Ughhhhh stuff is just way too corporate, man.
/sips PBR, listens to shitty Of Montreal album on vinyl
Still trying real hard to fear the roo, ma'am.
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one… something like Punt-Counterpunt.
By Nick RoUMel
Akron was already at the Big House last Saturday. Not that you would have noticed, with Notre Dame on the field. Akron was circling around in the skies above, taking in the festivities.
We’re talking, of course, about the Goodyear blimp. Yes, Goodyear’s corporate HQ is in Akron, Ohio, but the company won’t send it out for a mere tilt with their hometown university. Oh no, that was reserved for ESPN “Gameday,” an opportunity to give a few hand-chosen executives a party in the sky, while the blimp displayed the corporate logo and a digital crawl of commercial messages on its belly.
Many fans were also looking up for not one, but two air shows. Whereas a single flyover was once a remarkable occasion, now it’s passé. There were so many planes over Michigan Stadium, that when they introduced the pilots later in the contest, there may have been more than the Michigan basketball team members who were also introduced.
They were joined by Desmond Howard, Anthony Carter, the Women’s volleyball team, Eminem, and by video link, Beyoncé, for the special halftime show she plans to use in a music video. Alum Stephen Ross was recognized for his generous gift to the University. And of course there was the evening’s honored guest, actor Mark Harmon, and son of Michigan legend Tom Harmon, who had dad’s #98 jersey presented to him by Athletic Director David Brandon.
Throughout the game, maize-clad fans waved yellow pompoms, pumped by recorded music blaring over the PA system. When victory was inevitable, instead of hearing creative chants students might have made to taunt the Irish, we were instead treated to the umpteenth playing of Otis Day’s “Shout,” and then the sly musical reference to Notre Dame chickening out of its rivalry with Michigan - an event already chronicled in Wikipedia’s “Chicken Dance” entry.
While I certainly had fun, I felt it was tricked up with all the over the top festivities. We were manipulated as to what to see and hear, and when to chant or sing. It was a three ring circus, deprived of spontaneity.
What it wasn’t like was a college football game in Tom Harmon’s era. Watching footage from a 1943 Michigan-Ohio State game, for example, one hears the marching band, the fans, and the action on the field. That’s all. The only special guest from that game was a little terrier that ran loose in the north end zone. The game was by the students, and for the students. And every fan in attendance sat on the same outdoor benches.
But last week’s event was heavily choreographed, except once: when students lustily booed Dave Brandon during the Harmon ceremony, no doubt still furious over the general-admission seating fiasco that has made them second-class citizens in their own stadium. (When I sat down over an hour before kickoff, I saw with amazement that the student section was nearly full, among an otherwise sparse crowd. I thought, “I pay for my ticket and can come to my seat whenever I want, but they can’t.”)
Maybe in this corporate, luxury box age such changes are inevitable. Certainly the athletic department is raking in money hand over fist. Michigan wants state of the art facilities in order to stay competitive. It’s too bad that with all the noise and distractions, they can no longer hear the fans.
And as for the Akron Zips, the only school named for a party cracker, they’re already scripted to lose today. Big time.
Michigan 200,000,000 – forgotten blimp orphans 0
Allow me a moment to step off your lawn.
There. Grass, sidewalk, me. Happy?
No, you’re not. And see, that’s the problem with Michigan fans like you. You’re never happy unless you’re unhappy. You know how Brady Hoke often says he has 115 sons? I bet Dave Brandon feels like he has 115,000 in-laws.
Michigan entered the luxury box age because it got a stadium with luxurious luxury boxes. Deal with it. First of all, those things aren’t so bad. If it weren’t for their big imposing walls to reflect all of your whining noises back onto the field, how would opposing teams ever remember that it’s third down?
Furthermore, and before you go on about Brandon and money and corporations, let me remind you it was former athletic director Bill Martin who came up with the idea in the first place. It was really Martin’s renovations that dragged Michigan into the 21st century, where shockingly everyone’s still alive and the earth didn’t blow up because computers couldn’t handle a new digit in timestamps. So it was in fact Martin who created the future, not Brandon.
If you want to get mad, get mad at Brandon for stealing the credit. Don’t be mad about the future, because the future has night games, and night games are pretty cool.
“But why can’t these night games in the future be like all those day games from the past,” you say, watery eyed, with a beat of hesitation that indicates you realized mid-sentence that the words coming out of your mouth might sound a little stupid.
Stupid because, what, were you not entertained? Did you not enjoy the light show? Did you really look up at the sky and say, “That’s too many planes and not enough sun”? Did you look at the scoreboards and wish you could see the replays less clearly? Did you actually think a dog running around the end zone would be a better experience than Mark Harmon honoring his dad and giving us a unique jersey number for a quarterback?
I don’t think you did, because I don’t think you’re stupid. I wholeheartedly understand your fear of abandoning traditions and losing the aspects of Michigan football that you hold dear, even if I don’t hold them dear myself. I know there are things that mean something to you that don’t mean anything to me; there are things that mean something me but won’t mean anything to anyone in a decade or two.
But it’s not something to get upset about. Entropy inevitably follows us into the future, and trying to recreate the past and its quaint ideals in exacting entirety, like trying to put dryer lint back into a t-shirt, is a waste of energy. Just be thankful the essentials, like Michigan blowing out Akron to follow up last week's thrilling victory over Notre Dame, are intact. Ditch the lint and move on.
Michigan 55, Akron 3
Ughhhhh stuff is just way too corporate, man.
/sips PBR, listens to shitty Of Montreal album on vinyl
Far too popular to be hipster. Gotta go with something appropriately obscure.
Obscure 20 years ago, even more obscure today.
Brady Hoke has killed it on the recruiting trail, does anyone think that some of the new "antics" at the stadium may help recruiting? Kids today need as much going on as possible, they need to be distracted to be focused. The slew of top recruits probably thought last weekend was awesome. Brandon is taking Martins vision and making it reality, turning the quietest 110,000 people and stepping on toes to wake them up. If students bitch about their tickets and having to get there early, I will gladly take them off their hands for them. Time to start building new traditions to compliment the old ones. Go Blue!
Michigan 68 Akron 0
I kinda-sorta side with Heiko here. Mostly because ... well ... he's Heiko, damn it.
I know Heiko is supposed to be counterpunt, almost like the antagonist on gameday but I couldn't help but agree with his column. Does this make me a bad fan?
I actually like many of the new game-day experience changes. We went for decades doing pretty much the same thing at the Big House, so we were long overdue for some upgrades. The flyovers are a good example. They NEVER did them in the 70's or early 80's that I remember (of course my memory isn't what it used to be). And I think the led lights spicing up the halftime show were great. Sure, not all changes are good - like the students getting hosed with paying higher pricing and getting herded into the stadium like cattle. But, overall, things are much better on game day.
I agree with both of you, and that just defines me an erstwhile middle-ager who is stuck between the 1970's Michigan football ideal and its current, still-forming, ever-changing identity. I'm confused. Mid-life crisis ensues.
/Deftly sips PBR handed to me by Laser Wolf whle sitting on one of those old-school lawn chairs with frayed, overlapping, multi-colored plastic belts.
I usually think Heiko is a bit out of his league when he asks the coaches questions about football that show how much he still needs to learn the game, but I thoroughly enjoyed his writing here. As he learns the game more he will become a better and better asset to this site.
Thank God for punt counter-punt!!!
I find Nick' s position much more persuasive. It's not a matter of tradition giving way to modernity. Rather, it's a matter of organic authenticity being forcibly displaced by garish corporate bullhorn. Nick wins because real recognize real.
Okay, now I see that autocorrect is the real winner.
But I definitely liked the 2011 UTL for spontaneity compared to last week.
"...that’s the problem with Michigan fans like you. You’re never happy unless you’re unhappy."
We get a chance to see just how true this is everyday on this blog. Maybe its because im 25 and we value different things but that will never change. We all have to accept that nothing stays the same forever. When I was young (haha) I played Sega Genesis, now I have an XBox 360 because its BETTER. Yes, there were systems before it that paved the way but at some point no one cares. The 15 year olds I coach ONLY know the 360 and couldn't give a shit about how it all started with Atari. They like LeBron James, highlights of Magic Johnson don't excite them. Thats just how it goes. Going all "back in my day we used to walk 50 miles in the snow" isn't going to change anything. Maybe in 30 years when im trying to explain to some kids (who won't care) how good JayZ was I will feel your pain but honestly, I will understand...as you should.
It started with Odyssey bro. I slayed many a pong player.
We are all engaged in our view of the game experience by our version of what that experience means to us.
The game isn't simple anymore. And the changes to the stadium and the cost of doing business and inflation has altered the price of tickets beyond what I recall paying in my good ole days back in A2, gee, a decade ago.
The issue of electronic music cuing reaction is only new to the Big House as a spectator response mechanism, and has been around for decades in most of Michigan's other major arenas, primarily those in Detroit, which the fan base is certainly used to. Does it suck the students are no longer the valued viewer or folks attending games? Yeah, but, it's not like that trend began with the Dave Brandon administration.
I mean rivalries end, so do traditions in one way or the other. Tailgating is incredibly sophisticated and elaborate, more so than in Harmon's day, or even in my time of finding a church lot near the stadium and downing a few beers before walking across the Pioneer campus amid the flagship trailers of fans with huge grills and TV's. These are folks serious about enjoying the game experience, and they've become more sophisticated in their enjoyment over time, haven't they?
I think if you want to answer this debatable argument, take the outside view of a fan with no particular interest in last week's game or outcome, but wanted to experience Michigan Stadium in its full glory, a gleaming night light of football nirvana. We had a link to a Florida fan's experience, and he wrote in glowing terms about what he experineced. And he thought the Michigan game experience was the standard by which all others might be judged.
Yeah, as Michigan fans, we get pretty full of ourselves about the program and the experience that we think is the greatest in the land. And, apparently, others agree, even if times have changed that experience over time.
Actually the origin of the nickname is even funnier. It is named after the zipper on your pants. The zipper was invented by B.F. Goodrich and the University picked it up because it is quick and fast. It was a matter of civic pride. So button up your mouth and respect the zippers.
In support of our team, I will watch the game with my pants unzipped.
That explains the zipper-stripe on top of the helmet. I thought it was just a bad pun.
This is the internet so I already know the answer, but why can't we have both? Why can't I like the night games/luxury boxes, but wish the stadium/DB wasn't so focused on generic crowd pleasers?
55-3 huh? boy oh boy I wish that was the case lol
Now I feel stupid. I take it all back. FIRE DAVE BRANDON.
and I don't care who thinks this is stupid. I even miss the old scoreboard. No I'm not entertained by every second being filled by a jarring soundtrack that has nothing to do with football. Does everything have to be so homogenized that no one thinks anymore? Does everyone have hearing loss yet? Call it progress but in the old days we didn't have what looked like a quarter of the stadium empty because of some policy that ensures enough cash that no one cares how it looks.
P.S. with all the restrictive rules and all the scripted reactions to everything, it was almost sad how they continue to broadcast what's going on at Slippery Rock since even the old timers don't appear to get into that anymore.