"What's past is prologue"
William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 2, Scene I
|Our thanks to MVictors and K. Kuehne for an excellent shot.|
Michigan won a season opener yesterday against an FBS transitional team in a relatively straight forward manner. There was some kinks worked out by the middle of the second quarter, but mostly yesterday is what it was supposed to be. If it were Old Dominion, or James Madison, or Maine, or Georgia State, this would have been a blip, just like it was for Michigan State over Jacksonville State on Friday night. This was what you would want out of a Power 5 team, possibly a Top 25 team in this situation.
But, because of the past, because of names, and logos, and one moment seven years ago, this game was built in to something it never was actually going to be. It's the flip side of a long and glorious past, having to deal with those darker moments you'd rather forget. The players in yesterday's game, none of them were a part of that moment, but they had to answer the questions and carry the legacies of that moment because the fans wanted them to feel it the same as we do about those moments. It's unfair to the players, but it's also part of the passion of college football.
Yesterday did nothing to erase the past. Michigan evened the all-time series, but beyond that, 9/1/07 is never going to go away. What yesterday can do for Michigan is start them down a path where the discussion is about what Michigan is doing, and not what Michigan has done.
When I picked my MGoMix this year, I knew I wanted "Rudderless" as far back as January, because of the key lyric "Hope in my past." We had an off-season of chaos in the sense that we wanted something to hang the hat of hope upon and there did not seem to be a nail anywhere handy. Wallowing in frustration is easier, but utterly fruitless because hope, while it opens you up to disappointment, is just easier to live with as a person.
So Michigan heads to South Bend next weekend for the last time potentially in my lifetime. A series that has, in many ways, defined my life as a Michigan football fan is ending. The sadness there is much more palpable than worrying about reliving one bad day. Notre Dame has given me way more bad days in my football life than Appalachian State. So, as that chapter closes, we'll look back perhaps more wistfully because the end of this thing is really stupid, and stupid makes me sad.