September 04, 2004

Michigan football weekends

If you've never been in Ann Arbor when there's a home football game going on, and the weather is hot and humid, and the people are streaming through the streets all wearing some combination of Michigan's two colors, and the tailgaters are jammed in every available parking spot, including on the lawns of houses near the Stadium, and the fraternity houses are blaring music to the street as three thousand undergrads manage to cram onto just their front lawn, and down the street you can see three or four other frats, each with their own allotment of several thousand partying undergrads, and old alumni are waddling around with Michigan baseball hats and white tube socks pulled up to their knees, and the gutters are full of red plastic cups that represent just some of the beer consumed before the game has even started, then you've missed what it's like to be on the campus of the University of Michigan on a football weekend.

It's worth seeing. Afterwards, no amount of time spent in the Law School's gothic buildings will make you forget that Michigan is a Big Ten football school, in addition to whatever else it might be. You won't ever forget that there are enough undergrads on this campus to populate two or three respectably-sized Midwestern towns, or to invade China. You'll wonder how they manage to avoid acute shortages of beer everywhere else.

One of these days before I graduate, I'd like to get some football tickets and join the throngs surging toward Michigan Stadium. I'd feel like part of the group then, boy howdy, would I ever. Usually, though, when I go for a walk in Ann Arbor on a football weekend, I'm likely to be headed away from the Stadium, toward the bookstore, or the law school, or the farmer's market. I'm a fairly normal, average human being, but on football weekends I'm acutely aware that I'm different from most of the people around me. They all walk south; I walk north. They drink beer; I drink grapefruit juice. They watch football; I post on my blog.

Michigan football weekends usually make me feel like a unique and self-directed individual.

Posted by Carey at September 4, 2004 01:00 PM
Comments

*puzzlement*

You drink beer, too. Or ... perhaps it's too bitter for you?

Posted by: Heidi at September 5, 2004 12:10 PM

Big 10 football is a thing that you should definitely experience at least once before you leave town.

Posted by: em at September 6, 2004 10:59 PM

em-
Correction: Michigan football is something you should experiance before leaving town. I attended another Big 10 school before coming here, and they had to practically beg us to go to football games. Now basketball is another story: When they fired the coach for being a total jackass, it almost triggered a riot. Can you guess which school it was?

Posted by: Larry at September 9, 2004 09:18 PM

Larry: Indiana? That reminds me; I missed my chance at my 15 minutes of fame by not getting beaten up by Bobby Knight at a Bloomington Italian restaurant, but that's a story for another time. And probably another blog.

The high spot of my college sports spectating career is being present at the game where Northwestern set the NCAA Division I record for consecutive losses by a football team, back in the fall of 1979 (I was attending NU law school at the time).

I see that NU is still in the Big 10; surprises the hell out of me that we weren't run out of the conference on a rail back in the early '80s, we seemed to be that bad. But then again, I suppose every conference needs a doormat.

Posted by: Len Cleavelin at September 10, 2004 01:07 PM