If you read only one wallpaper explanation this year I hope it's this one because this time I have an offering AND a request.
In between family events and having my throwing motion critiqued by Al Borges at Chuck E. Cheese's, I scraped together a little time during our Christmas visit to Ann Arbor to create this Sugar Bowl wallpaper. I've never been to Louisiana but I have been on the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride at Disneyland more than once so I know a little something about how a sleepy, firefly-occupied swamp is supposed to look. One of my girls is Princess Tiana-crazed at the moment so I was also inspired by the bayou color palette from Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog'. Conveniently, it turns out that nighttime ambiance in the Louisiana swampland adheres strictly to the athletic department's brand guidelines - even the fireflies know that the split Block M is no longer welcome in these parts.
The images below are previews only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
I have received kind comments, emails and tweets from many of you over the last two seasons. I create Michigan football-inspired artwork to satisfy a personal creative need and as a way to participate in the fan community so your enjoyment of my work is very gratifying. Some of you have asked if you can donate money to say thanks or pay royalties for hanging prints of my artwork on your walls. Beyond getting me into trouble (again) with the University's legal representation, money exchanging hands doesn't feel right given the spirit of my work.
So, if you're looking for a tangible way to tell me "thanks" I have a non-monetary idea that could be really fun. For the last decade I've coached local youth flag football, and for the last 5 years my family and I have coached and supported the teams at Sunshine Acres Children's Home in Mesa, Arizona. Sunshine Acres takes in children whose parents cannot or will not care for them. I think this year's flag football team will be covered on the budget front so I have an idea that I think will have a way bigger impact on our kids than your dollars anyway.
Here's how you can help:
1. Become a virtual fan by liking the Acres Football Facebook page. The page is pretty sparse at the moment but will be updated as the season goes on. Our first game is Saturday, January 14.
2. Check the Facebook page during the season for game recaps and to post an encouraging comment or two for our players. I'd love to have a few fun comments from out-of-town fans to share with the kids each week.
During most seasons we only have a fraction of the fans that our opponents bring to the field, so we invite our friends and families to act as partisan seat fillers. Fans have a noticeable positive impact on our kids' energy and excitement and it would be pretty cool to be able to tell our players that they have fans all over the country following them on Facebook. Last season was the first where we had enough people for a postgame arm tunnel and, after several seasons of going "feated" (the exact opposite of undefeated) both of our teams made their respective Super Bowls with our 6-8 year old team winning the big trophy for the first time. You can see that championship squad in the image above (yes, I am just as crazy about my Acres football team as I am about Michigan).
The teams we play against are made up of kids who (for the most part) are playing with the specific goal of developing into better football players. While we usually have a few players with strong athletic ability, many of them are raw first-time players without much experience and all of them have burdens much heavier than any child should carry. The chips, as they say, are stacked in an orientation not to our favor, but our players fight on and learn great things about themselves in the process.
Go Acres! Go Blue!