Monday, October 6

The Times That Try Men's Spirits

Last year, everyone I met expressed equal parts jealousy and excitement about my road trip. Nearly every day was a joy, meeting great people and talking about the game I love. But of course, there were many moments where I quickly realized I was dealing with loudmouthed imbeciles. That was funny for a month or so, but halfway through the season, the loudest spewers of nonsense started to get to me. Nowhere was this a bigger problem than at the Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville. I actually got angry, particularly during the game. It came from both sides of the red and blue divide. I went and found some of my favorite Gator and Bulldog fans afterwards to remind me why I was on the road in the first place.

Saturday, I had no plans, so it was an easy call to hit up El Alamo again to see what we were made of against a good team. I wasn't optimistic at all about this game, and was roundly chastised by Brian for feeling that way. Maybe that got to me a bit, but for some reason I started to think that we had the goods to take Illinois out. Joe the Bartender is an Illinois grad, so I was stunned to find that the TVs were already claimed by Notre Dame/Stanford and Alabama/Kentucky. Unknowingly working against my own self-interest, I had directed the Notre Dame fans to the bar in the first place (via the internet), so I decided to chat them up and see if we could split time. While seeming a nice enough fellow, the Domer in charge was so old school, he thought Notre Dame was still good. Lauding all their wonderful recruits, he compared Michael Floyd to Randy Moss and averred that Notre Dame will beat Michigan in their next five meetings. He was so intent on Notre Dame, that he was reluctant to share the TV even during the halftime show. Little respect was given for the fact that without my help, he would never have found the only bar in BA showing football in the first place.

To my right were two older men relatively uninterested in football, choosing instead to banter about the US presidential race. Misinformation abounded. When they forcibly tried to explain to the waitress (adorable girl, by the way) that Obama wants to raise everyone's taxes and how that's going to kill the economy, I nearly butted in. But thinking back to those Cocktail Party frustrations, I let the argument go. Besides, by then the game was on, and Michigan was up 14-3, and a slew of Michigan fans in BA on vacation had just come in.

A day that began with minor irritation ended with frustration and further disbelief at Michigan's inability to hold on to the football. Mama said there'd be games like this, right? At least this year. And the all bonus mistakes don't help the cause any. I have to wonder if all the fumbles are because they're still spending so much time thinking instead of just playing. When we lost another on a kickoff, I and the other Wolverines had had enough. We let them put on baseball. Joe shouted out an "I-L-L", but nobody returned his call. He didn't seem to mind. Like last year, even though I can't get enough of this sport, there are days when the cards don't fall right. At least I could hit the nightlife in Buenos Aires. Juice Williams can't take that away from me.

Maybe I'll go back again next week. I know the Michigan/Toledo game won't be on, but perhaps that will be for the best. It's a must-win to be sure, and I don't know what I'll do if we lose. Maybe slug the nearest available loudmouth. College football is the wonderfullest game around, but it sure can bring you down sometimes.

Other reax:
MaizenBrew is decent
MGoBlog is deflated
Wolverine Liberation Army is defeated


Jake said...

I-N-I. Thought I would finish Joe's cheer. Can the Illini get some credit now on your next projections? You got NW and MSU ahead of us on the bowl game list after respectful losses on the road to the #3 and #6 team in the nation. Actually, I kind of like being the underdog, we end up in the Rose Bowl! :)

Reed said...

No, I wasn't saying that Illinois would finish above MSU and NU, just that they were sure things to get to 7-5 and Illinois, technically, wasn't. Now they are. I think they'll definitely finish above MSU. Northwestern, on the other hand, looks pretty solid. We'll know more after this week.

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