Monday, October 07, 2013

Where the heart is...

Taylor, this is on the Jon Falk big list of Jug NO NOs. (Eric Upchurch)

Advertisers, for years, have known the drawing power of the idea of home.  Home is where the heart is.  There's no place like home. They know that for all of its faults, the people that we love are there and our memories, good and bad, are tied to this place.  It is thus no surprise that for a century, colleges have realized the power of memory and the draw of coming home to a place we love in order to bring people back to campus, and make a few dollars more. (True story: Missouri "invented" homecoming in 1911 to guarantee that the Kansas-Missouri game would make money on campus rather than having been played in previous years in Kansas City.)

Homecoming is strange for a season ticket holder, because, theoretically, you're there every week, so yes it's "special", it's different, there are nice touches, like the welcoming back of the alumni and the emeriti and the like, but really, they're a sidelight to the football work at hand.  But yes, coming home, to the Big House, with a piece of pottery on the line, just like old times.

The secret, one easily copped to for many, is that for Michigan fans, we love the old times.  We love what was because the past was so good to Michigan.  Michigan's current home winning streak of 18 games is the longest since 1969-1973 (and a 40 game home unbeaten streak from 1969 to 1975).  Michigan has only been out of control of the Jug three times since 1969 (1977, 1986, and 2005) meaning Jon Falk truly has been the caretaker of the Jug for most of his 40 year career.  We love "dull and boring" football games, where you run behind the left tackle, pick up four, and do it again.  We want the old house to be just like we remember it, even if time moves the reality a little bit further into the haze with each passing year, obliterating the facts for feelings, and data for anecdote and story.  

Michigan is now 5-0, has won 27 of its last 28 Big Ten home openers, has scored in 356 consecutive games (five shy of BYU's all-time record), and has a very realistic shot of heading into the November from Hell with a 7-0 record.  It reminded itself that it's not perfect, but it does not have to be perfect to win, it just has to play within itself, whatever that means.  But we went back to our lives after our visit home, feeling better about the trip and reminded that home isn't perfect, but there's few other places in the world we'd rather be.

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