PhD.s storming the court? Absolutely. They earned it. We all earned it—the handful of hardcore fans who kept showing up through the Wolverines’ dark last decade.
I know I sat through more awful games than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime. Christ, I never missed a home game when “exactly-why-is-this-dude-our-coach?” Brian Ellerbe was in charge. I sat through the dubiously talented cum train wrecks Kevin Gaines and Dom Ingerson, half peering through my fingers----hoping to see and not see. When Michigan started a televised game against Duke at Durham down 2-36, I kept watching to the end. I dealt with a couple of moronic Sparty fans pointing stuff in my face (for no particular reason except to taunt) when MSU killed us at Crisler, trying to take it in good humor with the more reasonable Spartan Nation. They won by 50, I think. Or maybe 80. My wife and I once walked a mile through three feet of snow to see the U-M lose to Northwestern. My guess is 500 others were there, soaking up the pain.
I witnessed some of the worst, most inane, and least inspired basketball ever played. I watched teams that didn't seem to care. I watched teams that couldn't play. (Often, these teams intersected.) But I kept going to games. I kept cheering. I kept trying to see the nearly empty glass as half full. And, I kept trying to imagine an arena (even) half full, as opposed to the few stragglers and diehards blinded by their own visions.
"Why are we doing this?" my wife asked. "Because some day it will change," I told her. She rolled her eyes.