my dad graduated in '53, he still writes strongly worded letters
How MI fans deal with losses
How Michigan fans have dealt with losses through the ages:
- 1900’s – Michigan didn’t lose in this decade, I checked.
- 1910’s – We lost once. People shrugged at that game and said, “hey, Yost had to lose sometime.” They went back to building Model T’s.
- 1920’s – Losing became something Michigan did once in awhile, and most people simply read the score in the paper on Monday, shrugged, and started drinking moonshine to drown their sorrows. Not about the Michigan game, but about living in Prohibition. Then Red Grange happened, and people took notice by selling every stock they had. Which was none, really.
- 1930’s – The first actual losing season (!) forces one forward looking gentleman to write an underground newspaper called www.firekipke.com. Someone responds with www.geraldfordcantblockandwillneverbepresident.com. Just kidding, actually the Great Depression meant the average fan was trying to do basic things like eat and survive and such; that really took the edge off Michigan losing a football game.
- 1940’s – “This newspaper’s like 3 weeks old, but it says Michigan lost to Ohio State. That is not swell at all and… hey, that looks like a crapload of Japanese planes.”
- 1950’s – After many, many losses in this decade, men in dinner jackets write strongly worded letters to the Michigan Athletic Department decrying such bizarre notions as “double-platooning” and “the forward pass.” They do not approve!
- 1960’s – Losses were dealt with like so in the Sixties: Leave the stadium, get a little high from the haze of pot fumes hanging over Ann Arbor, feel instantly better, go home and get seriously tore up. Say a little thank you prayer to whoever made The Pill. This was also the same as if Michigan had won.
- 1970’s – People would catch big games on television, and generally tell Bo he’s supposed to blow the game in the 4th quarter. (There’s direct evidence of this, see The Big Chill. Or don’t, it’s not Kasdan’s best work.) Then they would calm down for a few days, go to work on Monday and commiserate with coworkers, as everyone had seen the big game.
- 1980’s – Because people could see most games on television, everyone began to assume they could do better than the actual coaching staff. I mean, they’re just glorified gym teachers, right? Plus, on TV I can see everything but the pass coverages. How complex can those be? So after losses, everyone says the same things. Michigan should pass more. Michigan defense isn’t aggressive enough. The program is too stodgy. Bo is too attached to the past. He’ll never get better than winning 80% of his games if he sticks to this crap. If I were in charge, things would be different! Of course, you mostly say this stuff to yourself, but on the occasion you say it to family and friends they agree with you because they have to live with you.
- 1990’s – People notice that better players tend to do better on the field, plus they are mesmerized with Mel Kiper’s hair. Losses in this era tend to get blamed more and more on “poor recruiting.” Television now covers virtually every game, so people tend to get very, very invested in Michigan Football. We used to see half wins, half losses because only the bigger games were covered on television. You’d read the box score in the paper while Michigan crushed some scrub school. Now watching every game means you get used to seeing wins a lot more often. Weird schools not named Notre Dame, Alabama and Oklahoma are winning National Championships, and you start to get a “why not us?” mentality. In the latter half of the decade, after a loss, you’d just think about Charles Woodson, smile, and go about your business.
- 2000’s – That National Championship poster is fading a little bit. Losses start stacking up. HD allows you to see pass coverages when the cameraman isn’t a $%^#& idiot. The internet comes of age. It allows you to rant and rave in full anonymity about anything and everything, and also raises your investment in this pastime even further. Recruiting coverage specifically and coverage generally increases tenfold. Everything is analyzed to the nth degree. Nothing is too minute. If the coach doesn’t get the right kind of doughnuts before a game, three different comments are titled “Doughnutgate!” within ten minutes. Ticket prices grow to the point of needing a cosigner, making you feel even more entitled to winning. Mental investment has become literal $ investment. Then Appalachian State happens, which clearly would NOT have if you were in charge. Parity be damned, this is Michigan! You morph into the Colonel from Top Gun, “I WANT SOMEONE’S BUTT! I WANT IT NOW! I WANT SOME BUTTS!” Lloyd offers up his butt. The new coach, who you read approximately 64 billion articles on prior to the season, looks to have a losing season, which all of those 64 billion articles indirectly pointed toward. You go back to the little script you wrote about how this season should go, and find reality has definitely not matched the script! At this point, you realize how close you are to a Notre Dame fan, and come to your damn senses.
nice work. a great read!
I still think double platooning and forward passes are commie football.
you clicked on the www.firekipke.com link.
My hand is firmly raised.
hand is raised.
Thank you all for those kind words. I should tell you that in the late 3rd-quarter of the Toledo game, when Sheridan was in and I didn't know Threet was injured, I pitched a mini shit-fit. It was inglorious. If my kid's first word is "Fucknut" my wife is going to kill me.
Then I found out Threet was injured, and I became totally calm. That was the only frustration of the day, and then that was that.
You should mention the rise of ESPN and talk radio which makes College Football a year-round discussion topic and 24/7 from Aug 1 to Jan 10.
One other change in the '90s: the birth of the OMG Shirtless full-size posters that parents of high-end recruits would send to the school papers of their chosen universities...
ALL HAIL TYRECE BUTLER, PECTORAL LORD OF THE MICHIGAN DAILY ARCHIVE ROOM!
Excellent, excellent writeup, but not once in the 2000's section did I see "private jet flight from Ann Arbor to Iowa City". Does obsessive flight tracking count for nothing these days?
How could I forget the jet tracking? That's a great point. It cracked me up at the time that's for sure.
Maybe we will be so fortunate as to have a major economic problem obscure our current pain.
Simply great post