The number of Michigan fans that would gladly have seen their sports fandom pitch headlong to its doom has to be hovering near its all-time high right now. You can't voluntarily abandon it because suicide is a sin but, man, that bridge is looking pretty rickety and maybe if I just take all these things I care about and put them on the bridge and go attend to cargo down by the river I'll come back to find no trace of them and I can go be interested in crochet. There's no such thing as unrequited crochet.
As reactions to this year of Michigan sports go, turning off the hope and settling down into a prolonged malaise is obvious. I was planning some sort of gallows-humor-laden celebration when the three major sports seasons had finally expired and kind of hoping the hockey team would gack it up against Lake State just so it would over sooner. This was always hypothetical. Once the team got on the ice I was pulling for them, but without much fervor and with an eye on the silver lining if they did what they'd been doing all season. I was thinking about a mock funeral.
Brian Cook proves that we are similar sorts of fans
What in the name of all that is holy happened to Georgia? . . . It's almost like every day is the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Somebody get the Mayor some Zoloft or something.
C&F has my back
i think we just suck
tankertoad pulls no punches
Time flies, but it sure didn’t take long to get from here to here, did it? Granted, I’m clearly in the minority---the poll in the immediately preceding link shows the three most popular responses are "It’s good and getting better" (22%), "It’s both bad and good, but more good than bad" (18%), and "It’s bad but getting better" (11%)---but let’s not kid ourselves; of the fretting on display here and the confidence on display here, which one seems sillier in retrospect?
Brian is right, however; fandom is ingrained, and cannot simply be cast aside. Heck, I stayed away from major league baseball for more than a decade in anger over the 1994 strike and the subsequent steroid scandals, but even I couldn’t stay mad forever. The reason the Beach Boys said to be true to your school just like you would to your girl is that sports connections are like family connections. Sometimes, sports connections are family connections. Yeah, you can get mad at your family, but they’re still your family. So it is with your sports loyalties.
Accordingly, our only option is to soldier on, and that can only mean ratcheting up the irrational superstition to an eyebrow-raising level. Hey, it’s worked before. These, it seems to me, are our choices:
1. Burn the Chance Veazey cap. Don’t get me wrong . . . we should all contribute to the "Prayers for Chance" fund, but I bought a Chance Veazey baseball cap at Foley Field last Sunday afternoon, and the Diamond Dogs have gone 0-5 since. That hat symbolizes all the bad luck that has been brought to bear against Bulldog Nation in the last two years. Set it on fire before the weather turns warm for good.
2. Cook. Anyone who regularly follows comment threads around here knows that podunkdawg bakes during Bulldog sporting events. To MaconDawg’s Cocktail Thursdays recently have been added recipes from DavetheDawg and Bravely going forward. As an advocate of feasting on the flesh of the enemy, I say let’s settle on a day, settle on a dish, and, as a fan base, agree to eat the same thing at the same time on the same day as a symbolic gesture.
3. Get my best former mock trial student to call me every Saturday during football season. This one requires a little explanation. When I was coaching high school mock trial, my best student was a young woman who won four best lawyer awards in four mock trial rounds. (She also once complimented the way the grey in my suit matched the grey in my hair, but, as my own high school years demonstrated, "smart" is the first and most important ingredient of "smart aleck.")
For the 2007-’08 school year, we divided up our team into units of one coach and four students (two lawyers and the corresponding two witnesses). Each coach met with the four students over the Christmas holidays to prepare direct and cross examination, which would then be combined into a unified presentation after the team reconvened in January, when school resumed. I had a meeting scheduled with my four students on January 2, 2008 . . . the day after Georgia met Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.
My best student was working on mock trial in her living room on the night of January 1 when her step-father, a University of Georgia graduate, came in, sat down, turned on the TV, and said, basically, this room has been commandeered for watching the Sugar Bowl. That was her cue to leave, and she then realized she needed to speak to me about something regarding the next day’s meeting, so she gave me a call.
At this point, the Sugar Bowl has just kicked off, and the phone rings, and I turn to my wife and say, "Who the hell is calling me five minutes after the Sugar Bowl kicked off?" She was very apologetic, and it was a brief conversation, but, at the meeting the following day, I joked with her that, in the game during which she called me, the Bulldogs beat a previously-undefeated top-ten team 41-10, so, obviously, she was good luck, and I therefore intended to have her call me five minutes after kickoff of every subsequent Georgia football game.
Naturally, I did not actually ask her to do this, since a 40-year-old guy asking a 16-year-old girl to whom he is not related to call him every weekend is creepy, no matter how you slice it. However, that was two years ago, and, since then, a lot of things have changed. She has graduated from high school and gone off to college. Also, the ‘Dawgs have stumbled through an embarrassing 10-3 season as the preseason No. 1 team in the country and undergone an 8-5 collapse, while hard times have, to varying degrees, befallen the men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, and baseball teams. Maybe a phone call from my best former mock trial student five minutes after kickoff isn’t necessarily a sign of good luck, but, since the Red and Black have yet to play a truly outstanding game of football since then, it’s pretty clear that her not calling me five minutes after kickoff is bad luck. Hey, it can’t hurt, can it?
4. Reverse the flow of the Uga statue mojo. Longtime readers of this site already are familiar with my elaborate game day rituals regarding the turning of the Uga statue on my back porch, but perhaps it is time for a change after over a dozen years. I am reminded of the debates over the proper placement of Confederate monuments in the late 19th century; some partisans argued that statues of Southern soldiers should face in the direction of their native region, while others felt they should be facing north, so as not to turn their backs on the enemy.
I have made it my practice to face Uga toward Athens during the week before turning him to gaze toward the site of the game, whether at home, on the road, or at a neutral site, on Saturday. Maybe it is time to face the statue toward the opposing team’s hometown throughout the week, so as to psyche out the foe with his Georgia mojo. It’s worth a shot, right?
What is our best option, Bulldog Nation? Vote in the poll and let me know in the comments below.