There Is Thunder In Our Hearts
This is in response to Dex’s post at Wolverine Liberation Army; the comments left on my post yesterday; and, indirectly, Brian’s post, which was exceptional, but clashes in some places with what I wrote below.
I was 11 years-old when
last won a national championship, and since then they haven’t been very good. At least, not as good as everyone thought they had a right to be. They lost five games in 2005. They lost to Appalachian State last year when they were ranked third in the country, and I’d said before the season that their offense was better than anyone else’s. They lost to Michigan Toledo, Northwestern, and haven’t beaten in four years. Read what I’ve written over that span, and you’ll see that despite the frustration, there’s nothing but unwavering devotion. You tell me I only love Ohio State less intensely because they’re bad, or unfulfilling, and you're either a liar or an idiot. Michigan
I wrote in September on this blog, “I’d rather lose and have a lifetime of players I love than win with a bunch of faceless cogs I don’t like or even feel indifferently about.” Losing does not matter to me nearly as much as it does to most people. It hurts, but more than anything it hurts because I know that the players I love had to endure that pain. I care about the players themselves, and I know winning matters to them. Chad Henne tried to play with a partially torn MCL and a right shoulder that basically wasn’t there; Mike Hart carried the ball 282 times when he was 18 years old and weighed only 194 pounds. Adrian Arrington woke up at five in the morning to run stairs for an hour, and I wake up 15 minutes before noon games and watch most of the first quarter in my bed. I’m sure the tattoo of the winged helmet on your shoulder looks fantastic, and it really is amazing that your daughter’s first word was Braylon. But those players committed far more to this than we have; pardon me for holding onto them a little too long.
People have this bizarre, ridiculously obsessive need to not only root for their favorite team exactly the same way regardless of the circumstances, but also to castigate anyone who roots somewhat differently than they do. It doesn’t give you more privileges if you can recite which high school every player went to, or if you watched every second of every game in person. It’s admirable, but it’s just a feat of strength. People say they love this
team as much as they’ve loved any other, like it makes them an illegitimate fan if they don’t. Well that’s bullshit. You’re not telling the truth. And if you are, there’s something frighteningly wrong with that fact that you can like a player who you’ve known for 11 games as much as you could Jake Long. There’s no justice in that. Michigan
You like watching this
team try to catch a kick (not return, simply catch) as much as you liked watching Steve Breaston do it? Maybe you’ve survived it, but you haven’t liked it. It has been miserable. And if admitting that fact and others like it make me less of a fan, if it means I should go fuck myself, or that I don’t deserve to celebrate a victory over Ohio State, then so be it. Michigan
I am a
Michigan fan; I root for to defeat other teams. But ultimately, we are all rooting for the players on that team. For about 50 games, we rooted for a team that was led by Chad Henne and Mike Hart. We relied on them, and aside from the defense in 2006, we relied mostly on them alone. They were iconic. They defined Michigan for four years as much as this mystical “Tradition” that seems to transcend everything. But in the first game of this season, Michigan started Nick Sheridan, Sam McGuffie, Darryl Stonum, and Martavious Odoms. None of these players had ever played a down for Michigan before in their lives. I never counted on them for anything. How is it at all possible, or even reasonable, for me to care about them as much as Mike Hart. If it seems like there's less emotional investment, it's because on some level there is. It's not intentional. Michigan
The coaches don’t talk the same way, the offense lines up in formations I’m not used to, and I don’t know who most of these players are. I’m sorry that I don’t. I’m not predisposed to disliking them, or the spread, or Rich Rodriguez, just because they are different. But it does take more than a season to know how I feel.
Addressing some specific points of yesterday’s post:
- When I wrote bitterly about Sam McGuffie pulling himself out of Saturday’s game, I was unaware that someone in his family had died. Had I known that, I certainly wouldn’t have written it. His own position coach reported that he decided not to play because he was too hurt, so I had no reason to think otherwise. Even so, it was insensitive, and I apologize for saying it. However, my criticism of his running still stands. In high school, his blocks on defensive ends and blitzing linebackers were glorified summersaults at their legs. I heard there was something wrong with his shoulder that game, but he’s been blocking that way since he got to
. He seems less hesitant to unleash his speed on those wheel plays, and I think he’s been the most instinctual kick returner besides Odoms, but he’s overmatched at running back. Michigan
- In his post, Dex wrote: “It's likely, extremely likely, that these seniors will leave with another loss to
. So those of you… who launch mis-guided, pretentious, faux-literary, never bothered to lace up a cleat in your life, whiny, overly-romantic, over-rated diatribes about the present not being the same as the past; you can all feel free to watch something else. Maybe you can put in your 100th game DVD and masturbate through the tears until you feel good again.” Ohio State
I think most of this is dead-on, and I actually really like their blog. But considering WLA cites Fire Joe Morgan as an inspiration, it’s strange that he would call my credibility into question simply because he thinks I’ve “never bothered to lace up a cleat in my life.”
Oh, and in case any ladies would be retroactively attracted to a timid backup quarterback, my career rushing totals for the Danbury Trojans were two carries for 16 yards and one touchdown. I also successfully handed the ball off several times in practice.
- ShockFX’s second comment is pretty flawless, and in the body of this post I’ve responded to most of the concerns he mentions. I just wanted to acknowledge that I read it. Also, I want to mention that I have only written good things about Greg Matthews, Brandon Graham and obviously Grady. I am most impressed with Graham’s versatility, or the fact that he doesn’t rely simply on his speed and is comfortable playing on the interior. His guarantee against
was charming, in the sense that he knew something had to be done, and thought of the most compelling thing he could. It lost some of its clout though because Mike had just done it the year before, and he basically conceded that the whole thing had been premeditated. Plus, the defense didn’t seem unified enough to grasp the urgency of what he was saying. Don’t forget, up until the Michigan State game they were still trying to convince the coaching staff to let them play with a four-man defensive line. Minnesota