Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Spot On the Couch

For more than 30 years, on any given Saturday afternoon in the Fall, you could find me in front of a television watching my beloved Michigan Wolverines beat the stuffing out of their gridiron opponents. I understood the main idea of football from a young age: move the ball down the field and somehow get it over the line at the other end. To accomplish this, each side is allowed to do things to the other that off the field would be illegal, which makes this more of a collision than a contact sport.

I’m not a sports nut in general. For example, I don’t care at all for basketball, with the intolerable squeaky-shoe sounds made on the court floor by men playing in what looks like their underwear. It’s all about these colorful teams of young men outside in the autumn with an unlikely shaped ball playing not just for points, but for school pride. I’ll watch any NCAA team play football (except Notre Dame!), but the Big Ten is my preferred conference, and the maize-and-blue is the team in my heart. Until this season…

With a new coach and a new strategy, my fierce Wolverines have had a losing season; their first in 41 years, making this something I’ve never had to deal with before. It’s become so painful that I cannot watch the games anymore; it somehow blunts the pain and disappointment to read about the lost game after the fact. The hardest part about this is that I suffer alone in my family. Lindsey and Ethan are both Spartans, and David’s football loyalty is to the Indianapolis Colts, those professional athletes who have to be paid to play. Bah!

The side benefit of this losing season is that it has freed up Saturday afternoons for me. I’ve filled this time with other things—writing or reading, hanging out with my family, watching DVDs of the grand days of football under Bo—but there’s nothing more satisfying than calling fellow Wolverine aficionados to commiserate and talk about the good old days. I remind myself that the University of Michigan still has the winningest program in football history, and I dream of returning to my spot on the couch on Saturday afternoons next September.

1 comment:

Bright Spirit said...

Hey .... Who is the other person in the whole world who cheers Michigan at ALMOST the same decibel levels as you do? Who has been at the other end of the phone over the years and the Rose Bowl games when the Maize and Blue made a great play or pulled the game out in the last ticks of the game clock?? Who also knows ALL the words of the Michigan Fight Song?? Who is also absolutely not afraid to look like an idiot physically cheering Michigan on ... and getting other people to join in?? ... and who is also a close family member?? Hmmm ... must be your Mom. GO BLUE! (Love you.)