Moby Dick and Woody Hayes

By February 2nd, 2013

Family & Friends,

A Michigan fan does not need motivation for the Michigan versus Ohio State football game, but I got some anyway. Before “The Game”, I watched the documentary “Michigan versus Ohio State”. This most famous football rivalry began in 1873 and is 25 years older than the N.F.L. The most famous game was in 1950 during a snow storm. The icy field made running almost impossible. The game featured 45 punts and many of them kicked on first down. The strategy was to get field position and hope the other team fumbled the ball near their end zone. Michigan won 9-3 without ever getting a first down.

The highlight in the history was the ten year epic battle known as “Woody” versus “Bo”, that is, coaches Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. The obsessive Woody once led Michigan in the closing minutes 48-14 and went for a 2 point conversion! When asked why, he said, “Because they wouldn’t let me go for three.” It ended when Woody in frustration punched an opposing player who had intercepted an OSU pass. I asked our literature prof, Dr Schaak what he thought of the documentary. He quoted Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to describe Woody’s fate. “He was like Ahab, pinioned to his obsession.” Now why don’t I get that kind of insight on ESPN?


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