It was the peak of my life thusfar. I was living the only real dream I had ever had: getting in to the University of Michigan and going there. The friends I had made in 2nd Elliot Hall in Markley and I were inseperable. We drank about 5 times a week and had a blast exploring our new world - Ann Arbor. House parties were a new world to us. Girls were everywhere. I had no worries about finding a girl to settle down with, about finding a stable career, about any serious problems in my life. We had discovered the glorious world of tailgating, a wondrous blend of my two favorite things in the world: alcohol and Michigan football. Better yet, we had yet no witness a Michigan loss during our college careers, as the Wolverines were a perfect 11-0 heading into the Game.
My GSI rambled on about the Black Panther Party, or Women's Rights, or Dylan... I don't know which, because all I could think about during that discussion section was what it might mean if Michigan would beat Ohio State the next day: my life would be perfect.
I walked out of class, through the diag, over the bridge and back to my dormitory, probably walking on airs with giddy anticipation for the weekend that would define my life thusfar. I walked into my hall and chatted with the guys who had just become my family away from home, my best friends. I stepped into my room, decorated with a unique combination of Michigan paraphenalia and alcohol posters that were cool when you were a freshman. And then it happened.
I don't really remember how I saw it. Maybe it was a website. Maybe it was that little ticker across the bottom of ESPN. But I saw it clearly. "Bo Schembechler has passed away".
I remember vaguely walking to the room next door to me, where the one person who I would consider rivaled me in Michigan fandom (ironically his name was Zac), lived. I think we both kind of looked at eachother in disbelief. We didn't know whether to hug eachother or what. After that I walked around in a bit of a daze. I decided I needed some fresh air.
I went for a long walk that Friday afternoon. I decided to walk through the graveyard adjacent to Mary Markley Hall (little did I know that would be where Bo would be buried). I thought about home. I thought about my childhood. I started to cry, and I didn't really know why. I never knew Bo, never was a fan during his coaching tenure. But it was like a grandfather had passed away. I looked at the tombstones around me and just felt sad.
It would be too sentimental to say that was the moment my childhood truly ended, but things were certainly different after that - the easy-going world around me slowly started to disappear.