I thought this was going to be about raving with drug-crazed hippie chicks at Burning Man. Finding out another person enjoys watching University of Michigan athletic contests is way less entertaining.
Savoring The Tribal Glow
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.
wordsmith this piece from the Playa!
Nice post. We graduated the same year...yeah, nothing like coming out of blackout at halftime of Teh Horror. Ugh...I think I cursed Bill Martin for scheduling a 1AA team for an hour after the game. <FUDB for the same thing>
I hope your semester at UT goes well. They have some damn sexy girls but can't match a Michigan gameday!
A few schools that win National Championships schedule one lower-division opponent. Blame the coaching staff for not having the team ready. The loss falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaches.
I don't blame Brandon for scheduling them again, either. If you are afraid of Appy State, it means you don't have confidence that the current staff can beat them. For those who have expressed doubts, it is quite rational to be afraid of them. But a fan can't say "Hoke-a-mania" out of one side of his mouth and "why did you schedule Appy State" out of the other.
Everybody outside of Ann Arbor already laughs at Michgan every fucking time anyone plays a FCS team now. Pounding Appy State so far into the ground that they come out in Asia is the only thing that will give us a rational retort to anyone who makes fun of our Michigan fandom.
My default setting is to support whoever is coaching unless a legitimate sample indicates otherwise. If you trust Brady Hoke to get the job done, then you must trust him to beat Appy State and at least partially mitigate the bullshit that we all have to take over that game.
There is no fucking way that Brady Hoke is going to let Michigan lose to Appy State again.
thanks a lot it took me years to convince my self the appy state game was just a bad dream, then you come along and ruin my fantasy in 5 paragraphs.
On the bright side though, once we kicked thier teeth out the back of thier head we can blame the first loss entirely on RR. At least thats my plan
Antonio Bass's injury a couple of years ago? RR's fault. Drew Henson going to the Yankees? RR's fault. The 1973 vote that kept us out of the Rose Bowl? RR's fault. Mike Lantry's missed field goal against Ohio State in 1974? RR's fault.Chris Webber's last second timeout in the NCAA title game against North Carolina? RR's fault.
Look but don't touch, GoBlueHtown.
Fire hot! Food plentiful! Tribe safe! Man happy!
This reads like a song...starts upbeat, sinks to a historic (I-AA) low, hope is on the horizon or yet failure crashes in to stay...or will it when #16 takes the field this Saturday. Thanks for taking the time to walk us down memory lane, it was an enjoyable read.
From the ashes....rise the Victors. Yost, Crisler, Schembechler, (this spot reserved)
This is so true. Who will be the 4th on Mt. Michigan? Each of those 3 started great regimes and periods of Michigan football after low times. Brady has an amazing opportunity here.
Would it help if we had pictures of a cartoonish caricature of a Wolverine with bulging biceps, manning a cherry stand somewhere in Northern Michigan?
Don't lose hope! This feels too good to be wrong! Hoke is the right guy for this. We don't have to be Notre Dame. We might get it right!
Great story and visuals. I'm right there with you! Go Blue!
Nice read. One of the unfortunate things lost in the last few years (no, I'm not bashing our last coach - keep reading) was that knowledge that no matter how bad things looked for U of M football, they'd find some crazy way to pull out the win in the end. The exception in the last few years was Notre Dame. So, we were never ND and we won't be.
I'm a firm believer that U of M is a great school and that with enough support, a good coach will be very successful. Brady Hoke is a good coach and he has a lot of support.
Then I thought to myself, “Are we Notre Dame?”.
No matter what happens in the future, this meme needs to die. It's dumb. We fired a coach for on-field performance for the first time in many decades, and suddenly we're the exact same as ND?
It was more about the hiring of someone who plays the "this is Michigan" return to glory attitude that plays so well
This. Meme. Needs. To. Die.
I feel for you having graduated after the 2007 season. But at least that season kinda ended on a high note, with the Capital One Bowl victory in Lloyd's last game.
I graduated the following year, and witnessed 3 total wins during my senior year.
That season, I was in ND stadium for the beating we took. And any of you that were there know that that game was Fan Endurance III (or IV).
My last game in Michigan stadium was the NW game. Another Fan Endurance adventure. I also went to Columbus for the 42-7 beatdown, as my last game as a Michigan student.
Wow, what a brutal year that was. But somehow it only made my Michigan love and dedication stronger.
Too bad I was one year ahead in school, and we only roomed for one year. I got witness (from row 4) the No. 1 v. No. 2 in Columbus...
We had the projection screen TV in the apartment for Tigers Playoffs '06, Wii bowling (when it was RAWK ON, MAN!), Michigan baseball in Super Regionals and all the (Insert fake holiday here) parties. Reindeer piss!
Anyway, good luck in Austin. It's crazy how those years seem so far away...
I'm an old dude and grew up during the 10 Year War...so many great memories, so many great players and teams.
Hoke gets it. I have every confidence he will restore Michigan's football glory because it's in him. It's who he is. It's his DNA.
His standards are the same as Bo's and he will not tolerate anything less.
We've gone through the valley of the shadow of death...and we're coming out the other side. Michigan football will continue to improve and I believe we'll play for a National Championship before Shane Morris graduates.