Sunday, September 23, 2012


That kind of night. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Feelings are always a difficult thing because they're not transparently logical and it is sometimes, even with a wide ranging vocabulary and a wholly developed sense of one's self, difficult to express how you are feeling, because it may not make any sense to anyone but yourself.  You try but sometimes you just end up more frustrated because the audience to whom you are speaking lacks the context or the empathy (or both) to not only understand how your feeling, but perhaps also the sense that you do not understand how and why they are feeling what they are feeling.  Almost every fight and disagreement in the world boils down to this and the intangibles surrounding it.

But sometimes, it is more than easy to express what you're feeling because it is a feeling shared by a larger number of people.  So, to that, the block quote:
"I want to say sorry to everybody who watches football, watches Michigan football and whoever follows Michigan football.  I want to say sorry and it won't happen no more. I'm going to be accountable for the rest of the season, I can tell you that much.  Whatever it takes for the team to win, that's what I'm going to do. I don't want to feel like this anymore."  
--Denard Robinson 
First of all Denard, that's a pretty big apology and probably unnecessary in the grand scheme.  The people who understand that you are still a net positive, that you are still one of the most dynamic and special players to have wandered through our football lives, well, they don't need it and those who cannot understand any of those things will not care how you feel, they will instead focus on what you did and why it was so awful.  But in an era when personal accountability is used as a punch line or a sound bite all too often, I appreciate the spirit in which it was offered, because I believe from everything I read, it was sincere.

But man, that feeling, that feeling of responsibility that it is all your fault, that you are the proximate cause of a disaster, that you, and you alone, bear the awesome burden of responsibility of failure when so many are counting on you, that has to be hard.  Any of us may have had that feeling, in a small scale, within the private lives we lead, but I don't know if anyone reading can say that they would have felt this way as a 22 year old* and one of the most famous athletes in the country who just laid an egg on national television.  But I do think, if we take inventory, we've had that moment of not wanting to feel a certain way anymore.  It's hard to shake, and sometimes you just need to say it aloud, to hear your voice say the words, even if just to yourself, but sometimes to a throng of assembled media.  You have to know that the road to feeling better comes with telling yourself that this sucks and I am taking personal responsibility to make it better.  It is in this knowledge, in this knowing that you have started down this path, that it, theoretically, makes every part of getting better and not feeling that way possible.

(*-And seriously, talk about having an awful birthday.  If I had time, I'd make up a list of nightmarish birthdays from history, but this one is up there.)

Not a night worthy of emphatic pointing. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
So you stare at a long two weeks, knowing that losing, while unpleasant, was not as devastating a body blow as it could have been.  Sincerely, when you turn the ball over six times, you pretty much need something resembling a miracle to win, and I think after the previous three seasons, that metaphorical well may have run just a touch dry.  Line play looked better on both sides of the ball, I thought Fitz looked like he was starting to get some traction, and I thought that there were enough easy what if moments in this game.  It is, at the same time, less and more frustrating than the Alabama game, because you can see a path through that leads to victory, but you also know that path was not taken.

(Worth noting as an aside: Purdue is the only game this season remaining on natural grass, which I also think didn't exactly help the cause last night.)

As I read countless times in my Twitter feed last night, all of Michigan's goals are still achievable, and the Big Ten suddenly does not look to be a scary monster but rather simply a grotesque.  So, you go out, you get some lipstick and you figure out the right way to dress things up to get to Pasadena, even knowing the whole time this isn't the way you hoped it would be.

No comments: