His sentences came abruptly to an end and he bit the inside of his cheek every now and then. There was no anger or inextinguishable rage, just a bluntness he was probably too weary to avoid. There was no attempt to placate anyone. Here is your quote, now let me get the hell out of here.
“I spoke when I played with bruised ribs, a bruised shoulder, and a wrist that needed surgery. That told you I was tired of living beside the memory of someone who no longer exists. And that I knew there was a cause bigger than my own, no matter how impossible you think it is to find when you’ve lost nine games. I spoke when I carried the ball six times in a row and tore my limbs away from tacklers like someone was trying kidnap me and I just wanted to survive. That told you I was stubborn and brave and probably a little insane. And I speak when you see me on the sidelines, sitting on the backrest of the bench rather than the bench itself. That told you there are some of these men that I am above, and that I know what belongs to me. I know what I have earned.”
Brandon Minor didn’t really say that. He didn’t have to. There are other ways to tell us that you have arrived.
His cuts are rough and imprecise, and he throws his body around with a selfless, uncommon audacity. “I wish I could be more graceful, but I’m running behind a center Notre Dame didn’t want, a guy with a dislocated elbow, a former defensive lineman, and a rotation of others. It’s second and forever and no one believes we’d pass right now anyway. I don’t have time for precise. Maybe I can handle it myself.” That’s what he tells me. And I love him for it.
This is what he really said after the game: “It’s like some people don’t even believe in themselves when they step on the field. You know it’s just…when you step on the field you gotta’ believe that you the best player on the field, like can’t nobody mess with you. That’s how I take the approach on the field, you know I don’t care who I’m going up against.”
I’m not sad or even discouraged. In a season spent agonizing over the loss of the players who meant the most to me, I see vague traces of new ones. I see it in Minor, Feagin, Fitzgerald Touissaint, Shavodrick Beaver’s loyalty, Darryl Stonum’s repentance, and maybe I’m forcing this all because I can’t handle another season I feel so excruciatingly indifferent about, but watching Minor Saturday made me believe that some of it is real. Five consecutive losses to
In 2003, I watched
When they lost to Northwestern 54-51 in 2000 I was at a restaurant for my grandma’s birthday. Next to the kitchen there was a payphone inside a small alcove in the wall, and there was a wooden door on it like a saloon from the 1860's. I remember I kept having to ask my mom for change so I could call home and ask my dad what the score was. Anthony Thomas ran for 200 yards that day, and both David Terrell and Marquise Walker had 100 yards receiving. But Michigan still lost.
Earlier that year they lost to Purdue 32-31, after they’d led by 18 points on two different occasions. I was watching it in a pizza parlor on a 14 inch T.V. that was on top of a refrigerator, surrounded by cardboard boxes and empty soda cans. I had slept over a friend’s house the night before, and he didn’t have cable. I remember Anthony Thomas ran for a long touchdown and the game seemed secure enough that we could walk back to his house. I know
You want me to write that