Today, I go to grad school in Austin and I am witnessing the preparation for the football season at the school that is 34 wins behind Michigan. I am supremely indifferent about the Longhorn Network, Memorial Stadium, and finding a tailgate spot for Saturday’s game against Rice. Texas football? Meh, I don’t care. Though the name is "neither Greek, Latin, nor English, [but merely] a piece of language gone mad.", The Clan of Catholepistemiadis my birthright. MGoBlog is my homepage and although I don’t have a clue about the stats and all that smart people stuff, my weeks in the fall are determined on Saturdays and have been for as long as I can remember.
My fandom begins on a cold January night 25 years ago and although I have no recollection, my first pair of shoes were blue and gold Nikes from Mast’s shoe in Ann Arbor. Growing up near the Fife family, my shoes were destined to walk over as a little neighborhood kid playing 500 with Dugan, Jeremy and Dane throwing to all of us kids. My earliest Michigan memory – where I went to bed sobbing- with Dugan as a freshman was Webber in New Orleans. For a 7 year-old staying up until 10 PM was huge, but watching Michigan was my obsession from then on.
There were happy moments as kid: 1997 - A friend’s birthday party seeing #2’s interception against MSU, A cold gray November Cub Scout camping trip listening to the punt return against Ohio St, screaming that December when he won the Heisman, having my first kiss at halftime of the Rose Bowl. Charles Woodson is my 11 year-old idol. I was even more hooked after that. Buying all the Michigan T-shirts with the Tasmanian devil in Maize and Blue, “Michigan Football is Life, The Rest is just details”, and best of all a #2 jersey. As I look back as a kid, the events of my life are all remembered in context to Michigan games. That year is special to me just because of how old I was. If I was five years younger or five years older, the impact of that season would not have been imprinted on my sports soul.
Getting the thick envelope in the fall of my senior year of high school, my dreams were realized. I was going to moving to my personal Valhalla. Approaching my freshman year, I had no one living to counsel me about life at Michigan as all of my family is all either a Chippewa or a Spartan. My long passed grandfather was kicked out of Michigan after one semester after WWII for driving his blue Packard onto the lawn of DKE and yelling for his brother-in-law to come down out of the house. My uncle who had died the year before I started school was a huge Michigan fan, but lived far from me and that resource was gone as well. I got a lot of his things including a CD with Hail to the Victors, which I played constantly during the 2003 Oregon game assuming that his spirit on the track would somehow allow Michigan to win a regular season West Coast game. Yet again, more Michigan misfortune.
Things were never the same after that trip to Eugene. Rumors about Lloyd’s health. Chris Webber in federal court. Tommy Amaker. Antonio Bass’ knee. My freshman, sophomore against Ohio St. Football Armageddon. Bo gone. Freep Derp. My senior year was the worst. The Horror, Oregon, Losing Chad, Wisconsin, and Ohio St. The rain, the score, Tressel: it all was a massive dong punch. Many people in red were on the business end of curses as I cried leaving Michigan Stadium being the first class since the 1930’s to go all four years without beating them. I was most upset for Mike, Chad, Jake and Mario. They never will get their due.
I blamed Lloyd. He always turtled. It was time for a change. It was peanut butter jelly time. I was excited. Up until the last 3 years, I remembered the losses more than the wins. But, I longed for old Michigan. The Michigan of my childhood. Maybe that’s the only place it still exists.
I was on a cruise ship during the end of “The Process” paying like $4.00 a minute to find out wtf was going on. I almost choked on my own puke when I saw Brady’s name as the choice, but then I hear him speak. Wow. I was hooked again. Then I thought to myself, “Are we Notre Dame?”. I guess that remains to be seen. Hoke is what is needed and he seems to have luck or the Devil working right alongside with him. The first question that they should have asked Hoke comes straight from Cypher asking Neo:
"So, you're here to save the world? ... What do you say to something like that?"
It’s about wins and losses, but it is obvious more than that that. It’s about the seniors this year who were being recruited when I was a senior. It’s about covering the scars of past three falls. It’s about the dilithium of the nicest quarterback who I’m so proud of. It’s about once again, putting the end of pin into the reset button of this whole thing, holding down for 10 seconds, and seeing what happens. I’m sick and tired of emo. I’m ready to savor the tribal glow once more.