It feels great to bowl champions! I started my career as a Detroit bowl champion (180 lbs) and ended my career as a Detroit bowl champion (236ish lbs). Circle of Life.
The days spent in Detroit were extremely fun and packed. Detroit itself, despite what you might have heard or seen on tv, is the most depressing city I have ever spent time in. Every third building is abandoned and boarded up, however the buildings that are not destroyed are beautiful. The streets are littered with spectacular artwork and architecture, but that is mostly due to the streets being deserted.
As I mentioned earlier, our time in Detroit was full with meetings and events we were required to attend. LOL JK! The offense and defense had a bunch of meetings, the specialists spent our time playing video games in the players lounge. One of the events the team was scheduled to attend was a luncheon on Christmas day with the other team. Let me preface this by saying Lloyd Carr spoke and it was one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard; but, whoever thought it was a good idea to have the two teams sit across from each other during lunch vastly underestimated the awkwardness that would ensue. Neither team said a word to each other, because both teams are classier than that. However, every time you would look up to try to get a glimpse of your competition you would make eye contact with someone on the other team trying to do the same. Awkward turtle. But, it gets better!
Later that night both teams met up at the legendary Thuderbowl Lanes of Detroit for a friendly roll on the hard wood. Prior to arriving, a challenge was equally accepted by both teams for the four best bowlers of each team to square off and assert their dominance in the Game of Kings. After bowling a gentleman's 76 on my first game, I took a stroll down to see how our boys were doing. Turns out, Western Michigan had four professional bowlers on hand for such an occasion. After the first couple of frames, the scoreboard read Western Michigan "X" Purdue "-". I'm no PE teacher (yet) but I think that means they were winning. After seeing the first of our bowlers I knew we were in trouble. Kawann Short aka KK aka Best of Both Worlds was bowling for us; I could have swore I watched KK bowl a 90 right beside me for a warm up game. The games ended and nobody even bothered to check the scores because it was obvious who had won; good thing bowling in no way translates to football! HEYY OOOHH. #nailedit. After watching a few more rolls, I went back to my lane and we started to see how many balls we could roll down the lane at one time. Because that is what you do with unlimited bowling and no adult supervision. BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!
Ford Field is a great place for a football game; also a great place to embarrass the quarterbacks (Sean Robinson) by beating them in their own game involving throwing a ball into a bucket and the AD watching and asking out loud how the specialists are better than the quarterbacks. The actual game against Western Michigan was definitely an exciting one. We were able to execute two (of the worst ever kicked) surprise onside kicks as well as return a kickoff for a touchdown. Its not that I place more of an importance on special teams, it's just that I have no idea whats going on on offense or defense aside from the kids who are playing them. Personally the game went well for me; I either ended up on my back or on my face at the end of every play AND I was credited with my first career tackle. There was a mix up in the booth and the announcer said "45 Kevin Ballinger with the tackle," which is weird because I could have sworn my number was 46 and I was sitting on the bench when the announcement was made. Not how I always dreamed it would happen, but I'll take it.
It was great to get a quality win against a good team like WMU to cap off an amazing senior season that at one time I never even dreamed I would get the chance to have. I'm proud to have had this opportunity and to call these teammates my brothers; it was the time of my life.
I would also like to take this time to officially put my name into the 2012 NFL Draft. Uh oh, looks like somebody has thrown a wrench into the first round of the draft! Eat your heart out Mel Kiper!!!!
NFL Draft: 108 days
Christmas: 351 days