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Midnight miracles/The Red Line

September 13, 2012
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

Saturday night in Houghton, and I was angry. The alma mater had embarrassed itself in a rare opportunity to play Michigan State at home. Even Michigan had recorded an unimpressive home win over Air Force.

The Tigers were in the midst of throwing away a game to the Los Angeles Angels.

In a race where the 24 team desperately needed a good finish to make the Chase for the Championship, Jeff Gordon appeared to be tooling around Richmond International Raceway in what looked like an ill-handling Yugo.

Heck, even my favorite tap at the Keweenaw Brewing Company, the hefeweizen, is on hiatus for the winter and Saturday night Live was still in re-runs.

Woe is me, right?

I decided that perhaps joy would come with the morning and I'd better just sleep it off. Besides, the 24 wasn't going anywhere. But I was still so perturbed that after performing a horizontal triple axel in bed a few times that I ought to just find a movie until I got tired.

Well, the race was still on, and after a rain delay, Gordon finally made his move, earning a place in the chase and leaving Kyle Busch to spew expletives on live TV. It was a midnight miracle.

Reminds me of a few other times I'm glad I stuck it out to the end.

In 2006, the Tigers had just blown the American League Central title to Minnesota by losing three in a row to Kansas City, setting up a Division Series with the Yankees.

"Oh, I'll watch, but this team is going to be like lambs to a slaughter," I said. It didn't turn out that way, to say the least.

It's 2004. Brian Kelly, the new football coach, is leading Central Michigan, but after an offseason scandal involving a deadly fight at an off-campus bar, and a losing record, the excitement level is pretty low for the home team. It gets even lower when Ball State scores the first 27 points before the end of the first quarter.

I distinctly remember my friend Dan and I with front-row seats in a student section numbering maybe 200. The other 2,000 probably didn't make it out of the parking lot that day.

CMU tied it up by halftime, and though Ball State (coached by none other than Brady Hoke) took a double-digit lead again in the second half, the Chippewas pulled out a totally unremarkable thrilling 41-40 home win.

Just a few weeks before I collected a college degree, thousands of CMU fans gathered at Ford Field, where we won a MAC Championship.

When Aaron Rodgers got a concussion midway through a particularly uninspiring loss to the Lions at Ford Field on Dec. 12, necessitating he miss the following week's game against New England (also a loss), there wasn't much the Packers had to look forward to.

But they won their next two games at home to sneak into the postseason, then ran off four more in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl.

So, when I see fans streaming for the exits, I settle into my seat. You never know when a little magic might strike - even in the middle of the night.

Brandon Veale can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at



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