"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for this blog, faith, family, being blessed by Char Carr's life, Jim Harbaugh, the return of Michigan football.
Happy Thanksgiving! Beat the Bucks!
After seeing a couple Thanksgiving messages on the board this morning, I was a bit hesitant to post my own, but I did want to point out some of the things that we as a community of highly engaged fans do have to be thankful for.
As we walk towards our game with Ohio State, who among us at this time last year – when we were playing this game merely to be bowl eligible – would have thought that now we could be 9-2 and #10 in the CFP rankings in this week? I am going to assume that not many of us – probably none of us – thought this was a possibility. The future was cloudy indeed.
The occurrence for which most fans of Michigan football are undoubtedly most thankful for in this past year came about a month after that game, in a winter that for us would be quiet, without a bowl but on the blog, full of “CC threads” and understandable hand-wringing about what laid in store for the program once Brandon and Hoke had been removed. Oakland was not in play, and Jim Harbaugh came home to Ann Arbor.
Even so, after that introductory press conference, the future was brighter but now the timeline was uncertain. Many of us thought 2015 would be another transitional year – perhaps a bit bumpy, but necessary – and over the summer, numerous prediction threads amounted to cautious optimism for 2015. In the background, however, we could see the rapid transformation of the program into something far more familiar to many of us. It was transformed – again – into a program which lives “The Team, The Team, The Team” and preaches competition and accountability, not only to the staff but to teammates and the university and its traditions.
We assumed the cultural changes would lead to the on-field success down the road, but I don’t know how many of us in the MGoCommunity thought we would see the cultural transformation change the on-field performance that rapidly, and not just in the sense of being 9-2 right now. The team has bought and is emulating the message of Jim Harbaugh and it is translating into a ruthlessly efficient, never-quit team that has improved itself in every conceivable way.
Now, we walk into the Ohio State game with a considerable chance of winning it, being 10-2 and going to a New Year’s Six bowl after a season where we went 5-7 and watched others go bowling in December and January. We shall see how it shakes out at about 3:30 PM on Saturday and then so on into the final CFP rankings, but that we can do it is an amazing feat for this staff and team indeed.
Thanks to Jim Hackett for refocusing the athletic department in general – not just for football – on the things that are indeed part of the department’s stated mission, which is to serve its students and its supporters. Thanks to Jim Harbaugh for coming home and beginning a new chapter in Michigan football in which possibilities are seen in places where we were beginning to doubt they existed. Thanks to the MGoCommunity for keeping itself somehow glued together – albeit elaborately and with what seemed like the psychological equivalent of Elmer’s at times – and sharing now in this much brighter future.
Before I forget, thanks to Brian and the paid staff here for providing a place for us to ruminate about all this and share statistics, ideas, strategies and information in a quantity that I don’t think you’ll find on many college sports blogs. The MGoCommunity is different – not merely fans, but extra nerdy fans who can remember down, distance and formation on specific plays in games played long ago and write treatises on whether it was or was not the best call. That’s part of the Michigan difference, and it is on display here.
Further, thanks to my fellow mods for helping to maintain this place as one of the better-run, most readable boards out there. Even if we struggle with the amount of content at times, we do our best to pick through it as much as possible and streamline it for everyone. Thanks to my parents as well, for if I weren’t raised by such obsessive people, my obsession with Michigan athletics and everything Michigan might not have come into my makeup.
Finally, thanks to the MGoCommunity for allowing me to give back and help manage the place and for keeping me sane in moments that have been trying throughout the last few years. It means much.
Have an excellent Thanksgiving.
Many years ago I figured out that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday, not the least of reasons being that it is uniquely American and it usually entails more time off with the people you love. So do tell, what are your Thanksgiving plans? Who will you be with, are you traveling, and what's on the menu?
This year for us, as per usual, it will mean hunting with the children, home for Thanksgiving day eating a turkey from the farm, and heading down to AA for 'The Game' with 3 of the kids (draft of which 3 kids hasn't happened yet. May open it up to out and out bribery, ala SEC recruiting methods).
One last thing. As many on the board responded so deeply to Chad Carr's passing I would just mention that to the extent so many shared thoughts of 'appreciate the ones you love' I would expand that out some - maybe each of us could deepen that sentiment by doing something for people that maybe nobody loves. Whether in your community, your church, wherever, near or far, anyone who can access this blog is wealthy beyond dreaming compared to most of the world. And sometimes the real 'wealth' isn't stuff you give, but time. Figure out who could benefit from your time and attention and go make a difference in their lives. And make them Michigan fans.
Go Blue, beat ohio, and Happy Thanksgiving.
A boy is born with the potential to be everything. He comes out a squealing, reddened, water-logged thing for whom virtually every plot on the vast human distribution chart is plausibly attainable. Whom he's handed to and where will narrow that down some, and within a few years of that handoff a personality will start to emerge that might suggest a direction.
But it takes a lifetime, sometimes many lifetimes, to know what a boy will turn into. There's one boy who two thousand years hence has his name uttered by a third of the world when they want to represent the astounding extent of the human capacity for goodness.
Another boy, 70 years after his initial squall, would in the far smaller world of college football, come to represent the traits of intelligence, integrity, and loyalty. The boy, Lloyd Carr, was born exactly a week before a bomb named "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima. He played a sport where boys flung their bodies at other boys for a kind of fleeting, mostly useless greatness. He began coaching said sport when/because boys of his age and nation were being thrown indiscriminately at a barely understood war.
Through that sport Lloyd got to have a hand in shaping the distribution of hundreds of boys. I know boys born in places that would in most likelihoods see them either destroyed or shaped into destroyers of other boys, to people who didn't care which. Among Lloyd's accomplishments—and this boy's accomplishments an extreme outlier among men—the greatest are these boys he saved, and who now spend their lives affecting more boys than Lloyd or any man could alone.
It is for the things Lloyd did with his 70 years that all Michigan fans, and many non-Michigan fans, today are joining in mourning the loss of one. Chad Carr was born to Lloyd's boy Jason and Jason's wife Tammi, the third of such boys. It was the kind of start and they were the kind of people who open up the best parts of human capacity in a boy.
Chad died today, after more than the year he was expected to have after doctors learned he had brain cancer, less than a few weeks after he began hospice care, a day after he was no longer able to talk to his parents, and just a few short years after he learned to.
His brothers, his parents, and everyone who loved Lloyd and loved Chad because of it, had to just sit there the whole time, powerlessly, and watch this happen.
— Tammi Carr (@tamcarr21) November 23, 2015
The angels have too many of our boys. I don't know how much more potential the human race will lose, or how much money to research DIPG will be wasted on blind pursuits before a stab in this dark finds a way to stop losing boys this way. It is a certainty that all the money and all the being good and all that you can possibly do and pray for won't prevent this from being the last time a man will have to hold the lifeless body of a boy who'll never become a fireman or a football coach or a father.
But here's the link to ChadTough again if you want to take a shot anyway.
Gave myself arthritis with my incessant refreshing of MGoBlog. Thankfully, the wait is over, and now we celebrate.