September 18, 2011Dear son,
It was a nice day, not too warm, not too cool. It was a noon start, which is nice because you get home at a reasonable hour and enjoy more football. We chose the Eastern Michigan game because your dad went to Michigan and your mom went to Eastern Michigan, so it's kind of who you are. We needed a ticket for you, even though you sat in mom's lap, because Big Ten rules say so. You clapped for touchdowns. You shook your head no on the block in the back penalty. You cried. You clapped. You slept. You had a bottle. You lasted all four quarters, which is pretty impressive for an eight month old. You tailgated a little after the game. You were mesmerized by the bands. You had a great day.
But more than that, you became a part of something larger than yourself. Your dad was 14 before he went to his first Michigan game (Houston, September 26, 1992, Michigan won 61-7). You were a mere eight months old. You went to your first game a week after Michigan won one of the most exciting games in its history against one of its rivals. You went and saw an unranked Michigan team win its 11th straight game in the month of September, the start of a new era, and you saw one of the most exciting and dynamic players in Michigan history in Denard Robinson. You got to see some great running, one of the hallmarks of classic Michigan teams. You got to see the Marching Band play a fun Michigan themed show. You got to see the new giant scoreboards. You became a part of a tradition that embraces 132 teams and the fans of those 132 teams.
One day you will have your own understanding of Michigan football. I'll do my best to walk you through it, but maybe not too much, because part of the joy is the things you discover on your own. You'll have your own favorite players, and you won't be able to explain why. You'll want pictures with things in Michigan Stadium, and you won't care if anyone else understands it. You'll have your own inside jokes, and it'll be a lot of fun. Maybe you'll write about Michigan football every week, even if less than 100 people read it, maybe you won't. But I hope, more than anything else, that this fandom that I am imbuing within you brings you more joy than sorrow, more fun than fear, and more good days than bad ones. Remember that those who stay will be champions, and that it's always about The Team. The Team. The Team.