On The Eve of Battle....

Submitted by jsquigg on November 20th, 2009 at 5:36 PM

(Note: This is my first diary and I'm relatively new to the mgocommunity.  This is simply a portrait of my experiences within Michigan football and The Rivalry).

On The Eve of Battle

Today Michigan football is in a dark space.  Hopes that flew beyond control early in the season have all but been brought to earth.  In a way, I think everything that has happened has set Saturday's game up to be a barn burner.  For one, the game is at noon, and even though I think the game was at noon last year it has been taken out of that slot in years past (unfortunately IMO).  For all intents and purposes OSU has nothing to play for and they are doing their best to try to hype this game up, despite the fact that they are disrespecting the game by wearing those God awful throwbacks.  That point aside, they've won The Game the past five years, they've wrapped up the Rose Bowl, and Michigan is on a skid to say the least.  For all intents and purposes this game should not be close.
The beauty of it is that games aren't played on paper.  On this very site there have been posts, and diaries, and threads all dedicated to breaking down every game in every way possible.  I do this myself.  It's only human nature to try to give oneself control and perspective in a situation where they have no direct impact on the outcome.
I've been a Michigan fan for as long as I can remember.  I've been to The Big House a handful of times and hugged or high-fived complete strangers after every big play.  I've shared in the heart breaking and soul crushing defeat when we outplayed Colorado only to have a hail mary answered (along with Mo going for two too damn much).  When I found out Lloyd was retiring and Rich Rod was taking over I was excited and that excitement only increased after we dethroned Tebow in the Capital One Bowl showing an offense that had never been more exciting in the Carr era.
I didn't expect 2008 to go as bad as it did, but I wore my Michigan sweatshirt to work almost everyday in broad view of my coworkers at 4 a.m., many of home root for MSU or other schools.  Continuing into this year, I have watched every game even to the point where I couldn't watch anymore.  My story is only one in a million other stories told here and elsewhere that make my heart swell with pride to be a Michigan man even in the dark times.
It is just football to some, and I don't lose my perspective on life (at least I don't think) as I am active in ministry (that's the only mention I will make of religion going forward), but to me Michigan football is so much more.  At times my obsession with Michigan football seems more like a drug than a medicine, especially in the dark times surrounding the program.  It is still a diversion from some of the things happening in my own life, and for that I am greatful, as I lost the aforementioned job and live in Michigan where jobs are about as common as wins over the Buckeyes this decade (and don't think that didn't sting to type).
The one thing that really irks me though, is why I can remain supportive of our coach and team when so many others reflect their pain into the program, seemingly trying to rip it apart.  My diary will not change that fact, and it will also not affect the outcome of tomorrow's game at high noon.  I do have an illogical hope, however, and it is a seemingly baseless hope.  Even ripped apart as I have felt since MSU as well as feeling hopeless since Illinois, I have felt some source of inspiration this week.  I have told myself that it's just my Michigan bias combined with my Buckeye hate, and that still could be true, but I have come to the boards here and found similar hope.
I can't lie and say I haven't been critical of Rodriguez, but I have never thought it wise to fire him and never thought it a good thing to let my criticism affect my support.  Though the predators in the media and in the Hell that is Coumbus are waiting for another opportunity to strike Michigan and coach Rod another blow, I am making an appeal on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the '69 rebirth of Michigan football.
Though we have no direct role in the outcome, I know the true fans will be doing everything they can to transfer their passion to the players.  As much as we can we should not worry about the implications a loss or win can mean.  I can only hope that the passion I feel is matched in preparation, in practice, in the locker room and in the game.  I think the problems that have arisen have to do with the expectations we have all had being spoiled for too long.  We will succeed again.
After the game tomorrow I will still wear my Michigan gear with pride, and not just because we have a good basketball team.  Regardless of outcome, let's keep things in perspective and realize that as bad as things seem we will beat the Bucks again, be it this year or next year or in twenty.  I only ask that we do what we can to support the team without letting our emotions cause us to put our energy in the wrong places.  If you are putting energy into getting coach Rod fired, that is energy wasted that could be spent cheering the team on.  I'd rather be positive when I don't have control than negative.
That's all I have to say, other than:  Go Michigan!  Beat the Bucks!

(hope this wasn't a waste of space, but if it is I will go back to just enjoying others content;  I feel too strongly about tomorrow not to pass on my hope)   


The King of Belch

November 20th, 2009 at 6:44 PM ^

It could just be that there are people who just don't believe Rodriguez is the right guy. It doesn't make them irrational, nor does it make them self-loathing whackos who "reflect their pain into the program" (whatever that means).

It's called "opinion"--the team looks like dookey and has for 24 months. The results speak for themselves. Doesn't make them right, doesn't make them wrong.

Certainly not any more than blind faith--or even patience--makes those who see otherwise right.

Now, if the big bad Rodriguez H8TERS hope UM loses so he finds a faster ushering out of town--well, that is crazy. But I don't think that's the case.

It seems to me that those who really intensely support Rodriguez take criticism of him personally, and actually seem o have some issues themselves--such as a refusal to believe Michigan could have made a mistake with this hire.

Nothing is guaranteed, and Rodriguez can alleviate as much pressuer as winning will allow--which might be pretty much all of it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--it is TIME for Rodriguez to start showing he is capable of something special.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:02 PM ^

I pretty much agree with your sentiment, but too much energy has been put into something that isn't going to happen this year. My post was about support of the team regardless of circumstance. I'm very critical of some of the coaching that has gone on.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:37 PM ^

It seems to me that those who really intensely want Rodriguez fired have taken his hire personally from the moment he was announced as head coach. I've heard all sorts of illogical reasoning, from the sound of his accent to the notion that "I just don't like him", as purpose to fire him.

I cannot abide these types of assertions, and I do take it personally in that I must now reconcile my own fandom with this kind of foolishness.

What I liked about this diary is that the author seems to ask all of us to set aside our differences on this issue for a few hours tomorrow to try and cheer this team on to a win.

Cheers to that
Go Blue


November 21st, 2009 at 12:25 AM ^

He has 5 seasons. No Big Ten title, no new contract. It just isn't that complicated. You don't want him to be a lame duck in year 6, so you either give him a new contract in year 5 or you fire him at that point.

I don't watch the sports talking heads, but I just happened to come across some pundits on Jim Rome the other day, both utterly certain Rich is gone tomorrow if he doesn't win today (it's after midnight!). This kind of sensationalism is what drives the speculation, even though it has no basis in reality.

There's a world of difference between just being critical and this kind of bullshit. Honestly, I don't have a problem with people saying he should be fired. That's an opinion I can respect, though I heartily disagree. But I do I have a problem with people who say he will be fired. Nobody says that at this point without an agenda. It hurts the team.


November 21st, 2009 at 10:22 AM ^

Nope, sorry. This isn't Notre Dame or Michigan State or THE Ohio State University (once hailed as the graveyard of coaches).

This is Michigan. And this is our coach. You want to win? Go root for USC. You want to win with class and dignity? Then you forget all that nonsense and drink the kool-aid.

At Michigan we don't just hire coaches. We embrace them, bring them into the fold and make them Michigan and they make us Champions. To do less makes us any other typical program and that we are NOT.

And we do not fire head coaches at Michigan. We didn't fire Oosterbaan after eleven mediocre seasons. We didn't fire Elliot after his eleven lackluster performances and a single Big Ten title. We didn't fire Carr after losing to both Appalachian State and Toledo in the same season and losing 6 of his last 7 to Ohio State. WE DO NOT FIRE HEAD COACHES AT MICHIGAN

This isn't some shiny chrome plated college who's sole goal every season is to play under the spotlights of the nationally televised evening game each week. Whose fans turn ugly if they don't try for the two point conversion when they're already up three scores because they want to humiliate their opponent and then play it down while smiling for the camera flashing their cheshire cat grins with their too white veneers.

This is Michigan and ABOVE ALL it stands for integrity, respect, and commitment. If you want to settle for less than that in exchange for winning, go root for Florida.


November 20th, 2009 at 8:48 PM ^

I feel kind of Masada. The romans (starring the buckeyes) are about to storm the fortess (played by the big house), defended by the jews (played by the michigan team)....and we will probably committe sucide (turnovers, penalties)


November 20th, 2009 at 9:08 PM ^

Good post! I feel down about not winning but I will also support the team and coach even if we were 1-10. Yes, I still wear my Michigan shirts out in public and to work when I can! I hope we can pull a win out but if we don't I hope we play well and hit hard! I want to stay optimistic about next season but with this defense we are really going to have to improve on offense to finish at or above .500. I wouldn't like it but I could handle another losing season...but in 2011 there has to be a turn around. I still remain optimistic about a Rodriguez turnaround when winning will come easy!


November 21st, 2009 at 1:36 AM ^

I hear shit all the time from tOSU fans about wearing my Michigan gear. I on purpose wore a UM shirt every day this week in spite of hearing their mouths. The chants of Ohio kill me softly, but I just smile and tell them Go Blue. I will be a Michigan fan til the day I die and when I do, please bury me with something Michigan. I know we will succeed and just can't wait for it to happen. Go Blue!