needs moar usage
However, as NCAA sanctions and the like were mentioned, I began to see a glimmer of hope:
1. All programs do this. As everyone knows, in college (and high school sports, for that matter) off season workouts are not "voluntary", but mandatory if you ever want to see the field.
2. The coaches never strictly declared they were mandatory. Because of this, I'm not sure the NCAA truly can come back and slam the U-M football program. Besides, what are they going to do, take away our 3 wins from last year?
3. Finally, this seems to be another facet of the "wah wah family values" that we've seen develop over the last year and half. Hopefully the NCAA will take this into consideration when reviewing the situation.
Is our mascot useless*?
Being a student of U of M and being raised in a house where an entire bathroom was created into a shrine for all things maize and blue, I certainly know of the tradition of the Victors, "GO BLUE", and anything else possibly Michigan in character. However, besides a cheap, furry, stuffed "wolverine" with an M on the front, I can't really say I identify anything about the wolverine creature with the great University of Michigan. Is it possible we need to simply can the mascot, and be "Michigan"?
I must admit, one of the factors in my analysis is that, unlike many other (debatably) great sports schools, we really don't do anything with our mascot. We don't have any hand signals (like the Gators or Longhorns), no prancing mascot on the sideline (thank God), or even a wolverine that shoots lasers out of its eyes! With the exception of "the Claw" that we do on fourth down (and I rather liked the straight-up chop better), it seems as if anything related to the wolverine is missing from the University of Michigan.
* Please, at this point, consider my good health and your conscience as a fellow MGoBlogger before negging me into a bottomless pit where the minions of the emperor of space will feed on my soul.
On Aug 3, 2009
Dear Professors Haithcock and Boerma,
As a fellow musician and student at the University of Michigan, let me first
congratulate you on putting a product out in the U of M marching band year-in and year-out that is entertaining, classy, and above all else, skilled. However, something must be done about a glaring problem at the University of Michigan football games : the student section cannot hear much sound from the marching band as a whole, except for the mobile percussion. As a result, students are unable to appreciate the excellent and fun music that is being performed; they are also hindered from cheering as loudly and intimidating opposing teams on the football field.
Increased fan/band participation should be something that is striven towards as part of an integral "game-day experience", giving a two-fold effect: fans (and especially students) are much more able to appreciate the workmanship of the musicians, and by creating a louder, more intimidating atmosphere for opposing teams, the student athletes will benefit as well.
Please try anything possible to maximize our game-day experience.
Thanks for your note and the polished expression of your concerns. I will leave the details to Prof. Boerma going forward. In short, the situation you describe is due to the Athletic Department's decision regarding where to seat the band and the fact that each band student seat within the student section makes other seats available at a more expensive price. This is a recent move after more than a decade of the MMB sitting across the field from the student section.
You are not alone in your concern but understand that the band has limited options as electronic support of the sound is against NCAA rules. In that large space, acoustics can only do so much.
This is basically what everyone has hinted at, but I just thought I'd like to give some solid proof as to where things stand, right from the horse's mouth.
Even when the defense was able to make a stop, I have to lay a bit of the impetus of our statistical suckitude on the fact that Martavius Maximus Rex (or anyone else, for that matter) was unable to hold on to that damn porcine hide long enough to give our John Thompsons enough time to catch some oxygen. What do you think?
I simply have a hard time believing that it was all the fault of the bumbling Shafer or our bad secondary that led to the third and long conversions by the other offense; it seems much more plausible that our players were simply going on fumes. But, I'm still a weanling babe, with nary a hint of the experience of you mighty minds.