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Entries tagged with "football"

Seeing as my last trip entry was incredibly long, i've condensed my past weekend in South Bend to 125 one-word sentences (hey, 37s says stay simple).

Michigan Beats Notre Dame 47-21
chicago . driving. uneasiness. nd. elkhart . elhart. elkhart . hiseys. bar. drunk. sleep. wake. uneasiness. breakfast. casserole. shower. driving. uneasiness. keg. groceries. driving. nd. tailgate. drinking. eating. football. drinking. walking. walking. bar. drinking. lunch. uneasiness. kickoff! eating. interception. TOUCHDOWN! bearhugs! winning. eating. interception. dammit. touchdown. tied. henne! mario! TOUCHDOWN! PAT. missed. dammit. winning. drinking. henne! mario! TOUCHDOWN! bearhugs! oh. my. effing. god. drinking. fumble! recovered! hart! TOUCHDOWN! bearhugs! holy. sh!t! henne! mario! TOUCHDOWN! bearhugs! wow... wow... again?! defense. DEFENSE. touchdown. dammit. halftime. smoking. drinking. hydrate. drinking. kickoff. uneasiness. drinking. uneasiness. rivas. good. uneasiness. rivas. good. uneasiness. touchdown. dammit. leon. INTERCEPTION! over! breath! breath! breath! fumble! TOUCHDOWN! bearhugs! officially. over. wow... drinking. walking. walking. tailgate. dave. wet! boxers! driving. hiseys. eat. highlights. drinking. sleep. wake. smile. driving. chicago.

Just three notes here:

  1. I hate Notre Dame. Have for a while now. But here's what surprised me... the fans there were incredibly nice (nothing over the top to 12 guys cheering for the other, hated team). It's like we've all come to a community hatred of Ohio State. Well, that or the game wasn't really close so there's wasn't much for them to say.

  2. My god. South Bend is in the middle of NOWHERE. I knew it from the '02 trip, but this just reinforced it.

  3. That defense I saw, was unbelievable. I haven't seen such a strong showing from a Michigan defense in years.

3 down, 9 to go.

It's officially Michigan-Ohio State week. That time of year where Columbus, Ohio residents (Columbians?) get prepared to fill up the Ohio River with their tears from another Wolverine whooping. Ahhh, college football.

In honor of the trek I'll be making to Ann Arbor this weekend - where's there not a hotel within ten miles but luckily we've got two IN A2 - I thought I share a little Michigan tradition with everyone.

It's widely know throughout the free world that Michigan's uniforms are the coolest in all of sports. But where did that unique winged helmet come from?

Let's take a trip back in the old time machine to 1938 when Coach Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler took the head coaching job in Ann Arbor. It had been four years since Michigan's last national championship. The program needed revamping. So what does he do to get a stadium named after him? He paints a unique yellow pattern on his players leather helmets. "Michigan had a plain black helmet and we wanted to dress it up a little. We added some color (maize and blue) and used the same basic helmet I had designed at Princeton." 1938 captain Fred Jahnke:

Just before the opener, the old black helmets were replaced with a wing type of today's style; form fitting wool pants allowed freer movement and the old "M" jersey became the tear away kind.

The boys with the winged helmets went out that day and beat Michigan State 14-0. They finished the season at 6-1-1. The offensive stats soared from the season before. The team was winning. The helmet stuck.

There you have it. Well, I'm ready for some football! Michigan pride I guess. Go Blue!!!

The initial email was sent. Activities were discussed. Things were planned. Hotel rooms booked. It's official. We're headed back to Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Ohio State game November 19th.

Actually, we booked a couple rooms at a motel - notice the "M" not "H" - a few miles south of campus. Anyone know of any open hotel rooms within walking distance of campus? We're still looking but the city seems to be booked. Meaning tickets will be non-existent. Meaning we'll be at a local watering hole watching the game. Which is all fine and good with me.

This is one of those great weekends that come every couple years and give you stories to last until the next time it comes around. We're still talking about the game last year (and in all likelihood will be repeating the 5am keg at Elbel). Pub golf has already been discussed. It's just a matter of narrowing the list down. Oh man, liver, get prepared.

The date is circled. I would pack my bags now but I, most likely, will be wearing SOME of those clothes before then. I'm excited. Game on!

As I lay here in bed, on the eve of game 7, I started thinking about all the crazy things sports fans do for their teams to win. Some successful, some... not... so... successful.

I'm not superstitious about anything. I don't believe in psychics, ghosts or lucky rabbit's feet. I have stepped on cracks and my mother's back hasn't broken yet. I've walked under ladders, let black cats pass in front of me and have never wished on a shooting star. But when it comes to sports, I'm as superstitious as they come. I HAVE sat in uncomfortable positions for upwards of 2 hours because my team was playing well. I've stood in crowded bars, in the middle of the busy thoroughfare, because my team was winning. I've worn the same shirt every game day. I've grown beards. I've shaved. I've not showered. I don't watch if they play well when I'm not looking. And when I played... yes, I didn't wash my underwear because we were winning. I'd do anything for a victory.

It started young. I can remember being in the fourth grade, the 1990 Michigan-Michigan State football game was the first time I ever prayed during a sporting event. I sat in the same position for the entire second half — knees up to my chin, back arm resting on the pillow cushion — waiting for Michigan to pull away. My prayers went unanswered. Desmond Howard was tripped in the end zone, the most obvious no call that's I've ever seen (and which the Big Ten apologized the NEXT DAY to Michigan for blowing the call... but I'm not bitter), on the two-point conversion that would've tied the game. I can still remember that day as clear as anything I've ever done.

A couple years ago on a return trip to Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Ohio State game, we were crowded around the tv watching, when Scotty got up to go get more beer out on the porch. As he was pumping the keg, Michigan intercepted a pass. Scotty walked into the room and Michigan gave up a sack. So we did what any real group of sports fans would do... kicked Scotty out. Lo and behold, Michigan scored 2 touchdowns in the next 5 minutes and put the game away. Scotty completely understood and even volunteered to sit out in the freezing Michigan November weather, risking frostbite, for a Michigan win.

What is it about sports that does this to grown men? Is it the reward? The comrade? The fact that this team who you've rooted for for 162/82/16 regular season games is finally able to be the best? For me, I believe it's the last. It's a sense of pride that my boys are the best in the world. My team. My players. My city. You wake up for the next week with a spring in your step, a grin on your face and a pocketful of pride. You're boys are the best. And that's something no one can take from you.

Just look to Boston this past fall. No city has gone through what those fans did. You have hopes; you pride yourself on the success of, not your city, but your teams. You live and die with them. You go through all the ups and downs of the season and grow to know these guys. You feel like these players are your closest friends. You grow with the team, yet you know nothing about these guys. It's a weird phenomenon but one I go through every year.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have one night to figure out what'll make my Pistons win tomorrow night...


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