Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It Couldn't Have Happened to a Better Man

To Whom It May Concern--

I remember back in April me, Steve and Morgan were at this thing talking. I turned to Steve and said “Ashley Banks or Lisa Turtle.” He rubbed his chin a second before he answered. I remember thinking his turquoise Lacoste polo was crisp but I couldn’t say anything because shit like that doesn’t exactly jive with the fact that I haven’t fumbled in 38 years. I’m the Bogart of this bitch; I got a rep to keep.

Morgan took the moment of silence to interject: “QUIT PLAYIN – YOU KNOW YOU’D GIVE IT TO THAT ANGELIQUE CHICK FROM THE DETROIT NEWS”, and when we just sat staring at him lifeless yet simultaneously wondering whether we actually would, he continued: “….BUT MAYBE IT’S JUST THE BACARDI TALKING. I SHOULDN’T HAVE POURED OUT THAT LAST SHOT FOR KELLY BARAKA.”

Then Zoltan Mesko taps me on the shoulder because he wanted to know if Crable's first name was with an EA or an AW. He had some photos he wanted to tag him in on Facebook. And I started to wonder how I got here.

I remember when me and Steve saw this pic of Leinart rolling up in a Maserati and Kristin Cavallari stumbling out of the passenger side in a jean skirt . Matt was wearing sunglasses and he looked like he was chewing gum. She looked a little bowlegged and had a twinkle in her eye. She was probably on the way upstairs to text Hayden Panettiere about it or change her MySpace layout or some shit. But I remember Steve sitting there, and he looks at me and he says “I woulda opened the door up for her”. I told him I knew he would. I patted him on the back and he sighed a little bit. We play for Michigan, we can lick a motherfucking wound or two.

There was this one time I was in a foul mood and Chad started getting on my nerves. This lil' number from sigma kappa wasn’t returning my calls, some sharpshooter spilled ketchup on my Reeboks, and I remember they were all out of the Little Debbie’s honey buns because I ended up having to get the Hostess ones with all that white frosting that falls off in little pieces instead. I think I just gave em to Terrance.

It was sophomore year and Chad was kinda fucking up a lot those days. When things got real bad he used to bite on his knuckle like Sonny did when he found out Carlo was beating on Connie and then he’d walk over to the bench and sit by himself. It made my heart ache. See Chad’s always been a strong dude. This wasn’t like him.

But I had my own shit to handle. We were losing to fucking Minnesota; my ankles were worthless. I was on Amazon peeping “Getting Your Life Back: The Complete Guide to Recovery from Depression” with the Look Inside feature because I was too embarrassed to buy the whole thing. One thing led to another, I called Chad a poor man’s Steve Beuerlein, he called me Braylon’s sidekick and said Mel Kiper never heard of me (I whispered to myself 'neither did Tom Lemming,' but who’s keeping track?).

A couple days later we went to Ben and Jerry’s on State Street and laughed about it. He treated; I picked up the edge rusher on third and long. We'll call it even.

I remembered the day Bo died. There was this secretary in the academic office standing behind her desk and her eyes were looking pretty raw. They were like a combination of my mom’s when she told me her and my dad were getting a divorce and Carson Butler’s the time he smoked that third blunt one night last October. I asked her if she was ok and she told me she was fine. I saw her holding a crumpled tissue in her fist and I knew that she wasn’t. I just nodded and tried to smile. She looked up at me for a couple seconds then told me she had to go make copies of something and walked away. I carried the ball 280 times when I was 18 years old and it took less out of me than that.

See they like to tell you what happened to Bo toughens the soul. That it’s gonna be like the end of fucking Braveheart when they threw William Wallace’s sword into the field and suddenly everyone learns how to do some real legendary shit. I wish I could tell you Coach has some new sense of motivation, that he’s in the gym every day jogging three miles on treadmill with Journey on his iPod just trying to handle business so he can retire a champion. But no one ever considers that maybe it ruins the man for good. Like there's no real revival, you just wake up every morning after that with a hole in your heart. I think when Bo died a little piece of Coach died too.

For the rest of his life he'll be trying to survive without it. The next day we lost to Ohio State.

In Pasadena me, Steve and Morgan ate at this place Roscoe’s Chicken-n-Waffles. We were talking to the waitress about this and that and she brings her nephew over. He was excited to see us. She must have told him we were famous, and at the time, I guess we were. A couple of gunslingers who didn’t think USC was all that yet. I think about when we were on top. I think about how the past always seems to be nothing but good shit we took for granted.




Blogger JukeBox said...

excellent stuff.

I like the way this letter is addressed. :)

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

welcome back.. In a BIG way !

See you tonight !

8:09 AM  
Blogger MaizenBrew said...

Glad to have you back Johnny. Great piece.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Reed said...

Welcome back, Johnny. And well done! Hilarious.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that it’s gonna be like the end of fucking Braveheart when they threw William Wallace’s sword into the field and suddenly everyone learns how to do some real legendary shit.

freakin' hilarious stuff!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous robbie said...

great to have you back johnny. chills down the spine and Michigan football. it doesn't get any better than that for me.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Killing My Liver said...

Great stuff. Can't formulate a description, just great.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

libelous manbearfreak comment uncool, could easily get you sued.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

Libelous? Really? Butler missed all of spring practice because he got busted for smoking weed. True story. Oh, and possession of alcohol as a minor, but that’s just a little factoid for you because you seem so concerned.
You can check it out right here:


I guess I can see how you missed it, it being hidden beneath that stuff about him beating the shit out of a kid half his size. Seriously, why would you ever want to defend this guy even if what I said WAS a complete fabrication?

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Welcome back, Johnny. Disregard the ignorant.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Misha said...

There's ain't nothing like Roscoe's.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

You are a Godsend. I went to school with, and spent some time around those cats. I could honestly see all of that shit happening. It's like you were there with them all along.
Your affinity for Breaston is well-deserved. He is an incredible dude. Thoughtful as ever. Smart.
I was with the team in a student-aid like capacity for a long time, but i've been (graduated) far away for a while now. Your material somehow brings it all back. Like that other commenter said "chills up my spine..."

11:55 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

alex, comments like that are like finding out that god actually exists. honestly. it makes all this time i spend believing in him worthwhile. as much as i truly admire breaston the individual, it's believing in what he represents. it's believing in an ideal. it's knowing that there are good and honorable things still worth searching for and holding onto. players like breaston are the reason why i write. thank you.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Danbury,

I'm a former Michigan player (2000-2004), and I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your writing. Hope you keep it up, very entertaining, wish you'd write more, though.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to revise your comment RE Butler given that he's been found innocent of the only thing he's ever been charged with:

If you would take 5 minutes off from jerking off to Steve Breaston you might realize that his kickoff return vs. PSU in '05 would have been meaningless if Manningham wasn't able to get open for the last second catch. OK, he's sensitive like you and writes bad poetry, but how many TD catches did Steve have last year? 1? 2? After a great freshman year, any unbiased observer would (and many did) conclude that the rest of his career was a disappointment.

BTW, the Roscoe’s Chicken-n-Waffles scene is straight out of a Detroit News story, isn't it?

1:13 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Sir, you might want to remove your head from your ass and realize that regardless of which particular charges Mr. Butler was acquitted of, the fact remains that he is still on the public record as charged with the offenses discussed earlier, and guilty of two out of the three. Yes, it's good that he didn't beat the everloving shit out of someone half his size. Shall we give him a fucking cookie?

Furthermore, the personal attacks against Mr. Danbury are childish and banal. I imagine that if you had half the intelligence of the man you're attacking, you might notice that you're defaming a man who I'm fairly certain you've never met, to accomplish an undeniably stupid goal. Steve Breaston may or may not write bad poetry, but one thing is for certain: he is a leader, an upstanding citizen, and a moral and characteristic godsend for this program. I (and many others) couldn't give a good goddamn what you think of his productivity on the field for any of his career, but for you to piss all over the accomplishments of a noble human being is absolutely unacceptable, and nigh incomprehensible.

If your argumentative skills are anything like your reading skills, I'm really suprised that you got through an RBUAS article, rather than sticking to something closer to your literary level (I suggest "Go Dog, Go"), however if you wish to debate or comment on such articles, you might want to work on personal coherant thoughts first. The last time I saw something as coordinated as your comment, I was at the zoo watching Spider Monkeys throw shit at each other.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Danbury, sir? Who talks like that besides a 12 year old mocking his father?

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice cutlines Johnny. Waiting with bated breath for your next jock-sniffing confessional.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read your next post about Mike slamming that douchebag Harbaugh.
C'mon, give us something epic and venemous.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or write something about the kids not remembering Harbaugh, the player, or his record vs. OSU compared to Hart's.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Jeff from LA said...

I freaking love threadjackers who go out of their way to attack bloggers on their own site, but don't even have the guts to post a name. Good job, anonymous.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you must have balls the size of pumpkins because there's probably only one Jeff in LA.
On Topic: Carson Butler is back on the team.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read this article four times and not in the last week. This article and many others of Johnny's have made my love of Michigan much deeper and less transparent. I wait for each article and often get bored waiting and go through the archives and re-read old ones for nostalgias sake. Yet I come here today and just see Anon's ripping some of the best writing I've ever read about sports or anything in general. So what if you don't agree with his article. It's a fictitious letter about a player's career. But I will bet dollars to cents that Johnny has a better idea of what these players are like considering he was asked to write about the team in the pre-season guide and maybe the verification given by someone who knew those players. Please appreciate what Johnny writes and leave your comments to compliments or relevant insight. This wasn't a post written for you to give your input on, just for you to enjoy, so enjoy it or go to espn.com and leave you dumbass opinion on their message board. Don't have an account so in case you want to rip on me.

Keegan in Bellingham Washington. Not many of those in Bellingham

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnny - I've read this post like a dozen times by now, and I enjoy it a little more with each reading.

10:16 PM  

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