More than any time I can recall, Michigan fans came into this season in a forgiving mood. We knew how difficult it would be. It is college football. In the beginning of any season, hope is always available. But we're no longer at the beginning. And the only hope remaining was that the team could improve as they go. I almost didn't make it to the bar, knowing we had little chance of winning and that the Slingbox signal, so far from pristine, would only add to any frustration felt during a defeat. Of course, once Saturday rolled around, I couldn't resist. I've never been one to accept negative fate in advance.
El Alamo is pretty much the only bar in Buenos Aires showing college football. Consequently, there are people from all over the US. We had fans of Auburn, Tennessee, Florida State, Texas, Notre Dame, and a Panamanian who doubled as a devoted and vocal Sooner. And that was just for the early games. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to take an egalitarian approach to the changing of channels. When you're watching via the internet, you can't split that signal between TVs. We missed large chunks of the game, but perhaps that was for the best. At the end of that first half, I had serious contemplations of delving more deeply into my alcohol and giving up my lobbying efforts for more time on our game. Brock, the Wisconsin fan sitting next to me, felt the opposite, calmly enjoying the score updates that seemed to come every couple of minutes.
But we bounced back just in time to see Koger's touchdown. And there was that hope again. Further channel hopping added to the tension before we finally got back, once again just in time for a Michigan score. Brandon Minor's touchdown run got the whole bar excited. Well, nearly everyone. We hung on through Thompson's interception return after which there was much rejoicing. High fives all around! OK, not quite. Poor Brock looked more like this:
With time winding down and the Auburn/Tennessee match finally over, I tracked down the bartender demanding a swift return to the activities Ann Arbor for Wisconsin's last, tension-laden drive. Then it was over. I and the other Michigan grad in the bar belted out an unruly and off-key rendition of The Victors. Sometimes you win.
No matter how it went down, whether you want to attribute the outcome to pluckiness or luck or karma, the impact of this win will last. It's a confidence boost, to be sure, but beyond that, it proves that Michigan is still Michigan. The fans that didn't leave at halftime were rewarded, but knew not to rush the field. This isn't Rutgers. Regardless of a new regime and freshmen running the offense, we know what we are. And the team proved it in the second half. The hope's no longer blind. The future looks brighter today.
Wolverine Liberation Army
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