SAYING GOODBYE TO 2013
The news regarding Mitch McGary’s upcoming back surgery and the rather unfortunate result of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl have, at least in my mind, put a sad cap on what has been a mostly frustrating 2013. I thought that I might burn one further diary as an opportunity to say “goodbye” to this year and some of its memories, but also to say that I am hopeful that 2014 will bring some pleasant surprises to Michigan.
First, allow me to focus on the positive, for it wasn’t all gloom. Some examples:
We were more or less inches from being the NCAA Champions in hoops. That was a phenomenal run down the stretch, and at least to me, Trey’s Trey – as I like to call it (inspired by a fellow MGoBlogger) – lives on as one of the best Michigan basketball moments in a long time. If you’re like me and remember the Fab Five but were college-aged during the dawn of the Ellerbe years in basketball around here, you might have also been looking for something special to happen and that season and all of its ups and downs certainly qualifies.
We have over two dozen varsity sports, and several of them were also doing quite well in 2013. For example, Michigan softball captured its sixth consecutive (I think this is right) conference championship and made an appearance in the WCWS. In men’s gymnastics, we won the NCAA championship and also accomplished this great feat in men’s swimming as well, if I am not mistaken. This is not a comprehensive list, and I realize a fair number of people here probably don’t follow much beyond football, basketball and hockey, but I point these out to illustrate the good that was going on here in Ann Arbor.
Even within the context of the football season, it was not entirely awful. Granted, the peak of the season’s hype was probably UTL II and that was the second game of the season, but we were pretty much in control for the entire game and it was overall an excellent experience. It was perhaps what we wished the entire season could have been on some levels, but it produced positive memories for me in any case. Even in each individual game, typically we could find some individual plays or moments that made us feel a little better about things even if the holistic view of the season gave us some fits.
Now, all that being said, 2013 obviously had some downer moments. A couple of the major ones:
Michigan hockey found itself watching the NCAA tournament on television, not from an arena, and it was the first time a little over two decades, I believe. It was a disappointing finish to what had been a very un-Michigan season compared to what we had become used to with Berenson at the helm. These things happen, but that doesn’t make it easy to watch necessarily. Fortunately, we’re off to a much better start in the new season to date.
Finishing a rather frustrating 7-5 season with a bowl loss didn’t make us feel any better about the year on the whole either. We watched a team that simply seemed out of alignment, if you will, and couldn’t run on all cylinders consistently. We watched football that was – at times – technically unsound, if you will, and we were quite rightly unhappy about it. We could talk about a lot of specific issues, but that’s what the board is for and I am sure that we’ve analyzed them past death. At the end of the day, we’re Wolverines through and through, but it wasn’t an easy season on the board, to be sure.
Most recently, we found out that we could very well lose Mitch McGary for the season because of the surgery he will have soon (at the time of this writing, it is soon anyway). I know this weighs heavily on our estimates of performance for conference play in basketball, which now starts in mere days. It definitely was not welcome news, and it even prompted one MGoBlogger to suggest that we cover a fictional basketball season. Strangely, I found myself entertaining the idea, as I had grown that tired of the year by that point.
There is more, of course, but you get the idea, I think.
If there is a conclusion here, hopefully it is that shit happens, and it is frustrating when it seems like it is only piling up around us. My sincere hope is that we can go into 2014 with some optimism and that it is, in fact, a better year for the sports that are currently having some struggles. In the end, I know we wish all of our teams nothing but the best.
Go Blue, friends, and here is to a new start in 2014.