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Obviously, as I am not a member of the Michigan football team, I did not play a single snap of that game. And I watched it from my warm and cozy apartment, rather than in the snowy stands of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. But I was so invested in the action that my heart-rate tracker thought I was working out. When the game ended, and Michigan had won, I felt as if I had won, too, from hundreds of miles away.This is why I don't watch sports all that often.
I am, of course, not the only one who felt this way. A fellow Michigan graduate and current N.F.L. Network host Rich Eisen told me that during the game he felt so personally involved that he turned to his wife and asked, “Why does this mean so much to me?” He said that during previous games, when Michigan was losing to Ohio State, he would have to force himself to take stock of what was good in his life. “I would often sit there and think to myself, ‘I’ve got a beautiful family, and I’ve got three healthy children.’”
After Saturday’s win, Eisen was at a loss to describe this particular brand of joy, just as I have been. “Obviously, childbirth and marriages are your best days of your life,” he told me, not all that convincingly. “But this win over Ohio State, I can’t even really put it into words, and it’s my job to do that sort of stuff.”