The only thing I have ever written about sports is my total lack of any skills in them. I don’t know a tackle from a guard. I don’t know what the infield fly rule is. I get confused which one is the shortstop. I couldn’t tell you which one is the tight end and who is the safety. I did, however, write a blog about our national obsession with balls, that had nothing to do with anatomy.
The proudest moment in my sports history happened when I met the great Tiger pitcher who beat Bob Gibson in the 1968 World Series, the incredible Mickey Lolich. We were on our way to Grandma Ola’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I stopped at Lolich’s Donut Shop in Lake Orion, Michigan for coffee and donuts. As I was waiting in line, Mickey walked out of the kitchen wearing an apron and covered in flour. I couldn’t believe it! I was star-struck, stunned, dazed, and thrilled!
Mickey Lolich sat down at the counter. I walked over to him.
“Mr. Lolich, would it be possible to get your autograph?” I asked.
“Sure!” he said as he pulled a card out of his pocket.
As he was writing, I said, “I never expected you to be here.”
“Why? I work here,” he said.
“I just figured this was a chain,” I answered.
“Nope. This is the one and only,” Lolich said.
As he handed me the card, I said, “I was a sophomore in high school when you guys won the World Series.”
“You snot-nosed kids make me sick,” he said. We both laughed. I still have the card.
I returned to the car with two coffees, no donuts, and a stupid look on my face.
“Where’s the donuts?” Mary asked.
“I met Mickey Lolich!”
I have been a University of Michigan fan all my life. Michigan vs. Ohio State has been the pivotal football moment every year. Even in the years Michigan State beat Michigan, the OSU/UM game was the big one. It was just a matter of pride that a good football season included a win over Ohio State.
This year, the University of Michigan football team has been phenomenal. I am not one of those who will say the team fell short last night against Texas Christian University. Both teams played an incredible game. I’m sure the disappointment will take a while to subside, but the Wolverines have every reason to be proud.
I have to admit, when TCU won the game, I immediately became an Ohio State fan. If Michigan isn’t in it, then it’s the Big 10.
When we went to bed last night, Ohio State was ahead of Georgia 38-24, and I was already anticipating an exciting game between TCU and OSU. When I woke up this morning, I checked ESPN on my phone and discovered the final score was 42-41, Georgia over Ohio State. I couldn’t believe it.
I watched videos and read the play by play. I then saw how the game actually ended, and immediately I felt terrible for Noah Ruggles.
Every kid has visions of situations like this while they’re learning their game. They dream of the ninth inning, game seven of the World Series, two outs, the bases loaded, and the team is down by three runs. With a 3 and 2 count they connect and bash a grand slam home run. A kid sees himself catching a forty-yard pass in the final seconds, or kicking a fifty-yard field goal to win the game.
Michigan beat Ohio State again this year. I can still imagine what a UM vs. OSU National Championship Game would be like. Awesome. Maybe next year.
So now, who do I cheer for? We lived in Fort Worth in the late 70s, and Texas Christian University was just a couple miles away. So, Go Frogs!