An unknown young man walks into a nondescript one story building. He introduces himself to the secretary.
Young Man: I'm here for my appointment.
Secretary: Yes. Wait right over there please.
The young man strides over to a line of plastic chairs against the wall. The beige cinderblocks are cold against his back as he sits. Searching for something to keep his fidgeting hands busy he picks up a magazine and begins to page through. Realizing it is a Sports Illustrated he pauses and places it back on the end table.
Secretary: You can head on in, sir. He is waiting for you in his office.
Without saying a word, the young man heads through the waiting room door and into what is becoming a familiar place. "There is no reason I need to be here; this is ridiculous," he thinks as he greets a older gentleman.
Young Man: This is supposed to be my last appointment. You had better not go back on that promise. What's that?
The young man points at a manila envelope in the elder's hand.
Older Man: Oh, this? It's your file. Any interest in reading it?
Young Man: Nah. You got any experience with that kind of thing?
Older Man: Twenty years of counseling... yeah, I've seen some pretty awful shit.
Young Man: No, I mean do you have any experience with that?
Older Man: Personally... yeah, I have.
Young Man: Sure ain't good.
Older Man: I grew up in the late fifties, early sixties. I saw beatings like you wouldn't believe. Entire years of my life thrown down the drain. Those teams would almost make me choose how I wanted to lose. I could pick between turnovers or injuries, botched special teams or bad angles in the secondary. I'd usually prefer injuries. Easier to justify.
Young Man: I usually go with the bad secondary.
Older Man: Why's that.
Young Man: Because f*#k them, that's why.
Older Man: Your team?
Young Man: Yeah. So what is it, I've got an attachment disorder? Fear of 5-7 again? Something like that? Is that why I disowned my team?
Older Man: I didn't know you had.
Young Man: Yeah, I have.
Older Man: You wanna talk about it?
Young Man: No.
Older Man: Hey kid, I don't know a lot... but you see this? All this shit. It's not your fault.
The older man steps toward the young man and opens the manila envelope. It's full of freep articles and newspaper clippings. The one on top declares the 3-9 season to be the worst of all time. Another can be seen proclaiming the exact number of hours since Michigan beat Ohio State.
Young Man: Yeah, I know that. It's all those stupid injuries.
Older Man: Look at me son. It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know, the recruiting has been bad.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know that. Seniors aren't playing up to their potential, and the young kids aren't learning as fast as we need them to.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know.
Older Man: No, no. You don't. It's NOT your fault.
The young man is getting uncomfortable now. His strong demeanor is fading and he begins to show fear in his eyes.
Young Man: Don't mess with me.
Older Man: It's NOT YOUR FAULT.
The young man starts to turn red and tears appear and cling to his eyelashes as he fights them back.
Young Man: B-b-b-ut, it's just so bad, and I should have been more supportive!
Older Man: IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.
The young man is now sobbing uncontrollably and grasps for the older man and embraces him. The older man continues to offer consolation as the young man begins to believe him.
*** Two weeks later ***
As the older man gets ready for work he hears his mailbox clang shut. Confused, he hurries to the window to try to catch a glimpse of what might be happening. He sees no one and only finds a small trail of dust leading down the road when he opens the door to go outside. He opens his mailbox to find a hand-written note:
"Gone to Ann Arbor, I need to go see about a team."