Sunday, September 11, 2022

I'll Take The Rain

"A Tale of Two Post-Game Moods" by Patrick Barron
(Patrick does phenomenal work and you should consider going to his online store and buying some of his excellent nature photography as well.)

I used to think
As birds take wing
They sing through life, so why cant we?

You cling to this
You claim your best
If this is what you're offering
I'll take the rain
I'll take the rain
I'll take the rain

The night time creases
Summer schemes
And stretches out to stay
The sun shines down
You came around
You love easy days

-- "I'll Take the Rain," from R.E.M.'s 2001 album Reveal

A 46-point win that was where Vegas opened the line last week doesn't really have a lot to say about it in the long view.  Hawai'i looks like an improved team from their first two games, which is good, and best of luck to Timmy Chang as he rebuilds the ash heap that Todd Graham left in his wake on Oahu.  It was nice to see Ronnie Bell get into the end zone again after a year away due to the injury, but all in all, it was just a little bit of a strange evening where kickoff came at 9:00 PM, with no MMB pre-game, no touch the banner, but the dispatch of another G5 team that wrapped up just after midnight.

Instead, I wanted to talk about the weirdness of feeling like one needed to have a preference of Cade or JJ in the battle for starting quarterback.  I understand "the choosing" aspect of it; when offered two options, as humans we're going to gravitate toward one or the other for reasons.  Many times in life, the choice of two options is so obvious that we don't even see it as a choice or as something that needs to be decided.  But in many cases, where both options have their merits and deficits, there's a feeling that one needs to render a decision and back up one's opinion with evidence.

I genuinely do not have a preference in the quarterback battle for the simple reason that I have no control over it.  I certainly have sympathy and empathy for Cade McNamara, knowing that he did everything he was asked to do last year as the starter and you know, led Michigan to a Big Ten conference championship for the first time in nearly two decades and their first College Football playoff appearance, only to have his role potentially usurped by a younger player, considered by many to be much more talented.  I mean, this literally happened to me at Michigan, and I learned how hard it is to accept what you can't help but see as a demotion.

On the other hand, you cannot help but look at JJ McCarthy on the field and see all of the potential and moments of wonder.  Yes, there were the inexplicable moments, but every quarterback has those when you're looking and watching closely, but the vibes were "This is the guy who can take us higher."  Which, in the back of my mind, was "OK, yes, but I mean, that next leap is a lot."  But I can't blame people for dreaming, especially during this portion of the non-conference schedule this year, when everything feels like it will be supremely easy forever.

What this brings me back to is mostly the idea that one having a preference must, automatically, presume hatred or antipathy for the other choice.  I am struggling to understand the vein of a very toxic fandom that seeks to denigrate Cade simply because he isn't JJ.  He's still a Michigan player; he still has given and is giving his all for Michigan.  Why would we want to make that player, a peer-elected captain, feel like he is unwelcome by people who want Michigan to succeed?  Moreover, strictly pragmatically, we saw in yesterday's Texas game the importance of having a competent, ready-to-go backup on hand.  Even though Texas did not complete the upset of Alabama, they were in that game because Hudson Card made the most of his time under center.

Cade's performance yesterday certainly makes it hard to make the argument for him being the starter, just as Harbaugh noted that McCarthy will start the Connecticut game "on the merit" of his performance last night.  I feel like this team will figure out a way to all pull forward together, and I think it is in the best interests of our own fandom to remind ourselves that we never had any say in the choosing, so let's just enjoy the ride and where it's headed.

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