“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Learn from yesterday...
I am a lucky SOB and I know it. Anybody that has ever known me well will tell you the same. I also have a lucky number that I believe in with near-religious devotion, a number that I was informed was lucky on my very first day living at the Bur-Lodge. That number is 72.
This is a number that gives me a real and most reliable count of how my luck is running. When I see it everywhere I can count on good luck in general. When it comes into play directly related to specific events that hold importance to me it is right on the money. Case in point: Once my brother-in-law and my cousin were driving me out to Fort Dodge, IA to start my short lived existence as an Iowan microbiologist (think 4000L of tetanus, yuck...), and we found ourselves short on funds for the partying we were plotting upon our arrival. We were in far western Illinois when we decided this after pooling our funds to come up with $172 exactly. My cousin suggested we hit up the riverboat casino at the next exit and I noted that it was exit 27 (backwards 72) - and off we went.
We put the whole $172 on black at the roulette table. This was all the money we had in the world being poor college students, but we didn't hesitate. Of course it would be black; the stars had aligned. And it was so, and a great time was had by all.
I learned many years later how powerful the bad luck can be when 72 is conspicuously absent. It was at The Horror, which I attended with my wife sans sunscreen and was forced to leave at halftime lest skin cancer strike us both down then and there. As we left the stadium and headed to Frasier's we took note of the Michigan team busses lined up on Stadium, all in numerical, though not sequential order. There sat bus #71 nose to ass with bus #73. I told my wife "Michigan is doomed." I knew it in my heart. When Mike Hart scored and then we got the interception we left to go meet friends. In my head the result was a W for sure. The actual result did not surprise me.
Yesterday was just the opposite. I was seeing 72 everywhere all week, on licence plates, work documents, you name it. Then on ESPN's Gameday I saw that 72% of the country had picked Michigan to win at the bottom of the screen. The stars were aligning again and I could feel it. Then the first quarter happened and I was suprised, but felt in my heart that Michigan would come back. I watched the rest of the game with nervous tension muted by a strange calm confidence, and when Vincent Smith scored to put Michigan ahead I looked at the game clock. 1:12 remained.
Even when the Irish came roaring back down the field to score I never really doubted that Michigan and Denard Robinson would answer.* That is simply the power of 72.
Live for Today…
Several Michigan players should bask in the glow of their accomplishments:
1. Denard Robinson – Holy jeebus. When > 95% of the Michigan offense is generated by one guy, should we sit in awe of his accomplishment (yes) or pray to whatever gods we can think of that he stays healthy (also yes)? Denard Robinson is love for all mankind. His interview after the game was awesome as well, especially his reaction to his own stat line.
2. Jordan Kovacs – Kovac's interception was the turning point in the game. Notre Dame had its foot on Michigan's throat, and the fearless leader of the defense came up big again. I shudder to think how Michigan would have fared the past 2+ seasons without him.
3. Brandin Hawthorn – I think we may have found a true player in the second half. Much like Kovacs last week, Hawthorn almost single-handedly killed a ND drive at a crucial part of the game. He showed great quickness and insticts and may be the answer we need to solidify the linebacking crew.
4. Roy Roundtree – Calling for the ball and delivering in the most clutch of situations, it just doesn't get any better. Especially remarkable as his only catch of the evening.
5. Jeremy Gallon and Junior Hemingway – Clutch grab after clutch grab. Hemingway showed once and for all that he should be playing on Sundays. Gallon looked like mini-Hemingway on his TD grab and finally got to show off his elusiveness both on the late punt return and on the second to last play of the game-winning drive.
Also of note was the play of Jake Ryan, Mike Martin, and Courtney Avery (Ever see better karmic retribution than when Rees fumbled after Avery's BS interference call? Why was the ball on the 7 when the ref clearly stated it should be placed on the two?). Oh, and Woolfolk again – hope that nose is still on straight.
Hope for Tomorrow
2-0 again and the bankwagon is officially hitched to a star for the third year in a row. I swore I wouldn't get swept up again but there it is. With Eastern next up maybe Mattison can work out some of the very serious kinks in the defense and set a course for improvement instead of the backward slides of the past two years. Nine wins looks very doable considering the rest of the B10 doesn't look like as stiff a test as in recent years. At the very least Denard should be able to keep his health and maybe we can even see a bit out of his understudy.
Go Blue and stay safe.
*Though I figured it would be a fieldgoal and overtime.