You may have heard the news, but the Michigan Wolverines are Big Ten champions for the second year in a row. This time hit a little bit differently. They have won 13 games for the first time in school history, and they've done it in a not-so-dramatic fashion with a few exceptions. I do videos after every Michigan game, and they're from the point of you of a fan. I don't know football the way that I know baseball. I really want them to win. I remember when my dad took me to my first Michigan game in 2003, ironically against Central Michigan, where I "attended" school later in life. If this goes any further, I'll probably have to write a blog about him. I'd be privileged to do that.
What is frustrating for me sometimes is that I try for my blogs not to be cliché and boring. I struggle with that. Because I know what people want to hear about. I know they want to hear about whether or not Michigan's going to play Ohio State again and how I feel about that, and sometimes I sit down to write blogs like that, and I can't get through them. It's hard for me to do my job sometimes. I don't know if it's writer's block or a lack of confidence. But when a big moment happens, I always look inward. I don't know many things, but I know my story, which is about a few people responsible for getting me to Barstool. But even more so, it's about why every Michigan football win means a little more.
Back in February 2018, I knew I was dropping out of college. I had stopped going to class. I was heavily medicated and often partying. By partying, I mean drinking a 12-pack of beer daily in my dorm room to sedate myself. I had two great things going for me. I had a fantastic family, and I had this following on social media of people who liked to hear me scream about the Tigers and Michigan sports. I was applying for jobs, but many people viewed me as a little bit toxic. I was unhinged. I wasn't dangerous or anything, but I was a nuisance. I've had a lot of resumes thrown in the trash in my life. I'm the first person in my family who didn't graduate college, and I felt the shame of that every day. I needed something, and then there was Maize N Brew.
Anthony Broome was the first to give me a shot. He acknowledged that I wouldn't be getting paid much and told me it could only be part-time. He didn't promise anything out of the ordinary. Once a week, I would record an episode with Anthony and a gentleman named Luke Ghiardi. We were going to do a podcast talking about Michigan sports. And if you talk about Michigan sports, that means most likely you're going to talk about Michigan football because, at Michigan, football is a year-round institution. I started working there around February 2018.
Shortly after I officially moved out of Mount Pleasant, I went back to living with my parents and waited tables for a while. I always bring up the gas station, but waiting tables was my worst job ever. It was miserable. I had incredible bosses who were very lovely people, but I also dealt with jerk-offs who thought that it was somehow my fault just because their fries were too hot. It sucked. It was torture, and anyone who works in the service industry should get a raise every week. I remember one of the servers yelling at me for spending too much time watching the Michigan/Northwestern football game during my shift in 2018. She's since been in and out of jail.
About a year later, I started working at the gas station, which was, from a professional standpoint, substantially better than waiting tables, but what kept me going was that once a week, I got to record with my guys. I loved Anthony and Luke. It was an enormous sigh of relief/breath of fresh air. I could experience knowing that I was allowed to talk about sports, even if it was just for a short time. I like writing blogs, but I love going on podcasts. I am so much better on those platforms. I love talking. That's probably no surprise to anyone who knows me. The only downside was that Michigan football kept letting us down. It was always a fun time, but things took a sad turn in 2020. It was the heart of Covid. I was still living at home, which I still am (let's change that soon), and I was utterly miserable. But I kept trying to fight it. I didn't want to lose my job.
For reasons beyond my comprehension, I had my Twitter account taken away for about three days in September 2020. All I had was my podcast and my following. That's an unhealthy way of living, but I was already living an unhealthy life. I almost had that taken away. I think it was because I once sent out a tweet calling Skip Bayless a piece of shit. If that's what gets somebody kicked off of Twitter, that would be most of Twitter, but that's beside the point. I was done. And I tried to come back in some capacity, but I ultimately went five months without sending a tweet.
I was scared to talk, and if Chris Castellani is scared to speak, that means something weird is going on. I got extensive mental health help, I hit the wall every day, which was scary. I didn't know what my life was going to look like. Being on social media is such an essential part of promoting a show. I thought, even despite our friendship, Anthony might have to fire me as a business decision. He never considered it. We kept going. ￼Once a week, there was Anthony, there was Luke, and there was "The Maize N Brew Crew." They kept me going. It made me happy to work with them, and happiness was tough to come by then. 2020 was one of the most miserable Michigan football seasons of all time, yet working with them, gave my life a heartbeat again. People helped me along the way, but many of them ended up leaving. These guys didn't.
I officially returned the social media in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus. I was still determining what my life was going to look like. I had been doing a podcast called "Locked On Tigers" for several months and was lucky enough to interview Jomboy. Most of you know who that is. But if you don't, he's that guy who does the baseball lip-reading videos and has created a content empire. He's one of my favorite people on the Internet. That was when I officially returned to social media. I didn't know how anyone would react. One of my biggest fears and life is being damaged goods, but I remember Anthony giving a beautiful soliloquy about Luke and me shortly after that.
You may have heard some background noise when you listen to that video. I filmed it just after it was uploaded, and I couldn't stop crying. Anthony Broome is my best friend. He lost his father to cancer during the heart of Covid, and he never missed a beat. He had every right to complain, and he never did. When I was in Greektown last September, he let me stay at his place (again), and when I came back, he held a birthday party for his mother. ￼He now works for The Wolverine and spent his night last night on the sidelines of the Big Ten championship game.
I lament that Anthony, Luke, and I never had the chance to discuss a win over Ohio State. We never saw a Big Ten Championship. Most of our talks were misery. Most of them were losses to Michigan State, Penn State, or Ohio State, and don't even get me started on the bowl games. So every time a big moment like this happens, they're the first to come to mind. I couldn't go to Indy this year, but I was there last year with Anthony, and I could probably write an entire blog about that weekend. It was wild, but it was one of my favorite weekends ever.
Anyone who tries to act like their success is because of them is a fool. When you do something that people consider impressive or successful, you're standing on the shoulders of those who help to get you there. These were the two that did it. They never quit on me. And we never quit on Michigan. Luke is doing radio in the upper peninsula, and he's killing it. Anthony is my best friend. We talk almost every day. He'd be the best Detroit blogger on the site if he worked here. He's the one who got me there. I'm just the one who got lucky. People say, "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer." That's nonsense. Keep your friends close because, with the best friends, you'll live with the satisfaction of knowing your enemies will never have it as good as you. And who's got it better than us? Nobody. Here's to the Maize N Brew Crew.