Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hate Week Illustrated: The Spartan Feelings Meter Returns

I stopped using this after The Horror last year.  It's time to bring it back.

Spartan Feelings Meter about Michigan

I hope I don't have to retire it again later today. I tell you, football PTSD is a real thing. If it wasn't a noon game, I'd surely explode in anticipation. I know what we SHOULD do in this game. I know what the outcome SHOULD be. Forgive me if I harbor a few reservations. Completely irrational and unwarranted reservations. I just need to get this one done and done with surgical precision. I'll be on the road to recovery then.

I expect something on the order of 45-7 or maybe 52-10. Basically, big score (M) to little/no score (MSU).  I think we'll see heroics from Peppers, Lewis, Stribling, Higdon, and many more. I also expect to see the Sparty QB (Connor Lewerke or Messiah O'Connor or whatsisname) on the ground wearing a maize and blue bulldozer with a #3 on it at least a couple times before it's over. I also expect that the Sparty thugs will be up to their usual hijinx, targeting Speight, trying to end Peppers' career, and Sparty-things like that. 

We'll see how all that works out. Karma and the Football gods must be on our side. I spoke of bloodlust after Rutgers, but I'm finding that I was just having fun that weekend. This. This is bloodlust and I want Dad to rain hellfire on the smug Spartans and their constipated coach. 

#BurnIt #FireDantonio   Make that trend by about 4pm today and I'll be a happy girl.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trey Burke, We're So Sorry

[Update: Burke has since tweeted that his comments were taken out of context. Maybe so - I want to believe it. I suppose he wasn't well-prepared to deal with the media or public panel discussions while he was in Ann Arbor anymore than he was prepared to handle anything else. And yes, maybe I'm still hard on him in my comments below. In his position, you need to know how the things you say will be twisted and interpreted, if in fact that's what happened. What I say here is just my opinion, informed by my own time at Michigan. I don't expect most people to agree with me. And that's okay. We all view things like this through the lens of our own experiences. Peace.]

I take this break in my MSU Hate Week fun to bring up a topic I only became aware of very late yesterday. Apparently while I was dreaming up invasive medical procedures for Mark Dantonio, a former Michigan basketball player, Trey Burke, was slamming the University of Michigan for a number of "slights" in a very public forum.

He appeared recently before the Knight Commission to tell about his experiences as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. The Commission was formed as an advocacy organization for NCAA reform and NCAA athletes.

Mr. Dantonio, you can thank Mr. Burke for drawing the eye of Sauron (me, in this scenario) away from you and toward a Michigan "student-athlete" for at least today. You're welcome.

Here is my message to Trey Burke:

I used to really think you were a great guy and a great Wolverine. I was really sad when you ditched the University for the NBA after just two years here. I felt that if you stayed, we really might have become champions. But when all of you "stars" left, we did not become champions, and most of you didn't become much of anything in the NBA either. Still, I wished you well. No one figured you'd stay anyway. Life goes on ... and Harbaugh.

And now you appear before the Knight Commission to lay out a list of complaints over how you were forced to live at U-M? How you were supported? Is that the sound of the world's tiniest violin I hear? Playing the world's saddest tune? God help me.

Well, Trey, we're so very sorry that your extremely brief time here was so awful. 
That dorm food for athletes, which is 10x better than dorm food for little people like me who PAID A LOT OF MONEY to be here, was not as good as your mom's. My mom was a great cook, too. I ate dorm food for a year and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese and fish cakes for three years in an apartment after that. I never complained. And mom cooked for me as a treat when I came home or she visited. 

We're sorry you feel you need to be paid to be a student-athlete in order to survive. You got your tuition and books and room and board paid for, plus you had academic counseling, and all the physical training you could handle for FREE. But you needed more cash on hand than the average Michigan student who needs some pocket cash AND tuition and books and room and board and all the other expenses you took for granted. What a pain for you. How much fun money went toward your tattoos instead of superior food? Just askin'.

We're so very sorry that Coach Beilein and Athletic Department programs didn't prepare you to handle the potential challenges of professional basketball as a sophomore, because you seem to think that this was their job. Thank you for clarifying what their jobs were, because the rest of us all think that their jobs are to support the student-athletes,  make sure they are getting an education and as much experience as they can to improve athletically, should they want to move on to a professional career after college. Their jobs are also to WIN. It is college, not a farm team. YOU are the one who didn't prepare. YOU are the one who let the University down after they gave you so much. YOU made the choice to "check out" and stop being a student-athlete, becoming just an athlete looking for a big NBA "upscale" meal ticket. When you gave up on your commitment to the University and its success, why does the University owe you advice on how to deal with your agent or how to invest your money? If you'd stayed four years, you might have found some excellent classes to teach you that. You might have matured in a way that made you a more critical thinker when it came to analyzing how to proceed with your career.  You also might have matured as a player and increased your success in the pros.  You left and Michigan owes you nothing.

I will end this by saying, grow the fuck up. You sound like an entitled prima donna, now making millions for doing very little in the NBA. Face reality. Mommy can't always be there to cook for you or make things better. Your coaches, your managers, your do a job for them. Sure, some may be the type of people to offer you advice and be role models for you. Don't expect that you can dishonor your own commitments and still have the world fall at your feet because you can sink a three pointer in your sleep. 

Complain about Michigan all you want. There are five arguments against you for every one you can lay down at our feet. Maybe you and Chris Webber can hang out and sort out how you both got screwed by Michigan, how the bacon and eggs were bad, and how you weren't taught to invest your millions at age 20.  

Leave the rest of us free to think about how to pay off our student loans, or how to invest in our new 401K when our first job snags us $60K/year, or how to swallow the dorm food that goes to the people who don't have access to the "Training Table."

Good luck out there. It's a tough world for a millionaire. But I can only guess at that.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hate Week Illustrated: Dantonio Preps for the Wolverines

I don't believe in jinxes so I'm going to enjoy Hate Week this year with #EUTM. Yes, I know full well that strange things can happen (like that science fiction show in Happy Valley last week where a James Franklin PSU team stunned the #2 Buckeyes) or say, weird things happening in a kicking game with no time on the clock and the enemy running it back for a score even though the game was essentially over. I have some vague, tormented dreams that I lived through something like that.

But I don't think bad things will happen this year. MSU is not going to win this game. They're going to feel the collected wrath of every Michigan player who lived through The Horror Years and Mark Dantonio is facing a Harbaugh who does not take whiny, snarky chatter against him or his program well. Amend that, he takes it quite well, but his memory is infallible. Remember what he did to Rutgers as a lesson in chatter and whining about farming The Garden? Let's just say Dantonio is going to pay for years of butt-clenched, angry old man sniping. "Pride comes before the fall." "Where's the threat?" "The only response I have is maybe some day the little brother grows up." 

No, there's no way Harbaugh is going to go lightly on Mark. Or if he does, it will be with a dose of GoLytely, an excellent solution for what's about to happen to the old grumpy cat.

Because the only thing Dantonio needs to prep for is a thorough, eyes-wide-open colonoscopy on Saturday. And I. Can't. Wait.

Mark Dantonio, as grumpy cat, prepares to have a colonoscopy at the hands of the Wolverines

More to come. I am in no way finished enjoying this week.

Go Blue! Beat Sparty!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Recovering from a Day of Bloodlust

Blood is a mysterious thing.

It's a life-giving river flowing through us from the arterial tributaries of generations of men and women we never knew, but whose DNA stretches still within us. I'm fascinated endlessly by thinking of the parts of my being for which I can thank some Danish Viking or Saxon warlord that fought into my gene pool over a 1000 years ago. 

I see it in my absolute love of winter and cold. My ability to wear the scratchiest wool. Even in my appreciation for sharp, well-balanced, utilitarian knives that can get just about any job done.

Something happened yesterday, though, that surprised even me -- the Viking Warrior Princess that my friends have called me. Michigan beat Rutgers into a bloody pulp and rather than feel by the second quarter that we needed to stop the madness, I felt a berserker bloodlust rise in me that was unexpected and exhilarating. I'd hardly given Rutgers football a spare thought in my entire life and yet, there I was late in the game getting angry that they got a first down. Horrified that we almost allowed them that one called-back score. 

I was a cold, heartless Michigan fanbeast who wanted to see how far we could take it. I've been going to Michigan games since the early '70s and have seen lots of blowouts that put me to sleep. This one had me begging. One more TD please. Go for two. Get them back to negative yardage. More shots of their coach staring in abject horror. Volume up on their band playing our victorious march. Let every NJ Wolverine play every position and run it up to 100 - you have three minutes left!

Then it came to an end. 78-0. And then there was baseball that's not the Tigers and some sad West Coast games to turn to. Ugh. The mental let down was real. Not unlike, I imagine, how it felt to storm a beach screaming into your enemies' homes, stealing all they hold dear, then having a moment to process your mad success and your power and your domination and wondering, "So, what do I have to match that feeling today?"

I know that much of this comes from watching Rutgers and coach Chris Ash using a soft little twig to jab with child-like glee at Coach Harbaugh and the Wolverines over the past several months. Their taunting words must be haunting today: "this is our national championship" and "we would choose Chris Ash over Harbaugh any day." And the actions that may haunt Rutgers for years: bringing a reported 200 recruits to watch their "national championship" - then not sending them home before the end of the 1st quarter. The patience with which Harbaugh took this yearlong buzzing was perfect. His design to pay them for it had to be expected. Ash could not be that stupid, right? Harbaugh taught Rutgers a valuable life lesson last night and he was quite merciful in the doing. He stormed their garden, spilled some blood on their grounds, stole some of their loot (hopefully some 4*/5*), and left them alive to report their story of horror to those who would replace them in the fray another day. He was a better man than I would have been, but now that my blood is cooled, I can admit the wisdom in that. 

What I can't deny is that the bloodlust is alive in me now and I don't know if I can quell it going forward. The taste was as glorious as a half-price Ruth's Chris steak. The rush was pure catharthis. To feel the same way against the Spartans... the Buckeyes... jeez, my heart would explode. It's needed that feeling for so very long.  Until those battles happen, though, I'm going to make a valiant effort to temper myself. Each game as it comes. Trust in our leadership. Believe in our team. There is nothing they can't achieve this year. Even the Vikings knew when to fight and when to farm the garden. 

And now, off to ready myself for the greatest antidote for bloodlust. Indifference and the Lions.

#GoBlue from my bloody red Viking heart! Skål!