Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lying out there like a killer in the sun

I remember parking the car under this bridge in Pasadena and walking with my uncle to the Rose Bowl from there. We were sharing a salami and pepperoni sandwich with lettuce and peppers, and when we stopped on a stone wall to eat it a black Rolls Royce drove by with its windows down. There was a breeze, and when I looked down to wipe the crumbs off my chest I could feel the sun on the back of my neck. It was one of the rare moments when my life was better than the guy’s who was driving the car.

There was this time during my senior year of high school when I left the house and didn’t stop riding my bike until I got to a gas station on the other side of town. It was hot, I still didn’t know where I was going to college, and I was pretty sure I was in love with a girl who was taking too long to realize she loved me too. I went inside and bought two cans of orange soda. I remember drinking them like they were going to evaporate in 9 seconds, like you do when you drink from the garden hose and don’t stop until you run out of breath and the water spills out and gets the collar of your shirt wet. But sitting down with my uncle, Michigan hadn’t lost yet. The sandwich tasted significantly better than the orange soda.

I remember when they showed this video montage of Bo Schembechler before the game. And how the guy standing in front of me didn't bother wiping the tears off his cheeks because he knew there would be more of them. I remember I was relieved because my uncle went to get a beer and didn't see me cry when Steve Breaston walked to midfield.

I wish the endings were ever as good as the beginnings...

Lloyd: "It all starts with a guy that is going to make good decisions on whether to field the ball or not, where to fair catch it. Experience is something we don't have. When you lose a guy like Steve Breaston, it's like losing a great kicker like Garrett Rivas. You take all those kicks for granted. You take all those plays Breaston made for granted."

Marques Slocum: "I like to hit people. I think I'm very physical"

Johnny Thompson: "Playing the run, that's just all instinct. I'm good at that."

Lloyd: "He's part of who I am, so I don't sit around and think about him being gone every day."

Lloyd: "I don't believe in shootouts, unless we're doing the shooting."

Lloyd: "I know this: I think most people, the older you get, the more you realize the people in your life are important. All the other stuff, it really comes down to relationships you have. I think you have a greater sense of what's important."

Mike: "(4 years ago) I was a little pup and no one wanted to talk to me cause I was this little guy from New york."

Mike: "I dont know, probably, I probably would (take Harbaugh's phone call). Yeah, of course I would take his call. If a man calls me I'm gonna answer the phone."

Mike: "I love Jake, you know, Jake's one of my favorite people on this team. Even off the field he's one of my favorite players on this team. On the field, obviously I'm his number one fan."

Chad: "I know what coverage every team can give you."

Chad: "We're not going to be sitting back relaxing eating a bag of chips, but we're going to be confident and comfortable with what we're doing because we've been here and we've experienced it."

Rio:“I love playing with Chad, Mike and Jake. They're probably my favorite people in the world because being in the huddle with them you know you have their back and they have yours, especially with Mike. Everybody knows how Mike is -- he doesn't take any crap because he wants to win harder than we all do.”

Rio: "I don't rah, rah, rah and all that, but when we get out here everybody knows I'm going to get my yards"

Crable: "They want us to get to know each other, hang out with each other, become brothers and really understand each other."

Terrance: “It makes you feel good that your coach is excited -- truly excited. Sometimes you get that fake hype, but Coach E is always excited in whatever he does.”

Adrian: "I feel like my head is in a different place right now. I've had talks with a lot of people, a lot of time to think … a lot of 6:00 A.M.s sitting in an empty stadium thinking about how I could have done things differently. I'm at another level."


Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's stuff like this that makes me believe that this year is special. That this team is here for a reason and that they know it as well. Whether it be because it's coach's last year or because most of them came back for one more shot at OSU and a bowl win. Great stuff, you give us a sense of what the team is truly like on a personal level.


7:57 AM  
Anonymous better than most, not as good as some said...

Great post.


10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great collection of quotes.

Damn, I'm going to be a basket case this Fall. I love this group kids too much for my own good.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous John UM79 said...


Sweet piece on expectations. Short, pregnant and captivating. Been reading you consistently for several years and glad you have "recovered" (impossible) like the rest of us from last seasons painful ending and are posting again. IMHO your writing is better without the F word.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Killing My Liver said...

That feeling of nervousness that you get when you're about to ride a rollercoaster paired with the fear that it will be closed when you get there pretty much sums up my anticipation of the season. So much anticipation and the anguish of what might be.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous robbie said...

i like lloyd's quote - puts things in a bit of perspective when i feel like i'm about to keel over from an anxiety attack during the season.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who hated your last post. I like the quotes but I don't care about your sandwich.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:24,

Go read something else. Or better yet, start your own blog, try feebly to write better than Johnny, let us know about it, then we will come and tell you that the shit you write sucks. Cause yours actually will suck. Johnny's sandwich is setting the scene for his day at the Rose Bowl, I'm sure he could give a fuck what you think about it. I hate going off on people like you, but this isn't a site that gives it's opinion on the new zone run-game UM has; It's literature, so enjoy or get the hell out.


3:53 PM  
Anonymous brad said...


Its always the same. Breaston love like no one else can, and goosebumps. Thanks for that.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more homoerotic fantasy. great.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous BeantownBlue said...

As always, you've got your finger on the pulse of Michigan football fans. You're a fuckin' poet man.

Sorry about the F word John UM79. I respect your humble opinion. I really do. But sometimes, fuck is the best word. It can be overused, I'll admit. But sometimes...nothing else will do.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

Anonymous, I left you alone when all you were doing was telling me I wasn't any good at writing, or calling me a liar. (Even though Butler did get in trouble for drugs, I showed that to you, and you blatantly ignored it and picked something different to complain about). If you don’t like what I write, then don’t read it. I honestly don’t know what you want from me. Maybe I’ll send you a refund for the zero dollars you paid to read this. But when you say “you can keep jerking off to steve breaston", or calling what I write “homoerotic fantasy”, it’s just embarrassing. Are you actually making gay jokes? Grow up, I'm not running a fucking daycare here. Personally, whatever you want to call me is fine; It doesn't really bother me, and I’m never going to delete anyone’s comments. But if you actually want to engage in some conversation, just be more mature about why and how much you hate my writing.

And because I’m only getting around to it now: Butler wasn't "innocent"; he was proven not-guilty. Monumental difference. I actually found 92 sources on Yahoo which mention this specifically. Additionally, my anecdote wasn’t to vilify Butler; smoking weed probably isn’t the best decision to make, especially in his position, but shit happens and you move on.

Also, your comment that "(Breaston's) kickoff return vs. PSU in '05 would have been meaningless if Manningham wasn't able to get open for the last second catch" is pretty shortsighted. How much good does Manningham's catch do Michigan if they're at PSU's 42 yard line or something. Neither play means shit without the other. End of story. With 50 something seconds remaining in the game, orchestrating a touchdown drive without a significant return is almost impossible. Paterno and Carr both discussed this several times in the post game.

Even if I wrote something entirely negative about Manningham (which I didn’t, nor would I ever – he’s one of my favorite players on the team, as well as one of the most complex, unique, and endearing personalities) there was no reason to even bring this up. It was a special moment, and a lot of things had to happen for it to take place. I’m glad all of them did.

And I’m not sure what your Detroit News/Roscoe’s comment even meant. I alluded to an event that took place in real life, and was reported by a newspaper.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...just be more mature about why and how much you hate my writing."

OK, here goes...

"If you don’t like what I write, then don’t read it. I honestly don’t know what you want from me."

I want you to use your obviously apparent talent to write about Michigan football as it exists in reality.

"Even though Butler did get in trouble for drugs."

You should either provide a link to drug test results or stop saying that. People can and do get into legal trouble for posting things like that on blogs. I was honestly just trying to help in case you didn't know that.

"Butler wasn't "innocent"; he was proven not-guilty. Monumental difference."

Actually, there is no legal difference. None. OJ is innocent too. Personally, I'd rather not have him on the team if Carr does have any more information that we're not privy to. Better to have Massey or 3 WR in there than have him forget which route to run due to short term memory loss. Wait, did you see that? I made an implication without saying "CARSON BUTLER SMOKES BLUNTS!!!" How clever of me to avoid getting sued like that.

"Are you actually making gay jokes? Grow up, I'm not running a fucking daycare here."

No, it wasn't a gay joke. I think that's a valid observation. You do if fact seem to be jerking off to Breaston with words. I said "jerking off" instead of "homoeroticism" (that was someone else) because I get paid to write for a sixth grade reading audience. Judging from your writing, I'm probably at least 10 or 15 years older than you (I'm guessing you're in your twenties). That's not a put down at all. You remind me of myself when I was your age.

"How much good does Manningham's catch do Michigan if they're at PSU's 42 yard line or something. Neither play means shit without the other. End of story."

Exactly, so where's the love for (Ma)rio? It looks like you're giving him some now that Steve is gone but I doubt you're going to cry for him like you did for Steve. I don't get that at all. We saw what the team looked like last year without Mario. I seriously doubt there will be any similar dropoff without Breaston this year. Maybe a few more muffed punts and a few less dropped long balls.

"And I’m not sure what your Detroit News/Roscoe’s comment even meant. I alluded to an event that took place in real life, and was reported by a newspaper."

The way that you fictionalized it without giving credit to the reporter was something between completely unoriginal and plagiarism.

About this piece, when I said I don't care about your sandwich, I meant I don't care about the Rose Bowl, Steve Breaston or the ending in August. To me, what makes beginnings so good is that all of that is gone and forgotten. I feel like you tainted the pure hope of August when you went back to January.

Anyway, I'm sorry for being such a prick and I sincerely hope you continue writing about Michigan football.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:01 AM.
I think what I like most about Johnny's writing is that it captures those flashes of irrationally deep emotions we have for these kids who play for our alma mater. You know, we DO love these kids, but not in any kind of a sexual way. For you to write "jerking off," that immediately implies Johnny has folded in some sexual feelings towards these kids. His words have NEVER insinuated anythiing of the sort and you playing that card is ignorant and inaccurate.
Don't try to vandalize Johnny's writing with something maybe you are personally "sorting through"(hey, not that there's anything wrong with that).

9:21 AM  
Anonymous BeantownBlue said...

Don't worry Johnny. We got your back. Just chill for a moment, while we take care of your dirty work.

Ok. Anon,

If you are 10-15 yrs. older than Johnny and do in fact get paid to write, why are you wasting your time pissing all over some up-and-coming blogger's site? Are you really that pathetic? And why does your writing suck so badly?

Now to your points:

1. "Actually, there is no legal difference (between innocent and not-guilty). None. OJ is innocent too."

You clearly have never cracked open a legal book. Ever. There is a huge difference. To give a "Not Guilty" verdict, a defense attorney simply needs to provide a reasonable doubt. So even if a jury has 10 reasons to believe someone is guilty, if they're given one reason to doubt, they must say not guilty. That is not the same as innocent. You are not smart.

2. "You do if (sic) fact seem to be jerking off to Breaston with words."

Dude. Dude. You've got issues. Compared to most sports writing, RBUAS is not even remotely homo-erotic. You don't hear him refer to athletes as "studs" or "shirtless." He's just commenting on a guy's athletic prowess. If you want to discuss the underlying homo-eroticism of men watching sports in general, pay some money and take a few gender studies classes at your local community college. I took a few at UM and they were enlightening. This is a spots blog. Not office hours.

3. "Where's the love for (Ma)rio?"

What part of "he’s one of my favorite players on the team" didn't work for you? Stop beating a dead horse.

4. "The way that you fictionalized it without giving credit to the reporter was something between completely unoriginal and plagiarism."

Anon. A lot has happened in the last five or so years. One major development has been the advent of the "blog." Blogs are different than newspapers (and sometimes preferable) because they don't have to play by the same rules as traditional journalists. There's room for conjecture, rumor, hearsay, and allusion. Personally, I think there's room for both traditional and non-traditional journalism. I like being able to trust the practices of the New York Times, but i also like hearsay and insinuation on blogs.

Having recently completed a Masters in Journalism and taken a "Media, Law, and Ethics" class, I can safely say that Johnny is in ZERO danger of getting "into legal trouble."

And finally:

5. "I feel like you tainted the pure hope of August when you went back to January."

This is where you are most wrong. By starting in January, Johnny deals with the pain and gets it out of the way. While "real journalists" write fluff pieces about the upcoming season, reprinting tired quotes from Big Ten media day, Johnny gives us the fan's perspective. He articulates what we all feel. The sting of the last couple games. The hope for the coming season. The unexplainable optimism we carry into each season, devoid of facts.

This optimism isn't rational. It's not based on stats or analysis. It comes from the gut. It's like eating a sandwich in the breeze with the sun on the back of your neck.

So get off ma' boy Johnny's back.



P.S. Do us a favor and stop responding to tools like anon. It just encourages them and eats up space. Your writing is great and plenty of us think so. Keep fightin' the good fight. BB

12:29 PM  
Anonymous BeantownBlue said...

Oh yeah. The original reason I came here to post.

Did anyone notice Ron Bellamy caught a couple passes (one for a touchdown!!!) last night for the Lions?

Shit Johnny. This could be a serious problem. Like, renaming-your-blog serious. What if Ron becomes a superstar?

Does this site become the Ron Bellamy Late Bloomer All Stars?

Just a thought....

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turns out Johnny and Mighty Mike do have a lot in common. They can't help but respond when somebody says some dumb ass shit.
Who knows, maybe Anon is the HC at Stanford?

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preach on beantownblue, preach on. Johnny don't waste time responding to that. I know personally, I would rather have you post new material than sit here and lay the smack on some 40 year-old who wishes he could carry your jock strap but can't.


4:05 PM  
Blogger john said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

I truly appreciate everything fellas. I guess I just don't understand why a guy who, I assume, is a Michigan fan has such a vendetta against a someone like Breaston. Especially when in a land of spoiled, egotistical athletes, he's separated himself as one who's so far above all of that.

There are a few other things I had a problem with in the guy's other response, but he did apologize, so I'm not going to worry about bringing it up. Of course, beantown did an admirable job anyway.

Re: Bellamy- Definitely a special moment, even moreso because he did it in Detroit. I'm glad you noticed it.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous logic games champ said...

innocent until proven guilty:
found not guilty >> innocent.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I guess I just don't understand why a guy who, I assume, is a Michigan fan has such a vendetta against a someone like Breaston."

I don't have anything against Breaston except that you've made him into your new poster boy of underachievement. If RB keeps catching TDs you could go with SBUAS. BTW, why were you so relieved that your uncle didn't seeing crying for Steve?

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I feel the same way as Johnny does about Breaston. He's not saying that SB was an underachiever. Just that he was under appreciated. True Michigan's fans know that the little things that SB did were huge for the team. More importantly, he was a good person, a "Michigan Man". He had a huge Rose Bowl early in his career and a lot of people assumed he was the next Anthony Carter. His size was never going to allow him to be Braylon-esque receiver. He was however a hell of a return man and a good receiver who represented the University well. Know the author a little better before you rip the underlying tones of his writing.


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous is not cool said...

Using "anonymous" to attack a blogger is so mature. Can't you be less creative? Click "Other" and pick something better.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous something better said...

What's the difference?

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Know the author a little better before you rip the underlying tones of his writing."

I've read everything he's written here. Are you saying that he's not a young, probably closeted gay, ubersensitive literary type who cries at football games?

I recognize what Breaston contributed but I think Johnny's obsession with him is based more on his empathy for a fellow tortured and misunderstood poet.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

"Closeted gay" is probably the least accurate thing Anonymous has ever written, which says an incredible amount considering he's also the same person who doesn't think there's a difference between "not guilty" and "innocent".

I have so many things I want to say - about Breaston, about idols, about crying during sports - but I'm done dealing with this bullshit. I just want to let it be known that the next time someone is personally attacked, I'm deleting the comment. This is absolutely ridiculous. The conversation is over.

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Johnny said...


10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

comments 29-31 are tests, disregard.

10:25 PM  

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