They say life comes down to a few key decisions. On December 31, 2006, I was faced with one: fifth or half-gallon. I stood in the aisle of a Los Angeles Von's, a grocery/liquor store across the street from our hotel, and after arguing for a moment with The Hammer, I caved and went with the half-gallon I knew we did not need. I knew that since I was without my 32oz UMTailgate.com mug, there was absolutely no need for such an abundance of Captain Morgan's. I shuttered to think about pouring out the remainder of the bottle before heading for the airport. I mean, what would The Godfather think of us if we allowed perfectly good Captain to flow into a storm drain?
A vague memory resides in a damaged part of my brain from a mere sixteen hours after the purchase of the bottle...and that is of the last drop of that bottle hitting my blue cup of ice. It was more for show than anything...to prove to the naysayers that we could finish that bottle. I do remember there being little room for Coke left in that glass, and I have no idea how many of those blue cups were filled by me prior to that moment. Nor do I remember much about the tailgate, outside of a few flash memories of visitors that I couldn't pick out of a lineup. I think I remember that the food was scarce, with no ability to cook anything without our equipment. I think I ate some celery with dip and some chips and salsa.
My conscious self missed the whole first half, though through interviews with key members of the tailgate in attendance, it has been determined that I did lambaste George Lucas in a fiery foul-mouthed tirade, fielded a phone call during the moment of silence for President Gerald Ford after telling the crowd to shut up, and got teary eyed during the moment of silence for Bo. Those moments are, of course, in no particular order, as I have no idea in what order they occurred. Those in attendance around me witnessed what can be best described as "quite a scene." I was passed out for most of the first half of the football contest, resided quietly in a cold sweat, and was the butt of several cell phone picture mail jokes.
As the end of the half neared in what I was told was the worst half of a Rose Bowl ever, I made a celery/dip/chip/salsa deposit onto the floor, onto Bloomfield, then onto the floor once again. That's right folks, breaking a ten-year alcohol-induced-vomit-free streak, I threw up at the Rose Bowl. You can't make this shit up. What's really amazing is how fast the tide turned for me after relieving myself of the Captain's burden. I quickly regained consciousness, and can recall with great detail the devastating second-half of the game. And let me tell you, I wished I had remained unconscious. The best memory I have from the 2007 Rose Bowl? A tasty Macho Nacho from the concession stand with a nice big coke. That combo ingested between the 3rd and 4th quarters may just have saved my life.
Anyway, many of you have already heard pieces of this story. Actually some of you got play-by-play from the crew in attendance. But I felt the need to come clean here, recap the events of January 1, 2007, and apologize to those who went to the game with me, those who sat near me, and any passers-by that may have just seen a giant drunk man donning a UMTailgate.com shirt that threw up all over "The Granddaddy of Them All."
That being said, allow me to briefly offer my comments regarding the 2006 Wolverines, who dazzled us for eleven weeks, came up short in Columbus, and embarrassed themselves in the Rose Bowl. 11-2 is a successful season, though losing the last 2 games once again leaves me with a bitter taste. Though not the 7-5 disaster of a year ago, the inability to win against OSU or in a bowl game over the period of several years has left an aura of doubt on this program. They owed us after going 7-5...and they still owe us despite going 11-2. Time is running out on the Wolverines. The window is closing on one of the most talented classes in Michigan history, and it needs to be capitalized on before they graduate. I'm afraid that if 2007 is not the year for Michigan, we may have some serious time to wait. And how long before our ineptitudes start to have a negative effect on recruiting? Perhaps it has started already.