A foursome was nice enough to let me play through this morning (if you live in Chicago and enjoy golf, highly recommend morning rounds at Marovitz/Waveland). One of the members of their group was wearing a Michigan hat and it was at that moment I realized how excited I am for the season to kick off. "I love your hat, I can't fucking wait until Saturday", I exclaimed as his grin began stretching around his head. I played a hole with them and we talked briefly. I found out he, like myself, is not an alumnus of the great instituion God graced us with some 192 years ago.
As I'm sure many of my fellow non-alums are, I am incredibly sensitive when someone attempts to call me out for not being a real fan because I didn't go to the school. I typically give the same spiel when such questioning of my fan credentials begins. I regale them with tales of all the triumphs and heartbreak I have witnessed in Michigan Stadium since first stepping foot in there at age 6. I note that my familial roots are planted firmly in the state, having been born there with parents who once called Livonia and Redford Township home. I tell them that some of my fondest childhood memories are throwing the football with my old man on the golf course before a big game. I then typically finish with, "fuck yourself", and start to tell them all the things about their own team that they don't know. Inevitably this discussion is only going to end badly, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would lead to making an OSU grad and fan weep.
Picture it: Charlotte, NC, October 30, 2004. Date sound familiar? About 10 of us from high school, a group that has remained oddly close, found its way to the hotel bar mid wedding reception. Michigan was losing to State. We all know what unfolded over the next couple hours.
As a Toledo native, I unfortunately have a handful of friends that attended osu. As fate would have it, they were there with myself and a couple other UM fans to witness Braylon's greatness on that day. As the drinks added up and the game continued on into the darkness, the dissenting voice began talking shit about how I am not a real fan. My friend was well aware of my lifelong love affair with all things Michigan Football, so my typical rant simply wouldn't suffice.
"Fuck you Dave."
"No, Fuck you Dave."
"Fuck you Dave!"
This conintued for what felt like 3 Navarre scrambles from the pocket* (I know he wasn't the QB, simply a measurement of long periods of time). As it turns out, repeating "Fuck you" or some variation thereof to a lifelong friend that you only see once or twice a year is all it takes. Here came the waterworks.
While the catalyst for his tears may seem underwhelming, watching tears well up on his face as Braylon sealed the game created a synergy of joy I have yet to re-create.
He is still one of my best friends and we joke about it often. He will stand up in my wedding and I will do the same for him.
Holy hell do I love college football, sharing it with friends despite their rooting interest and sweet jebus, I love the Michigan Wolverines. I'm all in.
*1 Navarre scramble is equivalent to 2 fortnights.