It's been a tough year for me. A family friend that I really looked up to, and who was genuinely just a good person, died way too young early on in January of this year. I lived in Chicago a hundred miles from anyone I had ever cared about, feeling depressed and alone for a good while, all the while feeling like I had made a really bad decision in going to school there. The girl I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with broke up with me over the summer, after which I had by far the hardest couple months of my life. I live in an apartment that I was supposed to share with that girl, which is a daily reminder of lost promises and disappearing dreams. So for the past couple weeks or so, I've been counting down the days until New Years Eve. I wanted to be done with 2011 forever. Quite frankly I'd erase the entire thing from my life if I could. It felt as if the wind was most certainly not at my back.
Until Yesterday. Yesterday Michigan beat Ohio State in a football game. Call it a game, if you want. But to me it was far more than a game. It was a reason to remember 2011. It was the only reason to remember 2011.
On Friday I read something on Mgoblog.com that meant a lot to me. I think it really puts in perspective what yesterday's win means for me. I'll try and paraphrase:
The year was 1995. The guy who posted this story was a recent college graduate, not unlike myself, who was living a long way from home in an unfamiliar city, far away from family and friends. He was feeling kind of down, and feeling kind of worried about "those types of things that you worry about when you are a younger man". The kind of worry that isn't really too serious, but you only realize that years later.As the 1995 Ohio State-Michigan game approached, the #2 Buckeyes were undefeated and heavily favored in the big game. He watched the game, alone, in his apartment. He watched a Michigan running back by the awesome name of Tshimanga Biakabatuka that day. And he yelled "Biakabatuka" at the top of his lungs numerous times throughout that day, as Biakabatuka ran wild for 313(!) yards, perhaps the greatest one-man performance in the history of The Rivalry.And I'll quote the part that really meant a lot to me: "It's ridiculous, but the way I felt after that beautiful destruction changed a good bit of my outlook. Everything would have turned out fine anwyay, because I would have worked hard to make it all work out. But Tshimanga put the wind at my back".
It's strange, but after yesterday I do feel as if maybe the wind has changed directions a bit. It doesn't feel as if it's blowing directly in my face, and maybe even the wind is at my back now. I'm ready for that. I'm ready to start anew. And maybe, just maybe, a "game" - as some people who don't understand what sports can truly mean sometimes would call it - will provide me that wind at my back. Don't tell me it's just a game.
May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face,
And may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.
Here's to the wind at your back.