Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fandom

I love football. It's full of intricacy and athleticism, strategy and spirit. It's beautiful. Most of the time, the difference between winning and losing is wholly a matter of executing well against a well-conceived game plan. Too bad all outcomes aren't as appropriate and straightforward.

But along with the good comes what sometimes seems like more bad than is bearable. Who knew there were as-yet-unplumbed depths of humiliation available to us Michigan fans? Who could even imagine? Wasn't it enough to fall short year after year despite consistently being touted as great pre-season? To have "the best recruiting classes in college football," but somehow continually play stodgy, unimaginative offense (then, bizarrely, have one of your stodgiest and least imaginative quarterbacks transform into the Tom Brady who plays for the Patriots)? To outsize nearly every opponent, but still fail to blow anybody out - ever? Did we really have to add being on the wrong end of the worst upset in college football history? Was it necessary to prove so spectacularly that we haven't mastered one of football's fundamental rules: that the whole point of scheduling a cream-puff on opening day is to kick the crap out of them? Sigh. Another season shot to hell. With any luck, this go-round will at least have a silver lining; this latest disaster should at long last drive the final nail into the coffin of Lloyd Carr's once luminous coaching career.

And that's not all. It looks as if we're off to another season of refereeing miscalls - nice way to hand the game to Auburn, refs. And in both college and the NFL, the head coaching ranks work like corporate America's executive suites. For the most part, we recycle tired old white guys.
(I didn't know Norv Turner was even still alive. Glad he is, but it's a mystery how a great team that for some reason decided Marty Schottenheimer couldn't do the trick came to the conclusion that Norv Turner can.) Unsuccessful with one team/company (or more)? No problem - we'd love to have you come head up our shop! It's as if having once achieved the exec suite is the only prerequisite for achieving it again - regardless of how you did there. And, of course, when the new bigshot is brought in from outside, the highly talented offensive and defensive coordinators who didn't get the job leave the team altogether and go to work for competitors. Sound familiar, corporate executive suite watchers?

Another sigh. But I'm still awfully happy that it's September and we're underway. The only thing more difficult than football season is the off season.

2 comments:

Annie said...

You've passed that same love (and occasional hate) on to both of your children. The boy and I have scheduled a Wednesday night phone call for college football roundup/Bears preview :)

jeffgoblue said...

Nicely written. But I know I certainly see it with a little different perspective after suffering through 2008. App. St. may have been the biggest upset in history (which oddly enough, I now take a perverse sense of pride in -- up yours, Stanford fans!), but 2008 saw the most embarrassing loss in school history (Toledo) and a whole lot of other worst firsts.

How is it that we thumped Florida a year ago? Was that a dream?

I was always an admirer of Lloyd's, though I had grown tired of the underachieving. I do know that regardless of football, those boys who played for him will grow up to be better men because of him. I hope someday I'll be able to say the same thing about our current coach.