Round 2 has begun! After I voted it said JB was a distant 2nd/3rd to
Zoid Hoiberg! Keep voting with Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind!
Not a criticism, I know Ace is not at full speed (though hope you're feeling better all the time, Ace). Also, I know that Stauskus and GRIII (and the Bench Mob) were often the stars of OFAAT last year and this team is just a little different... but maybe we'd be appreciating more of what some of the other guys do if we were getting OFAAT game recaps. I miss them.
This is my story and how it (figuratively) coincides with Michigan's recent Final Four run. This may be a "MGothreadworthy?" but it's a "cool story bro" nonetheless. So, if you're into the latter quoted, read on...
Have you ever made a decision on a whim? A life-changing, love crazed leap into thin air? It's liberating, it really is. And it's also reckless and irresponsible. It's living life on the edge. Have you ever walked that thin line?
March 29, 2013. It was really cold that morning. A thin layer of frost covered everything, including the road I took on my way to Dayton Airport. Funny thing is, in a mere 8-12 hours I'd be experiencing the other extreme in temperature. I was headed to Los Angeles. I'm 20 years old and I've never even seen a plane up close and in person. And I'm doing it alone.
What a day to pick. Michigan was to play #1 seed Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. And Trey Burke alone would become a real hero in the eyes of Michigan fans across the country in what became to be known as "The Shot"
I'm no real hero, but I sure felt like one, clumsily but confidently finding my way through O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. My overlay flight would take off in an hour or so, so I desperately searched for a TV with CBS airing the game. No such luck. I missed the game of my life while talking to a stranger I had met aboard the plane. She was headed to L.A. too. After some aimless chit-chating, the woman gave me her card which I tossed in my pocket and almost immediately forgot about it. I had more important things on my mind.
When the ball left Trey's hand, it spun in what seemed like a wormhole, it happened so fast. Just like that, the Wolverines we're going to take the game. You could FEEL it. That ball could have spun at less than a one degree angle in any other direction and the result would have been that disappointing loss we had but a microsecond to prepare for when Trey put the team on his back. 'Cause that's what he did when he took "The Shot". He put the world on his back when he let that ball go. Man...
That's life on the edge.
LAX is big. Bigger than the cornfields and cow shit of the 50,000 persons population of Mercer County , Ohio. But yet, it's where I found the girl I was in the City of Angels for in the first place. An almost comical clechie of a tale of love that led me to visit her for a few days across the country. And the first thing I said was,
"Where's the nearest sports bar?"
I had missed it, but I watched replay after replay after replay. The athletic motion of off-balance shooting, the alpha male-esque scream that captured the moment after the ball had made an improbable, perfect trajectory.
I had chills that lasted for days.
Before I knew it, it was almost over. My 3rd day there was to be my last. I had such a good time. Palm trees and mountains are a big change of scenery. Of course I was fully invested in my time there, but I also kept Michigan's next game in the back of my mind...
It didn't stay there for long. Turns out, that same night, I would take my own "Shot" and do something insane. I would throw my life in the air and hope for that perfect swish. That night, with the weight of my own world on my back, (a mere bag of clothes and 1000 dollars cash) I would decide to stay. I would decide to leave everything behind. My family, friends, everything, to be have a shot at something better than the dead end life I watch all those around me create for themselves. I would live on the edge.
Those chills would continue for months.
By Michigan's Final Four game against the Orange of Syracuse, I'd have my first job in L.A. Welding, and making more money than I've ever made in Ohio. Credit that to the woman who gave me her card at the airport in Chicago. She was a job recruiter. How perfect?
Only fitting that the Wolverines would make it all the way to the National Championship. Play like Hell, like Victors.
But come short.
Only fitting that I would too. After a year, my improbable run came to an end. And I found myself back in Ohio at square one. Nothing to show for my amazing, however reckless, decisions. Nothing but memories made and a hell of a story to tell.
The Wolverines hadn't brought home the trophy. But came back with a story's weight in gold. One that will be told forever. I guess life is linear like that sometimes. I guess life is hard. But I'm rebuilding. Just like my Wolverines. Strengthening ourselves for another run at something big. However next time, it won't be so improbable.
Great F****** EFFORT guys.
Walton you are a warrior - looks like he is 60% out there.
We don't do moral victories but damn we are playing backcourts at times with Spike + Dakich. Play like this the rest of the way and we can do some damage.
Come on down.