Welp, let’s just say it hasn’t been an easy week to be a Michigan fan.
If you remember what I’m talking about, I’m sorry for bringing it up again. I know that your professors did enough of that all week. I’ve never heard so many annoyed groans in my life.
If you don’t remember the past week that well, I can honestly relate. Whether it’s the fact that April showers this year have consisted of both snow and rain or that I turned 21 a week ago and took on the Ann Arbor bar scene, my sense of time has been pretty off lately.
In any case, we need to talk about it. Not about the National Championship and Frozen Four themselves, because I know some people who have been covering the teams all year and did a better job of that than I could.
But what I do want to talk about is the different types of sports fans I saw on the day of the National Championship game.
Classes were still in session last Monday, but you wouldn’t know it based on the turnout I witnessed throughout the day. To be fair, I missed my first class as well. But mind you, it was the night after my aforementioned 21st.
I woke up at 10 a.m. in a groggy fog and thought the day’s festivities had just begun, only to find out that I was already late to the party. The lines at popular gameday locations such as Good Time Charley’s and Buffalo Wild Wings had started forming as early as 8 a.m., according to my Snapchat. Tip off wasn’t until after 9 p.m.
As I headed to my 11:30 a.m. work shift in the MLB, I expected the usual hustle and bustle of students rushing between classes. Instead, Ann Arbor looked like a ghost town.
At work, I overheard a conversation at the copy machine between some of the international lecturers in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. They were asking each other about the unusual number of absences that morning. They didn’t seem to know what the big deal was.
The first class I attended was up on North Campus at 1:30 p.m. Any of the buses that go there tend to be pretty crowded, to the point where people are essentially standing on top of each other. But I had no trouble finding a seat that day.
My acting class is pretty small as is, with just 18 students. Even though we were rehearsing our final scenes to be filmed the next week, we just barely hit double-digit attendees. Fortunately, none of the absentees were scheduled to go that day.
We have to turn off our cell phones in that class because they interfere with the equipment, which was a relief because I had already spent too much time watching my friends’ Snapchat stories and trying to convince myself that I could take the whole day off.
My next class was at 4 p.m, by which point even Scorekeepers’ Bar and Grille and Rick’s American Cafe — the popular nighttime destinations — had opened early so people could start their watch parties. If they had already pregamed through the afternoon, those people might not make it to tipoff.
When my class ended at 5:30 p.m., I thought about heading to one of the bars myself to join in on the action and atmosphere. But I didn’t.
The tables would have been long gone by that point, and I had no intention of standing up for the duration of the game. The ridiculously long lines would have been gone too, but I had no desire to watch the game surrounded by drunk people who didn’t know the difference between a point guard and a 3-pointer.
In all honesty, I watched the game alone in my apartment, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Before you start laughing, let me explain.
I didn’t take the day off or go out to a bar because I knew the temptation would be too strong. If Michigan won it all, I wanted to remember it. I’m probably not supposed to say that, but as a second-semester senior who could have had a national championship as a birthday present, objectivity is hard to come by. I’m graduating in three weeks, let me have this.
If you did go out all day because you wanted to absorb the moment with your friends and follow along closely with your fellow Wolverines, then you would have been doing it for the love of the game. And you’re in the right.
But if you did it because you wanted to drink for the hell of it and have an excuse to party on a Monday, then you would have been doing it for all the wrong reasons. And you’re really missing out.
The people in the latter category would have been the ones I heard yelling angrily in the streets — I live a block away from Skeeps — or stumbling out of bars on South U sobbing — as my friends later told me — after the game. The people in the former category would have surely been disappointed but to a lesser degree, because they would have known that Villanova was always the better team.
Call me a purist or pretentious, there is probably truth to both. But the point is that championship games only come around so often. When they do, you should really be a part of the former.
Ashame can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @betelhem_ashame.