Friday, June 20, 2008

A Brief Encounter

Well, I know I said tomorrow morning, but what I really meant was tomorrow at 9:30 pm. Anyway:

The University of Michigan's Washington Alumni chapter (Or guild? Club? Pirate vessel?) held a cocktail party last night at the Press Club downtown to award a graduating high school senior a full scholarship to study political science at Michigan.

I arrived home from my job at the zoo yesterday blissfully unaware of any such festivities; even if I had known I probably wouldn't have cared. After all, I'm not an alumnus of the university yet.

So when I walked in the door, sweaty and tired and ready for an evening of some Gorton's Fisherman haddock fillets and a Deadliest Catch marathon, you can imagine I was a little surprised to see my mother hurriedly putting in a pair of fancy earrings.

"Big date tonight?" I offered with a smile.

"Get in the shower," came the reply. "We're going to the Press Club. And when you're done, put on a coat and tie."

After a brief inquiry I discovered that my mother and father, two Michigan alums in Washington, were attending this event catered specifically to people like them. That part made sense. What didn't was the plan to smuggle me in amongst the 50 and 60-year-olds without a ticket or a Michigan diploma.

But whatever. We were en route and there was no place for discussion. When we got to the Press Club I made my way to the back of the room as quickly and quietly as possible. Thirty seconds later, a familiar face walked through the rear door.

I had met Lloyd briefly in December. I was visiting Jim Brandstatter, host of Michigan Replay and former fraternity brother of one Wild Bill Coston, when Lloyd rolled through the studio after shooting some stuff for the show. He was way more cordial than he needed to be, asking me about my studies and my family. But it only lasted about fifteen seconds. Last night, I was hiding by the bar in a room full of old people and Lloyd simply deduced that he would rather talk to me than them.

The journalist in me wishes I had a tape recorder for our chat so I could share it with you all, but the other half--whatever it's called--is thrilled just to be considered worthy of any face time with a man like Lloyd Carr.

Now that I've spoken with him at considerable length, I think I can objectively say that there will never be another football coach like Lloyd Carr. For one thing, he talks. A lot. About random stuff. And as my father pointed out later that night, rambling incoherence does not a champion make.

But his composure and his simple ability to tell a great story makes him unforgettably awesome. If Pete Carroll is Rock You Like a Hurricane, Lloyd is Moonlight Sonata.

There isn't an adequate adjective or sentence to describe the feeling of talking to Lloyd Carr. He's like a friendly uncle that just happens to be an archbishop or something. He is at once as approachable as an uncle on a fishing boat and as overwhelming as a foreign dignitary.

One thing is for sure, though. We will miss him dearly.

1 comment:

Benjo, the one without pants said...

very cool!

i wish i could meet my team's coach like that...

sadly the fridge would probably mistake me for a delicious roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce and consume me tout de suite