“Ryan Mallett.” Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. “Ryan Mallett.” Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. Last year’s cheers in the Big House’s student section still ring in my ears. I remember the mantra being shouted every time Michigan quarterback Chad Henne didn’t perform as well as the Michigan football dynasty demands.
Fortunately, last year, despite two notably monstrous losses, the Michigan football team managed to pull off a decent season with an objectively impressive record of 9 wins and 4 losses. This year, already witness to four losses, Michigan fans aren’t yelling discouraging cheers at their team — a step up from last year’s behavior, I thought.
But if you’re sitting in the student section during a game, you can’t help but hear all of the snide, rude comments quietly directed at the football team. No one is rallying fans, saying, “Maybe we can still win.” And no one is still hoping for victory or trusting the team. If football players need encouragement or support, they need to look to each other for it, because up in the stands, the students just stand there and silently stare.
The stands aren’t the only place where students are falling quiet. If you visit any other college campus, more often than not you’ll find people who think that Michigan students are arrogant. Honestly, I don’t mind that students at other schools think that. I kind of like that people who attend the University are slightly bigheaded — I call it Michigan Pride. But lately as I walk around campus, I haven’t been feeling the inflated-ego vibe. Students are dejected, and I can only guess that most of this disappointment is a result of the poor state of Michigan football.
I share the frustration of my fellow classmates; so far this year, Michigan football has been a letdown. However, while I’m humbled by our losses, I still have hope for the rest of the season — perhaps winning a Big Ten title. I am tired of listening to students adamantly stating, “I could have made that pass.” Head coach Rich Rodriguez had walk-on tryouts at the beginning of the year. I suggest that people who feel that they can play better than the current players try out for the team next year. But until then, please stop insisting that you are more talented than Steven Threet or Nick Sheridan, because, let’s be honest, it’s doubtful that you are.
University students aren’t only arrogant; they are seemingly fair-weather fans. This is one reputation that makes me not want to wear my Michigan apparel outside of Ann Arbor. True fans support their team through thick and thin, regardless of their winning or losing record. It’s not OK to wear your Los Angeles Dodgers hat to football games just because it’s blue. Throw on a Michigan shirt and show some support.
Look at your ticket, the shirts of the students around you and the scoreboard — this is Michigan football. We have the best winning record in college football history. We have gone to a bowl game each of the last 33 years. We are the Victors. So, even if you can’t cheer because of the team’s performance, applaud its effort.
Elise Baun is an LSA senior.