Friday, November 5, 2010

I Understand

Over two years ago, the college football world was like a big, ripe melon. Much like purchasing and eventually cutting in to a delicious cantaloupe, it was unclear what the future held for U of Michigan football, but it was unarguably exciting. Michigan was entering a brave new world of offensive firepower, insanely in shape athletes, and possibly even black quarterbacks! If that last statement alone didn't imply significant changes in the program, I don't know what statement would. This old, stodgy guy was leaving and a new, successful guy who "got modern football" was breezing into town bringing only a moderate amount of controversy up from West Virginia. As we now know, this time of great anticipation was not one of waiting to cut into the perfect cantaloupe, but rather the precursor to an alien hatching out of a shell that looked like a cantaloupe, infiltrating your body, killing most humans and taking over the world, and then you found out that the supermarket at which you were shopping for the first cantaloupe doesn't even carry that particular melon, or any melon at all! Yes, exactly like that.

It has been a terrible, terrible almost three seasons of Michigan football. I really don't care that the team is 5-3 this year. They are terrible. I fear we are in the midst of an unturnable long-term downturn, and we will end up as something even more terrible like Notre Dame or Tennessee. Poor Notre Dame and Tennessee.

As a prideful person, our suck has been embarrassing and emotional. Like that time I bought the alien that I thought was a cantaloupe. Even the rare victories have felt like defeats. Against abominable teams, Michigan would have to navigate last minute drives or big second half comebacks to avoid losing to teams like UMass. I don't know a ton about some of the really deep, dark details of football strategy, but it hasn't been hard to realize that neither does Michigan.

As an alum, I could not figure out why this level of performance was acceptable to the athletic department. Also as a young alum, I find myself sometimes wondering what the university is doing for me now that I (my parents) am not paying tuition and I can only donate modestly each calendar year. Finally, these two pieces came together and I'm feeling a whole lot better. The University of Michigan football team is sucking for me. Thank you U of M!

The past couple years have been a really busy period in my life. I was wedding planning, moving, changing jobs, getting married, acclimating to married life, trying to find time for scripted TV viewing and working out with all of these changes, and trying to keep up with a number of other significant life events like getting ready for a baby. Thanks to the terror of U of M football, I was able to claim Saturdays as my own and not be chained to the TV rooting for a run at the Big Ten title. I didn't even have to root for a run at The Motor City Bowl. I could do the things that I needed to do, maintain all my responsibilities, and still have a little time to relax and center myself thanks to those hours on Saturday I did not have to commit to maize and blue football.

Now that I've made this realization, I just wanted to send a big thank you to Michigan football. The extra free time has really been appreciated and has enabled me to live a fuller, happier, and less football-filled life. Michigan even took this a step further and coordinated with the Lions to ensure that they also were embarrassing, so that I could take the entire weekend as my own. Those are the kinds of sacrifices that really make you feel like you have a personal connection with your team.

Now that the baby is almost here, I also wanted to let Michigan know that you don't need to worry about me anymore. We're as ready for what comes next in life as any two people can be, and I feel selfish making everyone suffer just so that I don't have to concern myself with football on Saturday. This post constitutes my formal permission for Michigan Football to pretend I don't exist and perform like a team with the full complement of 11 players on the field at any given time.Your sacrifice of respectability as a program just for me has been a very special gesture, but I think it's time that we both move on. I'll always remember what you did for me.

1 comment:

Jeff Caminsky said...

You know...this post is actually kind of liberating. I never appreciated the free time that having a Michigan football team that truly sucked would bring. Thanks for letting me see the "half-full" portion of the glass.