[Engaging first-person mode for reasons of clarity. Be not afraid.]
Ah, memories. (AP)
It's funny what sticks to the inside of your head for no reason at all. I have no personal or professional connections to Michigan or Appalachian State football. I had no real reason to be watching that game. I was sitting with my dad in a hotel bar in San Francisco in 2007, killing a couple hours before heading over to Berkeley for the second game of Cal's home-and-home series with Tennessee. I don't remember the lead-up to that final quarter at all. There were a dozen television screens in that place, and it was the first Saturday of the season. There was a lot to pay attention to.
It plays out like a disaster movie in my head. When it became apparent that Things Were Happening in Ann Arbor, probably on that first blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter, the bartender switched the game to the big projection screen in the corner, and patrons began to peel off from other activities around the room and crowd around it. And when that second kick was blocked, and the room burst into disbelieving chatter, I saw two men stand up from where they'd been sitting, right in front of the big screen. They turned, revealing Michigan State logos on the fronts of their ball caps. They wound their way through the crowd, saying nothing, but as one passed by, I caught a snatch of the song he was humming quietly to himself. "Hail to the Victors."
With no personal investment in the outcome, that one slice of one Saturday is just lodged in my brain for all time. I think it was the song that did it.
That'll do it for us this week. Leave your stories of games that floated tangentially into your life and stayed there below.