good Lord. My first game was 1971. Rookies.
who fails upward better: Whitlock, Kiffin, or Brandon?
I should have known you were temptation. [WH]
What's the first Michigan game you remember going to, or if that pre-dates memory, your earliest impressions of going to a Michigan game? And what would that kid/adult kid take away if he went to his first one this year?
Ace: I can't talk about my first Michigan game without discussing what was scheduled to be my first Michigan game. My family moved to Michigan in 1993, and my dad, an alum, got us a pair of season tickets low in the North end zone for the 1994 season—we apparently bypassed much of the waiting list due to a clerical error. My brother and I would switch off going to games with my dad; Jack took the first game, a win over Boston College. I was crestfallen to learn a couple weeks later that my dad would be on a business trip for the next game, and my mom had zero interest in going—at six years old, I wasn't going solo. Instead of getting my first taste of the Big House, I got my first taste of the secondary ticket market when my mom drove as close to the stadium as she dared on the day of the game and sold our tickets for face value.
A few hours later, Kordell Stewart connected with Michael Westbrook, and while I had a good cry on my couch, not being at Michigan Stadium that day probably saved my budding fanhood.
For some reason (ill-timed Rec&Ed soccer game, most likely), I couldn't make the next home game, so my first game ended up being a titanic matchup between #5 Michigan and #3 Penn State. Most of what I remember of that game is everything but the actual game. Walking to the stadium, hugging my dad's hip so the the sea of people with stomachs at eye-level wouldn't whisk me away. Huddling at the main gate, wondering how all these people could possibly fit in a building that barely crested above ground level. The most memorable moment, and I'm sure I'm not alone here, was the breathtaking step through the gate and into the stadium; if you haven't been to the Big House, it's tough to describe walking through a concrete tunnel and seeing the vast majority of 105,000+ seats laid out below you, when from the outside—at that time, at least—Michigan Stadium looked downright understated.
|Vague memories of going "Wheeeeeeeee!!!"|
I vaguely remember Tyrone Wheatley and Ki-Jana Carter playing very well. I definitely remember my immediate fascination with Tshimanga Biakabutuka, whose name I would repeat while running through my backyard for years to come. I remember being somewhat disappointed with the loss, but not crushed, in large part because my dad let us walk on the bleachers to get back up to the gate and out of the stadium, and it felt like we were getting away with something even though half our section took the same tack. I'd say I remember the walk home, but the many walks I made with my dad to and from Stadium and Main over the years run together into a blur of walking across the railroad tracks, cutting through the athletic campus, and passing that ever-changing pizza place on Dewey and Packard.
Despite the loss, I loved it. I loved that everyone in our section seemed to know each other, and even if they didn't they sure acted like it after touchdowns. I loved the pure electricity of a hundred thousand strong singing the same song. (A song I actually knew, even!) I loved how the laws of society seemed to loosen just a bit on those fall Saturdays—crosswalks became irrelevant (at six, this was a major development), lines were navigated with little regard for who arrived before whom, and standing on the seats was encouraged, not something that would lose me dessert privileges.
I don't think much would change for me today. While the additions to the stadium take away from the "hole in the ground is far bigger than I imagined" effect while walking in, that effect is by no means gone, and both Kid Me and Adult Me would/does love the updated concourse and overall look and feel of the Big House. The walk is still the same. The song remains the same. The camaraderie and feeling of connection, while perhaps not as strong after a trying decade, is still a big part of the experience. Seeing 100+ winged helmets fly under the barrier of the M Club banner still sends chills down my spine.
Kid Me probably wouldn't pay much attention to Special K, but he'd have been fascinated by the hype videos. They should play more of those.
[After the jump: fuzziness]
Brian: When asked this question I exhaled something that kind of sounded like "whoof." I do not know man.
I do know:
0. I went to most of them after I moved back to Michigan for sixth grade. Before that I was in Colorado.
|You can't make Michael Taylor into confetti; only WE can make Michael Taylor into confetti. [UM Bentley Library]|
1. When I was young I was prohibited from going to Notre Dame games because those tickets were reserved for adults who were important adults. Which fair enough, now. As a kid I was INCENSED.
2. When I was in the stadium my cousins and I made paper airplanes out of the free programs and tore up the pages to make confetti we could throw in the air whenever Michigan scored a touchdown. At points the paper-related activities were more important than the game; I remember getting impatient when Michigan did not score touchdowns particularly quickly because I wanted to discharge my confetti.
3. There was a game we lost against Illinois where I shot my hands skyward in exultation because I thought we had won because I was short and could not see we had lost. A quick googling indicates this must have been 1993, when I was 14.
4. Punt-Counterpunt in those free magazines was IMPORTANT. I hated Punt on his week to be pessimistic; I hated Counterpunt on his week to be pessimistic. We all flipped to the back of our free programs to read P/CP weekly. I divined legions from its eccentric prose.
5. Michigan losing was a seismic disaster. It happened, of course.
Seth: I'm another of the impressionists. I have no idea what my first Michigan game was—I have an oddly strong memory of everyone's clothes. I was wearing a gray and blue jacket vest with zip-off sleeves that were zipped off, and a lamb's wool hood that zipped down the middle. Someone came up with the idea for a zipper right down the middle of kids' jacket hoods, and this idea couldn't have lasted much longer than it takes consumers to get their hair stuck in it, so if you can date doggie-eared zip hoods, that's the year. We parked in the lot across the street from the Fleetwood—a tradition that didn't last much longer than dog-eared zip hoods—and I watched everybody walking by in their sweatshirts. I remember walking the train tracks to the game, and after it the pumpkins outside the houses.
|Nine of ten doctors do not recommend making the Fleetwood part of your gameday tradition.|
I went to a handful of games, but more often we drove up just to tailgate on some family friend's lawn while the dads went to the game and we threw footballs across the street to each other. I had a half-size blue football with a Michigan 'M' on it that was my prized possession, even though I spent car rides picking away at its rubber fake-stitches.
The first game that really sticks is when I spent a weekend with my cousin Larry, or Irwin as he points out every time I call him Larry, or Larry as I still call him anyway, who was a grad student at the time. It was the 1991 Indiana game, and we had pancakes at Frank's just the other side of the Nickels Arcade (years later I thought the bicycle shop had been the restaurant so I didn't get a Frank's pancake again until last year). Even then most people wore gray sweatshirts and I was one of a few in Michigan gear--a navy longsleeve 1990 Rose Bowl shirt.
From here Desmond Howard takes over. He returned a kickoff that's 71 yards in the stats, was probably more like 100 yards on the hoof, and has gone well past a million counting all the playbacks in my head. Michigan would hand it off to Powers or Johnson (or plow ahead with Burnie) until it was time for Desmond to score a touchdown, which he did every which way: a vintage short Dez-slant where he catches it then runs right by everybody, some other TD that I remember as a lot of large bodies leaping up around me, and a fingertip catch over the middle that finally gave Michigan more than a score's lead. After that last I announced to the grad students around me that Desmond Howard was my favorite player, and figured they were probably really impressed at such an astute observation by this 11-year-old.
Today I'd complain about the MANBALL gameplan, rue Bo's WR recruiting that left Michigan with just Van Dyne opposite Des, fret that Indiana converted 12 third downs, and use the eight-point final margin to evidence fear. At the time I probably forgot the final score half-way to the State Street book vendors; certainly it was gone by the first mug of hot cider at the Brown Jug. Michigan won, Desmond Howard, and by the bottom of that cider--blissfully ignorant that college football players had finite eligibility—I was decided to get back to Ann Arbor by any grades necessary.
Tahuwai la a tahuwai wai la
BiSB: Believe it or not, I didn't attend a Michigan game until 1999. I grew up in a Michigan State household, so my Michigan fandom (which spontaneously generated itself somewhere around my early teens) was not internally supported until my sister became an athlete at Michigan. My first game was the 1999 Illinois game, in which Michigan turned a late 3rd quarter 27-7 lead into a stunning 35-29 defeat. I had watched Michigan games on television for years, so the early drubbing of a probably-mediocre-because-it-was-Illinois Illinois team seemed expected, not in a "Michigan is better than Illinois" sense, but in a "this is what Michigan does" sense. The Illinois comeback sucked, but in a very different way than did more recent blown games. Losses in 2014 feel like a blow to a thing that I like; when Michigan loses, it sucks because I like Michigan and I like when it does well. It was more personal back then; the outcome ruined MY experience, which was too bad for ME.
|The recording here has to go back to the early '90s if it's Gary Lewis.|
My fandom back then was stunningly different then than it is today. I knew much less about football Xs and Os, as well as about the players. Learning the personnel in those days was a matter of showing up on game day and listening to Carl Grapentine recite names and accomplishments after every play, or sitting at home and listening to (and underappreciating) Keith Jackson. I'm with Brian that the free programs were all, especially Punt/ Counterpunt. I would arrive early, read the rosters and the stats and get up to speed on what I needed to know. What I now spend months doing in the off-season, I accomplished back then in the time between when I sat down and the moment the 235 member Michigan Marching Band took the field.
I don't know which is better. Back then, I could watch a comfortable victory over a bad opponent and feel good about it without overanalyzing. Who cares if they couldn't generate any organic pass rush with their front four against East-Western Central State. They won, so yay. But I also couldn't appreciate the finer aspects of the game, like when a linebacker got great depth on a drop or if a guard pulled deftly on a power play. Sometimes I wish I could watch a game again as a casual fan, just to see what it feels like. But I have all of this useless knowledge, which is a blessing and a curse.
good Lord. My first game was 1971. Rookies.
It's hard to believe that so many guys never even saw Bo coach a game. To me, it would be hard to fully grasp Michigan football if you never, you know, saw Meeeechigan football.
The first game I remember watching on TV was against OSU in 1973. Yeah, THAT game.
I can't pinpoint the first game I attended but I'm pretty sure that I was at the Navy game in 1976. Michigan won 70-14 which sounds awesome now but didn't seem that unusual back then. That was also the year of Jimmy Carter (Navy) vs. Gerald Ford (Michigan). I think it was the first time that two presidential candidates had their schools play against each other.
Like Brian, I didn't rank high enough on the social/age list to get a ticket to the Notre Dame game (in South Bend) in 1978. I'm still a little bitter about that.
Except it was the Stanford game on Sept. 18th (had to look that up!). I was in high school and I went with my friend and his dad. It was a beautiful sunny day and the game was predictably one-sided. Michigan steamrolled the Cardinal 51-0. In those days, they were much looser about bringing stuff in the stadium and general fan behavior. So, there was pot smoking, people bringing in all kinds of alcohol, obscene signs, passing women up the stands, to name a few things. Quite an eye-opening experience for me at the time.
I'm pretty sure that Navy game was also the first one I attended. I don't recall them scoring 14, but I do remember we won a lot to a little. My memory has it as 60-0, but I guess 70-14 is close enough. I remember Dad somehow got tickets really close to the 50 yard line. They didn't cost an arm and a leg back then. That was the last time I sniffed the 50 for many years, as our normal season tickets were in section 11.
One quick free program memory (that I've already probably shared): I remember one year there was a typo and fullback Bob Perryman was listed at 275 pounds. Bob played from 83-86, and back in those days, your average starting offensive lineman weighed about 270. So I was super excited to watch this gigantic fullback take the ball and ram into the line. He was the Fridge before William Perry was the Fridge, at least according to my free program. Imagine my disappointment when I found out he was really only 225 pounds.
The guy sitting in front of us had another use for the free program. He'd roll it up like a megaphone and yell, "North and South," after every run that went to the sidelines. He was our own assistant coach, coaching from row 73. I'm sure Bo heard every word from that free program megaphone.
I understood that I only got to go to crappy games. As an adult, I think it was complete BS. My Dad didn't even tailgate! My kid will not get the same treatment. #daddyissues
Texas A&M 1977
Watching their kicker hit 60-yarders in practice; 7-3 at the half, 41-3 final.
For the Doctor Who fans, I think the reactions of people upon entering the TARDIS are pretty similar to my reaction (as I'm sure other's) upon walking through the section gates and into the stadium proper:
"It's bigger on the inside!"
App St...and now I'm sad
Me too my friend. Very entertaining. Until the end of course.
Dexter Jackson may be the fastest land mammal though
1984 Ohio State. We were having a bad year after Harbaugh broke something against MSU early in the season. I was amazed, as I always am, of the "blink effect," where the stadium seems pretty empty 30 minutes before the game. Then...boom, a mass of humanity fills this awesome place. Biggest memory was an OSU fan yelling, "Cover the guy from Trinidad!" WR Triando Markray was having a good game. I still giggle thinking about it.
He broke his humerus trying to recover a fumble. He dove to get the ball then a bunch of MSU defenders jumped for the ball at the same time. Russ Rein took over but didn't fare very well. After a trip to Iowa, Chris Zurbrugg - whom I roomed with my junior year - finished out the season. 6 - 6 with a loss in the Holiday Bowl.
My parents are both Cincinnati alums, and so the only football games I ever went to growing up were UC homecoming games. My freshman year at UM was 2002, so my first Michigan game was the last second Brabbs field goal to win against Washington.
Needless to say, I was hooked.
I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of games in that stadium and I don't think I've ever heard a noise like the crowd reaction after Brabbs hit the winner. Especially because that was pre-construction of the new boxes in the old quiet stadium days. I'm willing to bet Washtenaw County registered an earthquake that day if someone can find the seismograph print out.
It is an absolute honor that part of your first experience at a Michigan game was reading Punt/CounterPunt. I can tell you that in the pre-internet age (yes I went to UofM without email), having a readership of of 40,000 on gameday was pretty exciting for the two of us, college seniors. It was very cool that we were able to bring that back after something like a 5 year hiatus.
the free game program? I absolutely loved reading mine from cover-to-cover; reading Punt/Counterpunt was one of the first things I did each Saturday, sober or otherwise, once I reached my seat in The Big House.
I saved an awful lot of those free programs, tucking each one inside the cover of the official programs whenever my copy was worth salvaging. Wish they hadn't ever stopped publishing those!
I've got a whole box full of them along with my old programs as well. More relevant content filled the "throwaway" programs - as we called them. But of course, I still haven't thrown mine away.
We sat in the south endzone, maybe four rows from the field wall. I was 13 and remember very little about the game. Northwestern's team looked like high school kids compared to Michigan in both size and the quality of their uniforms. I was a skinny kid from the Cleveland area so naturally I had an attachment to John Kolesar. He was back to field a punt in the endzone at least once, so he was within 30 feet of me, which I thought was great. Looking at the stats, the game was a Bo special: Michael Taylor only threw five passes, completing just one, to Jamie Morris for a three-yard gain. OTOH we ran the ball 50 times for 374 yards (7.5 YPC). Mike Gilette was 3/3 on field goals. We won 29-6.
have seen some of their teams in the 1970's. I remember one game in the mid-70's where Michigan won something like 69-0. And Bo had to try hard to keep the score down. He pulled his starters and started putting in the 2nd and 3rd string and that still didn't help. A young Tom Seabron (I believe a freshman at the time) a defensive end from Detroit tackled the NU QB at one point later in the game, the ball popped up in the air, and he caught it and ran all the way for a TD. It was pathetic. As you said, it looked like Michigan was playing a high school team.
Yep, Seabron was a freshman. Those were glory days in terms of the beatings Bo would put on teams. It wasn't out of malice, just about getting them ready for Ohio. I don't have specific memories of my first game, other than it was in the '63-'64 timeframe. I seem to remember playing Navy with Staubach behind center, but I could be wrong. My first specific memory of an entire game was sitting through the rain when Ron Johnson lit up Wisconsin in '68. Before that, I was sidetracked by all the 'Adult' diversions, like seeing really drunk people in public for the first time.
Michigan 63 - Northwestern 20.... That was my first game in Michigan Stadium, I remember Harlan Huckleby fumbling several pitches on the option out of bounds.
But Michigan dominated a otherwise pathetic Northwestern squad on an overcast day in early November. I remember going on the field after the game and congratulating players on the win...
Oh.... To be 15 and young again....
My first memories of anything game-related were in 1994. Seth Smith's 100 yard KO return in 1994 was RIGHT. AT. ME. and I was out of breath from yelling when he finally reached the end zone. Also, I painted my face for this game, but accidentally used poster paint. My face was frozen in place with a maize and blue crust and it hurt to open my mouth.
The first game I actually attended was Homecoming, 1992. Michigan beat Minnesota 63-13. I remember accompanying my aunt in the alumni band on her march to the stadium more than anything about the game.
I've been at every Homecoming since, including several in the alumni band now. I moved to Seattle this spring and it's killing me to know that I'll miss it this year for the first time in 23 years.
We've got a guest room and could certainly put you up for the weekend.
I'd love to take you up on this, but with two family weddings in September and spending Christmas in MI too, I just can't manage another flight this year. I'll be at the Utah game though!
1995 vs. Purdue.
5-0 Michigan win with a field goal and a safety. I remember very little of actual gameplay with the exception of how sloppy it looked. The weather did everything that day and it showed on the field (how I remember it).
The parts I remember most are the Rocket Men guys with Gatorade coolers on their back filled with hot chocolate and little guns to fill cups with. I remember being able to get to the railing, had to be somewere between the 10 and 30...don't remember which end zone but a friend and I were straight up giving Purdue Pete the business. One of my best memories with my Dad and we still talk about how crappy the weather was that day.
weather game that i've ever attended...by far. while tailgaiting the temp was near 40 with a slight drizzle. not so bad. so most of us wore rain resistant windbreakers to the game. by the time the second half came around the temp was near zero. at least half the crowd had left.
mich was up 5-0 and purdue didn't cross mid field at all that game...until their final possession. thank god they didn't score.
Best worst experience of my life. I think the sun even shined for a brief second but I remember rain, sleet, and snow throughout the game.
Maryland, 1990. I was 8. Not an exciting game, I know, but my Dad started me out small, one game a year, and not a big one, until I really appreciated it. And I'm glad that's how we did it. My first big one was Penn State, 1994, a heartbreaker. Penn State's first Big House trip as new conference foes, #3 vs #5, Michigan fell behind 16-0 but came back, only to see traded scores after that and a wild fourth quarter that ended with a rare Todd Collins game-clinching INT.
But, I was there for Ohio State 1997 and 2003, so, balance.
I didn't live particularly close to Ann Arbor (though I wasn't extremely far either), but my parents also weren't fanatics (my mom hardly cared, my dad liked Michigan, but didn't love them). My dad, my brother (sometimes), and I watched on TV most Saturdays growing up, but my major fanhood as a child stemmed from other things, rather than being passed on to me.
Regardless, my dad had often gone to Michigan games or other pro games as part of business activities, which didn't allow for us to tag along. It wasn't until he realized that I loved Michigan football so much that he decided to buy me tickets for my birthday, and they were great tickets for an otherwise fairly boring game against a terrible team.
That said, I felt like I was on a cloud nine sugar rush for most of the first three quarters, despite the game being fairly tepid. It wasn't until the 4th when Michigan went on a never ending six minute drive that I was like, "alright, this is still happening I guess." Soon after, my favorite player, Charles Woodson, intercepted a pass, and I shot immediately back up to cloud nine sugar rush status.
I was at that game. I was in 10th grade and had to rush home after to get ready for my school's homecoming dance. That was a good day.
That my good memories of that day are slightly different than your good memories of that day.
That was my first game as well. I was a senior in high school and had been accepted to Michigan. I visited my brother who got me a ticket for the game. I don't remember much from the game except we were very high (row 70-80) in the endzone and there was a lot of room up there.
Even though both parents went to Michigan and my dad watched the Michigan games, my fandom didn't start until my freshman year in 98'. I had great seats (row 4 in section 31) and had a blast down there, and fandom kept growing from there.
Funny, I thought you were older.
Space Coyote, usually you seem to know just about everything, but while the Northwestern '97 wasn't my first game by far, I recall it for several reasons.
One, hadn't NW beaten us 2 times in a row before that game? I recall feelings that it was way more important and dangerous to the still unbeaten team than your recollection, though we did end up dominating- due to:
Two, the D was so quick, so impressive, I've never seen any better before or since- particularly #2... he also appeared for several snaps on O, including taking a couple pitches for good gains, and catching a long pass over the middle where he was tackled just short of a TD.
Third, it had been overcast and even intermittently drizzly for much of the day, but at halftime Aaron Ward and another former Wolverine on the Wings brought out the Stanley Cup- the 1st the Wings had won in my lifetime- and as they paraded it around the field the Sun burst out and shone on the Cup. It was blinding and brilliant, almost like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark!
I also do fondly recall Northwestern games from the 70s where we crushed them so badly it was ridiculous! It seemed preposterous they were even in the Big 10..but as a youngster, we couldn't win by enuf points! Wait...I still feel that way!!!
I think Rice. Doesn't matter. Earliest game that sticks out? Washington. I swear we missed 5 field goals with two different kickers. But after whichever kicker hit that game winner, nobody left the stadium for the next hour.
Despite growing up in the Detroit suburbs, I never went to a Michigan game before I got on campus.
September 1, 2007.
a game being played that day.
I may have gone to another UM game before, but the earliest UM game I can remember was the Michigan vs. Michigan State game in 1991. This was, of course, in East Lansing. It was not bad attending because I went as a Michigan State fan. Michigan State lost. I chose the wrong team that year. I was crushed.
Major vengeance game after what happened the previous year. I don't think I've ever wanted Michigan to destroy MSU so badly in my life, as I wanted them to do in 1991. Maybe even more than now.
OK, no, not more than now. But a lot.
I was in the first row in the endzone where Desmond was mugged on the two point conversion when we lost in 1990. A horrible call, absolutely unacceptable, so the 1991 victory at least did taste sweeter.
Was the 2006 Michigan State vs Notre Dame game. I was in the parents and players section, and I wore grey.
It was a beautiful fall day, probably upper 60s. Then things changed as nighttime drew near and the sun dipped below a rutilant horizon. First it was the weather. The temperature dipped dramatically, rain started in droves and the wind breached the 50 mph mark. Rain turned to sleat, the temperature plummeted to the 40s, but it felt much colder, and MSU sprang to a 31-14 half time lead. Oh, but that's when Sparty was Sparty and things began flipping on the scoreboard. ND scored a TD, but MSU answered and held a 16 point lead going into the 4th quarter.
Then ND scored TDs on two straight possessions that were filled with classic MSU blunders. Then MSU's QB threw a pick 6 to give ND the lead for good. I remember sitting among the parents and players, some pissed off, others very, very somber. Looking down the length of the field to the student section, what felt like half of them wearing shirts that referenced the Horror, and their faces so similar to what was seen in Michigan stadium a few weeks earlier was a bit strange. But they were extremely wet and cold. It was a harsh reality, the clash between the craziest of fans, the students, and the parents and actual players that cared on a different level and in a different way completely. I showed no emotion leaving the stadium, but my insides felt like a mixed bag of things that weren't supposed to mix.
i went to the mich game that afternoon against purdue, i think. my friend and i almost drove up to EL after the mich game to scalp tickets. luckily we decided to watch in a bar in ann arbor instead. i don't think i've ever seen it rain so hard at a game.
Sparties at a game with ND wearing shirts about a Michigan game they weren't involved in-- that really does epitomize Sparty fandom.
App state freshman year :( but the big takeaway was being a part of the experience in the big house! Life long Michigan fan having his love confirmed
2001, first year of law school, against Miami (Not That Miami).
It was Ben Roethlisberger's first college start, actually. You could see he was legit talent already, Michigan's D was all over him but he stood in pretty well, made some bad mistakes as freshmen are wont to do, but the arm and talent were obvious. There were a few "wait, this guy is a freshman at Miami?" type plays. And as he does in the NFL, he was taking an absolute beating out there and kept getting up.
...IIRC, that was the first game at the Big House after the 9/11 attacks. I could be wrong. If I'm correct, I can remember there being a lot of anxiety for that game since the size of the stadium alone led to a lot of speculation that the Big House would be an ideal terrorist target.
I have a pretty bad memory so the specifics are pretty hazy. I do remember it was probably around when I was 14. I had started following Michigan because my first "job" was for one of my neighbors, who was a big fan, assembling Sunday papers in his garage while watching the games on Saturdays. My parents had zero interest in sports so my first game ended up being with my friend and his dad.
I remember seeing cars full of people in Michigan gear as far back as I-275 and M-14 and that the percentage of cars like this got higher and higher as we got closer to Ann Arbor. By the time we pulled off of M-14 it was pretty much 100%. My friend's dad, who was normally a putz, deftly manuevered his giant buick through the crowds and onto someone's front yard. I remember being impressed at how well he knew the routine: where to park, how to get to the stadium, even the optimal time to grab tickets from scalpers. I was terrified we wouldn't get tickets because he kept waiting and waiting, but we ended up getting tickets for next to nothing as it got close to gametime and they just wanted to dump the tickets they still had.
I don't remember much of the game, or even who we played. It must have been a comfortable victory because one of the things that blew my mind was The Wave. The way it moved through the perfect bowl shaped stadium and the coordination of the crowd to speed up/slow down, reverse and split it just made my jaw drop.
After the game, we went around and picked up cans for deposit returns (the real alterior motive for bring me along). We just about paid for the trip doing that, and at that age, so much free money just laying around was pretty nuts.
I was 14. Sat in the student section with my cousin. First there came rain. Then all the water froze when it started to snow. Nick Sheridan was the quarterback. The team was already 3-7 at the time. The offense was embarrassing. The game was sloppy. We lost 21-14. By the end I nearly had frostbite on my feet. It was basically the season in a nutshell.
I've had plenty of pleasant experiences at Michigan games since then but it was about as bad of a loss of football virginity as I could've imagined.
My first Michigan memory was watching Desmond Howard get blatantly tripped in the end zone against Sparty in 1990. Our family had moved to Michigan a couple years before, but I wasn't truly aware of Michigan football until my cousin started going to school there that year, and it just happened to be the first game I ever watched.
My first game wasn't until a year later in 1991 against Purdue. I don't remember a lot of details except it being a blowout and cold, but that was the day I knew where I wanted to go to college. The highlight of that weekend was getting to meet some of the Fab Five, as my other cousin lived in West Quad and knew a few of them.
Seems like I remember a game from back in 1978 where Butch "Don't Call Me Harold" Woolfolk ran all over an overmatched Minnesota team.
I was hooked.
The next year I had season tickets and kept them for 28 years.
Admittedly still a Michigan virgin. I've been a fan since my wee years and have yet to ever attend a game. Now that we live in the north again, the wife and I are talking 2015 season games, maybe if we're lucky, The Game 2015. My brother, who very much fostered me into Michigan fandom, attended his first game last year against Akron. Despite winning, he would like to return to see a better game. I don't blame him.
I'm a Michigan virgin as well. Living in Maryland all my life, and having UMD parents, it's been impossible for me to get to The Big House. Now with UMD in the B1G though, Dad and I are planning to make the trip for that game. Cannot wait.