The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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4 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2022 February 2022 • Vol. 33, No. 8 ISSN 1048-9940 Editor John Borton Editor Chris Balas Football Recruiting Editor EJ Holland Staff Writers Clayton Sayfie, Anthony Broome Drew Hallett, Tim Verghese Managing Editor Ryan Tice Contributing Editors Steve Downey Chris Riffer Matt Herb Layout And Design Jeanette Blankenship Chris Miller Contributing Photographers Lon Horwedel Per Kjeldsen Cover Photo Lon Horwedel Publisher Stu Coman Business Manager Linda Autry Circulation Manager Sarah Boone Advertising Sales Michelle DeLee-Hamilton 877-630-8768 Customer Service Cathy Jones, Laura Thornton 800-421-7751 The Wolverine is published monthly. A one- year (12 issues) subscription is $66.99. The Wolverine is printed at The Papers in Milford, Ind. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Wolverine, P.O. Box 2331, Durham, NC 27702. Periodical postage paid at Durham, NC 27702 and additional offices. For advertising or subscription information, call 1-800-421-7751 or write The Wolverine, P.O. Box 2331, Durham, NC 27702. The Wolverine is a publication of Coman Publishing Company, 905 W. Main St, Suite 24F, Durham, NC 27701. E-Mail Address: Subscription questions: Website: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Dear The Wolverine, I often get a bit annoyed when I hear fans say, "Oh, my Wolverines," or that's "my" team. I always wonder what dedi- cation, what sacrifice have you made to claim the team as your own? Where had you been through the tough seasons? Where were you through the victories — were you really a part of that? Did you re- ally do anything that made a difference? So much so that you can claim them as "MY" Wolverines? Until now. A small boy from Grand Rapids, Mich., was invited to go to The Big House. His uncle decided to take little Brian and his father to a U-M versus Minnesota football game. The uncle, Gerry, decided to keep lit- tle Brian shielded from the stadium and the field, car- rying Brian with his head tucked away into his chest as they walked up to and finally into the stadium. Inside, the view cleared. Little Brian was offered the op- portunity to turn his head and gaze at, take in with awe, the size of what to a small child was a universe, a maize and blue universe. Brian gasped and started to cry, declaring the Michigan Wolver- ines would forever be his team. Unfortunately the Wolverines lost that day, but it was the only time Brian would see the Wolverines lose in person. He stuck to his childhood pledge. The Wol- verines were "his" team. All sports, at all times. He grew to be a man who sched- uled his life around the Wolverine games. Yes, I mean literally, if you needed to schedule, it went around what the Wol- verines had going at that time. Men's and women's basketball, baseball, hockey and oh how he loved the Wolverine softball teams. And of course the football, even- tually making it back to The Big House on many occasions, year after year. If you knew Brian, you knew his life was in lockstep with the Wolverines, a cadence that kept them in complete unison. His mind was a literal Michigan Wolverines Google. For "his" teams, he could tell you every player by position, number, size, stats and usually where they were from and if they ended up going to a profes- sional league. Ever since his first encoun- ter with The Big House, he would have the answer to absolutely any Michigan Wolverines question. And that ques- tion would start a dialogue that could last hours. Brian was not just a fan in a maize and blue No. 2 football jersey or a Bren- dan Morrison No. 9 hockey sweater or the maize and blue shoes. He would often be seen in those, but rather Brian was a fan at heart and in the mind. Brian believed in the Maize and Blue, and Brian bled the Maize and Blue. Yes, in this case, the Michigan Wol- verines were "his" team. He spent a lifetime earning that distinction and nobody deserved it more. Brian has left this stage for an even bigger and better one at age 43, but still we know he looks down at The Big House in amazement. He considers the Wol- verines his teams, and is so very thank- ful for the part they played in his too- short but complete life. So I say thank you to The Wolverine and many others who published material Brian studied and enjoyed. Thank you to the Wolver- ine sporting family that really does make connections with us everyday fans and those who claim "MY team." A fan of Brian — "Big B." GO BLUE! Rit Sessink Grand Rapids, Michigan Thank you for the letter and tribute to Brian, Rit. Our deepest condolences to you and your family for this loss. Fans like Brian allow The Wolverine to ex- ist, and power the Wolverines in The Big House, Yost, Crisler, Alumni Field and beyond. We know many Wolverines will see this and be touched by it, joining us in extending best wishes for you and yours in this time.   FROM OUR READERS Brian Shepard was a diehard Michigan fan ever since his uncle first took him to a game at The Big House as a child. PHOTO COURTESY RIT SESSINK Be Heard! Send your letters to: Wolverine Letters • P.O. Box 2331 Durham, NC 27702 Or email: Letters may be edited for clarity or length.

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