Sunday, 26 February 2017

Mar 26

Revenge, Served Cold

Posted by CAM Blogger in Untagged 

Cornell vs MichiganCongratulations, Cornell, on the most significant athletic accomplishment of the past two decades! I sincerely could not be prouder. No, I’m not talking about the fact that three Big Red wrestlers won national championships last week, although I have become a fan for sure – and one could argue that it ranks up there with just about any feat in the history of Big Red sports.

I’m talking about Cornell’s 3-2 defeat of the Michigan hockey team in overtime on Friday, March 23.

What? You don’t think a victory in the Midwest Regional semifinals deserves quite such lofty praise? You don’t think it’s all that big a deal to earn a match-up against Ferris State, which I can only assume was founded by the amusement park guy or a con-man named Bueller? Well, you don’t live in my world.

My father earned his degree from Michigan. My aunt graduated from University of Michigan Medical School. My best friend went to Michigan, along with about half of my closest high school friends. My screenwriting partner went to Michigan. All four of my wife’s cousins went to Michigan. More than a quarter-century ago, when the dust settled on my college applications, I had a choice between two estimable institutions – one in Ithaca, the other in Ann Arbor. My twin brother was headed for Michigan. Really, for me, there was no choice.

Even then, the suffering continued. Over my very first winter break as a Cornell freshman, when I desperately wanted to spend time with my girlfriend (now my wife) in Chicago, I was instead whisked off to Pasadena to watch the Michigan football team play in the Rose Bowl. Pep rallies and “Hail to the Victors Valiant” and Wolverine well-wishers ad nauseum. Sure, I suppose I should have been grateful for the family vacation. But it wasn’t MY school, and it wasn’t my finest hour. I’m not quite as proud of that.

Perhaps as punishment, over the years I had to endure endless sporting storylines. I had to suffer through Rumeal Robinson’s title-winning free throws (he’s in jail for fraud, by the way) and Tom Brady’s college comebacks (he’s doing alright for himself) and the precocious exploits of basketball’s Fab Five (Fab Five? How about Edward Bernays ’12, E.B. White ’21, Gregory Pincus ’24, Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, and Charles Feeney ’56. They had lousy crossover dribbles, but at least they graduated).

Truth be told, in otherwise neutral situations, I occasionally find myself rooting for the Wolverines. Brainwashing has that effect. I can only assume that iconoclasts raised in the Bronx can’t help but root for the Yankees on occasion. Sort of like rooting for the muggers. And sure, Ann Arbor is actually a fine city. And the Michigan fight song is undeniably catchy, a bit like swine flu.

Still, what I’m saying is this: I have maize and blue bruises on my psyche.

But you know what they say: Revenge is a dish best served cold – on ice, preferably. So thank you, Cornell hockey. It was a gift tied up with a Big Red bow.

Oh, and while I’m at it, congrats to the football team for its stirring triumph in the last game of the season. Both of my in-laws went to Penn.

— Brad Herzog '90

Brad Herzog

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