Saturday, November 18, 2006

Michigan Pride

Okay, so when it comes down to it, the Wolverines lost 42-39.

I can't bring myself to get too upset about 42-39. And after a week of stewing and moaning about Troy Smith and the expected "Hey Pastor, how'd your team do HAR HAR" that I'm already recieving, I'm pleasantly surprised that I feel this good.

Truth be told, I've been riding a high since June. That's when I first realized that the Tigers might have a shot at appearing in their first World Series in 19 years. I took every opportunity that I could get this summer and fall to wear my Detroit hat out and about. Then college football season started, and simultaneously I got to watch the Tigers plow through the first two rounds of the playoffs and the Wolverines make up for an absolutely miserable season last year.

I told a story during one of my sermons recently. I have an autographed Tigers baseball and I talked about my first visit to Tiger Stadium...the first of a handful of such first baseball experiences. I thought about that a lot: my first baseball story comes from Detroit. That became significant to me the more I thought about it because people here don't talk about their first game being in Detroit...they talk about Municipal Stadium or Jacobs Field. As I put together that sermon, a light went on: I truly am a Michigander at heart.

There's something here about origins for me that I'm not explaining well right now. How about this: I'm swimming in a sea of origin stories that begin in Northeast Ohio. Mine begins outside Detroit and then all over the state of Michigan for the first 7-8 years of my life. What I'm trying to say is that this is the most I've consciously lived into that origin.

Bo's death drove it home. The reactions from both sides showed me how special this rivalry is; how special it is to be not only a Michigan fan, but to be from Michigan.

And I still do consider myself that. Actually, up until the game started I'd been stewing and moping all week about how horrible it is that I have to put up with this state and how tired I am of hearing "OH...IO" and why am I still here and man, is scarlet and grey annoying. The transition from moping to pride started when everyone started talking about Bo. It transitioned from "How can I sing 'Hail to the Victors' in a foreign land?" to wanting more and more chances to wear my blue and gold and scrounge through boxes to find my Michigan pin so I can use it as a tie tack among all those Buckeye loyalists who will take their little ribs tomorrow. Not that all that wasn't there before...I'm just finally finding it a nice fit.

I wrote the other day about hurt pride. Something started in June that has fully blossomed tonight. I only feel the pride right now.

Yes, Michigan. And Go Blue.