YFD: On Fathers and Football

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I know we're a day away from football season. I can't sleep. I'm so excited. I've watched every Countdown to Kickoff. Twice. I truly love Michigan Football - just like a lot of you - and it's probably my favorite thing in the world. I've joked with my girlfriend that if I have a kid born on a fall Saturday, well, problems. But the reason I'm a Michigan fan is because my dad. And I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for that.

How I am about Michigan Football:

Here is what I do during various points of a Michigan football game:
I pace. I cover my eyes. I leave the room. I yell "YES!" and "GO! GO!" when a play is happening. I am generally unbearable for neutrals to be around. I'm a nervous wreck most of the time.

Here is what I do when Michigan wins:
I relax. I'm happy, but more relieved. I stress way too much about games.

Here is what I do when Michigan loses:
I get really pissed and football is wrecked for me until kickoff of the next Michigan game. I ignore all other games. This goes double for bowl season.

I do this because my father does this, and it is because of him (and my double-alumna mother, also a rabid fan - Thanks, Mom) that I'm a Michigan fan, which I am fortunate to count among the greatest gifts I could have been given.

I can confidently say that I'm not unique here - there are a lot of crazy fans of sports teams out there - especially Michigan - and a lot of people who got their love of sports from their fathers. For me, watching sports with my dad, maddening channel surfing and all, is a ritual, one I'd never trade for anything. From dog-days Tiger games in July to almost every Michigan game in the past two decades, it's something we've just done.

I'm incredibly fortunate to get to watch the season opener this year with my dad. It's actually the biggest reason I'm headed back across the country for Labor Day Weekend - and it got me thinking about some of the more memorable moments we experienced together:

2001: Clockgate vs MSU -


My dad and I went up to MSU for this game and were in the VERY back row of Spartan Stadium. I just remember going nuts because we were counting down the seconds and thought we'd won - and then we didn't.

2004: Braylon Saves Michigan vs San Diego State

I just remember this because it was super ugly and my dad took me and my two best friends to the game as a birthday present. One of them had the unmitigated gall to wear a Spartans hat to that game.

2004: The Braylon Edwards Show vs MSU

We were sitting in a little bar in Suttons Bay for this entire game. A drunk MSU fan - actually a mid-50s woman) kept yelling at us for most of the first three quarters. She got quiet fast and we had the stupidest grins on our faces the rest of the way.

2005: Manningham Beats PSU

I just remember neither of us being in the room when the play happened live because we were both nervous wrecks.

2012: Storming the Field vs OSU

Michigan finally won - we had 2nd row seats along the 40 and were screaming obscenities at Jake Stoneburner. Bucks yelled back. Then Michigan held on for a nervy victory, and we looked at each other, climbed the wall, and stormed the field after beating Ohio State. Bucket list, man. Bucket list*.

*Honorable Mention (but not football): Going to the Final Four together this year and sneaking into the stadium because we didn't have tickets to M-Syracuse, ending up with floor seats w/o tickets... Thanks, SBN, for hooking us up for the final though...

--

I kind of see Bo Schembechler as an adoptive grandfather. I'm not quite sure why. My mom tells me that her dad was exactly like Bo - and a Michigan alum no less - and that's one of the big reasons she's a proud Michigan fan herself. So maybe there's something to this father thing.

I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. I'm the luckiest son in the world.

Thanks, Dad. Here's to watching Michigan win together this season and for a long, long time.

--

But Wait! There's Beer!

And because this is a YFD, and I'd never not write about a beer for a Michigan game, your recommended beer is a special mix:

- One of any craft beer you'd like. The rarer and more expensive, the better. Ideally it was bought because a friend or loved one thought you'd like it.
- One Coors Light.
- Pour both into a cold mason jar and drink, because that's what my dad does.

Until next week: Cheers, Michigan Faithful!

*Special s/o to MnB Dave (and his lovely wife Anne), who's on his way to becoming a cool dad (even if his kid will be half Domer) and to his father, who's by far the most badass dad I've ever tailgated with.

Got any good stories about watching with your dads? Post 'em below.

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