There is a Michigan flag that flies outside of my front door, whipping back and forth on windy afternoons, and a different shade of maize on a rainy day. This weekend, my friends and I are retiring the flag. It is ripped at the top, and faded in the worst of ways. However, this flag is special to me. When I first flew this flag on my front porch, then on the other side of town, it was three years ago. Those days we were caught wondering if Michigan had a shot at a bowl game, or a bid to the big dance.
My fellow Michigan fans, those days, like that old flag, are gone now. We've weathered the storm. I firmly belive that starting very soon, we replace talk of a sixth or seventh win with chatter of a Rose Bowl. I believe that fans and players wont gather at Crisler to pray in unison for a tournament berth, but they will be waiting in earnest to see who we warm up against before a final four appearance. Yes, this is all just me opining, but you can start to feel it now.
Today, I don't feel nervous about Ohio in the way I have the past few years. I know that alot has happened, but for the first time in three to four years, I'm not wondering how much we're going to lose by. At no point do I consider a game won before it's even played. The good news is that this senior led football team doesn't either. This year a Michigan win wouldn't be an "upset".
And on the basketball end? I'm not predicting a Michigan win tonight. But with the growth we've seen, we're actually at a place to where beating Duke wouldn't call for a charging of the court. A win tonight would delight me, but honestly wouldn't surprise me.
We've got a great week ahead of us. And with the genuine sentiment of this blog, the Michigan faithful, and the people i spend my days around, it seems we have a great few years ahead of us, too. You can already feel it.
So this Saturday, as I fold that flag up, and three years of my avid Michigan fandom with it, I will be a little sad, a lot drunk, but a little sad. But I know that it will be time to go and buy a new one. A crisp, full-colored flag, with the richest maize and the deepest blue, and to fly it, just like the one before it, knowing there are better days ahead. Still lots of wind and rain, but maybe a few Rose Bowls, too.
And for that, I give a HAIL!
* I KNOW. COOL STORY BRO.