Upon my arrival at the University of Michigan, I had never experienced the true meaning of being apart of a team. In high school sports, we are labeled as teams, but it is no more than a group of friends playing sports for fun. Here at the University of Michigan the value of “team,” is taken to the highest degree. Our common motto with every athletic team here is, “The Team, The Team, The Team.”
This saying has dated back to times before any of us were born. This saying holds character and toughness that only Wolverines can understand. It holds tradition for all those who bled and continue to bleed the maize and blue before us. Those same people, who have set the standard for what it means to be a student and an athlete at Michigan. This saying unites and empowers us over obstacles that most view impossible. Ultimately it embodies how Michigan students and athletes are self-less and always have their peers in mind ahead of themselves.
Many may view sports as only a “game,” in which it doesn’t hold any true meaning, but at Michigan it is more than that. In Huizinga’s Homo Ludius, the author argues how sports are nothing more than make-believe and unrealistic. It is also said that sports are unproductive and in many senses autotelic. However this holds far from the truth when you come to Ann Arbor. Here, sports provide pride and tradition that allows all who rep the maize and blue to walk with swagger wherever life takes them. The entire student body, regardless of culture or background, all unite during games to cheer on their fellow classmates. For here at Michigan, winning is important. Winning puts the word, “best” in our institution’s motto. For at Michigan we strive to be the best in every aspect through out working our competition in any situation.
In another reading, Giamatti’s Take Time for Paradise, it explains how people enhance their sporting experience through their favorite athletes. “The spectator invests his surrogate out there with all his carefree hopes, his aspirations for freedom, his yearning for transmutation for business into leisure, war into peace, effort into grace. To take the acts of physical toll……….and bound them in time or by rules or boundaries in a green enclosure.” (Giamatti) In essence, the spectator lives through the athlete themselves when they are at the games watching. It allows the spectator to feel the real live action through the team. The players themselves act as dual personas that people can live through when the game is on.
This theory holds true at Michigan. We as a student body, on the weekends, live through our sports teams. We all pile into largest stadium imaginable for a college student, and live through our “surrogates.” With ever touchdown or goal, we feel the same excitement and rush felt by the players on the field. It allows us to escape from the stresses of schoolwork and live in an alternate world for a day. Not only does it give us this experience, it allows people who may have nothing in common to connect and unite as a whole.
All in all sports are not just sports here. They stand for something much bigger than that. They represent us as a university and a family that come together when the times are easy and when the going gets tough. It connects us with one another in terms that not many cannot say they have experienced. Together as a student body we are a “team” that stands by one another and looks out for each other. That is the true meaning behind being a highly selective group of Michigan Wolverines.