“It wouldn’t be The Game if people didn’t live or die by it.” – Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore, 2010
There is one day every year that is different than the 364 before it. All other days have led up to this one. Each day falling away like a mile marker in the rear-view mirror. Today is a destination unlike any other. A map plotted by the seasons, weathered by time.
Like a far-off horizon that grew closer by the day, this is The Saturday. Gameday for Ohio State-Michigan, counted down since the last one ended, and waited on like a lingering last word. It is known by all, and taken in only by the fortunate.
Those who get to experience this day on the field are remembered for how they perform in The Game.
What an incredible opportunity to know when your legacy is going to take root, to know when you are going to be called upon to step up at the most proper time. Names are made, blames are laid, and nobody is free of the privilege of being tested.
These are the times that try men’s souls – but then, that’s why they came here.
You never know how good you can be until you have to be at your best. The test is anticipated, and the questions must be answered immediately. The moment waits for no man. The perfect opportunity is fleeting, yet it is the fleet who will make the most of it.
Wishing and hoping give way to work and preparation. Fate is something that is fought for, and chance is something that is fought through. In the end, the results can never be left in somebody’s else’s hands. The legacy of those involved is simply too important.
A year’s work defined in one day, one moment. The memories of that day and moment are bound to those on the field, but shared by all.
It is a place where anything can happen, and the possibilities are as feared as they are hoped for. The worst has happened here, and also the best. It is a one-laned crossroad of misery and joy, two ships colliding in the afternoon, the crispness of the air matching the crackle of the electricity.
The highs and lows are juxtaposed, like misfortune and fortune coming together at both the best and worst possible times. Nothing is happenstance, and there are no accidents. Destiny is something to be earned, and it comes with the highest of prices — everything.
How can something that has brought such pain be looked upon to bring such happiness? It is a buckling precipice, a frozen breath, then a moment later, exultation and a prayer resoundingly answered.
The etched walls of history will tell of failures as well as victories, and the prepared are the ones who wield the hammer and chisel.
This is gameday. Michigan Gameday. A culmination of all the weeks before it, and today, Saturday, is the day we have all been waiting for.