Happy May 30th, the day Michigan football was born. May you say? Indeed.
Team 1 took the field on this day 133 ago against Racine in game played at White Stockings Park in Chicago.
Fittingly May 30, 1879 is also marks the birth of, depending on your perspective, Wolverine fans getting SCREWED BY or whining about the officials. From a recap of the game as published in the Michigan Chronicle the following day:
Despite the blind referee, by all accepted accounts Michigan prevailed 1-0 over Racine. To this day sources differ however, on who scored the first touchdown and how it was scored. The feat is commonly attributed to Irving K. Pond and that will probably never change. In his autobiography Pond describes his heroic dash to the end zone and you’ve gotta love it:
My touchdown was made towards the end of the first half and involved a long distance run to where the ball must be grounded directly behind and between the goal posts … To Avoid being tackled I was forced to mount the bleachers and run eastward along them until I was opposite the goal when I stopped suddenly and — fearing that a touchdown in the bleachers would not count– jumped over the heads of my pursuers to the ground."
The available news reports from the game don’t mention any bleacher bounding by Pond, and instead talk about a catch (by John Chase) and a kick (by Captain Dave DeTarr) near the end of the game to tally the only point of the game. I like Pond’s version better.
Viva Team One and happy anniversary.
As an aside, if you walk back from 2012 to 1879, the upcoming season marks the 134th in team history…but of course next year’s version of the Wolverines are dubbed Team 133. I’m sure this has been discussed elsewhere but I assume we’re on 133 because they chose to skip 1882 as no games were played that season.
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