Granny’s Brag Blog

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan – it is interesting how Michigan acquired this chunk of land that is attached to Wisconsin. The only way to reach it was by boat. So how did Michigan obtain the UP? One might envision a high stakes card game in which Wisconsin lost, or some squabble over boundary between the two States. But in fact, Michigan was awarded the Upper Peninsula as a consolation prize over a dispute of land between Michigan and Ohio. Yes, you read that right – Ohio. There was a 468 square mile area of land known as the Toldeo strip bordering the two States which both laid claim to. When Michigan applied for Statehood in 1835 Michigan claimed this strip of land. Needless to say the Ohio delegates objected and successfully held up Michigan’s Statehood. Things got so heated that the Governors of both States raised militias. There was a whole lot of taunting back and forth along the disputed boundary area. Shots were fired but fortunately no one was hurt. President Andrew Jackson finally stepped in and offered Michigan Statehood along with 3/4ths of the Upper Peninsula if Michigan would capitulate and recognize the disputed area as Ohio’s. The Upper Peninsula was considered Indian territory and the voters thought Michigan got a raw deal. But as history unfolded Michigan won that war. The UP became valuable for its timber, copper, and iron ore deposits. However, the problem was getting there. In 1923 the Michigan legislature finally ordered the State Highway to establish a ferry service. But traffic was so heavy that the possibilty of a bridge was discussed and studied. But as most Government projects go, it was not until 1957 or 34 years later that the Mackinaw Bridge was finally finished and opened for traffic connecting the upper and lower peninsulas. It boggles my mind to think the ability to drive to the UP has only been around for 58 years. And what blows my mind is that I’m older than the Mackinaw Bridge!!! I really am older than dirt.
2015 and it is about a 2 and half hour drive to the Mackinaw Bridge from Traverse City, and another 2 and half hours to Marquette, Michigan. So history puts into perspective the trip this could have been. However, I suspect Traverse City did not play football against Marquette prior to the 1950’s. Actually I suspect it was much, much later.
Now to football – The first Marquette game I attended was 3 years ago when Jacob played varsity football as a sophomore. Marquette beat us quite soundly as I recall. The next year Marquette traveled to Traverse City. It was their turn to come below the Bridge and play with the Trolls (the UP term for those of us who live below the Bridge). The Trojans returned the favor and beat Marquette. So this year it was our turn to travel to Marquette. The JV team played first and won (score 50 to 20 I believe). The JV game went long so the varsity teams got a late start. Captain Jacob was present for the coin toss which the Trojans won and elected to kick to Marquette in the first half. The above picture is the coin toss. Unfortunately, you can’t see Jacob as the Marquette players (red uniforms) had their backs to us facing our team. While the coin toss was in progress, the announcer announced the names of the Trojan players over the loud speakers. When he got to Jacob Steelman he said Jacob was # 79. There was a misprint in the program. Jacob is number 78 – I have the sweatshirt to prove it. So I was elected and gladly accepted to go up to the announcer’s booth and set them straight. Which I did. I told them Jacob was # 78 and I knew this for fact because Jacob was my grandson. They were cool. They recognized that grandmother status gave me authority in the matter and thanked me. They said they wondered why there were 2 players listed as number 79. So with that duty complete, I returned to my seat for the kick off.
Marquette scored a touch down on their second play. The extra point put 7 points on the board for them. Marquette players were pumped – home turf, and first to score. Grandma was worried we would have a repeat of 3 years ago. Something about crossing that bridge into another dimension messes with a player’s psyche.
Marquette kicked the ball to the Trojans, and there was a flag on the play. 10 yard penalty for holding against the Trojans. Things were not looking good. But wait the wind shifted. On the next play, Jacob flattened his opponent. Before I knew it, the Trojans were racking up first downs and voila a touchdown plus the extra point. The score was now tied 7 to 7. Marquette’s ball and they successfully moved the ball down to the 18 yard line. But the Trojans stripped the ball from Marquette. Three plays later the Trojans scored their second touchdown and the extra point giving them the lead at 14 points. My excitement was exceeding my capacity to hold it. I bet you are thinking Depends but no, not that type of leakage. Marquette’s ball but they could not score so back to the Trojans. I won’t give all the details but lets just say the Trojans scored another touchdown! Ha! With the extra point, the Trojans now had 21 points to Marquette’s 7 and there is still 3:39 minutes left in the first quarter. Too soon to be confident that we had this in the bag. Ball back to Marquette, and they were moving the ball down the field. In their third play, Jacob took down the ball carrier and the announcer correctly said # 78 Jacob Steelman – All because Grandma intervened! Marquette was not successful in scoring and the quarter closed with a score of Torjans 21 to Marquette 7. Second quarter and Marquette could not score against the Trojan’s defense so ball returned to the Trojans. Again the Trojans scored a touchdown plus the extra point putting 28 on the scoreboard for the “visitors.” Ball back to Marquette and this time they succeeded in scoring their second touchdown plus the extra point raising their score to 14. Ball to Trojans but they did not score. Ball back to Marquette and Jacob stopped Marquette’s quarterback from advancing down the field. However, Marquette did succeed in scoring another touchdown and were beginning to close the gap as their score advanced to 21. Marquette players were beginning to fire up, and Trojans were starting to slide. Marquette swatted a pass out of the air on one play and on another play the Trojans had a bad snap so the quarterback had to scramble, pick up the ball, and try running. But no more scoring by either team in the second quarter, and the half time score was Trojans 28 to Marquette 21. Following half time, Marquette kicked to the Trojans, and the Trojans had their groove back. They moved the ball down the field and scored a touch down, but the kick was no good. Score is now 34 to 21. Marquette moved the ball down the field but could not score. With the ball back to the Trojans, they scored another touchdown. They attempted a 2 point conversion but were not successful so the score was 40 to 21. Marquette’s ball and Jacob is successfully putting pressure on the quarterback, but Jacob is starting to limp. Jacob is taken out of the game. Things are moving so fast, and I’m busy writing when the Trojans scored their next touchdown! But I was okay with that. I certainly wasn’t going to request a do-over. The Trojans again attempted a 2 point conversion, and this time they were successful. Score is now 48 to 21. Marquette’s ball and they too score a touchdown plus the extra point. Score is now 48 to 28. Marquette kicked the ball to the Trojans, and a player touched the ball but did not secure it so Marquette seized the moment and were rewarded with the ball. Jacob is back in the game. He is in position on the line and then the next thing I know he is flat on the ground. Game stopped until they could get Jacob up and off the field. It turned out he had a severe muscle cramp and was out the rest of the game. Fortunately, not a sprain or break. The score remained 48 to 28 at the end of the thrid quarter. Marquette scored another touchdown plus the extra point bringing their score to 35. Trojans managed to score another touchdown plus a 2 point conversion putting 56 points on the score board. And the score remained Trojans 56 to Marquette 35 at the end of the game. It was an incredibly exciting game, and of course, winning is always thrilling. In keeping with tradition, the players came to the stands in front of the Trojan fans and sang the Trojan fight song. The Marquette band graciously waited for them to finish before beginning their song to march off the field.
I have not had an opportunity to speak with Jacob. He returned with the team on the bus Friday night, and we stayed in Marquette so that we could take the Pictured Rock cruise in Munising on Saturday. I heard from his Mom that he is okay, and I believe he worked today so I am hopeful he is not doing the “pushing through the pain” macho thing. As I have mentioned in prior blogs, Jacob is playing first string offense and defense so he is on the field most of the time. I suspect the physical demand takes a toll. The team needs him for next week’s game against Traverse City West. Both Traverse City schools play next Friday and this is a huge game. Last year over 10,000 people attended. We won last year and both teams really want the win so it will be a very exciting game.
Until then bragging Granny signing off.
P.S. Second picture is Jacob reading Granny’s Brag Blog!

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