that is nice bonus change
I probably don't need to inform anybody here that these are actually going on (see http://alumni.umich.edu/events/big-house-tours if you need details) but we went with a big crowd of friends yesterday afternoon for the 1pm tour.
In a word: DAMN.
In another word: GO.
Seriously. Pony up the $25 a head ($35 for non AAUM members) and get your ass there. It's an absolutely astounding experience. A primer for those who have not attended previous years, or those who might need a little convincing...
We showed up about 11:45 to a small crowd of people outside the entry to the Champion's Center. Mostly, it was an older crowd due to a group of 50th Anniversary Alums gathering for Homecoming. We checked in, and all had our seats in the same room that the Monday pressers are held. After a quick introduction, we were given a primer on stadium history by Dr. Soderstrom (see link above). When he was done speaking, we headed back outside and around to the gates leading to The Tunnel.
Yes, THAT tunnel. It's hard to overstate the emotions you get walking (or, yes, running) down that tunnel, past the "GO BLUE" painted overhead, with the field at first a small patch of green, growing ever larger until you burst out into the sunlight and the enormity of it all.
We were down on the field for... oh, probably a good half-hour or so, just running around, soaking in the sights and sounds and atmosphere, throwing passes, running for touchdowns, kicking field goals, punting, and taking lots and lots and lots of pictures. The field is well-seeded at both ends with footballs from the practice field, so there's no need to bring your own.
He'll probably never remember it, but the images of my not-quite-2-year-old son "scoring his first touchdown" at Michigan Stadium is seared into my brain forever, and it's wonderful. At one point, I asked him, "Do you know what this (place) is, buddy?" His response: "Go go go!" (Yeah, he hears daddy yell that at the TV a lot.) "Go Blue?" I asked him... "Go Boo!" Yeah, that's my boy.
After a while, we were all ushered back up the tunnel, and into the home locker room. We were met there by Jamie Morris and Chris Graham, who each spoke to us for a few minutes, and then fielded questions from the crowd. (Morris is apparently their regular former-player speaker, and he brings along whoever's available on a given day.) Once the questions were done, we had free reign to ask either of them questions one-on-one, or to try on the helmets, shoulder pads and jerseys they had laying around.
Overall, we were there for a little over 90 minutes, and could've hung around a bit longer if we'd wished. It was simply an incredible experience, and one that I heartily recommend to anyone young or old.
Feel free to peruse the pictures I took at http://www.billwilliams.us/gallery/v/bighousetour/, but I think this is my new desktop image...
If anybody wants full-res versions of any of the pics, just drop me a line, I'm happy to circulate them (all rights reserved, non-commercial use, yada yada.)
There has been a lot of discussion on the added noise level created by the stadium additions (which, even as an old-fogie fan I love, by the way!). However, After watching the first two 3:30 games on TV, I've really been struck by the shadows and how quickly it gets dark inside the stadium. I'm starting to wonder what effect this will have on the temperature in say...mid-November. I can certainly recall being at games in the past and freezing my ass off and praying for the sun to come out. Did anyone go to games last year (such as Northwestern) and notice a big difference?
(sorry if this was already discussed last year, I'm still relatively new to the MGoBlog family)
The guy behind me had the water bottle filled with pennies. It was annoyingly loud in my ear but the sound did not carry at all. Leave them at home. Yelling is much better!
The "All Tomorrow's Parties" feature on Dr. Saturday this week showcases Michigan.
Yes, it's quite sizable, and yes, it looks just as ominous from the inside. There are ostensibly aisles you can walk through, but according to many Wolverine partisans, good luck getting anywhere after kickoff. Or just after the game. Or prior to the game.
It features places to eat around town, what to wear and what to drink ... not that any of those things are news to this community.
Check it out here.
My fear is with the digital transition with television, the radio frequencies were changed and I need to purchase a third radio.
Can anyone help me here???
On a side note, my seats were moved from section 33 single digit row to section 39 row 43. What an improvement. I took my 8 year old son to the game and at one point he had to use the bathroom. We watched a Michigan punt, hit the can and were back in our seats prior to Western starting their drive. I suppose ABC should get some credit for the long tv timeout too.
I was pleased with the look of the team and am hopeful for the Rodriguez bounce that usually occurs in the second season. I thought the defense looked great, not many missed tackles, but still gave up the big play which have seemed to happen every week for several years now.
Finally, the stadium looks wonderful. It sounded quite a bit louder to me. Did anyone else notice that?
It was one of the most moving experiences in my life (the piped in music). I can hardly wait for the next iterations:
1) A growling wolverine noise after each and every mediocre play!
2) An animated Michigan player jumping up and down on the jumbotron and the announcement "That's another Zingerman's First Down For Michigan"
3) Fireworks going off while the team runs on the field. Loud enough to drown out the fight song and any actual cheering.
4)Same fireworks after every touchdown.
Yes, it was glorious and magical and can only get better!
(Obviously I'm being sardonic.)