Life and Times

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's been a surreal day. I'm not going to say anything that hasn't been said already, but I'm going to anyways. Bo Schembechler was, besides my Dad and Grandpa, my main role model growing up. Quite simply, he was a man who believed in living a certain way...and instead of just talking about what he believed in, as many do in today's world, he actually lived his beliefs. He was loyal. He had integrity. He demanded nothing but the best from himself, which allowed him to do the same with others...not just as a football coach, but in all areas of his life. Many stories have come out today from people that didn't play football here in Ann Arbor who had their lives touched by Bo...people who had only met him briefly, and then seen him again years later, to have him remember something personal about their brief encounter. He would remember specific details about these encounters such as someone's hometown or their family...and ask about them. Aside from showing his meticulous attention to detail, these stories also exhibit the geniune interest he took in the well-being of others.

As an example, Free Press columnist Chris McCosky wrote a nice piece about an encounter he had with Bo:

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061117/SPORTS08/611170461/1004

Sure, he wasn't perfect...he could be a mean son of a gun at times...but he was a guy who pushed people to accomplish feats that they might not have originally thought they were capable of...a true coach in every sense of the word. Honest, loyal, disciplined, hard-working, LOVING. Those are a few of the many attributes that describe the old coach. Speaking personally, he is the main reason I developed such a love for this University as a kid...a love that has only grown with time as I have been fortunate enough to spend time here. The integrity with which he ran the program here can't be questioned. Neither can the results. And most importantly, neither can the simple fact that he touched many, many, many lives simply by sticking to a standard of excellence in all aspects of his life and never wavering.

And let's get another thing straight...Bo wouldn't want to watch the game with anyone else other than Woody Hayes!!! If ever there were some higher forces at work surrounding a sporting event, this would have to be the one. I'll be leaving for Columbus in 4 hours and, like other Michigan fans all around the globe, have felt Bo's spirit in me all day long...AND LORD KNOWS EVERY SINGLE MICHIGAN MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IS GOING TO NEED IT TOMMORROW IN COLUMBUS!!! BO WOULD WANT US TO REPRESENT MICHIGAN IN A MANNER WORTY OF BEING CALLED "LEADERS AND BEST" TOMMORROW! FROM EACH AND EVERY PLAYER STRAPPING ON THAT WINGED HELMET TO EVERY SINGLE FAN MAKING THE TRIP DOWN!!! WEAR YOUR MAIZE AND BLUE WITH PRIDE AROUND COLUMBUS!!! HANDLE YOURSELF WITH DIGNITY AND CLASS!!! AND HELP US BRING HOME A VICTORY THAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST VICTORY SINCE NOVEMBER 22ND, 1969!!! GO BLUE!

"The team, the team, the TEAM!!!"
--Bo

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A couple quick links about Saturday to check out before I actually sleep for over 6 hours tonight:

a great blog entry -- http://http://umichedme.blogspot.com/2006/11/marvel.html

youtube MVP...i may or may not have cried while watching this (each of the first 3 times) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBYpS1ZLf2w

that's all for now...hope everyone's week is going well...GO BLUE!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's been awhile, eh? I am going to try and make a post everyday this week. Why? BECAUSE IT'S MICHIGAN-OHIO STATE WEEK!!! If you are wondering, I do have a ticket to Saturday's game and will be in Columbus to watch. At this point, I truly can't imagine what it's going to be like down there. This will be my 3rd Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus, and the previous two were absolutely crazy. The 2002 game featured all of the horror stories you hear from Michigan fans visiting Columbus. If you recall, 2002 was the Buckeyes' championship season, and their victory gave them a birth in the national championship game...and after the game, I had to walk 4 blocks (on High Street) by myself to give my friend his keys (don't ask why, long story). Anyways, on the 8 block round trip walk, I had the following objects thrown on me: FULL beer bottles, cigarette butts, empty beer cans, and something that I believe was an already eaten buffalo wing. I also was shoved by some guy walking with a bunch of his buddies (it takes some real balls to push the one Michigan fan amongst a mob of hundreds of Buckeye fans, right?) and was flipped off by approximately 50 people. All of this happened simply because I was wearing a Michigan jersey and hat. I didn't say one word. True story.

The 2004 game wasn't as bad. We received the usual verbal bashing...which you expect at any school you go to with Michigan gear (with the exception of Northwestern). We had some stuff thrown at us, but nothing came close to hitting us...and none of the thrown objects had the potential to hurt us. And many of the Buckeye fans we talked to were very cordial and friendly. The verbal bashing is definitely more severe then at any other Big Ten school...which is why I can understand Michigan people not wanting to take any young kids to a Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus. I had this conversation with the owner of Moe's today. You hear language down there that kids just don't need to hear. Is that sad? Yeah, it is...but I DO think that the reputation that Buckeye fans have developed is overblown. I think that there are more Buckeye fans that act like idiots than at other schools (and believe me, I know we have our idiots here in Ann Arbor)...but I still think that the majority of Buckeye fans, particularly the alumni and most students, are good fans. They are passionate about their team and give you some friendly digs, but nothing over the line. It has been my experience that the people acting like idiots down there are not alumni...they are the random Ohioans that are Buckeye fans but don't go/never went to school there...and that includes people from schools like Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio...I had people from those two schools throwing stuff at me in '02.

Those experiences bring me back to what I am anticipating this Saturday. I really have no clue. I would expect something similar to '02...you could definitely feel the tension and hostility the Bucks have towards Michigan walking around campus on Friday night (when I didn't have any Michigan gear on) and before/after the game on Saturday. On Friday night in '02 we were driving around campus (New York plates, of course) and could hear F*%k MICHIGAN chants every other block...with matching spray painted signs with the same sentiments hanging from 3 other houses around campus. And that was just when the Bucks were undefeated! Saturday's game is truly going to be the biggest, most hyped non-bowl game in the history of college football! And it's a 3:30 kick! You better believe I am going to be avoiding High Street at all costs! I am hopeful that the excitement and anticipation surrounding this game will outweigh the hatred that SOME Buckeye fans have for us Wolverines...and I believe that it will. This entire Michigan football season has been really special...and Saturday's game is truly one that could be classified as "once in a lifetime." I think that both sets of fans will rise to the occasion.

Shifting gears, I know I didn't post anything about the World Series. It sucked. It sucked to lost doing things we hadn't done all year. Heck, in the entire history of the Detroit Tigers we had never had 3 game in a row where our pitchers had committed errors...and we did it in 5 games in a row! In the World Series! So the Series was disappointing because we didn't play well. And that's all I have to say about that.

Regardless, this past season was simply unbelievable. The Tigers made the World Series. I had great seats to watch Kenny Rogers' gem against the New York Yankees in the playoffs with my Dad, brother, and uncle. Just an electric atmosphere. I witnessed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to send the Detroit Tigers to the freaking World Series. I got to celebrate with my friends that night. I have goosebumps as I'm typing this. I was fortunate enough to attend the only World Series victory we have had in the past 22 years with my Dad, sister, and friend. Simply incredible. I was at games against the White Sox, Cardinals, and Yankees in the regular season where we won in dramatic fashion. I simply could not have asked for anything more than what I received from the Detroit Tigers this past summer and fall. I will always have the sweet memory of watching Craig Monroe's grand slam cutting through the July night and landing in the left field seats to put us ahead agains the White Sox. Magglio's walk off. Kenny in the playoffs. Verlander. Zumaya coming in from the bullpen. Granderson sending us to extra against the Reds. I can replay those feelings in my head whenever I want to. I can feel the adrenaline running through my veins when I think about them. Heck, I'm sweating right now because I'm so fired up. Rooting for a good baseball team has been everything I thought it can be and so much more. After Magglio's walk-off put us in the Series, Sean Casey was asked how he felt. He said, "You kind of go numb with excitement and joy...it just touches your heart." That describes the way I feel about the 2006 Tigers perfectly.

One final note: I love the trade. Sheff is going to have a HUGE year. Book it.

GO BLUE! BEAT THE BUCKS!