Today I visited the Big House and Schembechler Hall in anticipation of the first day of practice tomorrow.. I was thinking about writing an aticle called, “The Calm Before the Storm,” but as I walked around I kept thinking how it was really more like the night before Christmas.
‘Twas the night before Fall practice, and all through the Big House
Not a creature was stirring, not even a gopher;
The helmets were hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that a National Championship soon would be there;
The players were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of hotties danced in their heads;
With my wife sleeping soundly, and I resting too,
Had just settled down for a long summer’s nap,
When at Fort Schembechler there arose such a clatter,
I drove in from Pittsfield to see what was the matter.
Away to the athletic campus I flew like a flash,
Jumped out of car and ran to the Stadium.
The moon on the breast of prescription athletic turf below
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the scoreboards above,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the Michigan Assistant Coaches, harnessed like reindeer,
With a stern old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it had to be Lloyd!
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Debord! now, Campbell! now, English and Jackson!
On, Loeffler! on Moeller! on, Stripling and Szabo!
From Endzone to endzone! Now to the Press Box you go!
Now blitz away! pass away! tackle away all!”
As old programs that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the Big House the coursers they flew,
With a book full of plays, and Lloyd Carr too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard the pacing and stirring of each coach’s foot.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down to the sideline came Lloyd with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all from Nike with Maize accents to boot;
A bundle of playbooks he had flung on his back,
Ready for the new season soon to begin.
His eyes — how they burned! his jaw was set firm!
His cheeks were pale, while his nose fared like a bull!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And his hair had specks of white from last year’s 7-5 toll;
He had a serious face and hardly no belly,
But his jowls shook, when he screamed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was stern and serious, hardly a jolly old elf,
But I smirked when I saw him, in spite of myself;
For I know that opponents of Michigan were in for a shock!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And flipping through playbooks; he then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, as if to lecture a ref,
he seemed ready for the challenge ahead
He gave a final nod, and through the tunnel he strode;
To his coaches gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he disappeared out of sight,
“Team Sleep well, for tomorrow WE GET TO WORK!”