Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Ballad of Mike Lantry

Yesterday was a joyous time in central Ohio, as the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated their hated archrivals, the University of Michigan Wolverines for the sixth straight year by a convincing score of 21 to 10. OSU/Michigan week is an occasion for vituperation towards our archrivals, a time for telling nasty jokes about anyone or anything related to Michigan. Example: how to you get a U of M MBA off your front porch? Pay him for the pizza. What’s the difference between a U of M cheerleader and a hippopotamus? About fifty pounds. How do you eliminate the difference? Feed the hippopotamus? One of my all-time favorite musical groups is an outfit called the Dead Schembechlers, who have produced a number of albums. One of my favorite songs from their album is the song of Mike Lantry, commemorating his missing of a last-minute field goal in the 1974 game.

The Bucks were locked in battle
In the Fall of seventy-four.
The Wolverines would be the champs
If they got one quick score.

But who would win the game that day
To play the Bowl of Rose?
Schembechler bet his season
On Michael Lantry’s toe.
His toe, his toe, he bet on Lantry’s toe.

Well, Lantry was pure evil,
For he had sold his soul .
He sold it to the devil
To kick some field goals.

He strode into the Horseshoe
As seconds ticked away.
He planned to beat the Buckeyes
On the last play.
Last play, last play, upon the last play.

The snap, it came to Lantry;
He kicked it way up high.
The ball flew like an angel
Who swiped it as it flew by.

By the grace of God he hit it
For he was quick and deft.
The ball, it started spinning
And it sailed to the left.
Wide left, wide left, the ball, it went wide left.

The devil, he was angry;
The angel had him beat.
The Wolverines were defeated
Schembechler stamped his feet.

Mike Lantry, he tried suicide
Because he felt bereft.
But when he tried to shoot himself
The bullet sailed wide left.
Wide left! Wide left! The bullet went wide left!

p.s. Contrary to what the song says, Mike Lantry did not try to commit suicide after the game. He is a Vietnam veteran. Serving in Vietnam gave him perspective on how to deal with losing a college football game.

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