Peppers at 10, which seems low.
I was six, and my dad was listening to Bob Ufer's call of a Michigan game in our backyard. My memory tells me it was a beautiful sunny September day in Southeast Michigan. I didn't have the attention span to listen to a whole game, but my ears heard Ufer getting excited about something so I strolled over expecting to hear him celebrating another Meechigan victory. Instead, I witnessed the classic Ufer meltdown. I do not have an independent memory of Ufer's words, but I remember my dad explaining what happened, and I remember my dad's heartache. My most vivid memory is hearing the name Harry Oliver and knowing that this Notre Dame kicker ruined a perfectly good Saturday afternoon for me and my dad. In my heart, I thought nothing this bad could happen again to Michigan. I have never been so wrong.
I have been on this earth for nearly 40 years, and the Harry Oliver moments hurt exponentially more the longer we go without a national championship in football and basketball. Michigan has had so many great teams in football and basketball, but they always seem to break my heart. I was in Michigan Stadium for Minnesota in 86, Colorado's Hail Mary, Rocket's returns, Desmond's trip, The Horror and many more heartbreaks. Plus, I have lived through Webber's timeout, two second round exits by great basketball teams in the mid 80s, the "holding" call that ruined Bo's last game and on and on and on. Michigan has been in the championship game five times in my lifetime and have only sung The Victors once. Even the 97 football championship had to be polluted by a retirement gift for Tom Osborn.
During my lifetime schools like Florida, Alabama, Duke, UNC, Penn State, MSU, USC, Kansas, Nebraska, Florida State, Kentucky and Louisville have won two or more national championships in basketball, football or both. Too many times I just have to tell myself that Michigan could have beaten those teams if a blown call, dropped pass, half court heave or miracle kick did not keep us from having our chance to play for the championship.
I'm sick of what ifs and next years, Michigan is a special place that I love with all my heart. I want the Treys, ACs, McGarys and Desmonds to be the last men standing. Forty years, two national championships and infinite heartache.
Louisville is Harry Oliver, and my inner Ufer is screaming in agony. I am six years old. The sun is shining. I once again am telling myself that nothing this bad can happen again to this MEECHIGAN of ours. Go Blue!