The year was 2009.
There I was, a sophomore in college, hanging up a brand new "Embrace the Process" poster in my dorm room. Here was the guy that was going to turn in around for the green and white. Ron English. A Michigan guy (because that was supposed to mean something). Things had improved for us. The only way was up.
Then, we didn't win a single game.
"He's a first-year coach," we all said. "Give him a year to get acclimated."
Then, we won a mere two games.
"Hey, two games are better than none."
Then, we won six games and came up just short of making a bowl game, and that's when the guy stole our hearts.
This had to be the guy to put Eastern Michigan football on the map. Then, we won two games...yet again.
No. It couldn't be. We can't go through this again. This was supposed to be our guy. He swooped in (pun intended), made a couple of rousing speeches, produced the best season we'd seen since 1995, then in true EMU fashion, crashed and burned.
The infamous tape recording of a less than flattering locker room tirade was just the icing on a cake loyal Eagle fans have eaten far too often.
Heartbreak. Disappointment. A brand new coaching staff. This is the process we've learned to embrace.
Now, here we are four years later. What's that saying, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? Well, hell hath no fury like an EMU football fan that wasn't alive the last time the team went to a bowl game.
In walks Chris Creighton, a nice, seemingly stand-up guy. Since his hiring in December, he's embraced the Ypsilanti community. He's gone to other EMU athletic events, done service projects with the team, you name it. The guy hasn't skipped a beat.
He may not have been the hire everyone expected, but the excitement for EMU football is, once again, on the rise.
Now, Coach Creighton, I'm sure you're a lovely person. I've heard a couple speeches and you've definitely got the motivational pep talk thing down, but I'm not ready to go out and buy season tickets just yet.
We've been through this before. We've gotten ourselves so excited and worked up for a new season, a new coach, and this year, a new field, only to have our hearts broken.
I'm not ready to go through that again. I'm usually not a cynical person, but that's where I find myself today.
Don't get me wrong, I want this team to succeed as much as the next person, but this year, I'll be watching games with my hands over my eyes.