A Tribute to my Brother

Submitted by 2 Blue Brothers on August 2nd, 2016 at 5:40 PM

My earliest Michigan memories are of Bo Schembechler coached teams that featured the likes of Rob Lytle and Rick Leach.  I was a running back on a below average high school football team and would lay in bed at night and dream of running back kick offs for the Maize and Blue.  I knew I had no chance of ever playing for Bo.  I was undersized and slow, but lying in bed with my Michigan fantasies on Thursday nights provided extra motivation to try that much harder on Friday nights playing for my home town team.  I have continued following the Wolverines since the early 70s but my best memories are of the last 10 years sharing the games with my little brother.

My brother and I were not close growing up.  Probably due to the 6 year difference in our age.  We were both born in Southeast Michigan but moved to Georgia when I was 13 and he was 7.  For a middle school kid getting ready to take on the excitement of high school, I didn't take time to bond with my elementary school brother.

I left home right out of high school before my 18th birthday.  He was 11 at the time.  I was young, independent and just wanted to get away from my strict, conservative christian parents.  This meant I only saw my brother on his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The years went by and as he grew into adulthood I continued on my own track.  Jobs, family, kids our own and living in different parts of the south kept us from really bonding until about 10 years ago.

It was around 2005 when we were living in the same area of N. GA that my brother and I bagan getting together every fall Saturday to watch Michigan football together.  He had also been a diehard Wolverine fan all his life.  It was our love for the team that brought us together and was the foundation for the strong bond between us.  Together we shared the passing of Bo, the end of the Lloyd Carr era, the ups and downs of the coaching changes since 2007 and the unbridled excitement of the beginning of the Harbaugh era.  We had an unspoken agreement.  If Michigan was playing football, we were going to watch the game together.

We had our crazy traditions too.  Of course we were always decked out in our Michigan jerseys and caps, the Michigan blanket would be draped over the couch and the Michigan bobble head would be on the table in front of us.  Our drinks were always wrapped in Michigan coozies and sitting on Michigan coasters.  At the kickoff of every game, we would raise our beers high and as the ball was kicked would yell "GOOOOOOOOO BLUUUUUUUUUE!!!!" at the tops of our lungs until the ball came down into the returners hands.  We high fived every big play and for the exceptional BIG plays, broke out the double high five.  If we had a particularly poor first half, we would have to change something up at halftime.  Change a jersey, cap or reposition some of the Michigan gear we kept around us.  During late drives fo close games, we would wiggle our spirit fingers at the TV, rub the bobble head, toast to every little positive play for our side or call for our favorite player to make the next big play.  After a disheartening loss (such as the game never to be mentioned that occured last October), we would be known to crumple to the floor in front of the TV and not so much as speak to each other again until the following Saturday when the excitement and comradery would begin anew.

It was November, 2015 that he received the diagnosis.  It was already stage IV.  He underwent the treatments all while continuing to run his own business.  He worked hard and he fought harder.  Fought like a true Wolverine, but this was one opponent he could not beat.  I lost my brother on July 6, 2016. 

I had been so looking forward to watching team 137 and their march to a National Championship.  A part of my brother will still be there with me but this year it will just be his picture, a Michigan urn and a tribute bottle of Budweiser sitting beside me.  I'll still watch the games but somehow I know some of the joy will be lost.  I am grateful that it was Michigan football that brought us together but that opening kickoff of each game will just never be the same again.

To my brother Ken, January, 1970 - July 2016; GOOOOOOOOOO BLUUUUUUUUUUE!!!!!

Comments

Brofessor

August 2nd, 2016 at 6:15 PM ^

So sorry for the loss of your brother, that sounds really rough. I'm sure the games won't be the same without him but it's a nice way to remember your time together.

Wolfman

August 2nd, 2016 at 10:04 PM ^

I commend you on sharing your thoughts with the board. It's a great tribute to your brother that you would tell the community how much you loved him. I am saddened by your loss but happy that you were able to have so many wonderful afternoons with your brother.

From a four brother family, there are only two of us left with one going far, far too early and not becoming close witht the other until the situation was similar to what your brother went through, I am happy that you two were wise enough to set aside those precious afternoons.

May your brother RIP

Michigasling

August 2nd, 2016 at 11:40 PM ^

but a tribute to the two of you together, that you could find and make that bond while there was still time to cherish it, and time to forge the memories that you'll cherish forever. 

2 Blue Brothers

August 3rd, 2016 at 12:19 AM ^

Many thanks to the Mgo community for the heartfelt comments.  I hope my post is not a buzz kill, I just needed to share my story and knew from reading MGoBlog for years that this was the place I could pay proper tribute.  My heart has been lifed by the kind comments, hugs and we'll wishes.

Esterhaus

August 3rd, 2016 at 1:51 AM ^

 

I lost my dad a few years ago, a Michigan alumn, the hospital literally killed him inadvertently but grotesquely negligently - a routine procedure but the lab assistant heard 4 minutes sterilization instead of the requisite 14 minutes minimum. 53 days my dad took to die, intubated, writhing, and it was horrible.

We always had Meeechigan feetsball together. Take what you can and enjoy the games - they're just stupid games ultimately - for two.  Best I have to offer.  Good luck - and LIVE hard.

1VaBlue1

August 3rd, 2016 at 8:46 AM ^

I can understand the loss when that first kickoff happens.  I lost my dad last June - before he could see one single game coached by Harbaugh.  He was really looking forward to that...  From that experience, I know you'll get through it.  It sucks, it's going to be sad and lonely.  But you'll get through...  

RIP, Ken...

Yo_Blue

August 3rd, 2016 at 9:15 AM ^

Wow, I am so sorry for your loss.  I still miss my dad every football season.  He lived and died with the maize and blue, and would have loved seeing Harbaugh return.  The loss doesn't get easier with time, but the memories seem to get stronger.  Hang in there, and Go Blue!

MaizeJacket

August 3rd, 2016 at 9:39 AM ^

I have that football-watching bond with my father and a really good friend, it's not something easily replicated, and you can't put a price on it.  It's tough to lose the ones you love, but at least you have that bond of Michigan football that will always remind you of him and the good times.

Tex_Ind_Blue

August 3rd, 2016 at 12:21 PM ^

Sorry for your loss. It's never easy to lose a close one, whenever it happens. May his soul rest in peace. May you and the rest of the family carry on and fulfil his dreams. 

Bodogblog

August 4th, 2016 at 9:40 AM ^

Obviously a lot of us can identify with your loss.  You have brothers on the blog my friend.  Invisible, strange, and anonymous brothers, but here nonetheless.  

It's wonderful that you developed that friendship with your  brother and had that time that you did together.  I know you'll miss it, but it's also something to treasure and value even as it's passed.  I'll be thinking about you in 30 days my friend, and air high fiving after the big plays. 

MGoBoz

August 5th, 2016 at 4:34 PM ^

I'm so sorry for your loss. This brought a tear to my eye. I hope you find some peace in the memories.

I lost my dad when I was three. He was a UM grad and is a big reason I went there. It was always tough knowing I couldn't watch games with him, although I'm pretty confident he was with me watching the Varsity from that overstuffed sofa in the sky.

I'm looking forward to sharing football games with my four month old son this coming fall. Nothing like family to toast the Maize and Blue.

Mgo_fly

August 5th, 2016 at 5:50 PM ^

Similar history with my younger brother. I remember the 97 season, I was living in Hawaii with my brother back in Rochester. Quite the impressive phone log as we called each other after every big play and spent just about every 4th quarter on the phone. He passed in 1999 but is always in my thoughts on football Saturday's. Somehow his memory burns brighter after the wins, I like to think he was too busy to check in on those other days.

username03

August 5th, 2016 at 6:42 PM ^

Sorry for your loss. This is an excellent reminder of how special the bonds formed over michigan football can be. I had some troubles with my step-daughter in her teenage years and knew we had finally turned the corner when she willingly resumed watching games with me.

Mgodiscgolfer

August 5th, 2016 at 7:13 PM ^

I have a brother that loves Michigan football and we have had so many "cool story bro" moments together that whenever we get together we sit there saying remember the time when we then the cool story would be replayed it seemed almost to make sure we actually lived through it.

Reading your story will get me on the phone asap and go over some of those cool stories with him tonight for sure. As I was reading your story the longer you went on the more of a sinking feeling I had that it wasn't going to end well. Thank you for remeinding me that we don't live forever and anyday that could be taken away from us. God Bless and I agree with one of the statements above at kickoff for the first game and probably all of them I will think of you and your brother and toast with my brother in honor of you two. Thank you so much again and remember to Go Blue! 

Armbuster

August 5th, 2016 at 9:30 PM ^

As a Michigan fan with a younger brother spending most of the year across from the country from me and a grandmother near the end of her final battle with cancer, this one hit hard. I am so, so sorry for your loss - no one should have to lose a sibling that young.

If you ever find yourself in northwest Indiana on a fall Saturday, or really any day, I'll have a chair, a beer, and an ear to listen. Stay strong, and remember that the depths of emotion are only possible as a result of their heights.

Texagander

August 5th, 2016 at 8:57 PM ^

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. That week was the worst of my life too. My parents came to visit from Texas and see the kids for July shutdown that week. They came up on the second. On the fourth, we found my mom dead downstairs in the morning. My dad and I tried cpr. So did the paramedics. I lost my mom that day. We flew her back to Texas for the funeral. It's been the hard.

I understand your pain. GO BLUE.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

FatGuyTouchdown

August 6th, 2016 at 3:32 AM ^

I promise I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but a few years ago I lost my uncle, who was also my best friend. My uncle was a diehard Ravens fan, as was most of my family. That season, the Ravens won the super bowl. A week after the Super Bowl, I was looking through some of my uncle's old stuff, and found a new Ravens banner that no one in my family had ever seen before, but it had my uncles initials on the back. I still proudly fly that banner in my closet, underneath my Michigan banner. Just wanted to share, I hope you and your family find peace.

Wood_Chuckson

August 6th, 2016 at 9:26 AM ^

Wow, man! I'm sorry for your loss. You and your brother's story is both amazing and sad at the same time. God bless his soul and God bless you and your family!! GO BLUE!

1980JimG

August 6th, 2016 at 10:26 AM ^

While you have expereinced an unfair and great loss, you can rest assurred you have millions of other brothers in blue that will be thinking of you and your brother when we cheer the team on now and forever.  You will not be alone when the next game is on  Go Blue!.

CorkyCole

August 6th, 2016 at 11:44 AM ^

Sorry to hear about your loss buddy. Glad you had those awesome memories to remember him by. Makes me wish I lived closer to my brother as well, although he doesn't give a crap about Michigan unfortunately. Thanks for sharing man. Prayers go out to you. Go Blue!

sammylittle

August 6th, 2016 at 11:08 PM ^

My son will be 8 in about 2 weeks. He has had a progressive, degenerative disease since birth. Last December he had a bone marrow transplant. It is not working.

We, too, have bonded over football. His first love is Mississippi State football, where I am on the faculty. We have had season tickets since he was 3 years old. His second love is Michigan football. We watch all of the games together except when they conflict with attending home games at Mississippi State (the stadium is 1.5 miles from our house).

I, too, was raised in Southeast Michigan and later lived in Georgia (Athens from 1993-7). I watched many Michigan football games at the Taco Stand downtown.

I am sorry for your loss. I am afraid that I will also know what it means to lose someone with whom I share a love of the game.

Go Blue!