Sunday, January 02, 2022

Maybe Sparrow

Pictures really are worth a thousand words, sometimes. (Patrick Barron)

Maybe sparrow you should wait
The hawks alight till morning
You'll never pass beyond the gate
If you don't hear my warning

Notes are hung so effortless
With the rise and fall of sparrow's breast
It's a drowning dive and back to the chorus
La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da

Oh my sparrow it's too late
Your body limp beneath my feet
Your dusty eyes cold as clay
You didn't hear my warning
Maybe sparrow it's too late

Moonlight glanced off metal wings
In a thunderstorm above the clouds
The engine hums a sparrow's phrase
For those who cannot hear the words
For those who cannot hear the words
For those who will not hear the words

La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da

--"Maybe Sparrow"
by Neko Case from her 2006 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

There are so many things that one could say about this game but they all come back to one simple truth, Georgia is an excellent football team.  I don't mean excellent in the everyday use of the word; I mean excellent from the Latin meaning "being preeminent."  Georgia defense, which the college football ecosystem spent most of a season calling one of the greatest ever, learned from their mistakes in the SEC Championship Game and played this entire affair like a singular vision of vengeance drove them, Michigan being a mere underboss to get back to the final battle.  Georgia had better athletes across the board, a top-notch game plan, and was crisp in their execution.  You might be able to pull an upset if one of those things isn't firing for your opponent, but when all three hit, it's a long night.

Michigan never quit, though.  They never looked lost or disappointed, or frustrated.  They kept trying, and they were rewarded with a late touchdown.  Perhaps a meaningless cosmetic rearguard action that made the final score look more respectable, but when you realize it was freshman JJ McCarthy finding freshman Andrel Anthony with a critical pass block from freshman Donovan Edwards, the notes of what the future may hold. If nothing else, a small moment of joy for Michigan in a genuinely thorough processing by the Bulldogs.

Many wanted Michigan fans to be sadder about this result than we were, but in the end, nothing of what happened on the last day of 2021 can take away the other joys of 2021.  This team was not supposed to be close to here; their bowl game predictions slated for something earlier in the week in a locale more akin to Nashville.  That it wasn't, that this team slew so many of the dragons that tormented the program and the fanbase, that is the memory of this season.  It may be a new beginning, it may be a one-off, it may be, like much of life in college football's upper-middle-class, a taste of something that may be hard to get back to consistently.  We don't know because the future holds infinite paths, but only one that will become manifest.  But the past is written.  This team will come back to Michigan Stadium in 2031 and celebrate a ten-year reunion, and be applauded by a fanbase that remembers what they did and appreciates it, either for its rarity or as the beginning of something new.

Thank you, Team 142, forever Go Blue.