“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
There are times in every person's life that are special: getting your driver's license, graduation, your wedding day, the birth of a child. However, for many of us who are too young to experience many of the aforementioned events, one of those times is being on the field of the Big House during a game. Well, this past Saturday, I had the privilege, nay, the HONOR to be on the field for pre-game warm-ups. Some of you may recall me posting about this earlier before the game against BGSU, and some of you wished me to tell you how it went...so here we go.
We arrived near the Eastern Gate entrance around 11 AM. At first we didn't see who we were supposed to meet, but eventually they found us in order to give us our field passes. I was initially anticipating awesome laminated passes that hung around my neck, but I soon realized that I would be getting a Willy Wonka style "golden ticket" stuck on the back of my ticket. Regardless of the "disappointment," I will cherish this ticket forever.
We made our way to the gate to the tunnel, and at this point, my heart is pounding, my palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there's vomit...wait, sorry got off track there. I was excited as hell to walk through the tunnel for the first time EVER! We stopped just shy of the gate to wait for the team. After taking way too many pictures of nothing, the team finally emerged from the locker room:
Then, finally, it was our turn. Never before have I experienced such pride. Here I was, walking in the hallowed steps of such athletes as Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard, and of course, coaches like Lloyd Carr, Bo Schembechler and now Rich Rodriguez. Needless to say, I got goosebumps (goosepimples maybe?). Enjoy the vicarious experience:
We slowly (on purpose) made our way to the north endzone, where I was given the treat of watching the DL do warm-ups. As per blogger suggestions. I said NOTHING (although very hard) and instead took many pictures and a couple of vids of the players and drills. I don't know how many of you have stood less than 10 feet away from Big Will and Mike Martin, but they are HUGE!
After the joy of watching the DL do their thing, it got a bit hectic. We were being told to "move along" towards our seats by the event staff, while the offense was getting their reps in. I was trying my best to get a shot of Denard in action, but my crappy digital camera has the worst zoom quality ever. Sorry I have no evidence, but it was COOL!
Afterwards, the players all gathered in a circle (you know what's coming!), and I was literally within arm's length of such players as: Roy Roundtree, Mike Shaw, Vincent Smith, Taylor Lewan, Devin Gardner, and Denard "Dilithium" Robinson. Oh, and before I show you the vid, yes, Lewan did the "Flying Denard" routine, but sadly I missed the chance to get it on film.
If you can see from the video, Barwis was in the middle of this Circle of Awesomeness, and he's freaking intense, so if you haven't already, sell your dog, buy a wolf, and name it Barwis (BE A MAN!). Shortly after that, things got uneventful. We were told to "move along" once again, and I ran into the refs. [Side Note: I told the referee to have a "good game" and he acknowledged me. Sorry to say, but seeing as how the refereeing in that game was shit, I may be partially to blame for jinxing the man. Just sayin'....]
Now comes the summit of the experience. As we're making our way to our seats, we are literally right behind the Michigan bench area. Obviously we aren't going to be here forever, but we lingered for as long as we could until someone found us out. Not only did I get to watch the team run onto the field, but afterwards I was less than 10 feet away from the likes of John U. Bacon, GERG, and GERG's hair.
Sadly, we were found out, and we were forced to exit the field. But before I ended this personal mecca of mine, I lingered near the top of the steps to the field for one last time, in order to see the march of the "M" to the north endzone:
It was a glorious time I spent on the field, and one I will never forget. It is my wish that one day you will all be able to share in the experience I had, to stand amongst the players you root for every Saturday, and to walk in the shoes of giants through the tunnel. Watching Michigan devour a weakling MAC school like BGSU was a joy in and of itself, but that, and no other game to precede it, will ever replace the memories of the time I spent in the presence of the Leaders and the Best. Go Blue!
For more vids: http://www.youtube.com/user/UMAmaizinBlue?feature=mhum
For more pics: http://img715.imageshack.us/g/img5810g.jpg/