Sports Disappointments

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DJ / 12 Years Ago

Sports can produce some mighty crushing disappointments at times.

The University of Michigan football team lost its fifth game of the year on December 28th in the Alamo Bowl against Nebraska. The five losses were by combined 21 points: by 7 to Notre Dame at home; by 4 to Wisconsin on the road; by 3 to Minnesota at home; by 3 to Ohio State at home; and by 4 to Nebraska at a neutral site. What happened to the proud Maize and Blue this year? Why has Michigan been unable to win bowl games recently? Is this a coaching issue? There are many questions and few answers.

This is the first season in a long time, perhaps ever, that I watched every quarter, save one, of every game Michigan played. I only missed the first quarter of the Eastern Michigan game. I am a bigger fan of U of M football now than I have ever been. Following something closely will do that to a person. As such, this is by far the most painful season I have ever witnessed not only in college football, but it all of sports. This season has caused me to start asking myself the question: Is it worth it to a die-hard fan like I am?

Every season since 1997 has been laced with disappointment and missed opportunities. Many, especially the last 3, have ended badly, making that disappointing feeling last for a whole 8 months. Many people say that a disappointing season can be redeemed by a big win over a rival or a bowl victory. Well, Michigan is 1-4 against Ohio State in the last 5 years, and 1-4 in bowl games during that same span. Since neither of those victories came in the same season, Michigan has failed end a season with 2 consecutive wins in 5 straight years. This is not a promising trend.

This year's bowl loss was by the worst, since I currently live in Nebraska. Now I am going to have to deal with the jeers of Nebraska fans for possibly years to come. It is truly a personal tragedy. Could I ever possibly stop being as big of a fan of Michigan football for the sole purpose of avoiding heartache? As tempting as it sounds at times, there is no way I could do that. I love Michigan football, and the sweet taste of victory is worth dealing with the bitterness of defeat. I am no fair weather fan - I will always stick with my boys no matter what trials may come. Times may be tough now, but Michigan is a storied program - the winningest in college football history - and will be a powerhouse again very soon. You can't keep the boys in maize and blue down for long.

As an aside, the Detroit Tigers has been a futile franchise for quite some time now. Its last World Series title was in 1984 and last playoff appearance was in the late 80's or early 90's. The Detroit Lions have been even worse. The Lions last title came in the 50's, and they have not made a single Super Bowl appearance. They have just one playoff win in nearly 50 years. Yet, even though baseball was the first sport I loved, and football is the sport I currently love the most, neither of those teams crush my heart like Michigan football does. I guess it is because I have come to expect those two teams to bomb, but I always have hope for a U of M football national title. Coming into this season, Michigan was ranked 3rd in the nation, with many starters returning. This could have been our year. The schedule was favorable. Alas... maybe next year!


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