Monday, September 03, 2007

Back From Crying in My Beer

I didn't actually have that much beer on Saturday evening. It was like half a cup, and that because the keg was really foamy.

See, I actually got the news about Michigan's most embarrassing loss ever right before I was about to perform a wedding in someone's backyard. Mrs. Coffeepastor kept up on the little ESPN ticker for me and called me on my cellphone. I don't totally get this whole Big Ten Network thing...does this mean they get all the rights to the games that I give a crap about? I mean, Michigan State was on, and I've never been into the Wolverine-Spartan rivalry (I'll cheer for them because they're still Michigan-ish...I hate Notre Dame far more), so I was okay with that.

By the way, the ceremony went fine. Their five-year-old son walked down the aisle with grass stains and dirt all over his tux, which is par for the course for a five-year-old boy at an outdoor wedding. The bride said that they plan on wandering over to worship sometime soon, but I haven't seen them yet.

It's been a different sort of year for weddings. I've officiated at a small second-marriage, a Tuesday Evening Special for a much older couple, a more traditional Cinderella thing for some young first-timers, gave the homily at the Greatest Wedding Ever, this backyard ceremony and then another backyard ceremony at the end of October. Most of these have redeemed my view of weddings because they've been so authentic to the couple's sense of who they are. None of them have been flashy or overdone. The young couple's rehearsal had me on the verge, but we got through it okay.

So anyway, back to how upset I am about Michigan. See, I'm not one of the arrogant Wolverine fans. I'm not one of the constant trash-talking bigmouths, in part because the program has been so shaky since...oh...1998 or so (and don't get me started on basketball). Being stuck in Ohio helps with that, too. So I'm not one of the arrogant Michigan fans...but I am a proud one. I walked into church on November 19th last year with my head still high, purposefully dressed in a blue shirt and gold tie.

Likewise, I walked into church yesterday wearing some random shirt-tie combo but still prepared for my 100% Buckeye membership to remind me about what happened. But they were quite gracious. One guy said, "I'm surprised you showed up today," and later asked my wife if I was impossible to live with the day before (she answered, "Yeah, but he eventually got over it"). Someone else said, "I thought about calling you, but I decided not to." Finally, someone else asked how I was in the typical, agenda-less way, and I answered, "Eh...I'm all right." And even though she reacted in that polite, sympathetic way, something behind her eyes told me that she knew exactly what I was talking about. So I experienced grace from my OSU congregation. That was nice.

Still, we have a problem in Ann Arbor. I've been reading about how Appalachian State was never really the patsy team that people thought they were. I've been reading about how Hart sat for a crucial stretch of the game. I've been reading about early two-point conversion attempts that went bad. I've been reading about how Oregon and others think they're just going to waltz in and do the same thing (what...you don't think they'll be out for blood now?). I've been reading about everyone's lack of focus. I've been reading about Michigan's terrible coverage of versatile quarterbacks. I've been reading about how everyone else has been able to start playing modern-day football, and UM is still using stuff that worked 20 years ago. And, of course, I've been reading about how Lloyd is still the head coach and probably will remain that way through the season.

I think I'll go fishing or something on November 17th. Just remove myself entirely.

And come as early as November 18th, there'll probably be someone new at the helm. Someone who knows what modern-day football looks like. Someone who will fire up his team instead of standing on the sidelines and scowling. Someone who understands the legacy and tradition that he's just walked into and knows that he can't rest on laurels. Someone who knows that if you're going to win one game all year, it'd better be The Game. Someone who isn't Michigan-arrogant, but who is Michigan-proud.

Until then, Go Blue.

Or Go Spartans?

Or maybe I'll just Go Fishing.

2 comments:

Rick said...

On the plus side - App State is a gorgeous mountain campus, and they did much to liven up the first weekend of the football season. If that's the worse Michigan does all year, they'll still be BCS.

erin said...

I do feel for you Jeffie. I will not rub salt into an open wound, nor will I crow it over you.

I think that knowing your team as well as I do (as you know mine), they will pick up the pieces and probably roll till the end. Sigh.