For me it was April 3, 1989. It was a Monday night, I was allowed to stay up and watch my Michigan Wolverines take on the Seton Hall Pirates in the Men’s college basketball National Championship.
The Wolverines won in an OT thriller that I still remember quite vividly as I watched in the Corunna basement (which tells you, it was a long time ago).
Glen Rice, Rumeal Robinson, Terry Mills and ol’ Coach Fisher got it done it what was a Cinderalla run (even though they were a very good team). You always remember the first time you see YOUR team win the title.
So I don’t have to tell you how tickled I was, that 34 years later, on another late Monday night, my now 14 year old son was sitting in front of a TV, watching HIS Michigan Wolverines win the men’s college football National Championship.
Add another person to the long list of people who have fallen in love with being a fan.
I wish I had a photo of me watching the 1989 game, on what I recall being maybe a 27 inch tube TV. I have a Beta Max recording of the game somewhere. I watched it over and over again, as one does who didn’t know what 24/7 streaming sports was.
And like me, my son watched it by himself (for him, his bedroom), caught up in the stress and emotions, focused heavily on the game. I was texting with him from our basement, showing my interest and keeping with with the score.
The best was after it was all over, I texted good night and he simply said – I am so happy right now.
Sports. That will do it.
For me the Wolverines winning was one of the first times the team I was a fan of won a major title.
If you want the true first time, you need to go back to 1984 (40 years ago – ouch) when the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.
Growing up in Lambton County, you almost always became a fan of Detroit or Toronto sports. I went pretty heavy on the Michigan side of things, until go figure, the Bad Boy Pistons of the late 80s. I could not stand them.
But my love of the Michigan Wolverines continued. The Fab Five, getting through the dark years of scandal and their return to prominence in the 2010s.
For my son, I am not really sure how he landed on the Wolverines other than he has listened to me go on about them his whole life. They are also a very public brand for a sports fan to latch onto. 110,000 people go to their home games. It’s easy to join the crowd.
You could technically say, he did get to watch the Toronto Raptors win the NBA title, but I don’t think at that point in his life, the Raptors were his team. He was into it because I was into it.
But it was 2023 when his unique fandom really hit. He loves watching football. The Wolverines and Buffalo Bills are for now, his teams.
Will that last for a few years? Decades? His whole life? Time will tell.
I am just happy for him to have the experience of seeing your team win it all. You don’t forget it.
So hail to the victors and have a great day.