Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ruminating about MSU and the Audacity of Hoke

This little guy got multiple
concussions during the game.
I've returned to the living, back from the self-imposed period of dark and solitary reflection that started during the last play of the Michigan-MSU game when, as MGoBlog so rightly called it, "The Worst Thing Ever" happened. 

It was the Worst Thing Ever. I screamed and beat my Dammit Doll. I set a world record for the number of times "No!" was yelled in less than 10 seconds. I unleashed long and creatively strung together curses. Dinner out was cancelled. I couldn't even be bothered to get a calming beer or glass of wine. Dead inside, I slumped on the loveseat, stunned, ill, and unable to tend to anything but the most rudimentary functions. These feelings festered well into Sunday and the early part of the work week. I think I was actually depressed for awhile. When I did find some moments of respite, someone on the radio or TV or in social media would yank me back into my abysmal sadness. I read about the end and listened as the world talked about it. I have yet, though, to watch a replay of the Worst Thing Ever and hope I never will.

I was ruminating, which is defined as 
repetitively thinking about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of one's negative emotional experience. I'd certainly nominate the Worst Thing Ever as the mother of all negative emotional experiences. Psychology Today warns that rumination can lead to many bad things, including: 
  • becoming depressed (was almost there)
  • increased risk of alcohol abuse and eating disorders (would have been there if I could bother to get off the couch)
  • fostering overall negative thinking (paranoid feelings that Jim Delany is out to get Michigan?)
  • impaired problem-solving (does avoiding them count?)
So, with those evils before me, I'm determined to stop ruminating about something as unimportant in the world as MSU. It's ironic that this came to mind in writing about Michigan State, because East Lansing is home to a variety of ruminant creatures, like cows and sheep and Mark Dantonio. They're rather complex beasts. All I know about them is pretty much shown in this cross-section of a cow. It eats. The grass rolls around and does things in there that make acid reflux sound simple (and attractive.) And then it poops. Somehow these beasts lead to ice cream and cheese, so I can't knock them too much.

I always thought mental rumination was called that because thoughts rotated in the mind like the grass inside a cow. After this doleful week, I understand the relationship between the mental act and the cow much more clearly. It's not about the regurgitation process. It's about the poop. Cow poop. Mental poop. They're both stinky. And I felt like the end-product of bovine rumination for quite some time after Saturday.

So, in an effort to ease my mind and move on... to put steel in my spine as our coach recommends ... I will say nothing more about the game itself and my opinions of how it went. It's done. It's all been said already. I'm at peace now. (Mostly.) We're okay. It was a Great Horrible Accident. The rest of the season, culminating with the Buckeyes in the Big House, can still show us successes that we only dreamed of just 
one year ago. Let's put an end to this cud-chewing and look onward and upward, where our Wolverines are heading.

Speaking of last season, an uninvited blast from the past actually interceded mid-week to immediately take my mind off the evils of MSU and B1G officiating. His voice and his words were like bombs going off around Michigan fans just beginning to heal from their football PTSD. 

He's baaack!

After about 10 months of blessed Hokelessness, in which the Wolverines already have as many wins as they did the entire 2014 season, Brady Hoke emerged from exile, condescending to give his opinion of The Worst Thing Ever.

In doing so, he actually second-guessed Jim Harbaugh, saying he would have gone for it instead of punting at the end. He (and the 10 players he'd likely have on the field) would have accepted the risk of putting the Hail Mary ball into Connor Cook's hands, trusting the top-rated defense to keep him from burning us. Later he went on to say Harbaugh's success early at Michigan validates his rebuilding of the program. You know, his 31-20 upgrade from the late Carr/early Rich Rod years.

I call this, with apologies to Barack Obama, the Audacity of Hoke. The headset he now wears as a Sirius radio personality must be restricting oxygen-bearing red blood cells to his little head. Our former head clapper and sponsor of the words Well, practice, and apologize, left us in 2014 with a mortifying 5-7 record. Yet he was brimming with advice and opinion on all things Michigan and Harbaugh, speaking on his show and in some later interviews with SI. 

Listen to Hoke's entire SiriusXM statement on Soundcloud: 

Or enjoy his additional comments on Harbaugh, Michigan, his Wolverine legacy and his coaching future here aSI Campus RushMake free to laugh, weep, or gnash your teeth as you see fit. 

Hearing Hoke make noise about...
  • his own end of game management (and ballsy decision-making), like that heartbreaker in Columbus and the 2 point conversion
  • his growth of the program, almost to the point where you expect Harbaugh should be thanking him publicly
  • his implication that he's somehow on par with Rich Rodriguez, Jim Harbaugh, David Cutcliffe, and others
  • and wanting to be a coach in a Power 5 conference again 
...makes me feel that poor Brady has been a victim of excessive rumination himself since his firing in 2014. Signs of impaired decision-making are clear (opening his mouth and rather than stuffing it with pizza, commenting on the Worst Thing Ever AND judging Harbaugh's decisions) coupled with growing delusions of grandeur (Michigan's success this year has anything to do with him?) 

We see here a fine example of the dangers of letting your mind contemplate the negative too much. Brady Hoke's 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stomachs, in conjunction with his single brain, have created a masterpiece of ruminative (rear)end product this week. It isn't just about his regurgitation of his time at Michigan, it's about the poop. And apparently his has grown more fragrant in the aging. My nose, for one, isn't buying it. 

Luckily, he can get back to that pizza now.

A Needed Bye Week Break

We're in it, Wolverines. Enjoy it. Look forward to the onward and upward sans cows, Horrible Accidents, and the revisionist history of our discarded coaches. The rest of the season starts next week.

Go Blue! Beat Beat the Gophers!

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