Throw aside a history filled with winning. Put back on the shelf the recognized brand whose reputation is only surpassed by its academic standards. Ignore the winged helmet and the fantastic fight song. Forget about the long line of amazing athletes ranging from Cazzie Russell and Glen Rice to Zack Novak and Stu Douglass (what?) and put out of your mind the countless memorable moments that Football and Basketball have provided.
And ask yourself why you’re a Michigan fan. Maybe for you, it is only the sports and the athletes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For me however, it is so much more, and I’m not going to bash any other programs. Although it is quite tempting, this is just about why I could never imagine supporting another D-I University’s athletic program.
Over the latter half of the last decade, I have been humbled; yet my support never wavered. My fandom never faltered and my love never waned.
I watched as a football program collapsed and is rebuilding. I watched a basketball be victim to the wrath of a corrupt system and come out on the other side just as mighty.
I saw a giant step down, disgruntled and craven, and watched a man condemned hold his head up high amongst kings and men.
I was witness to a leader devoid of followers make believers out fans spanning many generations.
Most recently, I watched as kids in the wake of heart break grew into men. Not just any men however, I saw with my eyes and heard with my ears as these young boys grew into Michigan Men. Soaked in strength and filled with integrity, their resolve shone through their hearts and minds.
That, is why I am a Wal-Mart Wolverine and proud of it. That term has been thrown at me as if my fandom or opinion is made invalid by it, but I wear it proudly on my sleeve as a badge of honor.
Integrity, coaches that care about the development of their players as athletes and adults, and doing it all the right way is why I’m a Michigan fan. (That, and I really love condescending fans of that other team – told you I wouldn’t bash any other programs….by name)
(Was this post a little dramatic? Yes, but so is sports. Also, F you, that’s why.)