"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
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!
I want to hate you but I just can't, very nice man
Control of space means control of the world, far more certainly, far more totally than any control that has been achieved by weapons or troops of occupation. Space is the ultimate position, the position of total control over Earth.
Sorry if you already explained this before, i'm new on the blog. How did you get the field pass? I'm coming home on leave from Afghanistan in November and have tickets to the Wisconsin game, is there a way I could get a pre-game (or full game lol) field pass? Thanks
There are probably dozen's of ways to get on the field prior to the game.
Here are the main ones:
Relationships and Money.
If you are a donor, or premium seat holder, contact your point person in the athletic department and let them know you would like to do it. My experience of the Athletic Department is that they are great, and will do what they can to accommodate you.
Most of everything goes by 'points' The more points you have, the better chance you have, but you have to ask.
If you are a football letterman, you get on the field once a year after the cornbread and chili tailgate.
Create relationships with people in the athletic department....They can get you on.
It is a lot tougher this year now that Brandon has taken over. They've limited the number of field passes substantially.
Yeah, I spent most of the last decade in the Army (went in when I was 17), so I don't have the money to donate, or the relationships. Three or four of my dad's cousins are Michigan Alums, but they are pretty old now and say they don't know anyone around AA anymore. Though all of them are season ticket holders. I am not a season ticket holder, because of the reason I mentioned above. I was medically discharged last spring and am now working as a contractor over here, and when I'm done with my 2 years over here, I'm going to finally go to school full time (have to stay 2 years to make enough money to still support my wife and daughter while I go to school full time). I'm applying to Michigan (Computer Science), and GVSU where my wife went.
I actually won my field pass from a trivia contest put on by a campus program called Fielding the Future (FTF). FTF seeks to reward hard working graduate students with field passes to games and using them as representatives of academic excellence....blah blah blah.
Yea, it's cool, but it was a bit of a stunt. We were supposed to meet with someone from the athletic department, but they couldn't make it, which was okay because it led to more time watching warm-ups.
This year, FTF is connected with the School of Public Health, where I am currently seeking a degree in environmental health sciences. They are offering field passes to every home game for the rest of the year, and the passes go to the winner of weekly trivia questions surrounding public health matters. I hope you can win twice, because I want the passes for the MSU game SO BAD (yea, I'm selfish and greedy, so shoot me).
"Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something. That is attitude." -Bo
I don't blame you for being selfish, I think any real fan would be in that situation. That's amazing, and I wish you luck on winning again, since I'm not a student, and can't compete with you, if I was a student, I'd find a way to sabotage you and win myself...j/k...sort of, lol. It looks like you had an awesome time. Thanks for documenting your experience on here. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough (or rich enough) to do this myself. GO BLUE!
But just doing their jobs, so you can't really blame them. The best advice I can give you is to linger in a spot until an usher tells you to move along. Then SLOWLY move to the spot designated, then linger until told otherwise again.
When the usher(s) tell you to head to your seat, then it's time to go...but SLOWLY! We walked super slow, stood among crowds of people that looked like they belonged, and eventually were out of range of the field usher(s).
We then mingled behind the bench and watched the team touch the banner before a bench usher told us to leave immediately. We slowly went to the stands where I lingered again to watch the MMB do the final march to the north endzone (see last video in Diary).
So, in general, obey the ushers, but do so at a SLOW pace, and blend in until someone (eventually) catches you (and they will, but it's not a big deal unless you slip on a helmet and pretend to be a walk-on). Hope you have fun at that game.
"Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something. That is attitude." -Bo