The Perverse Joy Of Abject Stupidity

Submitted by Brian on November 17th, 2008 at 12:17 PM

11/15/2008 – Michigan 14, Northwestern 21 – 3-7, 2-6 Big Ten

large_stonum

At halftime I momentarily thought I had found a forgotten pair of hand warmers in the recesses of my jacket, only to pull out an empty packet of trail mix and other assorted detritus. This was worse than having no hope of hand warmers at all.

I then examined the various and diverse pockets of my jacket, coming across nothing useful. I did strike upon my ticket from last April's Frozen Four, which now commemorates the gut-punch loss suffered because of Nickelback and Creed. Thanks for leaving it there, Brian Of Christmas Past. I hope your football team goes 3-9, douchebag.

I spent halftime with my hands on the glass of the pretzel oven. Contraption. Vendor thing. Thing with flames and heat that contains pretzels. Whatever the hell it is. It didn't help much.

This is how weird it's been of late: as I huddled near a pretzel contraption at halftime of a game between 3-7 Michigan and Northwestern, soaked, frozen, pondering the grim futility of all things, I discovered that I was sort of enjoying this. Yeah, sure, you had to peel back layer upon layer of misery to get to the morbidly sunny core. But it was there.

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If you were there, and stayed there, and did not move from your seat until Nick Sheridan's final pass sailed out of bounds, you have completed the final challenge. This is the worst it can ever be: an awful team that does things specifically intended to hurt you playing a meaningless game against Northwestern in weather not fit for man nor beast. With multiple infuriating million-year-long media timeouts in the fourth quarter. That they lose.

If you put up with it (and far, far fewer than the announced 107,000 did), you are hardcore. You have a black belt in fandom. You get the Fandom Endurance III merit badge. If anyone ever questions your Michigan allegiance, you can just say "I was at the 2008 Northwestern game" and they will have to step off. If they fail to do so with sufficient obsequiousness I'm pretty sure you can cave their skull in with your finger.*

Hell, if you've even watched all these games and maintained enough emotional attachment to swear profusely during them, you're at least a purple belt or a yellow belt or whatever is pretty high up on the belt list.

You probably didn't do this by choice. Anyone with a choice either didn't show up or left or checked out emotionally. You stayed because it was inevitable.

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This, of course, is abject stupidity. I, and everyone else there, knew that the four-plus hours spent going to, attending, and returning from the game would be four of the least pleasant hours of our lives. At one point my rain-soaked uncle exclaimed to us all "we do this for fun!"

So, okay, established. Fandom is stupid LOL etc.

But why, hand on the pretzel machine, did I find perverse satisfaction in what I was doing? Why was that horrible game a sort of uniquely rewarding experience in a way last year's Ohio State game, equally dismal on-field and off, was not?

The Ohio State game last year had stakes. Win, and go to the Rose Bowl. And it was Lloyd Carr and Chad Henne and Mike Hart and Jake Long leaving. And it was against Ohio State. There were reasons to go, the chance of seeing something spectacular. Even if that chance was low.

No such chance existed on Saturday. It was pointless and horrible. Anyone with any common sense stayed away. But our stupidity is unbreakable, and that's now 100% proven. There's at least a little something in that.

*(Don't try this at home, kids! Unless you live in Ohio!)

BULLETS

  • Hey, chalk up another running performance somewhere between respectable and pretty good. Carlos Brown, back from the dead, was outstanding with his cuts and there were open lanes time and again. And this was against a pretty good run defense in conditions that made throwing an extremely unlikely occurrence.
  • Hopefully the Martavious Odoms fumble festival was more due to his inexperience in conditions like those he experienced on Saturday. Remember, this guy is a freshman from a swamp, basically.
  • We'll see how he looks in UFR, but Mouton looked dynamite, at least against the run.
  • Michigan got jacked by the referees, who 1) took away a Michigan touchdown by ruling Donovan Warren out of bounds, 2) gave Northwestern a touchdown by ignoring an incredibly blatant hold on Tim Jamison, and 3) killed any hope of a comeback by ignoring two obvious PI calls. I mean, whatever, we're 3-8, but Christ the standards in this league are horrifically low.
  • That was one high-variance punting strategy employed by Northwestern.
  • I hate third and more than 15.

Comments

Other Chris

November 17th, 2008 at 12:47 PM ^

Someone was calling Threet a pussy in a thread and I said that the way he fell looked like a separated shoulder would be his reward for that run.

Also:

"Hell, if you've even watched all these games and maintained enough emotional attachment to swear profusely during them, you're at least a purple belt or a yellow belt or whatever is pretty high up on the belt list."

I watch at home because our youngest is still too little to go to games and it would be weird to go alone etc., etc. However, my husband informed me I should consider going to a sports bar, because I believe I have astounded him with the variety and extremity of profanity I have achieved this season, which apparently culminated Saturday. and we've been married a long time.

bouje

November 17th, 2008 at 12:28 PM ^

We got jobbed multiple times and the sad part is that MSU at least got the Big Ten to say "hey the td didn't matter but the officials were stupid" we won't even get that...

PSU fans must be laughing in hell

caup

November 17th, 2008 at 12:33 PM ^

Who died and when?
The holding on our DL was blantant more than that 1 time.
Having Sheridan pass the ball at any point in time in the 2nd half is my definition of abject stupidity.

tbliggins

November 17th, 2008 at 12:34 PM ^

What is the over/under that S.Brown gets on the 3rd & 18 TD run in the 1st half? I do not hate him as much as many, but gd that was a horrible, horrible angle that he took.

Kolesar40

November 17th, 2008 at 12:39 PM ^

commented on the content of a post, but that was money, Brian. The seniors deserved to have a better send out than that. I always hope for a good send off for the seniors for what they do for the program, and this year's class had to endure a coaching change, and being at the helm for the worst season ever in Michigan football history. They hear it every day, and I wish they could have left the Big House under better circumstances.

As for the play on the field: Once again a rather meh white-boy receiver torches us on a basic slant play. A complete blow coverage and it begs the question how we are blowing coverages this badly, this late in the year. It is not the scheme, or inexperience. Is it stupidity, bad coaching? At any rate it hits on the point that have all of us so discouraged, and that is the lack of improvement through out the year. Odoms is talented, but he hurts us with his fumbles, and looked like he wanted nothing to do with that weather, and just wanted to be in the Floriday sunshine. Apparently Sam told Coach Jackson that he didnt feel he could play after practicing every day last week. Jackson said he needs to toughen up. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this is reason for concern. He has to be tougher than this. With Minor out, this was his chance to step up. With conditions as bad as they were, I would have liked to see us stick with the ground attack more, especially when it is 3rd and 2 and we pass on both downs. I wanted to see more of Feagin, but it didnt happen. Lastly, and completely unrelated to the game: Justin Siller has done ZERO since going Vicne Young on our ass. What will Pryor do? I have been dreading this weekend for a long time... GO Blue!

msoccer10

November 17th, 2008 at 12:45 PM ^

The long TD pass was a screw up in communication. The d wasn't set when NW snapped the ball and noone was covering the guy. You can blame the coaches on that but it wasn't a scheme thing, more of a get your shit together during the game thing.
McGuffie had a grandmother (or was it great grandmother) die Saturday or Sunday and that could have something to do with it.
This info came from thewolverine.com

Yinka Double Dare

November 17th, 2008 at 12:55 PM ^

Can't blame Sam for that, had to be tough to play after getting news like that if he got it before the game, and we know he's been dealing with injuries. Besides, it wasn't like not having him was a major problem. Not having a third running back was not a reason Michigan lost this game. Michigan lost due to a few horrid defensive lapses, QBs who largely couldn't complete a pass (and as soon as Threet was finding himself he got hurt again and that was the end of that), and a few hosejobs from the refs. Oh well, shit happens. Would be nice for the seniors to have gone out on a win in the last home game, but in the final analysis is there really going to be that big a difference between 5-7 (if they won NW and somehow won next week) and 3-9 (losing both)? Either way it's a losing record, no bowl, and the players have to know that they're not really that far away from turning the record around to a winning one next year.

chitownblue (not verified)

November 17th, 2008 at 1:21 PM ^

You must have missed the part where McGuffie had a death in the family saturday morning.

The reason why we give people the benefit of the doubt is so we don't rush and make character accusations while knowing absolutely jack shit.

hackattack13

November 17th, 2008 at 12:42 PM ^

all will be forgotten with one simple thing-win saturday. sure the situation this season sucks but if whats the one thing that is still left unchecked on the goal sheet from the beginning of the season...a win against osu. as unlikely as this is i would not put it past us to surprise them, and the world, with a good showing in the depths of the cesspool that is ohio. how awesome would it to be able to say that even in the worst year of michigan football we still beat osu. play out of your mind saturday boys.

also thanks for the true fans that stayed to the end of the game-id much rather have us 30000 or less that were there then the 70000 fair-weather/bandwagon fans that are only there when its advantageous for them

M-Dog

November 17th, 2008 at 12:58 PM ^

NO ONE who showed up Saturday can be called a bandwagon fan, even of they did not stay. Congatulations to all - true Michigan fans - even the "Down in Front!"ers.

Let this be the end of the current fashionable bashing of Big House crowds by the rest of the country. Wine and cheese goes bad in the cold and wet, and yet they came anyway.

Champions.

jamiemac

November 17th, 2008 at 12:47 PM ^

broken knee cap, and all.....although, with the weather and knee pain, we could not stay all game.

But, I wanted to go and show support for the team....this year has tried all our fandom, but its much much easier to be a fan when things are going well.....I felt I had to go, I think the boys still deserve our support.

Besides, we had fun....one last chance to shoot the breeze with those fellow season ticket holders who sit near us....lot of happy holidaying.....and we all could not wait until next year!!!

Optimism remains High for the Revolution in Section 14!!

medals

November 17th, 2008 at 1:00 PM ^

I watched the game from the confines of my apartment in Brooklyn, but felt for those in attendance. (I have my own icy badge of courage game - vs. Purdue in 1995. We won 5-0).

The point where I felt the worst for those in attendance was when a NW player got injured in the 4th Q. ESPN kept the camera on him for like 3 minutes while trainers attended, etc. Then he hobbled off with the help of trainers. THEN they went to a TV timeout. I was thinking at the time, "huh, they probably could have gone to commercial while the guy was writhing in pain on the ground for 3 minutes. That must suck for the spectators." Guess I was correct.

matty blue

November 17th, 2008 at 1:21 PM ^

the most miserable time i've ever had at a game, bar none, and i've sat through some doozies. the 26-0 loss to iowa, the 5-0 purdue game...this was far, far worse than either, on so many levels. just a shitty day all around.

Nickel

November 17th, 2008 at 1:21 PM ^

The last two games I've been to were NW this year, and OSU last year. The weather is probably my fault.

And of course the wonderful afternoon was compounded by a guy a few rows behind me who spent the entire second half complaining how stupid RR was because we needed to "throw it downfield / throw a bomb / stretch the field / send XXXXX on a go route." Nevermind the fact that the weather was horrible and Nick Sheridan is our QB.

Musket Rebellion

November 17th, 2008 at 1:56 PM ^

Johnny's an amazing talent when we're good but screw that last diatribe that he's put out there. We get it, you loved Lloyd Carr. I loved Lloyd Carr too, but I'm not going to sink to the depths of telling people that this Michigan team doesn't care and is talentless. Brandon Graham is turning in one of the most powerful seasons by a Michigan defender in years and yet this team sucks.

Also, the scarred wife analogy was totally out of line. If you love someone, you love them. It basically says, "I don't have a wife, and I no longer love Michigan."

readyourguard

November 17th, 2008 at 2:10 PM ^

I have no belt......but I got a nice, big, fat DOE hanging in my garage.

Sorry to say, but if I can get out to the woods again this weekend, I'm going. We should all take that as a good thing. The last time I skipped watching a Michigan v Ohio State game to go hunting, Tim Biakabatuka made the Buckeyes his bitch. Let's hope history repeats itself.

Hard Gay

November 17th, 2008 at 3:05 PM ^

I've been to every home game this season, arrived 30 minutes before kickoff, never left until after the band's post game performance, went Notre Dame, Penn State, and will be at Columbus, and watched purdue and minnesota in their entirety. I should get a free t-shirt at least, dammit.

paulwesterdawg

November 17th, 2008 at 3:23 PM ^

Now that you've sat through your Black Belt Merit Badge game, there is a hidden burden that comes with it. As long as you live, you'll never be able to leave early.

"I sat through the '08 Northwestern Game, I can damn sure sit through 'this'." You'll hear yourself say it many times going forward.

For a Georgia fan, it was the '95 Florida game at home when Spurrier ran the WR Reverse Pass for a long TD to break 50 points late in the 4th. If you sat through til the end of that, why ever leave another game early again?

It's actually a burden. You now have to live up to that rep you earned on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. Past Brian will always be looking over your shoulder like Captain Miller in Private Ryan telling Future Brian...."Earn This."

bluestudent

November 17th, 2008 at 4:43 PM ^

I want the mgoblog community to asses my badge status. I came to the game a couple of minutes after kickoff, but stayed through the entire game. Do I still qualify for the triple black belt of Michigan fandom or do I live in some lower status? Technically, I can refer to myself as a "champion" because I stayed (There is no reference to entrance in "Those who stay will be champions") Anyway, I would like to agree with Brian's notion that this game had some perverse joy associated with it. It was the first time I had seen a game in the snow, which was an awesome feeling. And before the last drive of the game, the small amount of people left in the student section started a spontaneous "Let's Go Blue" chant that I was sure would lead Michigan to a tying touchdown. So, although I am fighting a cold and have to write a 10 page paper for my english class (if anyone could hand me some help on Physicians perspective on healthcare policy, I would greatly appreciate it), the entire experience was worth it.

GO BLUE!! SHOCK THE WORLD!!

goblue02

November 17th, 2008 at 8:10 PM ^

The two souvenir mugs of hot chocolate was really the only thing that got me through. I think I finally thawed out Saturday night at about 10 pm. I was always jealous of my brother who got to go to the 5-0 Purdue game, now I have something that can compare.

But yeah, living in NYC these days, I only get to go to one game a year, so there was no way in hell I was leaving.

exmtroj

November 17th, 2008 at 9:43 PM ^

I was in row 3 behind the Michigan bench, soaked, no jacket, no gloves, and a soaked baseball cap to keep my head warm. I loved every second, because when we get that BCS bowl, I'm gonna think back and enjoy the hell out of every second of that misery. I'll wear my black belt of fandom with pride until that day arrives. Go Blue, in Rod We Trust.

Bleedin9Blue

November 19th, 2008 at 8:38 AM ^

As a senior at our beloved U of M, I would've liked to end my career as a student on a happier note. But, I stayed until the bitter end. All 4 of my years here, I've never left a game early. I stayed all the way until the last seconds ticked off the clock. I was also very sick and could've been working on my senior project (ChemE 487 = Soulsucking 101) but I would never abandon my team like that.

The best part of the game for me was Reyes scoring a TD off that special teams blocked punt because last year Ricky actually came to my Bible study. I felt extremely connected to the team at that moment and was off course extremely happy for him. As far as I know, that was the first time he actually got to play. He's a redshirt sophmore so hopefully he'll get more chances.

And of course, I will wear my black belt with pride. As my mom (also an alum) has been reminding me, there will be lots of years for me to root as an alumni even if this year we're sucking.

scotts0

November 15th, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

Just found this thread, thanks in part to a current thread and....I was at this game from start to finish, while wearing a hoodie, hat, jeans WITH sweatpants over them.  Not to mention thermals underneath it all....all that heat did nothing at all.

I like to tell people that this was easily the worst day of my life.