Thursday, January 06, 2011

Losing Touch


Console me in my darkest hour
Convince me that the truth is always gray
Caress me in your velvet chair
Conceal me from the ghost you cast away

I wanted to take some time before I figured out what yesterday meant.  In 2007, in the midst of the chaos of the coaching search, I found solace in the Killers song "Read My Mind" because I became convinced it was speaking to the events in the Michigan AD at the time, however obliquely.  So when I was driving last night and I put the Killers on via Sync, this song came on, and once again, I knew.  (If I had more time, I would make a music video that would explain all of this via story, song, and image.  And since I would need to start by learning how to edit a video, but I digress.)

I ain't in no hurry, you go on
And tell your friends I'm losing touch
Fill their heads with rumors of impending doom
It must be true

It is very clear, by now, that there are many Michigan fans who quite frustrated with "The Process" and the length of time David Brandon took to reach his decision to fire Rich Rodriguez.  I can understand where they are coming from, even if I do not agree.  In less than a year, Mr. Brandon has gone, in the eyes of a great many, from infallible high lord of 1000 S. State Street to just another out of his depth businessman.  This is not my assessment.  It is my firm belief that David Brandon is so far ahead on this, most of us cannot even see it, because we don't have all of the information.  In as much as we lack information, we will fill in the blanks on their own.  And because fear moves product, fear is the prevailing mood of the Michigan fan at the moment.  (Actually, let's be plain, fear is the prevailing mood of the Michigan fan at any given moment.  We are not a hopeful bunch by our nature.)

Console me in my darkest hour
And tell me that you always hear my cries.
I wonder what you got conspired,
I'm sure it was the consolation prize.

David Brandon said yesterday that he would listen to fans, former players, and alums, but that his decision would by no means be a popularity contestMany read this statement (in the larger context of the press conference) to mean that Brandon is set on hiring former Michigan assistant coach and current San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke after he was unable to land Jim Harbaugh. 

I ain't in no hurry, you go on
And tell your friends I'm losing touch
Fill the night with stories, the legend grows
Of how you got lost

But you made your way back home
You sold your soul, like a roamin' vagabond, yeah

One of the current themes in the media is how Rich Rodriguez is a good man, but a bad fit at Michigan.  How he's a good football coach, but he just never really fit in at Michigan.  How Michigan's unique culture made it virtually impossible for Rodriguez to succeed because he never understood "Michigan".  It's the easy way out.  It explains everything neatly, it tells the reader who wants to be quickly mollified that everything will be OK, as long as David Brandon finds, if not a "Michigan man", then someone who gets Michigan and loves Michigan as much as the Michigan fan does.  Maybe it means holding on to the dream of calling Jim Harbaugh home.  Maybe it means finding a tiny white hat with a navy blue block M on it.  But, like almost any college coach, squarely in the crosshairs of the media, fans, and rivals, is going to have black marks against them.

I heard you found a wishing well
In the city
Console me in my darkest hour (in my darkest hour)
And you throw me down

And so we sit here.  We cling to wishing and hoping, every morsel and notion that Harbaugh can still be convinced to come back to Michigan, even as evidence and reports mount to the contrary.  We challenge one another.  We see conspiracy where there is none, and fill the vacant moments with more fear than hope.  Because Michigan fans want to win again, and it wants to win "the right way" and it wants to "be Michigan again."  They want the future to mean something and they want the last three years to mean something, be it a penance paid, a cautionary tale, or just simply bad luck.  But it is foolish to presume that things will be done right just simply because we wish it to be so.  We can't find the middle, because there is no room for a rational fan in a coaching search. 

I ain't in no hurry, you go on
And tell your friends I'm losing touch
Fill your crowd with rumors
Impending doom, it must be true

But you made your way back home
You sold your soul, like a roamin' vagabond

If Michigan has spent the last three years wandering (and really, you can argue rather readily it's the last four years [The Curse of November 17, 2006 and all] ), then we want to know when we can come home.  But we must realize that home is never going to be home again.  My most ready analogy is to a moment in The Late Shift when it is conveyed to David Letterman that NBC wants to dump Leno from The Tonight Show after 18 months hence and Letterman has to decide whether he wants The Tonight Show on NBC's terms, and it's pointed out to Dave that it may be The Tonight Show, but it's not Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

And about how you got lost, but you made your way back home
You went and sold your soul, an allegiance dead and gone
I'm losing touch.

In the interim, my plan is patience and restraint.  Don't let the hope blind us from reality, but don't let the fear make us stumble around in the dark.  Something will happen, and when it happens, we can evaluate it from there.

Godspeed to you Rich Rodriguez.  I hope you find your next job more peaceful and tranquil.  I hope you succeed in a way that you are comfortable with.

Good luck to you David Brandon.  I sincerely hope that the trust that has been placed in you by people way smarter than I am is well founded.  I believe it is.  I would like to know it is.

Fair winds to you, Michigan fans.  May you realize how much this means to you and why it does, and may it help you understand where you want things to end up, tomorrow, next week, next year.

1 comment:

jvan said...

Great post...everybody just needs to take a step back and breath.