Of Myths and Men

Submitted by MCalibur on September 3rd, 2009 at 1:13 PM

The Michigan Man does exist despite what drivel you may have recently read; He's just not what everybody thinks he is. ‘They’ think a Michigan Man is some kind of prototype forged in the mold Bo Schembechler. Bo’s famous quote seared into the public perception an awesome and  tenacious image that resonated within the Michigan community and throughout the sports world to this very day, a generation later; the very definition of a meme. As the man who coined the phrase and undoubtedly a Michigan Man himself, he himself is said image.

 A closer Look at the context of the quote reveals the true definition of Michigan Men. Bill Frieder accepts a job elsewhere and leaves Michigan behind. As soon as that agreement was made, it was determined that Frieder was not a Michigan Man. At that moment he was no longer the right man to lead Michigan.

So, the definition of a Michigan Man is simple: He who is unequivocally devoted to Michigan.  A Michigan Man stands for what he believes is right and has the grace to acknowledge and correct his errors.  A Michigan Man loves Michigan and represents her with courage, valor, and passion; to his grave. A Michigan Man respects his adversary but will never fear him.

Unfortunately, many within the Michigan community do not understand this simple definition. This is not to say that they do not love Michigan, but they fail to see what it was about Bo that made him a Michigan Man. Gerald Ford. Bob Ufer. Those who stayed in ’69. Gary Moeller. Tshimanga Biakabutuka. Lloyd Carr. Tom Brady. Brian Cook.  This list never ends.

Bo and Lloyd were clear-cut Michigan Men but they do not encompass all Michigan Men. What I saw on August 31 was stark contrast to what I would expect to see from any of the afore mentioned men, but make no mistake…I saw a Michigan Man.

What we’re dealing with in this episode of evolution is the unknown. It is scary to not know what to expect and it’s OK to be critical of what you see. But it’s not OK to reject someone because you don’t understand him and are so attached to the mystique of what has come before that you won’t take the time to get to know him.  That’s not Michigan.

Do  you love a mystique or do you love Michigan?


Enjoy Life

September 3rd, 2009 at 1:19 PM ^

That is why the statement that, ".... was not a Michigan Man when hired" is idiotic!

Yost, Crisler, and Bo never went to nor played a game for Michigan before they were hired.


September 3rd, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

I don't think that anybody is inherently a "Michigan Man"...one becomes a "Michigan Man." It is something to be earned through strenght of character, strength of committment, and strength in the face of adversity.

p.s. Is Timbaka a new Star Wars character? (insert growling sound effect)


September 3rd, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

I wish those words could be placed in the hands of every person who is actively or passively seeking the demise of Coach Rodriguez based on their mis-perception of what defines a "Michigan Man". I would have them read these words and defy them to not feel shame for trying to smear the name of a good man whose only goal is to see his program, OUR program, succeed and be the best.


September 3rd, 2009 at 1:47 PM ^

Personally, I don't know RR, but I support him. He is what UM needs now. He is committed to the team, expects a lot from them, but wants the best for them. I believe Michigan will have success under RR, and I'm glad he is here.

Regarding the past, RR is not Bo or Crisler or Carr or any of the rest. He is who he is, which is just fine. The most I would say on this is that I really like what I've read of Carr, but the game has moved beyond him, and it was long overdue for Michigan to move beyond him. All of us, regardless of age or generation need to move forward, and I'm looking forward to the ride.


September 3rd, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

From now on, if I hear anyone say that so-and-so isn't a Michigan Man, I will ask them to define it. If I don't like their answer, I'm going to stab them in the belly button (and refer them to this post).


September 3rd, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

I liked this essay because I think it is getting at the core of what a Michigan man means. I always wanted a fine definition, and when I found it, we made it our mission statement at HSR:

"But do let me reiterate the spirit of Michigan. It is based upon a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways; an enthusiasm that makes it second nature for Michigan men to spread the gospel of their university to the world's distant outposts; a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours."

--Fielding H. Yost upon his retirement as Michigan's athletic director in 1942.

If that's what it means to be a Michigan man, consider me to be all in.