Monday, November 21, 2005
So, yeah, The Game.
Saturday started off well enough. I managed to find my friend (and seatmate, and fellow art student-- yes, an art student who enjoys going to the football games. It's miraculous, really) Rachel's house with only one instance of going down the wrong road and getting confused. We donned temporary tattoos and face paint and many varied layers of Michigan-themed cold weather gear, and headed down to Dante's house, where we found a small group of people playing beer pong* in the front yard and chucking water balloons (and I think eggs) at the occasional red-clad passerby. Luckily, they were all so extraordinarily drunk that they had not a chance of actually hitting anyone.
We wandered down to the stadium, about half an hour earlier than we usually show up, because I'm paranoid. We went up through the parking lot around Crisler Arena, which I generally don't do, but it was fun because that's where lots of the crazy alumni tailgaters are. There was also a large double van with signage on the sides proclaiming it to be the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad Laboratory, which caused Rachel some concern.
In case you aren't intimately familiar with the Big House, coming from that direction means that we were around the opposite corner of the stadium from the student section, and had to walk around past several gates before we got to our own. We got a lot of amused looks from alumni/OSU fans/random old people who happen to like Michigan football, probably either because we were obviously students in a high state of excitement**, or because I had huge stripes of blue and yellow across my face, a giant maize and blue fuzzy scarf trailing to my knees, and maize and blue striped high socks on with my jeans rolled up. The older alumni like to see that sort of thing, it makes them all misty and nostalgic for their glorious collegiate past. "Gosh darn, in ye olden days, I used to get my friends to paint up my face all maizedly for the big game as well. Golly gee, how these kids do take me back to them halcyon times," etc. etc.
We made it to our gate without incident and got our rally towels, which concerned me. We've been getting those yellow pompom things all year long, I'm not sure why they switched to the towels for this one game. But the reason they concerned me is that they were bright yellow, with the blue block M on them. Yellow towels. Intended to be waved about, presumably.
THIS IS NOT HEINZ FIELD AND I REFUSE TO TAKE PART IN SOMETHING WHICH WILL RECALL TO MIND THE 'TERRIBLE TOWELS', ONE OF THE SADDEST AND LAMEST CROWD STUNTS IN SPORTS, AKIN TO THE THUNDERSTIX/RALLY MONKEYS IN
ANAHEIM LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA WHERE THE ANGELS PLAY.
I stuck the towel in my pocket and let it dangle there all game. No way was I terrible towelling it up. 'Sides which, camera, you know.
The gentlemen sitting behind us were quite loud even when we got there, about 40 minutes before game time. As there were no OSU players on the field yet, they contented themselves with berating the OSU fans sitting near us, of which there were a large number, because they had managed to get themselves a long stripe of seats right in the student section.
Shouted by the kids sitting behind us:
--"Oh my god, what have you done to that child? Stop torturing children!" To some OSU fans with relatively little kids.
--"Oh-hi-OH NO MY STATE IS A TERRIBLE PLACE TO LIVE!"
--"Buck the Fuckeyes!"
--"Go back to Ohio! Maybe you can vote for Bush again, you assholes!"
--"Red states suck! Red states suck!"
--"Ohio sucks! Michigan values civil liberties!" This was my favorite. If you can drink yourself right up to the cusp of sodden unconsciousness and, in that state of mind, scream about civil liberties, you are pretty much an awesome human being.
Nothing particularly creative was shouted during the actual game, except for one kid behind us (different group) who kept screaming at the Michigan players to "Break his leg!! Break his leg!!" after every. single. play. It went from being unremarkable to annoying to actually sort of funny. And the one kid who kept yelling at Ted Ginnzynski, which I suppose was to be expected.
Oh, and there was the same kid who always reacts to every unfortunate lateral-style pass for short gain by saying, "Chad Henne, Chad Henne," in a voice similar to what one would imagine a Michigan fan stricken with Down Syndrome would have. I'm not really sure how to describe it over the internet. Sort of "Chad Hen-nay" all nasal and... yeah, the best I do is 'Down Syndrome voice'. Thousand apologies.
One of the kids in our section kept screaming praise for 'Stevie Tits', and I swear it took me at least half the game to work out why he was calling Steve Breaston that. Sigh.
Ah yes, and while fighting my way out of the stadium after the game, I came across an older (gray-haired) OSU fan going in the opposite direction, with a bunch of chestnuts (buckeyes?) strung together in a massive string around his neck. A girl right behind me screamed at him, "Hey! What's with those anal beads around your neck?" which absolutely stunned the OSU fan and sent the surrounding Wolverines into fits of depressed giggles.
So, the game. It being the last home game of the season, the parents of the seniors were on the field to greet their sons, which I always think is adorable. I'm gonna miss Jason Avant. It was also the last home game for drum major Dennis Lee which, well, I haven't got any idea what sort of drum major he is, not being in the band, but he seemed quite good from the spectator's point of view, and it's all very sad and such.
Mike Hart was announced as a starter, leading to probably the loudest cheer of the roster announcements. He came out, had a couple of runs, and... went to the sideline. And stayed there. For the rest of the game. Now, Kevin Grady did his level best, but let us be frank here. He's a good stumpy sort of running back, very tough, sort of like The Bus in a larval state. But he ain't Mike Hart. Mike Hart, if he ever got a hole, which he never does because the offensive line is incapable of creating things like holes, but anyways, if he did, he would be off like a shot through that thing.
The holes our offensive line can create, though, are kind of like wormholes on Star Trek or, I don't know, Farscape. They're unstable. You can see them and head for them and by the time you get there they've collapsed shut, or you can be halfway through one only to have it close up around you, trapping you in a floaty limbo zone of sparking electrical computer effects and fat sweaty defensive linemen. Grady, though he was certainly trying very very hard, just could not make it to the holes in the nanosecond they existed.
Meaning that we completely failed to establish anything even vaguely like a running game. And without a running game, obviously, our passing game was not going to be that successful. Of course, we helped it along some, because, laterals? Really? Shouldn't we be trying to move the ball downfield? No? Alrighty, carry on then.
Moderate-to-high risk (to the receiver) passes, with low-to-zero potential gain... ugh, it was like watching the Lions.
As for defense... well. Ohio State was driving downfield pretty much at will, and the fact that they didn't score as often as they could have done was merely some fortuitous combination of OSU ineptitude and UofM flashes of brilliance.
And then at the very end, when the ball got run back into the center of the field instead of to the sideline... when we had no other way to stop the clock... with scant few seconds left... well, I don't know. There's no sense in even naming the player, is there? He probably feels shitty enough as it is. Maybe he thought he saw a hole that wasn't there, maybe he just got really confused. Whatever, it ended the game and the regular season, and the disgust of the student section was, shall we say, strident.
Walking back after the game, I at one point found myself strolling dejectedly along behind a girl on the phone with a friend or something. She was talking about the game, and kept saying, "Well, they won, but I don't know how, because we totally played better than them, it doesn't make any sense, they totally didn't deserve to win." I wanted to shake her and scream, "EXCUSE ME DID YOU WATCH THIS GAME? DID YOU NOT SEE HOW THEY HAD BASICALLY TWICE AS MANY OVERALL OFFENSIVE YARDS AS US? Did you not see how freely they were controlling the ball?? Could you not see that the surprise was keeping it so damn close right up until the very end, not that they won it in the end??"
So, right, yeah, anyways. Thisaway for photos of the game and other such related things. Fun stuff. I mean, Big House football is Big House football, win or lose.
Because I'm absolutely mad I ended up going to a protest rally after the game, which was big and fun and a little nuts, but that is a tale for another time, as it is nearly 3 am and dear holy cats I've got french tomorrow morning.
I would also just like to state for the record that;
-Today's Lions game was not Joey's fault. Joey played well. Everyone else decided that penalties were the new black. Don't do that on Thanksgiving, boys, please. I'll be there. Be nice for the blogger, yeah?
-Jim Tressel, apparently, likes fat chicks.
EDIT: Finally updated Chicks Talk Football. We've been lax, I know, I know... I've been busy with ze school, as you've probably noticed, and everyone else I assume has been busy with actual, paying work. I'll make an effort to poke them into regularity, though. And go check out this latest installment, I did the posting this time 'round, and with that monumental power I placed a photo of Roy Williams being all sex-ay at the top. Because that's what blogging power is meant for, natch.
*Unrelated, but one of the best moments of the year in my wood class came when one of the sorority-ish girls came to class wearing a 'Michigan Beer Pong' tshirt. The professor, who, mind you, is not that old a guy, asked what beer pong was. Cue slightly uncomfortable pause, with the (almost wholly underaged) class trying to work out how appropriate explaining alcohol-related games to a professor would be. They ended up trying to explain the rules to him and drawing little diagrams of how you set up the cups while those of us who were not freshman sat at our table and snickered.
**Sober excitement, though. I never understand how people survive the games completely drunk. Actually, they sometimes don't... a kid sitting next to us fell over before the game even started and had to spend the entire time sitting on the bench holding his head. Sad. Who wants to go to a football game like that? Who wants to get so drunk you can't even remember the football later? Plus, I need all my faculties about me to wield the camera.