Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Miracle in Ann Arbor

This morning, during the announcements before Mass, our priest, Father Steve, made the following announcement:

"In honor of yesterday's Miracle in Ann Arbor, all Catholic priests around the world will be wearing Green and White vestments today."

(It was a joke, right?  See, according to the Liturgical Calendar, this is 'Ordinary Time' - which covers something like 33 weeks of the year, and during Ordinary Time, vestments and altar coverings are green; I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with yesterday's events in Ann Arbor, no matter how miraculous.) (Pretty sure. . .)

But. . . Hoe. . . Lee. . . Crapp. . . It WAS kinda miraculous.  At least, if you're a Spartan like me.  Folks from our Sister Institution down the road might see it in more nightmarish terms. . .

I won't spend much time rehashing the final play of the game; you can go here to see it.  Suffice it to say that we were 10 seconds away from losing to our hated rivals, but. . . a miracle happened, and we beat them for the 7th time in the last 8 times we've played.  As to the play itself, everything had to happen just as it did, or we don't win the game.  If any single thing went differently, we lose (as the final play was being lined up, The ESPN Win Probability Tracker had our odds of winning at 0.02% - 1 in 5000).  And this wasn't a last-second trick play, or anything that the Spartans planned or designed; it was a pure, gratuitous gift from (I'm tempted to say Heaven; I don't really like references to 'the football gods'). . . well, it was a gift.  

I feel for the Michigan punter, I really do.  He'll take way more crap than he deserves over it (in fact, the Facebook/Twitter trolls have already been pretty vicious toward the kid, which is reprehensible in the extreme).  The fact is, it was a classic game between two pretty darn good teams; a great game (say it with me) if you didn't care who won.  But I did care, and so did a whole lot of people in my state, which only added to the intensity.

I will take the win, and the year's worth of alumni/institutional bragging rights.  But I know (and I want you all to know that I know) that there is NO ultimate significance inhering to this football game.  Good and Evil aren't at stake (well, maybe just a little bit) (I'm kidding!!), and nobody (I hope) is going to Heaven or Hell over the outcome (there were reports of a fan being taken from the stadium after the game, having suffered an apparent heart attack; no reports on whether his soul was in a state of grace or not).

But yeah, I'll take it. . . Oh, yeah, I'll definitely take it. . .


  1. I was waiting for this post........

    Did you hear lots of cheering and excitement from south of the border? The number of memes featuring shocked Michigan fans is over the top here!

    1. Ah, yes. . . second-hand Wolverine-hatred. . . gotta love it. . .


      Truth to tell, there are plenty of shocked Michigan State folks, too. Ours is just a happier sort of shocked. . .

  2. I also feel for the punter. I also feel for the one who scored as the pile on celebration caused a dislocated hip. In 1991 (?) Rutgers scored a miracle upset in the last seconds and the celebration pile-on came within seconds of suffocating the man with the ball. Coaches need to train their players of the dangers of this before a terrific moment quickly turns into a tragedy.

    But, what a thrill that must have been for a Spartan fan. Closest I can remember is the Giants losing to the Eagles on a final second return of a they have the victory formation take a knee.

    1. The kid who scored is actually saying that he was hurt by the hit he took as he crossed the goal line, but the dog-pile didn't help matters, I'm sure. . .

      I remember that Giants-Eagles game. Isn't that the one where the Giants' coach fired his punter for even kicking it to the Eagles' return man?

    2. Different Giant debacle (why do the Eagles always come on top?) My son is an Eagle fan he never lets me forget that one. THe Giant qb Pacarchek (?) handed the ball off with 10 seconds to play and it was fumbled. Eagle cornerback (later a Jet coach) Herm Edwards scooped it up and ran it in to win the game.

  3. I watched...
    I'm happy to report I had no dog in that fight.
    OTOH there are in-laws who were finding all sorts of reasons why that play should have been blown dead before the score.
    I also now have family in the vicinity of Lansing and she's hanging with State fans.
    I feel really bad for her because football is not one of her favorite things.
    I would be willing to bet she can hardly wait for Saturdays to become somewhat routing again.

    BTW - The looks on the faces of the UofM fans was precious.

    1. If you didn't care who won. . . it was a great game, wasn't it?

      I really, really resist carping about officiating, especially on one crucial plat at/near the end of the game, because there are always a dozen or so points earlier in the game where there were either missed opportunities, or the officials blew a call in your favor. . .

      And like I told Bijoux, I was just as shocked as any Michigan people; just a happier kind of shocked. . . ;)

  4. I had no rooting interest in it, so it was just an amazing ending worth watching. Sad for the returner; you can see him swatting away the hands of teammates as they try to give him congratulations by pounding him in some way. As for the punter, it was just one of those things. He blew it, but the vitriol he has been subject to is ridiculous. The commenters saying those mean things deserve some sort of karmic payback.

    1. Somebody was calling it the greatest ending to a game ever, all things taken together (the magnitude of the game, the flip from defeat to victory (or, you know, vice-versa), etc, etc). I don't know if I'm quite prepared to lay claim to that, but it was pretty great. . .

      And yeah, karmic payback. . . I'm down with that. . .

  5. Wrong place in history doesn't require anything big, just place and time. Same goes for the right place/time, eh?

    The funny part was listening to a couple interviews of the punter who thought he almost got it away .... he was convinced he had a chance to get it off despite the sea of humanity he fell into following the initial bobble. When on doubt Stop Drop and Curl!!

    1. There were several commentators who pointed out that the kid had learned his craft in Australia, and in Aussie-rules football (a less-organized version of rugby), they're used to getting kicks off with any number of defenders draped off their bodies, versus here in the US, where kids are taught from the first time they put on pads that, 'if you can't handle the ball cleanly, just fall on top of it!' So the poor kid's instincts kicked in, to fairly disastrous effect.

      Honestly, tho, the kid himself seems to have a much better grip on things than most of his team's fans. Having grown up in Australia (and just having transferred to UM this year), he isn't all immersed in the intensity of the rivalry and all that; to him, it's just another game. I messed up; learn from it and move on. . .