By the time I got home from the Cross Country meet, the score of the Nebraska v. Michigan game was twenty to nothing, and not in our favor. Even worse, the first quarter had yet to end. I jumped in a quick shower and threw the ribs on the grill, which Sonja had lit for me. Not long after, our friends arrived for lunch. Husker fans all, we watched the dismal second quarter together while the ribs simmered, and chatted about everything from travel plans to our kids, and of course, we talked about football. I remarked that Michigan’s coach is possibly fighting for his job, having done good work but failing to win the games his alma mater seems to value most. I predicted he’d run up the score to show them he means business, and to attempt to climb in the polls.
I pulled two racks of ribs off the grill at halftime, and together our families noshed. We had a fresh vegetable tray, salad, and three kids who were each more than willing to add their own spice to the meal to make it interesting. I do love kids, and sharing a meal with other people and their children is something I especially enjoy, the level of empathy being almost palpable when my son needs his stuffed monkey at the table or my daughter rubs her dirty plate upon the top of her hair. Knowing the game was out of control already, we allowed ourselves a leisurely meal, not hurrying back downstairs. We managed to elongate things substantially by making sure the wine we were sharing was imbibed to the dregs.
I paired Zinfandel with barbecued ribs because it makes sense in my head, and I brought Meadowcroft wine to the table with these friends because it, like these friends, is a favorite of mine. Sonja and I have been loyal supporters of Meadowcroft wines for many years now, and today we both consider Tom a friend. Tom Meadowcroft makes tremendous wines, and I love the care and attention to detail that is evidenced by a vineyard designated Zinfandel from Sonoma. Notes of black pepper and dry cherry, other dried fruits like blackberry, and a gentle spice profile, the wine is somewhat robust and varietally correct in every way. Zinfandel lovers will love this one, but so will everyone else as well. Terrific wine, it allowed us to forget for a moment our Saturday afternoon football woes. As we tidied up the kitchen, I checked my phone. My friend Erin’s wordless text said everything I needed to know about whether or not we’d made any progress:
So here’s where I’ll end this. As if I didn’t already lack respect for Michigan’s football program, the very fact that they are rumored to be considering dismissing their coach — a man who played for them, a man who coached successfully at Stanford and in the NFL, and a man who has them ranked top twenty-five week in and week out for the past half a decade, makes me dislike their program even more. The older I get, the more I realize how many things matter more than football, and one of those is loyalty.
The Husker football program is now 0-3 for the first time since World War II, having lost at home to two teams we arguably should have beaten, and now having been blown out on the road… and I’m ok with that. I don’t like it, but I know that Scott Frost is doing everything he can to fix things. I also know he’s the only man in the country who truly wants this job, and that if a guy who won a national championship for us as a player before leading Central Mid-Eastern Florida A&M Tech to an undefeated season last year can’t right our ship, then it is destined to sink to the bottom of college football’s black abyss. Let Michigan demonstrate their character in how they treat their alumnus coach, and let Nebraska do the very same.
Cheers to loyalty, and to those who exhibit it,
Post Script: Dear Michigan Fans: You didn’t win the 1997 National Championship, or you’d have the Sears Trophy. You don’t have it. We do. I’ve seen it. Michigan = runner up in 1997. Nyah-nyah-nyah. Go Big Red!
Post Script Two: Sorry for being a sore loser. Congratulations on your win.