There's nothing quite like knowing that you're not alone. The reactions may have been different, but the feeling was the same. Well done. And well done gentlemen. Well done.
We're From Phoenix
9/26/2008 – Michigan 27, Wisconsin 25 – 2-2, 1-0 Big Ten
I don't have to tell you it was ugly at first, but an illuminating example: at a couple points in the first half when the guy with the red hat was on the field various family members of mine stood up because we're natural standers frustrated by the usual decorum of our section.
A set of ancients crabbed at them to sit down despite, you know, the lack of anything to see other than a guy with a red hat standing on the field, and when this was finally annoying enough for someone to respond with the obvious riposte about the red hat a full-scale verbal confrontation ensued in which the crabs behind us simultaneously complained about how we were violating the stadium announcer's request to treat our fellow seatmates with respect and called my cousin "fatso."
I thought but did not say "I know you are wearing a hat that indicates you fought at the battle of Antietam but don't think I won't smash your skull into splinters."
At halftime, Michigan had 21 yards. I tried to hide from the sun and list all the things I would rather do than watch the second half.
At the beginning of the year we were all confronted by an unexpected cost imposed by the massive turnover in coaches and star players: Michigan seemed a little like laundry we wanted to win, and sucky laundry at that. They wore the wrong numbers and ran the wrong way and certainly played the wrong way and goddammit where was Mike Hart?
We know college football players not as people but as things that have transpired on the field. By the story arcs their careers trace out, tragedy or comedy. Without those—without even Lloyd Carr's story to fall back on—the first few games of the season were strangely numb. They lost to Utah? Okay. They lost by 18 to Notre Dame? Okay. You can go back and check the columns here: serenity reigned. That was born from detachment.
Johnny at RBUAS captured this sentiment perfectly:
Mike, Jake and Chad risked their dignity and only left with a little of it, but they came back in the first place by choice, because of something bigger. As for the guys that are still here, Trent and Jamison are mostly quiet and patient and had no place else to go. And no matter how jubilant and grateful Terrance might seem, he knew how much money could be made by coming back. I don’t hesitate to say that wins this year won’t be as satisfying as wins last year were. Not enough of these players have suffered yet.
Those people out there aren't Mike, Jake, and Chad but Threet and McGuffie (or Shaw or Minor or Brown or Grady) and I'm Not Sure Who The Left Tackle Is This Week.
But there is no better one-word description for the first half Saturday than "suffering," and Johnny Thompson is always going to be the guy who picked off Allan Evridge. Steven Threet could have four years of moments good and bad in him but I suspect to me he'll always be looking over his shoulder at Wisconsin safeties, just as shocked at what is transpiring as everyone else.
After it was over I did something I hadn't done since I was a kid making paper airplanes out of the free programs and throwing confetti* in the air whenever Michigan scored. I went down to the tunnel as the players exited the field and watched them go: Taylor boisterous, high fiving anyone he came across, Warren stoic, the Coner completely neutral until someone thumped his shoulder pads in congratulations. The only thing that betrayed Kevin Koger and his old man beard as an 18 year old, not an Antietam veteran, was the kid-on-Christmas-morning smile stretching from ear-to-ear. A blood-soaked band-aid hung from Thompson's chin, gamely sticking to a couple of hairs in his ragged beard. Barwis looked like he was stuck in a paint shaker.
These are no longer strangers. I know how they run, and they are mine. I wanted to say something to them, to wrap everything that had just transpired into a sentence and give it to them, to tell them about ashes and hope and the future. But nothing came.
After Brandon Minor's touchdown run I turned around to see what the crabs were thinking and perhaps to say something unkind. They had left at halftime.
This is what I should have said: "Those who stay will be champions."
- Thanks, karma! The entire crab sequence was awesome.
- Carson Butler got suspended and Mike Massey flailed around a bit before being replaced by Kevin "My Name Lacks An R" Koger, who proceeded to do nothing obviously wrong and then caught a seam route touchdown. If they're going to burn a redshirt, it might as well be for a 30-yard touchdown, and since he doesn't seem appreciably worse than either of the two nominal starters I say let it ride.
- This is what I am talking about with the "It's Great To Be A Michigan Wolverine" chant. It should be kept in reserve for Events.
- I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but if you booed the team you're an asshat. You wear asses for hats. Yes, you may have the purchased the right to boo your asshat-wearing heads off, but you are also taking your frustration out on a team that's obviously trying really hard but just kind of sucks from time to time. Booing the coaches is your excuse? Don't care, the players couldn't tell, and now they probably think we're all asshats because of you. You have a "right" to boo. You also have the right to give your grandmother the finger and call her a harlot.
- The block M in the student section was not epic fail but it did look a little squat from my vantage point.
- What is the point of replay if they aren't going to overturn that ridiculous Wisconsin "reception" in the fourth quarter? Even the Wisconsin fans in our section thought that was a terrible call.
- As I was walking home these guys behind me were having an extended conversation about how Rodriguez was dumb to go for two. One: they were wrong. Two: seriously? Seriously this is what you're focusing on instead of one of the best games in Michigan Stadium history? It must suck to be those guys.
- Those guys at the 1997 OSU game: "It should never have been that close."
- Those guys at the birth of their children: "he has a disappointingly shaped head, did you have to push so hard?"
- Those guys in the space machine vortex thingy from Contact: "you should have sent a poet. I'm just a guy who has no understanding of game theory. I'm not even enjoying this because I don't have someone belting out quatrains about these stupid galaxies."
*(Also made from the free programs. Those things are clutch when you're ten.)
That, truly, is the only thing I feel badly about from this game. The sad thing is that you know the people who were booing were just as excited about the win as the people who were cheering and trying to fire the players up. Booing is easy. Cheering a team that is down to try to do all you can to support it and lift it up - that is not easy, because then you have something to lose. But those fans who boo their own team - of college kids, nonetheless - are just like the players RUBAS talks about. They haven't suffered yet. Try cheering your ass off, coming back, and then losing, like Minnesota '05. Or like OSU '06. I bet they'd boo that team, too. Weak. As Bo said, "When your team is winning, be ready to be tough,
because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is
losing, stick by them. Keep believing."
While you were mentally listing the things you would rather than do than watch the second half....I sat fairly motionless at halftime watching the bands and mentally running through the program's history trying to determine where Threet's performance ranked among the worst Qbed games in the history of the program.
Longest. Halftime. Ever.
Brian - you have no bigger fan than I - but I totally disagree with you about the booing. I don't care how young and inexperienced these players are, the turnovers against ND and the first half against Wisconsin were inexcusable. Players are not immune from booing if they are "trying hard." Trying hard is the absolute minimum we expect. I can forgive occassional mistakes, but the number of those turnovers and the manner in which they happened was aggregious. If you can't boo that, what can you boo? Anyway, if the players can't take some booing from the home fans in those situations, they are going to have a long tough road ahead in the NFL (if they make it) or in life in general.
You suck. I hope everytime the students chant You Suck, you feel it deep in your soul.
I hope someday you see Terrence Taylor and repeat what you just wrote to him. Just to get his opinion.
I assure you I don't "suck." If Michigan had more fans like me in the stands, it'd be the loudest and biggest home-field advantage stadium in the country. And I don't boo at anything. Like I said, I boo only when the level of execution or effort has fallen to a level that's inexcusable. And I'll tell you something else, if the second half looked like the first, I promise you, there would be NO boo-bashing going on today.
Wrong. I would still be giving you shit.
And also, wrong. You do suck.
If the team plays bad they deserve to be boo'd. They expect to be boo'd. And if they can't take it then they should get off the damn field. They should transfer like [name redacted] baby [name redacted] so they can sit on the bench and not have to work harder. If they can't turn it into motivation then they have no gumption.
I think there was a commercial where the guy get's hit and the trainer asks him how he feels. "when they boo, it hurts my feelings".
Boo your opponent, not your own team (at least not for on the field performance... if the team is disgraceful for other reasons, like fighting, then by all means boo this type of behavior).
The coaches can handle the yelling and screaming in the event of excessive turnovers. Support your team. Booing is the opposite of support.
that it was probably something of a fluke. Like, as in "don't worry, we'll regress to the mean". You can be terrible at protecting the ball and still not have 5 turnovers in a half. This was very likely something the players did not have control over.
You don't boo your own team. And if you do, you don't deserve to cheer in the end. You cannot express at the top of your lungs that it is not great to be a Michigan Wolverine (i.e., booing), and that it is, in the course of one half. Pick one.
Booing has nothing to do with not being proud to be a Wolverine. It's a way of saying that we expect more from you. And if Terrance Taylor were a fan in the stands he'd be booing too. I booed after a horrible play, and then I continued to support them and cheer them on to victory. Our players are not weak pussies - I'd hope they can take a little booing and understand that it's not OK to have 11 tunovers in 6 quarters.
Why, friend, do you feel that, as a fan, the players are accountable to you? That you, as someone in the stands, can decide what is "acceptable" or "ok"? Boo someone for doing an unequivocably wrong thing (Carson Butler punching someone). Don't boo an amateur athelete for trying as hard as they can.
on carrying the ball in the wrong hand?
I'm sure it was your inspired jeering that taught them fumbling is bad. Not common sense or coaches.
Why is booing not okay, but making up stats like "yards after mundy" and assigning "-1" to individual players ok? Just wondering.
Rich probably used it as encouragment in his halftime speech anyway "Did you f--kfaces here that? They are booing you f--ks! Get out there and try, don't let go of the f--king ball and make those f--kers in the stand cheer when the final whistle blows." I can't come close to capturing Rich's use of the F-word though unfortunatly - it is legendary, but the point is don't get your panties all in a bunch about booing.
maybe YAM was a little sarcastic, but -1s? Seriously? There is a difference between attempting to figure out who is playing well and who isn't and booing.
According to today's xkcd, they should NOT have sent a poet.
what i have to say is more important to me than anything else. what's so bad about that?
the booing would have been as pronounced had Threet not thrown that last pick and the offense loafed trying to make the tackle.
Wisco almost got a gift TD here because of a weak and seemingly apathetic effort transitioning from O to D on the return. How anyone would not expect boos is beyond me.
I am a non booing person. Didn't do it. Wont ever do it. Not going to argue about it being out of line or not either.....but I will say its not the first time the team has booed, nor will it be the last.
Its just how fans react.
To add to my comment below about why I thought the booing was ok: while I booed after a bad play, I did continue to loudly cheer the team on in general. I see nothing wrong with expressing frustration so long as you don't give up on the team and show your enthusiasm when they start turning things around.
You have just written the preface to the "Fair Weather Fan's Manifesto." Are you kidding?
"It's cool that I boo. I support the team when we're playing well" is essentially what you just said.
also taken back by the booing. I was stunned, not by the booing but by the play of the team. I too sat motionless and speechless from the play. The booing made me even more "still." I kept thinking ok what am I going to hear on Monday and yadda, yadda, yadda... Booing is for the professionals not the kids... I AGREE WITH THE ABOVE ON THE BOOING!
I was wondering why I paid all that money to watch this... then 30 minutes later I was calling myself a douche bag because I did not DVR the game before I left GR. That was my "asshat" moment!
Oh and a side note - if you are fat... that is no reason those siting next to you have to feel like they are in a vice grip because your fat ass can't fit in the seat - "that I paid for" (like the rest of us got in free)- to you you are an asshat! You were nice though when i asked if I could sit in your lap... if my wife was not with me we would have had aome more words - you fat ****!
Not that I amstill mad though! Great TEAM win... I think we just saw a coming together for the ages! I am still speechless so that is a s good as it gets right now!
The comment that the turnovers were (and he even bolded the word) inexcusable implies that these players owe you something - like they answer to you. Michigan football, friend, does not exist for your enjoyment, and it is not accountable to you. 18-22 year old kids fuck things up they shouldn't. I got my electricity turned off as a 21 year old because I kept saying I'd pay the bill "tomorrow". They are young kids, playing a game, without pay, as hard as they can. I want them to succeed, but they day I start feeling like these young men OWE me something, or that the outcome of the game somehow either showers praise or shame on me, is the day that I have officially lost it.
In sum: If you boo college kids for making innocent mistakes (boo Butler for trying to punch someone - that's a choice he made), you are, without a doubt, a complete and utter choad. Without question or qualification.
And if you ever, ever, wonder, during a game "why am I paying to see this", don't. Seriously. Give me your fucking seats. If you're willing to crucify the team on the field for not filling your hearts with joy after years of providing you enjoyment, and the future years of enjoyment they will provide, then save yourself the angst. I'll take them. Honestly. I'll sit through 4 years of what we saw on Saturday in the first half, and still love sitting outside in Michigan Stadium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
chitown- from one superfan to another. i respect 97% of what you comment about but your 'michigan football does not exist for our (my) enjoyment' comment is a bit ridiculous. obviously, there are a number of reasons why michigan football 'exists'. but you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't get 'joy' out of watching michigan play. watching michigan play for most of us is an emotional rollercoaster and barring this year and the horror, we generally like watching our boys kick some ass.
*and my 2 cents regarding the booing. i have mixed feelings regarding booing. it would suck to get booed. no doubt about that. but i guarantee that the booing helped spark more fight in our squad rather than if our fans would've cheered as halftime rolled around after a terrrrrrrrible performance. actually, i asked one of my friends on the team the same thing yesterday and he totally agreed.
for the record the booing sucked and we should never be booing our squad. my boy on the team just said it pissed them off, and as a result, pumped them up even more.
but hey guess what? we won! i'm still smiling.
The mistakes were inexcusable not because the player owe ME anything. They were inexcusable because they are better players than that. I support my team and no one cheers louder than I. There is nothing wrong with showing your displeasure with horrible execution. And I mean horrible. Just because they are kids doesn't mean they can fuck everything up and not have any consequences. These players represent my school and while I certainly don't expect them to be perfect and I don't expect them to never make mistakes - those turnover were fucking nuts. That was beyond reason and should never happen. Never.
Their duty in "representing your school" is to be solid citizens and give their best effort. Not to "not make innocent mistakes".
Oh, and you cheer the loudest except when you don't. Brilliant.
Seriously, listen to yourself: "should never happen"? Dude, we are talking about kids here. 18-22 year old kids who are not getting paid jack squat who have been thrown into a crazy coaching change most of them had no part in (the non-freshman).
I only hope that you don't judge your own family and friends by such strick standards. If you do I'm pretty sure they all can't stand you, because you're a huge hypocrite and a giant dick to boot.
Well, I did not leave! It was just an expression... I would love to stay for every game and go to every game, etc... just an expression. I would love to go to more than just one game a year, but that is my limit as of now!
Boo Gary Sheffield. Boo Jim Leyland or Todd Jones. Boo Matt fucking Millen and Joey. Boo whoever it is you boo in Detroit hocky. Boo Flip.
You don't boo college teams.
Don't boo 18-22 year old amateur athletes who bust their ass for countless hours off the field in addition to doing whatever they have to do in the classroom to stay eligible simply for our enjoyment as fans.
It's a sickening sense of entitlement that Brian and others have desribed if you think Michigan football owes you something beyond simply existing. You chose to buy that ticket, nobody forced you to go to the game on Saturday. If you think your purchase entitles you to relaying your satisfaction then you fucking seperate the kids on the field from the adminsitrators and coaches -- write a letter to the editor, write Bill Martin, organize a protest march, start a blog -- do whatever. But don't boo these innocent kids who bust their ass all year long so we can get pleasure watching them.
I would have to disagree with you. Michigan football DOES exist for the fans enjoyment. If fans did not enjoy football, they would not pay money to buy tickets or support it. In turn, the athletic department wouldn't make money and football would go out the door. Enjoyment of the fans (and the subsequent money they spend) is the PRIMARY reason Michigan football exists.
A few other things that I think need clarified. These athletes are not "kids". It isn't the appropriate word. They are young adults, who are eligible to go fight wars overseas, smoke cigarettes, take out loans in their name, and be tried in an adult court of law. They are not kids, they are young adults who CHOSE to come to Michigan to play football here. They are not poor helpless "kids" as I feel your portrayal makes them out to be. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but that is what I keep envisioning. Another thing: these atheletes are not struggling for absolutely no gain. I fully agree that they have very intense schedules, and I commend them for how they are able to keep up both on and off the field. But you must remember, they are on full ride scholarships here. As an out of state student, that's nearly $40,000 a year that I don't have. Don't tell me that they aren't getting anything out of their situation as a student-athlete.
If any of you think that others are bad, fair-weather fans because they boo, then stop watching sports. Stop trying to make yourself feel good becuase you didn't boo and therefore you love Michigan football more. Because, you may or may not love the wolverines the most, but booing has nothing to do with it.
your first two paragraphs are spot on imho. not to mention i would literally give one of my testicles to play football at Michigan. but booing is just mean-spirited and douchey.
Trent got juked and burned in the open field then proceeded to muff the kick-off (which honest to God I called while watching from my seat) and he never even approached the huddle on defense. I may have too high of expectations, but I thought his pre half play was deserving of jeer. That is just my opinion. He looked dis-engaged out there. I realized he didn't sign up to play for Rod, but you could literally see it in his play in the first half. That was the greatest game I have ever witnesse din my life and hats of to the guys and the coach, we really had no business being in that game. It was rather flukey, but a win is a win.
"I realized he didn't sign up to play for Rod, but you could literally see it in his play in the first half."
I hate it when I figuratively see things with my eyes.
Referring to rising from the ashes like the Phoenix? Or is that a tribute to Craig Roh who is from Phoenix? Or both? Or neither....?
Also, booing is for dickheads. No offense biakabatookus, but I think you're a dickhead. Again, no offense.
We played like the University of Phoenix Phoenixes in the first half?
yes. and then the phoenix act in the second.
But I swear, it's not my fault.
My roommate had knee surgery this summer, and since I'm the only one of the three of us with a car, I carted his ass around a fair amount. As a thanks, he bought me a ticket to a Belgian Beer Festival in Boston that was, frankly, an excellent idea in most circumstances. On this day, it happened to mean I could watch, at most, a half of the Michigan game.
I'd be lying if I said a part of me wasn't relieved to be leaving at halftime. But I woulda watched to the end. So it was with a lot of joy and some disappointment that I received texts throughout the second half, updating me on the comeback, as I realized that in my rush to leave the house, I forgot to set the DVR. I couldn't believe I was missing the game...I can't believe I missed that.
But even though I didn't see it, I was proud to be a Michigan fan on that day (as I always am) and excited to read about it and see the highlights when I got home.
thanks, Brian, for an excellent post.
I am not saying booing is a good thing, but what exactly do we as fans do when our team has thrown up 20 yards of total offense in a half? Do we cheer wildly? What exactly is expected of us? Please tell us what to do in that situation. If you really think people aren't going to boo that 1st half performance you are kidding yourself. I don't think booing is what was called for, but if you were sitting in the stands and cheering at the end of the half then you were probably the only one or you are a liar.
Or swear under your breath if you're not a praying man. But what does booing achieve other than identifying Michigan as a douchey fair-weather fanbase?
just be silent.
be silent and let others think you a fool, or open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Marques, believe it or not, there is a middle ground between "wildly cheering" and booing. It's called being quiet.
...a lot of time in that middle ground. From the final minute of the FirstH, all halftime and well into the second half.
1.) my historic search of bad single game QBing I referenced above.
2.) Pondering a new, ongoing diary series on UM teams that had to fight like hell to get to a bowl game. Figured 1987, 1984, 1993 and 2005 as possibilities.
3.) Thanking the students for showing us that big black block M in their section. Made me feel like I was at a Missouri game, so I let my mind take me there.
4.) Wondering how is it possible that Wisco's band is better than ours. I dont think it is, but I cant hear our band....EVER.....therefore Wisco's halftime show was better.
I sat in my seat motionless throughout in that trance well into the third quarter. When Warren sniffed out that WR screen forcing Wisco to punt.....that hit snapped me out of it!!!
Having been in the Michigan band and living with 6 guys who were not in the band, I have received my share of BandGeek and BandFag stuff over the years.
I often get the "why is the other band so loud" question. There are a lot of bands that are drum and bugle corps (no woodwinds) which will definitely be louder than the same sized band. Also, it very much depends where you're sitting, as to what you can hear during the game.
All that aside, though, the Wisconsin band really irritated me on Saturday. I didn't think their drill looked good; they were loud but didn't sound good; and some of their music was undiscernable. On top of that, every time we scored, they played as loud and obnoxiously as they possible could. Not good etiquette IMHO, and not a favor we can return since we've never bothered to travel to Camp Randall as far as I know. Also, it is just stupid to have X number of people on the field performing and playing, and then have a bunch of gusy standing there on the sideline playing along with them.
during the iraq war buildup? Screw that, when something is wrong, don't be quiet. speak up about it.
Oh, you're right, most people at college football games tend to sit in quiet contemplation after God awful offensive halves. I am with you.
How many times have you heard announcers refer to "stunned silence"? When Miami choked the game away to UNC, the fans just sat their, silent. It actually happens extremely frequently.
Usually "stunned silence" occurs when there has been a quick turnaround or some type of unexpected event. Or a fluke play. I personally have never booed after a fluke play, or hell, even three fluke plays. But 11 turnovers in 6 quarters? Jesus Christ. And we were LUCKY that it was only 11 turnovers. There is not a stadium of people on earth who wouldn't boo that.
So, anyway, I can appreciate you or Brian saying that booing isn't the right thing to do. Fine, never boo anything. But neither I nor anyone in the Big House on Saturday did anything wrong by booing play that was consistently below what our players are capable of.