Football is my favorite sport. You might ask: the one from England or America? Both, as a matter of truth. Although entrenched in completely unrelated sports and separated by a few thousand miles of deep, blue ocean, they are mentioned here because the world is in peril. And it’s not the financial crisis.
For a few years before even coming to the States, I watched the American football Superbowl on television. But as an undergrad, college-level football took over my attention. Three years I followed the Michigan Wolverines, with two mediocre years and an outstanding one when they were a mere field goal away from the Bowl Championship Game (where they would contest for the national title).
Graduation marked a change in my life, and it did so for the football team too. Long-time coach Lloyd Carr retired and in came highly rated Rich Rodriguez. Although Michigan also lost talented stars such as Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Ryan Mallet, many had cause to aim high for next season. Here we are, and just yesterday Michigan endured its seventh loss this season, losing 42-48 at Purdue.
With a current 2-7 win-loss record, reports say Michigan has no more change for a post-season bowl game. Michigan holds the longest record for consecutive bowl appearances. I can’t remember for how long, but it’s impressive. After supporting them for so long, it’s painful seeing them struggle like that.
In another continent, country, sport, and league, Newcastle United‘s struggle is more a matter of survival. As of today, they currently languish at 20th in the Premiership table. That’s the lowest spot, and if it stays that way in another seven months, Newcastle will see itself relegated to the lower Division 1. Pride will be hit, but so will the bank accounts, as the lower divisions aren’t as lucrative.
Although Newcastle started the season brightly with a couple of good results, disaster struck when then-manager Kevin Keegan resigned. Now fans are calling for the departure of owner Mike Ashley. Ashley has been persistant in finding a prospective buyer, but in these tough times, don’t hope for too much. In the interim, temporary manager Joe Kinnear is attempting to salvage the situation, but the outlook at the club is more black than white.
Gone are the days when I’d be emotionally wrecked with every defeat. Why kill yourself over uncontrollable events? But one thing hasn’t change, which is my support for these teams. The seasons are at their half-way mark, so there’s plenty of time to turn things around. I’ll be cheering harder from now on.