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More Than A Game For The Michigan Men

In a state with two competitive programs (well most of the time) that have a long standing rivalry you would normally be hard pressed to say that they will represent the whole state if they win Saturday night but given what has happened this week in our schools this could make for a uniquely unified presence from East Lansing to Ann Arbor and all over the state.

More Than A Game For The Michigan Men


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

A lot can happen in a week. On November 27th, the Michigan Wolverines were celebrating their first victory in a decade over their archrival Ohio State. Only three days later, the Southeastern Michigan community and the state as a whole were rocked by a tragic event that took place at Oxford High School about an hour north of Detroit. A 15-year-old student opened fire on his classmates, killing four and injuring dozens of others.

In response to that tragic event, the Michigan football program announced that they would be adding a special patch to their uniforms when they take the field against Iowa in the B1G Ten championship game in Indianapolis this Saturday.

An Emotional Victory

The Wolverines have gone 11-1 heading into their game against Iowa, and a year removed from a season where they won only two games. That’s right, Michigan is making their first-ever appearance in the B1G Ten Championship Game. The players hardly need any more motivation than they had coming off of the victory against the Buckeyes, but sadly, they might have found it.

Normally the high of such a big victory could lead to what could be a “trap game” for the Wolverines, but the stakes have absolutely now been raised. As a Michigan fan, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly scared of an Iowa team that will most certainly take advantage of whatever mistakes we might make. If they play with the focus and determination that they did last Saturday, that shouldn’t be a problem. But this isn’t an article about the metrics and actual analysis of a football game. No matter how many hurdles I think that Hassan Haskins might have.

In a state with two competitive programs (well, most of the time) that have a long-standing rivalry, you would normally be hard-pressed to say that they will represent the whole state if they win Saturday night.

But given what has happened this week in our schools, this made for a uniquely unified presence from East Lansing to Ann Arbor and all over the state.

Nothing will make up for the senseless loss of life of children that occurred at the hands of another child. It seems weirdly frivolous to say or think that a football game could help to heal, but as we’ve documented many times it is often sports that bring us back together in times of tragedy.

This particular incident has obviously hit very close to home for me. I know people who know people that teach at that school and know students at that school. I can’t imagine the terror that they lived through that day and they will continue to re-live in their memories. The closest I ever came to it as a student myself was when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999 and my junior high banned trench coats and backpacks and we had to bring in our books in plastic or paper grocery bags to be searched every morning. It’s been 22 years since that shooting and apparently, we haven’t made any more progress to prevent these things from happening. I was in college when the Virginia Tech shooting happened. I remember looking over my shoulder a little too often as I would walk across campus. My mom has worked on college campuses for over 20 years, and I’d be lying if I said that there was always a small constant worry that the next time would be on her current campus.

One last thought.

Kids these days practice active shooter drills the way I practiced fire or tornado drills when I was in school. They, along with their teachers and administrators, have to be willing to sacrifice their lives in the way Tate Myre did when he tried to tackle the shooter. School should be the last place that parents have to worry about sending their children to. Or kids whose parents are teachers. They shouldn’t have to think about whether they will come home safely that day when they get dressed or brush their teeth in the morning. They should be more worried about the tests they are taking or administering instead the tests of whether they have to put their lives on the line.

It might just be a football game, and an important one at that, but it’s clear that the Michigan football team realizes that what they did on Saturday night is so much more than just a football game.

And with that I say, GO BLUE!!!!

An actor by degree, sports lover by day, and a bartender by night. As a native of suburban Detroit it took moving to NYC for Katie to fully realize her love of all things Michigan and Detroit sports. Feel free to engage her in her love of the coolest city and prettiest state in the country and why she will always root for Ohio State to lose every sporting event ever. No, really I am dead serious about that last statement.

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