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MLJ’s Blog: A Father’s Day Story

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Thinking back to a good day in 2014... and a little further than that.

Illinois v Michigan Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

I can still remember the day I gave up on giving up on sports. It was December 19, 2014 and my youngest son had just texted me and told me some news that I found to be fantastic. It was utterly and totally out of the realm of possibility. Jim Harbaugh was going to be the new head coach at Meechigan?

Maybe I wanted it to be true so bad, or maybe I didn’t want to see my whole life turned upside down. But this news that he was giving me this day, it was deeply disorienting, with a side order of déjà vu.

Déjà vu, you say?

Yes, if this news he was telling me was true then it bore a strong resemblance to news I’d heard previously. Back, way back in 1981. It was June 9, 1981, as a matter of fact. I was there in the Pontiac Silverdome that day when the destitute Detroit Pistons franchise made the move that I’d hoped they would. Using the second pick in the draft they chose a Sophomore from Indiana University who would change their history, Isiah Lord Thomas III. One of the great days in Michigan sports history, for my money.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

This son, my youngest, who was giving me this news on December 19, 2014 - he never got to see Isiah play live. But he was born to be a Meechigan fan. I had songs I sang for all my kids when they were little. But he was the only one that I sang “Hail to the Victor baby” before he was born. He was also the only one I ever got out of his crib when he was a baby because the team needed him. But that game was ill-fated and after CWebb called timeout in New Orleans and killed whatever chances the “Fab Five” had of bringing home the title that year, I had to go along with his mother and never do something that stupid again.

So, on that fateful day when he told me that Jim ‘freakin’ Harbaugh was going to be named the head coach at Meechigan soon, I resisted. Oh no you don’t, said I – it’s a rumor. No, he said, I have an article here, they say it’s a done deal. Done Deal? Could it be? This is the move I’d hoped for since Lloyd announced his retirement, but then ol’ JH had to open his mouth and talk crap about M’s academics compared to Stanford. What? Say it ain’t so, JH!

OK son, I’m desperate gimme yer link, sez I. And he did, and here it was.

OK, this guy Marcellus Wiley says it’s a done deal. Marcellus Wiley, the name sounds familiar, but I don’t know him as a sportswriter. I don’t know any sportswriters who weren’t famous five years ago – so, what do I know? But why does his name sound familiar? Oh right that unforgettable scene from “Pulp Fiction.”

For our readers from Mars, the following clip contains some good old American Samuel L. Jackson slang. Not safe for work.

So, you could say I was inspired by that scene. When my son told me about this story, the first thing I asked him was, “What does Marcellus Wiley look like?” and being that he had not watched Pulp Fiction recently, he fell right into my trap.

Yes, he naturally asked, “What?”

So, naturally I replied, “What country you from?”

"..What?"

“What ain’t no country I ever heard of!” Eventually he asked me “What am I a clown to amuse you?” or “Are you talkin to me?” or something of the sort and we got down to business. (Talking Michigan, I mean, not shooting business.) Could it be – JH back to lead the Meechigan Wolverines to glory?

We discussed the possibilities for a few hours and as the days and weeks went by and it became more of a reality we reveled in the potential that was quickly becoming fact. And since that time we often discuss the latest recruiting news. Of course we discuss games and when I can I send him DVD’s of the games and the HS all-star games in which our recruits are featured.

Did I forget to mention that? Yes, I record all the major M football events and dissect them. I wasn’t able to do this during Isiah’s reign with the Pistons, all I could do then was collect pertinent newspaper articles. But ain’t this a great age we live in? I’ve got a permanent record of so much of the history that’s being recorded now with the Michigan Football program.

And now, not only am I watching history, I’m writing about it. Conversing in the media about it. And recording this history is a privilege and an honor that I take seriously. I thank Nick Bodanyi and Anthony Broome, and everyone at Maize n Brew for allowing me this outlet to be able to share with the Maize n Brew faithful this great time in the history of Meechigan football. Next week I’ll have plenty more to say about Jim Harbaugh - “Captain Comeback,” as he’s been called - and Michigan football.

In the meantime, let me say this - this is a special day for fathers and their kids everywhere, and here’s to many more years of dads, sons, daughters, and everyone else celebrating Michigan football’s success together. Until next time... Go Blue.