[Ed. No official decals are being doled out this week from Dr. Sap, just a few words.]
Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis
I’ve been there as a player, as a coach, as a parent and as a fan. When you play the game long enough, you get to see all that’s good about competition and unfortunately, all that is bad about it. It happens at every age and at every level. Sooner or later, your will and morality will get tested and you will need to make a decision.
Do you become a “win-at-all-cost” type of person or do you take the high road, knowing that in the end you will be vindicated and rewarded? That decision will end up shaping the rest of not only your life, but the lives of those around you and who you influence.
For me that point in time happened in 1978.
I was not quite 14 years old but knew it was a significant moment in my life. Bo Schembechler was asked why Michigan flew to South Bend instead of taking a bus to play Notre Dame in 1978? His response was vintage Bo. “Because Michigan goes 1st class!”
Simple and to the point, but more importantly, it was a mindset that showed that Michigan was different. They were a cut above and took the road less traveled. That was me and Bo had just connected with who I was. There’s a price to pay for that, and Saturday was just another example of that.
I’ve faced and competed against others who were those win at all cost types. Sometimes they were called “trophy hunters,” sometimes they were called “jerks,” but most of the time they were called “the enemy.” You could tell which side of the dilemma and decision they fell on. They were not like you.
Sometimes they were officials, sometimes they were coaches, sometimes they were parents, but most of the time they were players. They ALL made that choice. You know when you are in the middle of that morality storm. Decisions are being made that not only conflict with who you are but what is right. Jim Harbaugh was shaped by who Bo was much more often than I was that fateful day in 1978. It shows at every level that Jim has been at and with every team he has coached.
He will reap what he has sowed. That’s how it works.
To quote Bo from his famous locker room speech in 1987 after the Wolverines came back from all kinds of personal adversity to defeat Minnesota, “The thing that’s happened here is a football team that doesn’t quit…We had some guys in there, I know damn well they were hurt, but they played. They hung in there. It paid off because YOU are MICHIGAN! And when you are Michigan you never quit! You never quit! That’s the way you were brought up, that’s why you wear this uniform! That’s why you take this jug home! That’s why you’re Michigan!”
We as a team and as a fan base will never quit and will never give up. GO BLUE!!