Ivy-Leaguers. Never actually been to Compton, but tells stories like he has. Knows people want to hate him, but he’s just so damn charismatically *charming* that they can’t help but be won over by his sheer perfection. Sometimes in quiet reflection, feels great remorse for the troubles of the less fortunate… then buys a small toy factory and turns it into a parking garage to get his head right.
WVU fan - Loyal, um, to a fault. Teeth, several. Either is, was, will be, or has people in the family who work in the food service industries. Prefaces trips to the hospital by saying "hold my beer and check this out." Mistrusts gummint. Actually looks down on Ohio (!). Reads, er, has someone read all the contract language prior to installing software because *your mark is your bond! If it is written, you agree to it in perpetuity!* Aspires to resemble the mascot. Has an extensive collection of John Denver eight tracks that make him misty eyed. Went on the intertubes and bought an eight track of John Denver live IN DENVER! Kind of wishes Rocky Top were the fight song. Is preparing for the crushing disappointment the Bill Stewart era will be, but still plans to defend "my boy."
Just to play fair:
Michigan fan – Not arrogant, just better than everyone else. Believes the world would be better if he were in charge. Drives a BMW. Has a professional degree or certification. In football, perfection is almost good enough. Thinks individuality is wearing a road jersey to a home game as he jangles his car keys with 110,000 of his closest friends, just after doing the wave. Secretly knows The Big House isn’t anything but big. Gets an inordinate amount of satisfaction from events that happened prior to his birth. Likes hearing the opinions of others, no matter how wrong-headed, ignorant, ridiculous and simpering they might be. Honestly believes he could call plays better than the offensive coordinator. Is vaguely aware that Michigan has a basketball program. Checks Ebay for Michigan memorabilia, can afford most of it. Has at least tried to watch soccer, just because it’s the world's game and wants to be cultural. Revels in nostalgia of all kinds.