There comes a time in the course of Michigan football when the losses start to pile up, when the fans begin to lose their faith and when things just can’t seem to get any worse.
It’s usually in the morning, when everyone is a bit grumpy anyway.
It’s accompanied, in the best of circumstances, by voices of encouragement. Voices like Fielding Yost’s, who once famously said, “Sometime, when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell ’em to go out there with all they got and win just one more — just one more, I tell ya! Unless they’re playing Ohio State. They are? Oh, dear. Well, there’s always basketball season.”
Now, what should we infer from this? Should we infer that the legendary football coach is saying we need to sell our Ohio State tickets and give up on our football team? No. Should we infer that with a name like Fielding he probably didn’t have many friends as a kid? Yes.
The point is, Michigan football will recover. Moreover, after it recovers, it will eventually decline again, only to recover sometime in the future. This is the way of the world, as evidenced by stock markets, the weather, unwanted body hair and Oprah Winfrey’s weight.
As fans, this means we should stop bellyaching, cheer the team on against the Team Named After The Seed Of An Angiosperm and afterward, as Yost said, go to Crisler Arena and watch the basketball team. Because right now, Michigan basketball is AWESOME.
To those readers who feel as though I’m advocating fair-weather fanship and urging people to watch the basketball team simply because it made the NCAA Tournament last season, I say this: I am NOT a fair-weather fan, so just drop it.
To those uninitiated readers who have experienced only the Big House, let me explain what you’re missing. The first thing you’ll realize when you enter Crisler Arena is that you are INDOORS. Isn’t that great?! No snow or rain or bird poop to deal with! But that’s not the only thing. The indoor nature of the arena traps the delicious aroma of the roasted pecan vendors – the pecans, not the vendors – which makes the place smell unbelievably good. It’s the type of sweet, old-timey smell that brings you back to those innocent days spent at your grandmother’s, back when she was a pecan vendor.
Speaking of grandmothers, that is how each and every event staff person acts when you encounter them on the way to your seat. This is because they are grandmothers (or grandfathers). Seriously, some of them even have little stools to sit on. To me, this is delightful, because they are delightful people that could probably tell me all I ever wanted to know about Michigan basketball, their grandchildren and Harry Truman. And I would listen!
Once you reach your seat, you’ll notice that for some reason, the players aren’t the size of molecules. This is because Crisler wasn’t designed for a crowd roughly the size of Asia. As a student, you may get placed in the general admission section, but this is infinitely better than row 342 of Michigan Stadium.
And then, after taking your seat, after an exciting dimming of the lights, what you’ve come to see will stride confidently onto the court: the Michigan Pom Pom squad itself.
Oops, I mean the Michigan basketball team.
Boy, do they look good.
Now, I know some of you are worried because you have no clue when it comes to basketball. Fear not. A lack of knowledge about basketball has not stopped people from watching it, writing about it or playing it in the CCRB. When it comes to Michigan basketball there are simply three things to know:
1. There is a God, and His name is Manny Harris.
2. When the Ball is in God’s Hands, Miracles can happen.
3. Give the Ball to God.
The actual rules of basketball are, of course, completely irrelevant and above the heads of many students. Does anyone really know what goes through a referee’s head when he does anything? No. The important thing is to yell and scream a lot whenever the whistle blows.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when a columnist runs out of words. There are so many things to tell my readers about — the cool announcer guy, the entertaining halftime shows (one does get bored of marching bands, after all) and the quirky players (Zack Novak’s shot defies the laws of physics, Ben Cronin defies the laws of biology). You’ll just have to go and see for yourself — and try the pecans.
Will Grundler can be reached at email@example.com.