Sunday, November 16, 2008

Freezing to Death

On 30 Rock last season, Liz was defending the idea of getting back together with her loser ex-boyfriend Dennis. Liz said that if you give into it, you just start to kinda feel numb and warm and then you just get sleepy. Jenna pointed out that this is exactly what it's like when you freeze to death. Liz came to eventually realize that Jenna was right.

Standing in the end zone at Michigan Stadium yesterday, in the cold, wind, and wet, I realized the metaphor is also apt for this Michigan football season as well.

I was going to go in to this long sojourn as to how exactly apt the metaphor was, and I wanted to do some research, and landed on this 1997 article from Outside magazine and I didn't want to do it. Read the piece and it's not even funny. It's horrifying, and as bad as this season is, it is mild in comparison.

That said, yesterday was the worst game, from a weather standpoint, I have ever attended at Michigan Stadium. I was at Boston College in 1996 when the skies opened up and I got soaked to the bone. This was worse. I was at the deluge against the Chips in 2006 and could not return to my car, because it was a mile away. This was worse. I was dressed for this weather, I was layered, I was covered in plastic and the like, and I was still freezing. The only solace I had was that Michigan was playing OK, not great, but had a lead.

When you're cold, you can't recognize friendly faces, and you start to not think correctly, so I was seduced once more in to thinking that Michigan would just play as they had in the first half and keep things on the level and get away with another win. I was cold, I was wet, I couldn't feel my toes, and I just wanted the game to be over, and perhaps, more than anything else, I wanted this suffering to be worth something, and a win would go a long way towards being worth something.

I won't recap the annoying manner in which the third quarter went down, as I lost feeling in my fingers and my toes. I won't hammer the officials for the quick whistle on Donovan Warren's interception return, or the mysterious disparity of penalties called on Northwestern (one false start on the first play of the game, one delay of game purposefully drawn for punting room), or the lack of pass interference flags late in the game. I was cold, I was wet, and now I was angry.

The thing is, as soon as I warmed up, I was fine with the loss. I had mildly expected it (as I have become accustomed to this season) and winning the game would have salvaged some pride, but not much else. It was cold, it was wet, it was miserable yesterday, in many ways an apt metaphor for the Michigan season in 2008. The good news is this: The next time I'm at Michigan Stadium in late August or early September 2009, it may be wet, but it will likely be sunny, humid, and warm, but more importantly, Michigan will have a clean slate. This season will be a part of history, hopefully something to learn from, something to grow on, but it will be in the past. It will be a part of who we as Michigan fans are, but hopefully, it will not come to identify us.

Snow can blanket the ground in a visually clean slate, but in the end, it's cold, it's wet, and it has a way of making you feel lost and without direction. When the snow has gone, a new season will emerge, hope will spring eternal, and something new will grow in place of what has happened.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm editing to say "Well written!"


(instead of Jill said "Well said" in comments) That sounded pretty lame. :)

Aram said...

God that Boston College game in '96 was AWFUL. I remember having to stand on our bleachers because there was a 2-inch-deep waterfall flowing underneath us heading for the portals at the bottom of the steps. The corners of the stadium were easily 5 inches deep in water.

This was worse, but not by much.

TSkid said...

I feel sorry for the players - they were as cold and wet as the rest of us. Imagine trying to catch or hold onto the ball.

At least The Cake was good!

Sgt. Wolverine said...

There was one other Northwestern game that was miserably cold and wet -- maybe not quite to the degree of this year's game, but it was bad. I remember that for two reasons: first, because it was miserably cold and wet; second, because one of Northwestern's starting offensive linemen played high school football at Chelsea.

I actually couldn't make Saturday's game, but I was still out in the weather; I was watching Chelsea High School football lose to Inkster in the playoffs. I still got cold and wet, but I got to move around and work instead of just watching.