BYE WEEK -Raising Your Child To Be A Wolverine Fan

Submitted by k.o.k.Law on October 26th, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Raising Your Child To Be A Wolverine Fan

(and what to be prepared for when you succeed)

Co-authored by K.O.K.Law's oldest daughter


First and foremost, if you are the one who HAS to go to every home game, clear that with your partner. Having a spouse willing to forego going to a game(s) to take a child(ren) to other activities when conflicts arise is essential.


Take them early (age) and often:

  • Be Prepared: If your 3-year-old wants a better view of the band for the halftime show, be prepared to carry her down and back up to your seats in row 87.  

  • Pro Tip: Keep them comfortable, and they will learn to stay to the end of the every game. And will even make you do so when you think Washington has the game won.


Buy them the right game clothes:

  • As their passion grows so will their need for accessories (socks, shoes, pompoms, facepaint).

  • Be Prepared: Their favorites will be YOUR old t-shirts and sweatshirts, be ready to hand them down. If you set the standard of buying them a bowl game shirt for Christmas each year, expect to get yelled at by your 21 and 25 year-old daughters the year you forget (or as you say “Oh, I didn’t think you’d still want one”).


Take them to all the sports! Baseball, basketball, hockey, and other games, whenever you can:

  • College hockey at the Joe was close for us.
  • Be Prepared: This is where superstitions start getting serious, they will add to the clothing items they’ve acquired to create lucky outfits - for each sport.


Get a good parking spot:

  • Be Prepared: You need to park close, as you might have to get the rugrats back right after the game, for their sport or other school or friend function, and/or leave immediately from a morning event to make the kickoff.

  • Pro Tip: Get your father-in-law’s parking sticker so you can get in and out really fast.

  • Second Pro Tip: And, if you are lucky enough that your offspring attend U of M, make parking at their ideally located house a condition of you paying their rent.


Buy them all the treats they want at the games.  Remember, it was your idea to take them:

  • Be Prepared: This will turn into “lucky” Lemon Chills & ice cream cones, that they will insist you pay for into their 20s (and beyond).


Be flexible:

  • You might have to give up tailgating (until they’re in college), so they can do things Saturday mornings and evenings.  Don’t make the choice between their stuff and U of M football, make the football fit into their lives.

  • Be Prepared: They may have to change into their homecoming dress (and do their hair and makeup) in the back of the mini-van after a game. You might have to make an emergency make up purchase when your daughter freaks out over forgetting sunblock and now has a big white block M on her cheek from where the facepaint was.


Share and teach the history, tradition, passion, etc:

  • Play your Ufer CDs and when you do the play by play along with the CD, it will amaze them. Daughter #2 turned to look at me and said, in an even keeled voice, “That’s not normal.” Tell stories about how their grandfather and Canham were buddies, how a U of M AD employee used to reserve a  parking spot for Grandpa’s Bud van. Have them read Bacon’s books (and Brandy’s and Angelique’s and all of them).

  • Be Prepared: They will ask you questions you don’t have the answer to, especially after they read the books, so be ready to learn even more about Michigan.

  • Pro Tip: They will take YOUR CDs and books off to college with them, so buy them their own copies.


Take them to Columbus for a U of M v. Ohio. If nothing else, this will cause them to lose all interest in matriculating there:

  • There is no turnoff quite like live Buckeye behavior.

  • Be Prepared: You will have trouble convincing one daughter to ever go back, because U of M lost and she’s unlucky (J went over a decade before setting foot in Columbus again & still hasn’t been back for a football game), while explaining to the other daughter that “No, we can’t go to Columbus every other year for the game” and then inevitably giving in and taking her.

  • Pro Tip: Go on the alumni association bus trip. They have the parking spot, you can walk in and out of the Snakepit with a group of non-barbarians. Even then, one of the barbarians may try to pick a fight with your daughter.

Once the oldest is hooked, the younger siblings are sure to follow:

  • Be Prepared: Of course, the younger will require her own lucky outfits and Ufer CDs and books.

  • Pro Tip: Don’t tell them they are following the example of the older sibling! The younger won’t admit how much they look up to the older and the older will at some point get annoyed by the copy catting of the younger.


Take them to the football bust, so they can see players up close and personal:

  • Be Prepared: You’ll be expected to get them good seats and all the good autographs.


If you make a trip to the Rose Bowl, spend the night before the parade on Colorado Boulevard:

  • Camping out guarantees front row seats for the parade!

  • Be Prepared: If you do this once, you’ll have to do it every time. Oh and the drunk 20-somethings next to you will spill mustard all over your sleeping bags. So take the grungy ones.

  • Pro Tip: Bring silly string! In addition to sleeping bags, snacks, water, and cards & games, though the crowd provides ample entertainment.


Side Effects of Success

  • When you teach your 6-year-old to say Tshimanga Biakabutuka, you will both think it is the greatest trick ever and will insist upon demonstrating for everyone.

  • When Mom insists that your daughter visit Michigan State, she will wear her “Bow Down Little Brother” shirt the entire time.

  • They will not hide their true colors from teachers, aunts, uncles, parents of their friends, or your friends who may be MSU grads.

  • There will be endless superstitions:  hooking pinky fingers on the inside hands for defense, outside for offense, switching seats, switching hats. Your 26-year-old daughter will no longer cut her hair during football season after making that mistake two days before the 2006 Michigan-Ohio game.

  • They might be the only person in their U of M friend group freshmen year who knows why we announce the Slippery Rock score at every game.

  • You’ll become more worried about their cardiac health on football Saturdays than your own.


The Reward

For the parent:

A shared tradition of team values and integrity, good role models, teaching some of the ups and downs of life, which is sometimes unfair, people get injured, lifetime dreams die on a single play, you cannot win them all, cliches, yes, but with value to be passed on.  Real people, they can see, and talk to on occasion, not just stories in books. Hopefully, you will raise someone to take you to the games in your dotage.


For the child:

The reward has been lessons in being part of something bigger than yourself and how you represent that, in loyalty, in passion, in the ups and downs of life, in making sacrifices, in bringing people together.

The reward has been the memories, the times spent with my dad related to Michigan are some of my favorites. I remember rushing from my tennis match to the Big House and from the Big House to the homecoming dance. I remember three hour road trips to South Bend, in which he sang college fight songs the entire drive and I couldn’t believe I was related to him. I remember exuberant celebrations together after a victory. I remember him setting aside his own feelings to comfort me after a particularly dreadful loss. I remember phone calls in college after games to talk about the highs & lows, to make sure I was still alive, to make plans for the next game, the next road trip.

The reward is being a (three time) Michigan alumna. Walking onto campus as a freshman, my love of Michigan became my own in a way it hadn’t been before. I learned, embraced, and loved what Michigan was beyond the Big House and Yost. That love is something I share with thousands of alumni, family members, college friends, but most of all my daddy. I know that wherever life takes us, we’ll always share our love of Michigan.



October 26th, 2013 at 6:51 AM ^

Now I know where I failed (but in my defense, we live over 1,000 miles away from Ann Arbor, so going to Michigan games was not a realistic option).

Btw, I can't get the links to work (using Google Chrome).


October 27th, 2013 at 5:17 PM ^

She was a National Merit Scholar, so could afford to go out of state, depending on the school,  and I have a lot of family in Michigan that we visited every summer.  Of the colleges we looked at, which included UM, Northwestern (at which we were told they did not give out merit based scholarships), Purdue, and, of course State, as well as a few other schools outside the Big 10, she just liked MSU the best.  MSU offered essentially a full ride, and she went and took a test on campus in the summer before her start, after which they offered her an additional couple thousand dollars, plus a job working in a lab in her discipline.


October 26th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

I am expecting my first child December 9th this year. If I can help it, she will be just like her Dad when it comes to loving Michigan sports, especially football. The teaching and early introduction sounds like it worked pretty well and the State visit made me lol. Go Blue

rob f

October 26th, 2013 at 11:11 AM ^

I've done many, many of the things you've listed and had great success as all 3 of my kids LOVE Michigan and all the traditions and ideals that come with being a Wolverine.  Now I'm doing the same with my granddaughter; as a 4-year-old, she attended her first Michigan game this fall (vs. Akron) with me and her mom (my daughter) and other family members, now she just doesn't understand why grandpa won't take her to EVERY Michigan football game.  She'll soon be treated to her first Michigan basketball games, though---I have plans to take her to her first couple games (both a men's and women's game) in December.

She's known all the words to 'The Victors' since I taught her it this summer as a prerequisite to that Akron game; she breaks out in song quite frequently!  Kinda leaves me wondering where else besides at grandpa's house she starts out (loudly, of course) with "HAIL! to the Victors Valiant...", at school, at church, where else?  Makes her grandpa proud!



October 26th, 2013 at 1:17 PM ^

Great Diary!  I'm a long way off from having kids, but honestly, the question of "how do I brainwash my kids to love Michigan" has passed through my mind much more than I am proud to admit.  Thanks for the good advice!

Minus The Houma

October 26th, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

Awesome post. My daughter is about to turn 1 and just reading through how you made michigan and having daughters work in synchronicity is very touching. Although I won't have the means to go to all the games you have we already have a few things going for us. A custom michigan diaper, sweatshirt, blue socks leg warmers and leggings.

Again I really enjoyed reading this diary, thank you for taking the time to write it.


October 26th, 2013 at 4:41 PM ^

Or do what we did: raise 2 smart kids, teach them to work hard, and enroll them at Michgan. They will be fans for life.

signed, Proud Michigan Father


October 27th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

The one thing we did differently was never having them go to a game until they wanted to.

When my kids were younger, sometimes my wife would stay to manage the younger ones or some kid activity.  My oldest knew that if she asked to come, the reason for going was to watch the game.  We got to our seats before pregame and didn't leave until 0:00.

We now have 5 football tickets and when one of the kids can't make a game due to other activities they are very disappointed.  They are now 15, 12, and 8.  All three are huge fans and love being at any M game.  My birthday present this coming February will be my wife and kids coming with me to hockey and basketball games on consecutive days in February.  ALL five of us consider it a prize!

One thing I have to echo: trips to the M-Den are now dangerous.  Hard to say, "No," to someone that looks that cute in the sweatshirt/t-shirt/hat/socks/etc./etc.  My one daughter won't let anyone near her (now unavailable) MGoBlog Shoelace shirt.


October 27th, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

Bye-Bye Bye Week.  Was it nice
To have had you scheduled twice?
While all those colored leaves keep fallin’,
The tougher schedule’s now come callin’.
With last week off, what did we learn?
Will U-M’s dominance return?
Well, Brady Hoke has been insistent.
These Wolverines are “inconsistent.”
It’s two steps forward; one step back
Whether on defense or on attack.
Suspicions may linger after Halloween night
‘Til Maize and Blue beats green and white.
*  Apologies for going off topic on what I consider to be some great writing. Due to some MGoBloggers' complaints about my rhymes, I've had to move them off the MGoBoard's forum topics, so they don't clog the regular commentary.  As a Michigan parent, but not an alumnus, I came very late in life to the Michigan Family.  But like you, I taught my children to appreciate (and even root for) their father's alma mater, a school that doesn't even have a football program anymore.


October 27th, 2013 at 5:12 PM ^

I would run a fake spike, QB sneak for the win. Football is fun.

EDIT: Haha. Wrong thread so hard. I do appreciate all of you doing what you can to spread the love for U of M. It's so much better than being a spartan or an asshole(buckeye).


October 28th, 2013 at 8:54 AM ^

Thank you for this, from a nutty Michigan dad of three little ones who insist on wearing their lucky jerseys, t-shirts, or cheerleader outfits and having their own set of lucky keys on game day... :)


October 28th, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

My kids have been baptized as Michigan fans since the day they were born.  Both of them attended a game prior to their first birthday, and have gone to at least one very year since.  Now my boy is a sophomore at UM, and my HS Senior daughter is anxiously waiting to hear from admissions.

Go Blue!


October 28th, 2013 at 2:32 PM ^

Couldn't agree more on the keep them comfortable comment... especially when they are little.  I took my 2 and half year old son to his first game this year against Central.  He wanted to leave by the end of the first quarter because he got so hot that sun screen dripped into his eyes from sweating.  Poor guy.

BUT, he still asks if he can go to the stadium with me every week after that and "watch the football players on the green stripe."

PS: How did you know my tickets are in row 87?


October 28th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

Don't wait until the child is out of the womb. Buy the MP3, put it onto your smart device and hold the speaker up to the lower part of the belly.  Both of my daughters have a strong effiniety for the song plus when the oldest would cry uncontrollably... Hail to the Victors was the only song that would calm her down. When the song was done, she would begin to cry again. 

Don't underestimate the power of the 9 months in the belly.


October 28th, 2013 at 4:24 PM ^

I was brought up on the UofM golf course.  I rambled all over that great green expanse, made tracks through the sand traps and explored the drains regulating the water hazards.  There is absolutely no reason to skip tailgating just because you have kids.  Bonus: After the game you can send them ahead to open the car and get all your accoutrements set out for post-game partying. 


My daughter is just short of one year.  She has two parents, 4 grandparents and one aunt as former Wolverines.  She has no chance of escaping fandom.


October 30th, 2013 at 8:06 PM ^

I have not figured out how to get the pix to post from the imgur site, any  help appreciated.

the parking sticker was a paid for season football pass, not an everyday handicapped parking   sign.

the daughter whose idea this was, and who co-wrote, greatly appreciates the comments

well, most of them