Showing posts from 2010

The Path to the Start Line (and the Finish Line, Too)

1. Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) I walked a 5K last December, and it was my first one. I learned a lot of things on that day. First, cities that plow the side streets before the main streets are stupid cities. Second, 5 kilometers is a pretty fair distance to walk, especially if you haven't done a lot of training for it. Third, there are a looooot of people who like to run in the cold. And to be fair, I was a bit jealous. They have their 5K shirts on from their run in November, dressed in their tights and running gloves, their iPods strapped to their arms, setting a fast pace without even batting an eye. And I'm bundled in three layers of sweats trying to walk fast enough to heat up a little. I thought to myself, Man, wouldn't it be fun to run this race next year? 2. MGMT - Time to Pretend (clean version) Now, December was 12 months away, and the race cleared my memory. First, I had something more important to train for: Disney World. I was going in June w

To Fire or Not To Fire?

That is the question, isn't it? Or at least, that's the question that U-M Athletic Director David Brandon has to mull over in this next month or so. But each Michigan football fan has, in their own mind, made their own decision about head coach Rich Rodriguez. Most of the fans I know are ready to see him go, while a few are still hoping for "one more year" to prove himself. Me? I am on the fence. I know you hate to hear me say that, but I am. I can see valid reasons from both sides, and it makes my choice hard. Luckily, I am not the Athletic Director, so this really doesn't mean anything besides arguing with acquaintances every once in a while. But here are some of the pros and cons about the whole situation. See it from my view: whatever happens is good for the school and the program. Situation #1: Give him one more year. After two years of nothing after Ohio State, Rodriguez got Michigan to a 7-5 record and a spot in the Gator Bowl on January 1. If nothing,

Trying to Cling to the term "Career Tiger"

I have read the book Al Kaline and the Detroit Tigers by Hal Butler about three times now. My father owned a copy, and I think I was bored one day and he suggested I read it. (This was before I asked him what number I should wear for softball - I told him I was playing right field and without a beat he said "six.") The book is great, and it really helped me realize how great Kaline was for the Detroit Tigers. His leadership over those seasons, from an eighteen-year-old rookie to the wizened veteran hoising the World Series trophy, was crucial for that team of amazing talents. Not to mention that he was a stellar outfielder and slugger. I think the thing that impressed me the most about Kaline was his committment to the Detroit Tigers themselves. They weren't giving multi-million dollar contracts at the time, but each year the Tigers offered a contract, Kaline accepted it. And now, for many of my father's generation, he is their favorite Tiger of all time. He never g

The M Must Stand for Misery

I guess we know which fork Michigan picked. It's really unfortunate. The past two games have shown pretty much all of Michigan's weaknesses. The game against Michigan State showed their terrible defense. The game against Iowa showed their terrible special teams. And in both cases, the offense didn't prove that a team could just get by with...well...a good offense. Also, does it seem like Denard Robinson is injured in some way in every game? I think I've seen him being walked off the field more often than fans at a World Cup match. (it's a few months old, but I think it can apply.) I don't know whether to roll my eyes every time it happens, or be thrilled it's not more serious. (I'm looking at you Stafford.) These next three games could salvage a season. But does Michigan really have what it takes to defeat three mediocre teams in the Big Ten? They had a hard enough time with Indiana! This bye week could not have come at a better time. It's be

The Fork in the Road

The Big Ten season is barely a week old, and already we as Michigan fans are at a crossroads. A pivotal game. A fork in the road. Insert cliche here. But let's be frank: this Michigan-Michigan State game really does set the tone! Both teams have experienced some tests on their nonconference schedule, and both teams have seen where their strengths and weaknesses lie. But they still haven't had that one true test that separates the contenders from the pretenders. (I'm just full of them today. I sound like an ESPN analysist.) So where do we go from here? Well, we'll just have to play the game to find out. One team will be 6-0, probably rise up a spot or two in the national rankings, and spend the next few games showing that this perfection is real. Another team will be 5-1, climbing from a hole, and trying to convince people that the first five games were in fact the real deal - not the last game. If we look at last season with Michigan, it all went downhill after th

PLUS: What I'm Watching

I am ready to admit that I watch too much TV. I watch at least two hours a day - which for some people may seem like too little! But when that two hours is the only free time you have in an incredibly busy schedule and doesn't allow you to do much else - like reading a book or baking cookies or playing with children or pets - it may feel like too much TV. But there's so much good television on right now! (And some incredibly bad television, but I try to avoid those shows.) How can I possibly pass up on the next TV show that everyone is talking about the next day? This year I went back to a few of my favorites and introduced myself to some new shows. Over the years I have learned that if I'm not fond of a show, I will stop watching it. Past shows I've forsaken are Grey's Anatomy, Desparate Housewives, Bionic Woman (just like everyone else), and *gasp!* Glee. Whenever I turn on a show, I want to have spent the entire day going, "Ooh! When I go home I can w

The Rare Week

This is a very interesting week if you're a sports fan. You may wonder why, though. Football is barely a month old, baseball is ending, and basketball and hockey have only begun to have training camp. Wait a minute... Sure enough - if you're an NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL fan, all four of your teams are working right now! The Detroit Pistons website alerted me to this when they announced that practices have officially begun! I already knew that the Red Wings had a preseason game on Sunday, and the Lions have gone winless in 3 regular season games. Currently, I am listening to Game 1 of a doubleheader between the Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. It's pretty crazy to think about! I know I could get flak for saying that the Red Wings and Pistons are "in season", when clearly they are still getting their preseasons under way. But I like to think that counts. After all, the players are wearing official uniforms, getting together as a team, and being managed by th

PLUS: HBO's Movie Supremacy

Welcome to a PLUS section of the blog! Since this is called the Michigan+ blog, occasionally I'll write about non-sports items. In this case, I'm writing about HBO. Over the summer I have been watching quite a lot of movies and miniseries. I was astonished to notice that my favorite DVDs to put in were all released by HBO. I don't know how HBO does it (and why it seems like no network stations can follow suit), but they constantly put out grade A movies and miniseries. They are well cast, well shot, and well edited, and the stories really matter. Two of my favorite miniseries of all time are From the Earth to the Moon (1998) and Band of Brothers (2001), both released by HBO. I have these both on DVD, and decided it was time for me to watch them again. I have explained to people that I follow a lot of other shows and movies because actors in those movies and shows were cast in Band of Brothers . I called this the BoB Effect.  I became so invested in their storylines

U-M/Bowling Green: Nothing to Fear

It was all over the news: DENARD ROBINSON LEAVES GAME WITH INJURY. The headlines might as well have said EVERYBODY PANIC!!! with how serious that headline sounded. Never fear! We have two competent backups who know how to play the game of football. Both Tate Forcier and Devin Gardner came into the game and did not look shabby at all. But there was no reason to panic, anyway; if Denard Robinson had needed to come in and help Michigan beat Bowling Green, it would have happened. Luckily, we never needed Robinson after halftime. It got a little hairy during the second quarter, with Bowling Green getting two quick touchdowns before halftime to make the Michigan lead merely 14 - not a great lead. But before we had horrible visions of UMass again, the offense turned on the jets and the defense kept things in blowout mode. The defense looked far better this game. There were still a few spots that needed help - Aaron Pankratz threw for 231 yards (his longest was 71), and in the two Bowl

U-M/UMass Reaction: All About Defense

Why has it been that the last two Michigan wins have felt like losses? Last week against Notre Dame I was so wiped out from that last ten minutes of the game that I could barely celebrate. This week was a little different. I was listening to podcasts this week, reading articles, and got myself ready for the fact that the University of Massachusetts - a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-A is a Football Bowl School, or FBS) - is actually a pretty good team. They are part of the Colonial Athletic Association - just like James Madison, who upset Virginia Tech AT Virginia Tech last week. Four years ago they played Appalachian State in the national championship game - right before the winner of that championship played in Ann Arbor and football was never the same. UMass was 2-0 this season, even beating the former #4 team in the FCS: William and Mary. I was ready for a good Minutemen team to come into Michigan Stadium. Was Michigan's defense? The Wolverine defense gav

Big Ten...BIG Changes

I think everyone that lives in a Big Ten state should read this blog, because there are lots of changes going on next year. Yes, NEXT year - 2011. This season everything is as it has been. Eleven schools, play everyone but three, rivalries still there, no championship game. But over the summer (I almost missed this news, since I was in Disney World) Nebraska agreed to leave the Big Twelve Conference and join the Big Ten. Of course, this caused me to drool, since I hate Nebraska almost as much as I hate Ohio State (almost) and a chance to play them on a regular basis is neat. But this also caused the Conference to deal with the fact that it's not a Ten. Nor is it even an Eleven! (Goodbye, old logo, which I didn't even realize had an 11 in it till a few years back!) It is a Twelve (though it's still going to be called Ten - don't get me started.), and by being a 12-school conference, they are obligated to have a championship game and split into divisions.