I know that nobody here really wants to remember the game and the play that happened on October 17th, 2015, but I wanted to organize my thoughts and also take a moment to appreciate the University of Michigan and its fan base.
For those of you already confused or unaware, I am better known in the world of college football as the 'Shocked Michigan Fan.' Yes, that guy that you are probably envisioning right now with his hands on his head. I have been a fan of Michigan athletics for as long as I can remember and jumped up and down with joy in the middle of my high school class when I learned that I had been accepted into the College of Engineering at U of M in Ann Arbor. Ever since Jalen Watts-Jackson crossed that goal line and my disappointment graced millions of TVs across the country, I can only say that I’ve never been more proud to call the University of Michigan my home.
Immediately after the game, I stood with my friends and the entire UM student body in shock. I watched as the Spartans dog piled only a few feet from me and proceeded to watch them shout at the student section. I saw them raise Paul Bunyan and have a party in the middle of the Big House. Still unsure if what I had witnessed was a reality, I began to stagger up the steps of the stadium and back to West Quad. When I finally decided to check my phone, I found that I had received dozens of texts from family, friends, and people I barely knew showing me my 10 seconds of fame. That night, I watched SportsCenter anchors Max Bretos and Jonathan Coachman gawk at my image on national television.
In the days immediately following, things picked up quickly. Here on mgoblog there was already some outreach.My friend created a post about possible legal action and there was plenty of discussion and advice. Special thanks to BiSB for handling some matters there that I won’t delve into. Another topic was created dedicated entirely to concern over my well-being. On the outside, I spoke with multiple news outlets from all over that wanted to talk about what it was like to be ‘The Guy,’ as I would generally be known.
In the past year, I’ve had some experiences I could have never imagined. In my lifetime I did not expect to be on TV more than a few times, but then I was being flown to Atlanta to attend the College Football Awards Show. I shook hands with Dabo Swinney, Derrick Henry, Deshaun Watson, and even Mark Dantonio.
Even with the trip and the dozens of interviews, one thing that has stood out is the power of the University of Michigan fan base. I’ve talked to hundreds of people affiliated with the university who I would have never met before the fame. This ranges from alumni to current students to those who simply follow the football team. I’ve run into people in my hometown, while I was on vacation in North Carolina, and of course Ann Arbor, among other places; all expressing their excitement and jumping at the chance to snap a quick picture with me. It has been a positive experience every time. Nearly every person has shown some sort of concern about how I am handling the fame, sometimes offering money and compliments as forms of support. The UM community has truly proven themselves as the best community in the world.
Now, it’s a year later and I sit here with high anticipation for the rest of this season, especially with a trip to East Lansing coming soon. We had many long years with our football team and that heartbreaking play was just one more trial on the way back to the top. Once again, thanks to everyone who I have met over the last year. It has definitely been a year of experiences that I will never forget. Here’s to a great finish to the 2016 season, Go Blue!
Yours in football,
Chris Baldwin (‘The Guy’)