Monday, October 10, 2005

Walk it off, Josh. Walk it off.

Okay, I really intended the next post to be on sports, it's just that last weekend sucked so hard on that front I was slow convincing myself to get around to it. Turned out to be another beautiful fall day at Michigan Stadium, good times, good friends, and just the ugliest loss Michigan has cranked out since, at least, the home annihilation to Fred Russell and Iowa. I know Michigan has lost by more points and more heartbreakingly to Ohio State, but pretty much just got outplayed in those games by a fired-up archrival. On Saturday Michigan played with very little heart, very little composure and just straggled through the afternoon against a Minnesota team with a finesse defense and a mediocre quarterback who didn't even PLAY much of the 4th quarter after an injury. EVEN with Chad Henne and the OL playing meekly, and my hero Mike Hart seemingly the only guy who was truly distraught after the game, Michigan was still mystifyingly in position to win the game. Except that our ridiculous kicker missed two makeable field goals, and then the defense gave up a 61-yard run to Minnesota's backup RB who was only carrying the ball so Minnesota could RUN OUT THE CLOCK AND WAIT FOR OVERTIME. Well, most of you who haven't clicked away by now must be sports fans and therefore already knew this, but I'm still working out the awkwardness of ranting about such a generally inward obsession. (See, I talk to people about sports quite often, especially my brother and my sectionmates, but that's give-and-take; besides, if I actually struck up a conversation about sports every time the thought crossed my mind in a day, I'd get nothing done and someone would page security.)

Hoo boy... anyhow, it's almost certainly going to be a historically awful year in Michigan football, at least in the nearly 20 years I've been aware of it. I realize these things are bound to happen eventually, and best to get it out of the way during a year when I'm too busy to get real depressed about it. God knows the Gophers have suffered enough in recent years, and if Michigan's season had to officially fall apart, I'd just as soon it be to them; they seem to have very friendly and classy fans, especially for the Big 11, and I like their fight song, and to be perfectly honest they're not much of a threat to pass Michigan long-term in prestige or recruiting, so I can afford to be gracious. I just hope Michigan does enough soul-searching that they at least are able to make a bowl game; even that beggarly ambition is decidedly in doubt right now.

Also, the Detroit Lions won a game they did virtually NOTHING to deserve, except not back down as the Ravens threw a complete nutty and apparently tried to win WWF-style. It's hard to describe my perverse relationship with the Lions; their history of malfeasance is so long and baroque, and their current outlook so grim, I actually find myself fretting when they win because I know my mother and brother -- who have the Lions parasite much deeper in their blood than I do -- will just suffer the worse for it when the Lions inexplicably lose to Cleveland in two weeks. The Lions have an emotionally traumatized quarterback who's usually not permitted to throw deep, even though that's pretty much the main thing he can do well; a patchwork offensive line whose starters are maaaaybe 40% legitimate NFL talent; a defense that probably thinks it's the greatest thing since seafood alfredo now that it's shut down three of the most rinkydink offenses in the league; a kicker who is famous for laboring in obscurity and setting up announcers' jokes about how he's the most reliable playmaker on the team, but is now old and and slightly hobbled and probably fed up enough to retire any year now; and three blue-chip young receivers, two of whom are hurt and one of whom is currently suspended for Littering And... Littering And... Littering And...

Smokin' the Reefer.

My only sports-related consolations right now are mostly Schadenfreude, which is like drinking Coke for breakfast... it gets you through the tough times, but you know it's corroding you in some place you can't see. Ohio State lost, yippee. The Yankees are old and decrepit and I suspect they'll lose after three cross-country flights in a week, prospective yippee. The Braves lost in an 18-inning game in which they left half a dozen guys on the bench... HAHAHAHAHAHA. I swear, the ability of the Braves to find new variations on fundamentally similar nosedives every year is hilarious, morally reassuring and possessed of a classical purity all at once... kind of like Bach, only with pie fights. So that's one thing I feel unreservedly good about on the sports front.

All right, back to the grind. Hope for better things this week, both in sports and in the real world. (Michigan's economy continues to death-spiral, as Delphi Automotive is filing for bankruptcy, on the heels of Northwest Air doing the same. Also, see the post directly above this one.)

Oh, P.S., Garrett Rivas, the aforementioned kicker, is headed off a cliff this year. He was always a little special, missing random extra points just when you least expected it and stuff, but this year he's also unveiled the physique of an Alexander. Jason Alexander. I know it's just kicking, but this guy looks borderline too pudgy to play darts well. Somebody needs to stage an intervention; 20- and 21-year-olds don't rapidly start looking like that unless they have big drinking problems, in my experience. Hope I'm wrong.


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