EN ROUTE TO FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Travel notes. Deep in the heart of middle America. Nothing but endless fields and, well, that’s about it.
Just hoping the battery in my computer lasts long enough to find some truck stop with a wifi connection (hopefully those exist) so I can send this column back before the puck is dropped.
We decided late last night to make this trip. Homework be damned (sorry Grandma), this is Michigan vs. Miami (Ohio) for a chance to play in the national semifinals, and, per my civic duty as a senior at the ‘U,’ I’m throwing caution to the wind and speeding to some ice rink in Indiana.
By the time you’re reading this column, we’ll all know whether my spontaneous jaunt to the middle of nowhere will have been worth the trip or not. But win or lose (hopefully the former, but even a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament is, at this point, a miracle, considering where this team was three weeks ago), I can’t pass up this opportunity.
It certainly helps that my dad volunteered to pay for this excursion, but that’s what college is all about, right? Begging your parents for money?
I fully plan on being with Michigan in Detroit in two weeks, if the Wolverines make it there, but I just couldn’t resist being a part of the most unexpected, exciting run in Michigan hockey history.
And, who doesn’t like the chance to yell the “Ugly Words” chant — as Carl Hagelin put it during his freshman year — in a foreign rink? And heckling Rico Blasi is a true passion of mine.
All I know right now is this: last night, I got home from a long, strenuous day of work, and it wasn’t a nice, hot meal or a tall, strong drink that helped me relax. It was getting home just in time to see Louie Caporusso net the Wolverines’ second of five goals in the first round of the NCAA hockey Tournament.
The hockey team’s little run — by far the most exciting thing that’s happened in Michigan sports in a long, long time — has got me enthralled with the sport. Screw March Madness; this is way better.
And I know at least a small contingent of Michigan fans agree with me. And that’s not counting the kid in a penguin suit and the guy with a Viking helmet that the CBS Sports cameramen couldn’t pry their lenses away from during the Bemidji State game. Saturday night, I yelled many a “Go Blue” to bar-hoppers along South University Ave. who were sporting Michigan hockey jerseys (or sweaters, whatever).
That’s just not Michigan apparel that you see very often, unless you’re at Yost for a game. It’s great to see people getting swept up in hockey fever.
Full disclosure: I’m not a huge hockey fan. Somewhere, though I grew up around the sport, I never developed that Midwestern appreciation for the game. But, in complete honesty, I’ve only been this excited for a sporting event in my four years as a student very few times.
All of the drama of the lackluster regular season and the CCHA Tournament run and Red Berenson’s ever-growing legacy just has me totally geeked for this game.
Let’s just hope, when stacks of this paper hit Angell Hall tomorrow morning, we’ll all still have some hockey to look forward to.
— Reid really wants to spend a weekend in the RenCen in downtown Detroit. He can be reached at email@example.com.