What To Do With The Paul Bunyan Trophy? Have A Good Cry

What To Do With The Paul Bunyan Trophy? Have A Good Cry

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What To Do With The Paul Bunyan Trophy? Have A Good Cry

Michigan has the Paul Bunyan Trophy. What are the members of the athletic department and the overall institution now supposed to do with a prize that is largely foreign to them? SpartansWire has suggestions on how to maximize the opportunity and enjoy the trophy in as many ways as possible.

Contact @crowleysullivan

One of the undeniable realities of Michigan’s 21-7 victory over Michigan State this past Saturday was that the Michigan football program saw and reacted to the ability to raise the Paul Bunyan Trophy in ways that were extremely comparable to my reactions to realizing that Santa Claus had, in fact, brought me Atari for Christmas in 1981.

The players, the coaches, the fans, the head coach who cried, the marching band, the crying head coach, the administrators, the head coach that wept, the cheerleaders, and the crying coach all were excited, to put it mildly (to use the crying head coach’s words).

When I opened the wrapped package that was under the Christmas tree that wound up being the large box that contained the entire Atari game system, I ran around the house yelling and screaming, jumping up and down, pumping my fists, yelling, cheering, and yelling.

One thing I did not do when I opened up the gift from Santa that wound up being Atari was cry.

Crying, I think, is just something that gym teachers do when they realize that they have finally led a really well-executed gym class highlighted by a perfectly played game of dodge ball by the 7th grade.

In 2008, when Michigan State defeated Michigan 35-21 and reclaimed the Paul Bunyan Trophy in Ann Arbor, Mark Dantonio was being interviewed on the field as the Spartans were carrying the trophy around – and the Spartans were euphoric at the mere site of the trophy, to be sure.

Dantonio was in the middle of the interview with the smart and great reporter and he saw that the trophy was floating around behind him.

The really good on-field interviewer said something to the effect of, “Well, Coach – there’s the trophy – you want to get a look at it?”

It was actually an appropriately funny and appropriately light moment – the tone of the interviewer had the right amount of respect to go along with the right amount of collegial humor since the trophy is, well, this –

Dantonio got a big, broad smile on his face and he turned around, reached out and touched the trophy, then he looked back to the camera and said, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen this big fella…”

10:40 in this clip right here –

One thing Dantonio did not do was cry.

Michigan State has had a lot of time with the trophy over the last ten years and the Spartans are well accustomed to the responsibilities that come with holding the trophy.

The Spartans also know what sorts of things can be done with the trophy.

Michigan has, indeed, had the trophy four times over the last twelve years so it’s not like they are totally unfamiliar with it.

But the last two times were so shocking for the Wolverines that they probably didn’t actually stop to realize that the trophy wasn’t the Ark of the Covenant that melted all of the people’s faces at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Michigan seems to now know that having the trophy is something to be taken seriously.

But I think it’s fair to say that the Michigan people have forgotten (and probably never knew in the first place) what can be done during the period when they have temporary ownership of the trophy.

As a public service that is meant to calm the hatred and vitriol that is at an all-time high between the two schools, football programs, athletic departments, and fans, SpartansWire is providing (with no charge) suggestions on what to do with the trophy.

The Michigan people don’t necessarily have to do any of these things – we’re not telling them what to do in the way that Jim Harbaugh thinks he can tell the Big Ten to tell Michigan State what it can and cannot do with its pregame Spartan Walk that Jim Harbaugh ignorantly called a “stormtrooper march” since Jim Harbaugh is not very bright and doesn’t actually know what the term “stormtrooper march” actually means.

We’re merely making suggestions – the Michigan people can choose to ignore our counsel if they wish.

The suggestions regarding what to do with the Paul Bunyan Trophy are these:

  • Sit and look at it.
  • Invite Dave Brandon to the campus so that he can look at the trophy (but perhaps only allow him to get within ten feet of it and disallow any touching and/or photographs with it in order to show that past transgressions have not been forgotten).

  • Invite Jim Brandstatter to spend time alone with the trophy – but make it clear to Brandstatter that the trophy is not edible and that fermented grain mash does not exist within the interior of it and cannot be distilled out of the trophy.

  • Gather the members of the Fab Five (even Chris Webber since he’s now allowed on the campus since the “restrictions” related to the “challenges” related to the “issues’ related to the “actions” of the members of the Fab Five have expired) and have them see what a trophy looks like.

  • Bring the trophy to the gravesite of Bob Ufer and have Michigan Men stand around with reverential solemnity as Jim Harbaugh honks Ufer’s horn rhythmically during a soft, harmonic rendition of “Hail! To The Victors” by Boyz II Men.

  • Sit closely to the trophy and smell it.

  • Invite that one Michigan guy who is great at twittering and have him stand with the trophy and be photographed with the trophy so he can send out more clever twitters that demonstrate the importance of his status as a twitterer and the importance of his twitters.

  • Check and see if the former field goal kicker with the flowing mane who kicked the game-winning field goal the year Michigan beat Michigan State 12-10 is under house arrest or is in jail or if he can, in fact, come and spend time with the trophy.

  • See if Brian Ellerbe is still alive and offer him a chance to come back to the place where he achieved greatness so he can spend time with the trophy.

  • Have Jim Harbaugh schedule more recruiting trip sleepovers with sleeping bags and tree-forts and have him bring the trophy.

  • Schedule a team trip to Burkina Faso this summer and have the team carry the trophy all around the streets of Ouagadougou.

  • Extend an invitation to Michigan’s legendary field goal kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh and ask him if he’d be open to touring with Spartan legendary field goal kicker Ralf Mojsiejenko with the trophy in an effort to bridge gaps between various elements of our American culture.

  • Get that guy who played quarterback for Michigan in 1973 and is still whining about how he thinks Michigan got screwed after he and his buddies tied Ohio State 10-10 but didn’t get to go to the Rose Bowl because the Big Ten ADs voted for Ohio State and have him bring the trophy to Bo Schembechler’s (genuflecting is reverence now as I type) gravesite and have that guy ask Schembechler why Schembechler thought it would be a good idea to be the president of a Major League baseball club.

  • Simply sit with the trophy and have a good cry.

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