at least it's not just us?
The Detroit News is reporting that Devin Gardner and a lot of other players are getting hate mail and tweets:
This shouldn't have to be said -- folks, if you find yourself seriously tempted to send an angry message to a player, don't. It won't help them and it won't make you feel any better either. Enjoy the wins, let go of the losses.
If being a fan makes you miserable, you're allowed to just not be a fan for a while. Go ahead, leave the party. Just be discrete about it. If you can avoid making an idiot of yourself on the way out, we'll almost certainly let you back in when the team starts winning again.
This post is going to be as random as you like, so enjoy. While perusing ESPN.com under the NBA mainpage on this enjoyable Friday night, I happened upon a random Sports Nation poll. It poses the question: Who will be the bigger weapon for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics? Anthony Davis or Kyrie Irving? I clicked on Kyrie Irving, and surprisingly or unsurprisingly, Kyrie Irving was winning 77% to 23% on 26,865 national votes.
Next, I clicked on View Map, because that's how I do. The map, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, showed all states siding with Kyrie Irving--BUT ONE--which sided with Anthony Davis.
Now, my task for you is this: without looking at this poll--or after looking at this poll, I don't necessarily care--guess which state picked Anthony Davis and write why you guessed it.
I posted this over at a blog for which I occasionally write, but it's not a Michigan-centered blog and I don't get much feedback there so I thought I'd share it with the MGoCommunity.
Salty Sam Throws You on a Railroad Track
Being born in 1983 in Ann Arbor to a pair of Michigan alumni was the perfect storm for hating Notre Dame. For my entire life as a minor, Michigan State and Ohio State would occasionally jump up and bite the Wolverines, but they were largely just fodder for Michigan whether the coach was Schembechler, Moeller, or Carr. Notre Dame, however, was in the midst of selling its soul under Lou Holtz who was himself in the midst of getting his second of three straight schools at which he coached in hot water with the NCAA (Minnesota before and South Carolina after ND). Ethics aside, Holtz was a darn good coach which made his bizarre personality and speech pattern all the more obnoxious. At least John L. Smith has the decency to be nothing but comedy relief.
Holtz took the reigns in South Bend in 1986. After losing his first game against Michigan (and debut as Irish coach), 24-23, Holtz then led the Irish to 4 straight victories over Michigan, a stretch that included the 1988 national title for the Irish as well as the "stop kicking it to Rocket Ismail, please" game in 1989 when the Irish and Wolverines were ranked 1-2 to start the year. During this time I ranged in age from 4-7 and my father, like any true Wolverine would, grew an intense distaste for Holtz and the Domers, which I of course fully absorbed. I needed no other reason to hate Notre Dame, but then NBC made it even easier with their absurd TV contract. Half of my Michigan-Notre Dame viewing experiences have featured Tom Hammond (honorable mention in terribleness to ABC/ESPN for subjecting me to Brent Musberger for the other half)
Anyway, 1991 rolled around and in came the Irish to Ann Arbor looking for an unfathomable fifth straight win over the Wolverines. Michigan fans are rightfully (much of the time, anyway) noted for their arrogance, but in 1991 if there was one fan base that could out-smug the Wolverines it was Notre Dame. I was already destined to be a Wolverine slappy, but this cemented me for life:
That play and Remy Hamilton's winner in 1994 are the two that most stand out to me in my early Michigan football memories (of the positive ones, anyway. Don't even mention Miami in 1988. Crap, I just did). Holtz "retired" following the 1996 season. There still isn't a stated reason why. Holtz said "it was the right thing to do." Irish aficionados will tell you it was because the school's brass didn't want Holtz to surpass Knute Rockne's all-time wins record of 105. The likely reason became clear in 1999 when the Irish were hit with probation by the NCAA for failing to report improper benefits and academic fraud during the tenures of Holtz and his successor, Bob Davie. In any case, Holtz was gone and the first of many mediocre coaches to roam the sidelines in South Bend had taken over, so life must have been dandy for the Maize and Blue, right? Not so.
The Irish kept managing to defend their home turf despite fielding lousy teams and despite things like the hilarious hiring gaffe of resume doctor George O'Leary. The "Return to Glory" and "Field Goal Jesus" jokes were always funny, but not as funny as they should have been because Notre Dame still found ways to maintain some relevance by beating ranked Michigan teams. It wasn't until Charlie Weis' "decided schematic advantage" and then Brian "Grimace" Kelly that Michigan was able to put more than one consecutive win together against the Irish. The three most recent saw the Wolverines snatch victory in the waning seconds (I think the first two were by design; Rich Rodriguez didn't know how to win any other way) and the two most recent saw jaw-dropping offensive numbers from Michigan's quarterback, Denard Robinson. The 2012 game brought an opportunity for Michigan to win four straight against the Irish, matching the Irish's streak at the end of the 80's. Notre Dame is Salty Sam, always up to no good until, just when you thought all hope was gone, along Comes Jones in the form of Denard Robinson. There are three verses to the song. This would be Robinson's third and final game against the Irish. The thought of a third thrilling victory for Robinson was just delightful. The idea for this post came to me on Thursday, but I didn't dare say anything about it for fear of the jinx.
This game would be played in South Bend, however, and other than a couple blips on the radar South Bend has been the Bermuda triangle for Michigan. Whether it be an errant pass somehow still completed in 1990, Carlyle Holiday fumbling on the 1 and still getting a touchdown in 2002, or the 2008 slop-fest, good things don't often happen for Michigan in Notre Dame Stadium. The Ghost of Irish Past reared its ugly head again on Saturday and Robinson, with a little help from his friends, had the worst day of his Michigan career. 5 interceptions and a fumble and Michigan still only lost by 7 points. You can make a case that the better team has lost in this game for four straight years now. I was mad, but if you've watched enough of Denard Robinson it's impossible to really be upset with him. He's seen more in his 22 years (oh yeah, Saturday was his 22nd birthday) than most will in their lifetimes. His humility is equally evident in victory as well as defeat. So, instead of seething over this game for two weeks (Michigan has a bye on Saturday) like I would do pretty much every other year, I'm going to try damn hard to get past it because there are only 8-10 opportunities left to watch Denard Robinson in a Michigan uniform. Sure, he's a feast-or-famine kind of player, but when it's been feast I haven't had as much fun watching football since Charles Woodson donned the Maize and Blue.
As for Notre Dame, they've decided to opt out of the rivalry after 2014 due to
joining the ACC scheduling issues. The good news is games like Saturday's won't happen so much, but I'll still miss the rivalry. To me Notre Dame will always be Salty Sam, trying to saw Michigan all in half. It sucks when they succeed, but there's nothing sweeter than when Jones comes along and saves the day. Michigan-ND was a game I looked forward to more than any other; it was better when it was the first game of the year, but sadly Lou Holtz put and end to that by scheduling warm-up games in the early 90's. There's no doubt Bo was right ("To Hell with Notre Dame!"), but it was always truer when Michigan sent them there.
Some people said some things after the NCAA basketball tournament that I wanted to address, that can also be extrapolated to the NC game today. A great number of people, especially from that Rural College Up North, began calling Michigan fans “Fair-weather fans,” because the basketball games have not been very high in attendance in recent memory. While some might agree, I have serious issue with this.
I will be honest, I have never enjoyed basketball as a sport. I was raised in an area where football reigned supreme, and everything else was secondary. Coming to Michigan back in 2005, especially with how basketball was back then during the Amaker era, reaffirmed those conceptions. Football was King. I’m not ripping on basketball; this is just a statement of fact.
During the most recent basketball season, I kept up with the team, but did not watch many of the games. My work schedule did not grant me many evenings or weekends to enjoy them. But when they were selected for the tournament, I was ecstatic. I ducked out of work to watch the Tennesse game, and was absolutely devastated by the Duke loss. Now the lay may call me a “fair-weather fan”, but I have a dissenting opinion.
While I do not go out of my way to watch basketball, I live for all things Michigan. Since I was a kid it was my dream to attend UM, and when I was accepted I could not have been more excited. I have a block “M” tattoo on my back, and I wear it with pride and honor. I am a fan of the University. I am a fan of every Wolverine out there, and will root for them to succeed in everything they do (barring the obvious, like This Guy). Rooting for the basketball team was not “becoming a fair-weather fan” but rather rooting for my alma mater, my peers, and friends. .
Even if you have never watched a hockey game in your life, I want everyone to root with all their might for this team. Root for the University of Michigan, its glory, tradition, history and future. Wear your colors proudly, and scream until you can’t scream anymore. Then scream some more. If you’re going to the game, scream louder.
These boys will be giving it their all in under 15 hours and every Michigan fan needs to do the same. Cheer, scream, celebrate, and if necessary, though I hope it won’t be, cry. Even if you don’t like hockey, remember you are cheering for something bigger than the sport, bigger than the University—you are cheering for history. Student athletes give so much effort and time and heart to the University of Michigan, and we owe them the same.
Go Blue, and let’s celebrate a National Championship tonight!
Great article by In Rod We Trust on how you can help the Wolverines come away with a victory each and every week. Basics: Stop doing bad things, do more good things. Cheer for your team like a maniac. More in the article below.
I guess I can't say for sure where I'll be a year from now on the question of whether I think RichRod should stay. I know what I expect: I still believe he's going to have M kickin butt across the land. But of course I'm way less sure than I was in September. However, this is where I am today:
For so long, it had been easy to be a Michigan football fan. The wins came like the rising sun. The bowl games, the championships, the streaks: they were us. It was *easy* to be on that train.
But these days are different. Today it is hard to be a Michigan fan. These are days of difficulty, doubt and challenge. Yet it is precisely in these times of turmoil when our fandom matters most.
Will we blow with the wind, no foundation to keep us straight during this storm? Or will we BE the foundation: a source of strength and continuity, stability for the program?
We are the Michigan fans. Our job is to support the program, support the team when all is falling apart around us.
Michigan is about being the leaders and best. That does not necessarily mean wins. Wins are not what define the Michigan Man. It is effort, perseverance, commitment that defines the Michigan Man. Michigan is about "ALL IN."
And so in the world of fandom, our role is to set the standard, to show all the other programs what it means to be the best 12th man, all in for then team.
On this front, I thought we epic failed during the coaching search. The Haloscan domain – glorious as it was - was filled with panic during those dark days. As a fanbase we were wussified. When we should have been a rock, we were soft. But now is our time to get back on track, to be the source of stability.
I loved Bo. I loved Lloyd. I am all in for RichRod. None of these men were/are perfect, each made mistakes. But each gave/give their all for Michigan. And I will give my best in my role as a fan, for M. That means perseverance, commitment. Valuing the effort of the team, even more than the wins.
With a nod to Lloyd for his moving eulogy of Bo in the Big House (quoting Kipling’s "If"), here is my MGo Pledge of Fandom:
I am a Michigan fan. I pledge allegiance to the team, to the program.
In the glory days of victory, I cheer with might and main;
In the dark days of turmoil, I cheer, again;
I will not panic. I defy the MSM.
I will keep my head, when all about me are losing theirs.
I will meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those imposters just the same.
I can watch the team I gave my heart to, broken;
Then stoop and cheer to build 'em up with worn-out will.
I can make one heap of all their winnings;
And cheer while they risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss.
And lose, cheer their start again at the beginnings;
And never breathe a word about their loss.
I will force my heart and nerve and sinew,
To serve their turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in me
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
Win or lose, I cheer for their effort, I cheer for the team.
I am a Michigan fan.