Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Being Wyatt Earp

The most famous gunfighters of the old west lived not by the draw, but by their reputations. While there were showdowns between fighters of high repute, for the most part, the best gunfighters avoided one another and stayed alive. Additionally, although many of these men had the reputation of killing dozens and sometimes hundreds of men, they often had only fought and killed 2 or 3 people. Some had never even been in a gunfight.

It scares me to think about how this season will end. Like a bandit fleeing an impossible horde of lawmen, I know there is probably no escape. After UMass gashed down the field over and over again this Saturday, it has become clear we will be in many shootouts this year. There are no invincible heroes on this defense. Sometimes Mike Martin is all that stands between us and total annihilation. The chaos is palpable and always seeking us and there are only so many times Denard Robinson or Roy Roundtree or Michael Shaw can cross the goal line and toss the ball to the referee. One of these weekends it won’t be enough.

For now it is. For now I’ll dream of 90 yard touchdown runs, of breaking a tackle on a little screen and taking it the distance, of offensive linemen blocking 20 yards down the field. This is the beginning of autumn in Michigan. Hope still reigns; they haven’t caught us yet.

But sometimes they chase you down and you find yourself outnumbered, behind a wall, clutching a gun to your heart. We weren’t there this weekend, but we will be. And as any smart gunslinger knows, each gunfight might be his last. But if we must go down, let it be in a haze. Let it be to a superior force. Let us take at least a few of them with us before we fall.

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