Last Thursday, Bob Chappuis left us at the age of 89. Bob was a halfback at at Michigan, and left after his sophomore season to help in World War II. When he came back, he resumed his career at Michigan, leading them to an undefeated 1947 season, runner-up in the Heisman voting, number 1 ranking to end the season, and the Rose Bowl Championship. He was part of a backfield that included Bump Elliot (don't think I need to remind everyone of his status) and that's also part of how this blog is named. The 1947 Wolverines were nicknamed the 'Mad Magicians' because of what Crisler would do out of his single wing offense and Elliot and Chappuis were a big part of that.
However, that is not the biggest impact Chappuis has made, or left behind. When he was in the war, his bomber was shot down. Anti-Nazi supporters discovered him and two of his crewmen and kept them hidden. This house was just a short ways down from the local Germany military headquarters and they were holed up in a small room for three months. Not many Michigan Men can say that they've gone through something that profound and impactful. Now, after his career at Michigan, he did not play much in the pros and settled down in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and passed away from complications due to a fall.
I won't go on much longer. Having Bob Chappuis play for us at Michigan was an honor, but having him fight for us in enemy territory during WWII and surviving behind enemy lines is a bigger sacrifice.
One quick note on Tate Forcier being released by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. I know I wrote an piece on this a few weeks ago when it was announced, and here's my summary: I'm not shocked. In one practice game he was 0-for-4 and an interception, with a run of 7 yards. Now granted, he was competing against Henry Burris, Quinton Porter, and Dan LeFevour...and those names do not strike fear in the hearts of anyone, but really? I know some people succeed in the CFL, but with Tate's history of failure and running to the next stop, I am not shocked. Will he catch on with another team? Well...Arena Football gave T.O. a chance...but that'd be it. There would be no other shots for him to try.
I've been out of the loop for a few days, but I hear that the #goblue hashtag will be permanently on our field this season during home games. Now, people might argue with tradition and say it's not needed. I say nonsense. One, what tradition are we breaking here? Team Captains? No. Anything to do with the band? No. Twitter and Facebook have become ingrained in our society, and in sports. So, if you're sitting during the game, and feel like tweeting--fine. I'm going to pay attention to the players on the field. Not try to get my tweet up on the scoreboard by adding #goblue everytime. The one and only problem with this--I never get a decent signal in the Big House anyway. I haven't had a great cell phone connection there in years. Of course, having over 100,000 people there might have something to do with that. Stay tuned for tomorrow's column when I come up with my own "mock rankings" of the B1G Ten.