There runs through the core of all Michigan activities, both on and off this campus, a certain intangible thing. We call it "the Michigan Spirit". Maybe you can relate to it. It's the atmosphere that permeates that stadium every Saturday afternoon in the fall where over a 100,000 fans patiently wait to see whether Bo Schembechler is going to continue his winning ways. You know what I mean! You can feel the tension, the excitement, the charisma that surrounds that stadium every Saturday afternoon. Especially 10 to 14 minutes before kickoff when a hush settles over that stadium, and we all anxiously wait for that simple four word command to eminate out of the PA system. I can hear it now: "Band take the field!" and out of that Eastern tunnel pour 215 well drilled, well disciplined Michigan bandsmen, they pour over that Eastern sideline and they form the big block M and play the greatest college fight song ever written! The Michigan Victors! That's when the chills go up and down your spine, you get goose pimples all over, your blood turns Maize and Blue and everyone out there becomes part of the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten football, as well as the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten athletics.
I really miss Bob Ufer right now. That's saying something considering the fact that he was before my time as they say, but nonetheless. Here we sit on the precipice of a new season having endured 10 months of waiting and wondering what would be waiting for us come September 5th. This team has been battered by wave after wave of setbacks, some self made, others completely and totally unneccessary and ridiculous in nature. Our coach has faced an uphill battle from the beginning, a fact most recognize but one that the vocal minority seems to blythely ignore repeatedly. It is dizzying to think back on all that has happened since November 17th, 2006. Let's just say that we've been through enough. I miss Ufer because now is the time that we need that one glorious, passionate voice more than ever.
I'll admit that I winced when I first saw the "All In" campaign for this season, but I've now come to realize that it's strikingliny apropos. This team needs, nay requires, undivided support more than ever. They indured 3-8, they worked for these 10 months to ensure that "it" would remain in the past, they've prepared and prepared for this weekend... they owe us nothing, they have nothing to proove to us, we owe them all of our support. They should receive nothing short of a thundering welcome tomorrow, the kind that sets the tone for the rest of the day, the kind that sends those waves of electricity down your spine and puts goosepimples on your arms.
"True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise, the other, loyalty."
--- Fielding H Yost
I'm tired of reading uninformed rants about this team and Rich Rodriguez, I'm tired of having to try to answer the endless stream of uninformed and backhanded questions, I'm tired of having to answer the innocent ones too, the ones that start out with: "So what's going on with Michigan?". I'm tired of waiting for this season to arrive and get underway, and I'm tired of hoping that those around me on Saturday will stand and cheer just as loudly and just as passionately when those halos of Maize and Blue gather in that Eastern tunnel and that big banner is raised out on the field.
Fire up, it's almost Saturday... we've waited 10 months for this:
God bless every single one of your cotton-pickin' Maize and Blue hearts.