I have a friend who says her life is like a movie. That”s always been an ambiguous statement that for some reason makes perfect sense. It”s easy to feel the same way that somehow, your life is a screenplay, acted out before your eyes. What I”d always had trouble with was the follow-up question:

Paul Wong
David Den Herder<br><br>The Sports Monday Column

Why is life like a movie?

Now, that can be the source of many hours of ceiling-staring late at night or a swig from a beer bottle and a simple “whatever.”

But this past week, as the Registrar harassed me to declare a major and two more friends were accepted to post-graduate programs, I realized all this time that I”d been struggling with the wrong follow-up question.

Because it doesn”t so much matter why life feels like a movie.

The real question should be, “What kind of movie is life like?”

The reason I”d never thought to ask such a thing before had a lot to do with the Michigan football team or perhaps more accurately, the 1997 football season.

Showing up on this campus as a freshman, it is easy for football to become a big part of your life.

For me, there was really no choice.

For whatever reason, I”d decided to try my luck with the Michigan Marching Band a commitment that brought me to Ann Arbor two weeks before classes even convened. And from that point on, life revolved around Michigan football. Every play, every story, every step the players took down the Michigan Stadium tunnel the only people following the season more closely than I was had offices in Schembechler Hall.

We watched every Saturday as the Wolverines conquered, and returned to practice every Monday with more vim in our steps, more vigor in our voices.

After a while, it almost seemed predictable another game, another victory. There would be hardships, but the heroes always overcame them. Charles Woodson, the leading man, conquered conventional wisdom to win the Heisman Trophy. The drum major, a native of Pasadena, Calif., performed his final game of the year in front of a home crowd. And in the end, of course, the good guys won it all. And everyone lived happily ever after.

The season, for that autumn, was my life. And life was like a film a story I could only sit back and watch unfold one that I”ll play back in my mind a thousand times.

It never occurred to me to wonder exactly what kind of movie life was like back in the fall of 1997. One semester at Michigan had shown me a film where the heroes always finished first. A film without real uncertainty or heartbreak the kind where everything works out in the end.

That makes for a good football season, but not a good screenplay.

It was everything that defined life in the next three years the unpredictability, the tribulations, the satisfaction and sorrow that really makes college worth the price of admission.

If it”s true that life is like a movie, then college life has taught me it is a good one. Not because every story has a happy ending, but because most things don”t turn out the way you thought they would.

And I”ve found that while you can do nothing to make life more predictable, the lead role is still yours to craft.

After your tassel has moved from right to left and you throw your cap in the air when you can do no more with your film than play it back in your mind over and over only then are you truly helpless to affect the storyline.

And if that day is as close for you as it is for me, take these next three months to remember everything. Remember every voice, every name, every day you see the sun peak through the Ann Arbor overcast.

You won”t be able to predict every plot twist, the good guys won”t always win, and in the end, the hero probably won”t even get the girl.

It”s life but remember every detail. Because it makes for one hell of a good movie.

David Den Herder can be

reached at dden@umich.edu

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