Every quarterback throws a few interceptions here and there, but who knew enough could be thrown to change the whole gist of UMich football? Michigan football has been known for key players such as: Braylon Edwards, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Denard Robinson, and many more but has the team thrown one too many interceptions at this point to keep the tradition going? Michigan football, “the most winningest team in NCAA history” along with having at least one or more headline players is currently at a standstill. At one point in time Michigan football could have been seen as a religion, better yet the religion as some fans would eat, sleep, and breathe maize and blue. But how have things gone so downhill today?
These die-hard fans would fall under Giamatti’s definition that “if sport is really a religion, then the intensity and devotion is brought by the fans”. But how do you cure a dying religion when no one is believing in the god? Michigan football is composed of two things: as Bo Schembechler would say,“THE TEAM”, and its fan base. The Big House holds 100,000+ spectators, yet recently no one is believing in the religion for anything more than buying two cokes for a free ticket.
Is the idea of not having an idolized football player this year, which could be seen as UMich football’s “god”, tearing the program down or building the team up? Despite the numerous interceptions thrown per game, Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess still keep hope alive as they attract attention rather they’re playing well or not. However, not having a huge star player is leaving the stadium to be quite empty. Although the idea of an athlete as an idol may be bad as they are often worshiped with specialized attention, it also has a positive aspect where the idol helps draw attention from fans. So if sports is a religion like Giamitti believes, is the lack of an idol contributing to all the mess within the football community?
Prayers go up and blessings come down, right? However, is the Michigan community actually trying to positively reform and support UMich football? Prior to the Rutgers game, the students and the Ann Arbor community had a protest to get the athletic director fired after the incident at the Minnesota game. Roughly four-hundred fans rallied at the Diag to protest and relocated to the presidents house shortly after to continue to the madness. But, okay, we rally for two hours and what’s next? Nothing. Thats similar to Max Weber’s idea in Politics as a Vocation. Sports and politics often have this idea of “sterile excitement”, a passion without focus and without long term goals. Another idea was proposed to stay outside of the stands until kickoff for the Penn State game to make an illusion that the stadium was empty. This idea would be similar, yet worse, to the Minnesota game when tickets were basically given away for free and fans still did not attend the game.
But again, what’s that going to do other than support the fact that no one is believing in UMich football as a religion any longer. The team needs to focus on changing from ethics of conviction, being absolute and act-orentied, to having ethics of responsibility, flexible and act-orenited. The current position of UMich football can’t be blamed on one individual player as they strictly follow the rules of Brady Hoke, therefore, they must act as a team to work together and look to focus on areas in which they can grow and where they will be in the future.
So what’s the next play? Maybe the whole situation is similar to Machiavelli’s Prince and the topic of “fortuna”. According to Machiavelli, Fortuna is all of the circumstances in a human’s life that they simply have no control over which in turn have a direct correlation to a human’s success or failure in whatever capacity. The team is preparing themselves every week to do their best on the field, so maybe its no longer in their control.
Machiavelli also talks about this idea of “virtu” which relates to human energy impacting an event taking place that impacts their success or failure. As a community, we must come back together to support the team with positive vibes. The negative commentary in the community can’t be doing anything but contributing to the failure of the team. Many can argue that the decline in the program could be due to virtu, fortuna, or lack of an idol figure; however, what ever the main contributing factor may be, everyone must continue to preach the religion of maize and blue. Who knows, maybe the next big interception won’t be against our team, but a change in direction of our team. Go Blue!