Sunday, May 23, 2010

Little Boston

The times have made us crazy. We want wins, conferences titles, national titles; we want them now now now. We want the program to just start blowing gold all over the place. Sometimes it's not that easy.

Sometimes you've just got to let it all burn. Watch it billow up into the sky, marvel at its destructive power and note that such a force could only have been necessary to destroy an equally awesome structure. Watch it burn because it is the only thing you can do. Watch it carefully and calmly, letting the ashes settle so that you can finally see everything that is and everything that needs to be done to fix it. Woe is us, for now. We're all trying to drink from the same milkshake; the only certain conclusion is that, amidst the shouting, the contents of that cup containing said milkshake will find its way to the floor, decorating it in a sad display, prompting the purchase of a new milkshake without ever having even enjoyed the first one.

But don't let the flames and the smoke infiltrate your mind. We must not allow the the plumes of darkness to slither in between the synapses that allow us to make decisions that don't fill us with regret and shame.

We all want this. We all want the wins. We all want to be the favored son. We all want the major media outlets to praise Michigan while we currently despise the network's kowtowing to the Standard Oil's of the world.

That's okay. The words ring hollow now, as I say them aloud: we will be back. Say it to yourself. Say it again and again. Forget about Rich Rodriguez. Forget about 3-9 and 5-7. Forget about minor violations and lawsuits and defections and non-qualifiers and everything else. Just think about Michigan.

Whether you support him or not (and for the record, I do...but that's not the point) just think about Michigan. Think about what is good for Michigan. Think about what it could be if given time to rebuild. If we continue to raise our voices, screaming across the room, spittle and words flying like poison-tipped arrowheads, we will all become deaf.

I'm telling you to remain calm, and maybe you don't need such advice. But, if you do, listen: wait. As hard as it is to do, as unsatisfying as it may be, wait. Tune out the world if you have to, for the world is not as understanding as we would hope. The world sees numbers and headlines when we see lackluster depth charts and injuries and a coach that can do the job if given a little time, as he's proven in the past. We must retreat into The Fort and examine ourselves before we say "But what about USC?" That's not to say that we've done anything worse than USC, but, in the end, who cares about them?

I'll be honest when I say that the total sum of the Michigan fanbase worries me. The booing during the 2008 Wisconsin game was a moment that shook me. Michigan completed one of the greatest comebacks in Michigan history, and I forgot about the booing for a while. But it happened, and it still simmers under the surface, living in my subconscious like a subtle reminder that maybe things could in fact collapse. I can only imagine how the players felt. I understand that playing and watching football often involves primal, knee-jerk reactions. I've been there. After The Horror, I said some things that I wish I hadn't. But that day against Wisconsin, amongst the litany of potential reasons supporting the idea that this center cannot hold, reigns supreme; that moment, as the team ran into the locker room, showed me that even the ostensibly key jinglin', down-in-front Michigan fanbase has a little Plainview in 'em. Perhaps it was one instance that thousands of people regret today in retrospect; maybe they don't regret it at all. It's likely that many do not. I am not against criticism. But that...that was something foul, something objectionable.

Don't let the end make you crazy. Don't let the goal fray the neurons that make you sane. Absord the pangs of defeat like a haymaker to the chin. Let it sting and pain you. Allow the wounds to scar over and become immortal reminders of where we've come from. College football fandom is sadistic in this way. But it is also glorious when the time comes for it to be so.

All I know is there's oil under there somewhere. We just have to wait and be honest to ourselves and those that strive to make the program better the best way they know how. They feel like we do. Indeed, they feel more than we ever could.

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