Friday, August 15, 2008

The Deprivation is Over

I have been a Michigan football fan for 20 years. In fact, I remember the moment it all started. My earliest memory is from the ’88 Hall of Fame Bowl victory over Alabama. In those 20 years, I have never been more satisfied than I am at this moment. The level of access that Rich Rodriguez has allowed fans to have is simply unprecedented for Michigan. Believe it or not, I come from an Ohio State family. I know the enemy very well. I also know the enemy has been so much kinder to its fans in the customer relations department. I have spent a good portion of those 20 years begging for the same information that Ohio St. fans take for granted. Buckeye-fans are very knowledgeable because the Ohio St. coaching staff has allowed them to be. Until now, Michigan fans have had no such luck.

The purpose of this post is to simply express the unadulterated joy that has been infused into my life by the “new” Michigan football program. Previously, I felt like an abused dog who longs for something as simple as a being praised. To prove my point, has a feature running up to the Utah game on August 30 where it releases a video each day. The videos include interviews with players and coaches at practice. The videos are no more than a few minutes each but I feel like I’m waking up on Christmas morning every day. It’s pretty sad that something as basic as a snippet from practice could have such an effect. But, that simply underscores how boring and secretive the previous regime was. The videos from practice are just one example of fan-access. Rodriguez is so much more open than Lloyd Carr ever was. He isn't evasive. He doesn't act as if the secret to the Krabby Patty recipe is hidden in Schembechler Hall. Rodriguez's willingness to actually answer questions extends to his coaching staff as well. It's entirely refreshing. If any group of fans deserves this sort of reward, though, it’s Michigan-fans. The deprivation lasted far too long. I now have hope that this silly addiction that I succumbed to many years ago will actually end up paying off. Enjoying Michigan football has become a reality again.

I actually started this blog because I was unsatisfied with the Michigan program. I thought a blog might be the outlet that I needed to counteract my frustrations that existed in a littany of areas. Sure, the coaching staff was always pretty weak but that was just a function of the entire philosophy of the program. Everything—from the preparation to play-calling to conditioning—was rooted in the 60’s and 70’s. That included the level of information afforded to the fans. With one lucky hire, all of that went out the door. Some have compared it to an upgrade. I compare it to a transplant. The body is the same but the substance is entirely new. This is what I thought I was getting myself into 20 years ago. I am overjoyed.

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