Thursday, January 4, 2007

Hail, Mr. President

As an Ohio girl living in the Northeast (the land of play for pay), I often end up trying to explain our passion for college football. I almost always fail to do it adequately.

This doesn't explain our passion but it illustrates how deeply the game penetrates and influences our lives:

As President Gerald Ford's casket was moved from Air Force One to the hearse in Grand Rapids, the University of Michigan marching band first played Hail to the Chief and then Hail to the Victors, the Michigan fight song. (The band had to catch a red eye back from California to be present at the ceremony).

On the way from Washington, DC to Grand Rapids, Air Force One made a detour to Ann Arbor for a final flyover of the Big House.

Draped over the back of one pew at the funeral was a blue blanket with the letter “M” emblazoned on it, symbolizing Ford’s alma mater, the University of Michigan, where he played football for national championship teams in 1932 and 1933.

Many of the mourners at the museum and lining the roads during his funeral procession on Wednesday wore Michigan hats and sweat shirts in his honor.

He was Speaker of the House and the President of the United States of America, but in the end, he was a Michigan Man. And every Buckeye, Hoosier, Badger Cornhusker and Hawkeye understands that perfectly.

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