At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Good morning from the West Coast, my fellow MGoBloggers. As I started composing replies to several comments on the HAIL Fail post, I found my long-winded ways would be best suited for a diary. I'd like to address both the HAIL program itself, as presented and as I think it should evolve, and some suggestions for current students from a '12 grad, and yes, BlueLotCrew, I do have a big girl job.
HAIL: (Honoring Attendance, Involvement and Loyalty!)
Yes, it's currrently a Meh on the Otter scale of Ennui
Silly acronym aside, I'm actually kind of jealous that I graduated before this was implemented since I pretty much lived at Michigan Stadium and Yost. Nice to get rewards for stuff you already do and all. This program isn't targeted towards the already obsessed though, the goal is to get more butts in seats. I do agree with Brian, a free shirt and $5 at Mujo's ain't gonna cut it.
But, still a promising move forward. Why?
It shows that the athletic department is trying to answer a key issue (and yes it's an issue, deal with it, ya drunks). We've bitched about it, they're responding. Let's accept that this is mostly a "test year" where they figure out the technology, implementation, etc before rolling out a long-term incentive program.
At the risk of using some coporate speak, it's promoting a more devoted student culture. For those of you who had already graduated pre-Horror, that game really kicked off a climate change in the student section. I've heard from many alumni, both on the board here and in real life, that they weren't really college football fans at all until their first game in the Big House. Well, you can't deny that the experience hasn't been quite the same in the past few years, and we're all glad to leave that behind us, but we've still cultivated a good 3 years of students whose first football experience was less than inspiring. Understandably, these people who would have normally dove headfirst onto the bandwagon now have to get a little bit of a push, and an incentive program could be that push.
The best incentive? Earning better seats. That would be easily the best direction this program could go in, especially if they could guarantee your seats by your earned point percentile and seniority.
Also, a lot of people have mentioned general admission as a solution. At first blush, that seems like a cool plan until you have people camping out a la Paternoville. If they don't let you line up before gameday, you'll still have huge lines, and if hockey's "not-really-assigned-seating' is any indication, people will cram into the best seats a la phonebooth stuffing and leave the less desired seats very empty. Brian Cook will then take a picture of the empty nosebleeds and tweet it, asking more people to show up on time. The people who got there early will try to tweet back, but their arms are pinned to their sides by a mass of highlighter yellow humanity.
Now, about that key issue, and what you can do about it, ya drunk:
Current students, I know our generation has been called a lot of unflattering things. Lazy, entitled, spoiled, you name it, it's been written in a half-assed trendpiece, and Michigan football is no place for you and your buddies to be reinforcing these stereotypes. Time to get it together and prove to the alumni and yourselves that you can in fact be both a loud, raging fanbase and get your drunk ass in a seat on time like any fan of respectable devotion.
"But CMR, I'm on deck at the pong table and I need to take more picturessss, please advice!"
This is where I'd like to offer my expert advice.
- Four glorious years as an active sorority member, including my junior year where I served as a Rho Omega (rush officer, and yes that's during football season, and yes, at least one rushee called me in a panic at 2am asking what to wear for next set.)
- BSE Aerospace Engineering. DANGER ZONE.
- Attended every home football game from 08-11 without missing a kickoff and without leaving early. Don't ask about Northwestern, my toes are still thawing.
Now, the advice, in list form because everyone knows that's how this generation writes:
- Don't overdo it the night before. Whether you're at a mixer or the Dude, make sure you hydrate (yes, with water, ya damn drunks) and get some quality sleep. Do not be like me and fall asleep at 3am before OSU in 09, only to awake at 5am. I was in top drinking form as a sophomore and ready for Rage 2.0, you probably won't be.
- Because you need to wake up early. There, I said it. If it's a noon game and you need to get your drink on, you need to at least wake up by 6am. How much time it takes you to get ready should be factored into this as well.
- DON'T FORGET YOUR DAMN TICKETS. I may or may not have written this on my arm in Sharpie during sophomore year. This is not a run you want to make, and you need to remember to include "tickets, Mcard," in your phone-wallet-keys patdown.
- Make a pregaming plan with your amigos. This was absolutely essential, because gameday communication is LOLtastic at best. Figure out breakfast, where/when you're meeting who, if you need to stop by to say hi at your parents' tailgate relatively sober, and give yourself a half hour from leaving a State St. pregame to get to the stadium.
- Stick to the plan. Believe me, your cameras will still work for group pictures at the stadium. Also, unless there is a medical emergency, stragglers should get one warning before being left to their own devices. I MEAN IT, LINDSAY!
- DON'T STAND IN THE LONGEST LINE AT THE STADIUM. Yes, the Hoover entrance will probably be closest, and yes, you will be sitting there for some time, especially if it's Parents Weekend. Go around to the ones near Crisler or on Main Street. Just because the student section is in that corner on Hoover doesn't mean you have to enter there.
With that, I welcome your
scathing disagreements thoughtful comments, though I may not be able to reply for a while because I have to be early to my flag football game on the beach to maintain my priority points. I think I can get used to this California place.