How/when did your Michigan football fandom begin?

Submitted by Eat Your Wheatlies on August 13th, 2016 at 11:57 AM

I'm sure this has been a topic before, but I couldn't find anything recently via the MGoSearch, so I figured this would be a good time to talk about the roots of our UM football obsession.

Mine started when I was 5 or 6, I imagine. My earliest memories of Michigan football were with my dad in the truck, listening to Frank Beckman call games on the radio. I remember intently listening to the calls and trying to visualize what was happening on the field and becoming overwhelmed with joy, anger, and sadness at a moments notice. I think the 1991 season was the first I really recall. Desmond (obviously), Ricky Powers, and Corwin Brown were some of my first favorites. Wheatley quickly became my player, and I'll always remember the joy of the 1995 Pigskin Classic, as well as the feelings I had when Kordell chucked that ball down the field in '94. I went into the yard, screamed at the top of my lungs, and eventually cried. 

It's been quite a journey and I love (almost) every second of it. So what's your story? When and how did you get hooked?




August 13th, 2016 at 11:59 AM ^

Mine started when I was about 6 years old. Born and raised in South Bend I grew a deep hatred for the Irish. My mom loved Michigan and dad loved the Irish. Glad I choose the good guys.


August 13th, 2016 at 2:54 PM ^

Sorry, there have been places where this "until we beat msu/osu" bit has been played that were funny - especially when Mad Hatter pierced the overwrought "n*ggaz" debate with it.
But let's not overdo either, mmkay!?

This is a topic very near & dear to me, as a 3rd Gen Ann Arborite, now 30 years in exile, and 3rd (of what has now reached 4!) generations of family to attend Michigan.
My Grandfather went to M as an athlete back in the Red Grange era, and held season tix for over 50 years. My Grandparents and parents took me in-utero, but of course my own personal memories begin a bit later!
As a wee one, football Saturdays were such an important ritual and gathering, the images have never left me. I look forward so much to my usual one game weekend per season now. So many sights, sounds, sensations flood back from childhood. I'll be there for Colorado this year.
Go Blue!


August 13th, 2016 at 9:16 PM ^

Sydney, you nailed it!
Dude played the played out card without replying to the OP topic, which I clearly went on to say was very near & dear to me - then negged us BOTH for daring to call him on it!

Soft, soft poster. "Quit being a pussyfoot"?!
We can and must do better....... let's try to bring our posts up to Harbaugh level people!


August 13th, 2016 at 11:59 AM ^

4 years old.

19 inch black and white television.

Dad was watching and by the end of the first half I was blue for life.

Attending msu for TWO engineering degrees didn't change it.

Living in 10 other states had no effect.

Blue for life.


August 13th, 2016 at 2:21 PM ^

Both of my parents went to Michigan and we moved to Ann Arbor when I was 4. My dad, a season ticket holder, has been taking me to every game since then. When me and my siblings were really young, he'd give us a few bucks when Michigan won. (which they did with regularity) There was a 0% chance of me not being a Michigan fan.


August 13th, 2016 at 8:22 PM ^

You checked in to say this?  See you in three weeks.


My fandom only began about seven years ago, I'm sorry to say.  Born and raised in Portland Oregon, attended college in Chicago, now living in Kansas.  But along the way I kept meeting Michigan fans, and they were some of the most intelligent, funny, engaging, passionate people I knew.  Kansasblue finally convinced me to take the leap.  Now my mgokids are getting accustomed to seeing HTTV sitting around the house, and it doesn't surprise anyone when a shipment from Moe's shows up.  Go blue!

Dunkin Blue

August 13th, 2016 at 12:02 PM ^

Watching Michigan football with my dad, listening on the radio when we couldn't watch are some of my first memories. I still remember how much I looked forward to Saturday's and the time spent with him. I remember the smell of the big house when I walked in for the first time, and the excitement of seeing my hero Desmond catch a touchdown in front of us. Even though I was still young it's one of my most vivid memories.


August 13th, 2016 at 12:04 PM ^

1969. A lot happened that year, moon landing etc. Michigan. But for me my most life-changing event was falling in love with Michigan. Graduated from there many years later same seats now in the family for 47 years.

rob f

August 13th, 2016 at 5:02 PM ^

in my conversion to Michigan, too, as I was raised an Irish fan by parents, grandparents, and numerous other relatives who all followed ND football.  

My first recollection of cheering for Michigan?  As a 9-year old, watching the Rose Bowl at my grandparents house on their color TV (mom and dad only had a 19" B&W  TV until I was 12), as Mel Anthony, Carl Ward and Bob Timberlake dismantled Oregon State.  I remember being scolded by Grandma for cheering for Michigan---being a Catholic family of life-long farmers,my grandparents allegiance was first to ND and then even a bit to MSU----but never to Michigan.  That didn't stop me, though, as I remember how much I fell in love that day with our colors, our helmets and our uniforms.  Thanks to color TV, I discovered that day how awesome Maize and Blue was!

Although I continued to follow ND (Coach Ara Parsegianwas great!), I found myself more-and more watching Michigan whenever I could.  As little as Michigan could be on TV those days, I still remember in particular watching the great Ron Johnson piling up the yards in '67 and '68.

But the clincher for me was when I started listening to Bob Ufer describing Michigan Football on my transistor radio.  Fall was apple-picking time on Grandpa's farm, and most school nights and each and every fall Saturday was spent in the orchards---but I always had my radio along to listen to Tigers baseball and college football.  

I don't know what year it was in the early 70's that one of the local Grand Rapids-area started carrying the Ufer play-by-play, but I was instantly hooked!   Nobody but NOBODY described football the way Ufer did and (other than maybe halftime) my radio dial stayed with MEEEECHIGAN Football!   Looking back, I'm surprised I got ANY work done on Saturdays out in the orchards.

My first Michigan game?  It was in1974, my first year away in college at WMU, I hitchhiked on a Friday afternoon with a dormmate to Redford and went the following morning to Ann Arbor with his parents to watch Michigan destroy Navy 52-0.  Two more games in '75, 4 games in '76, and season tickets since '77.

Go Blue!  Go MEEEECHIGAN!!  And forever may God bless your cotton-picking heart , Bob Ufer!!!


August 13th, 2016 at 12:26 PM ^

These stories are both awesome and completely un-relatable for me. I think I became much less of a die hard fan the day I stepped on campus. It's sort of like the classic meeting your heroes thing, they were gods when I was a kid but now they might be classmates or the guys down the street. Also, my enrollment coincided with Rich Rod so that certainly didn't help.


August 13th, 2016 at 1:40 PM ^

Pretty much same for me.  But then becoming a student and going to games, it just wasn't the same.  I cared much less about the game than I did as a kid.  Maybe it's just me...

Actually I ended up in the b-school but I doubt that 17 year old me applying to UM even had a clue it existed.  It was always about sports.


August 13th, 2016 at 3:18 PM ^

I think that is solely a result of the era in football you attended.  Having been on campus for undergrad/grad school, I got to fully see the ebb and flow of the football spirit amongst the students from Lloyd to Rich Rod to Hoke, and definitely the fanfare was nowhere near the same during those Rich Rod years.  

Could you imagine being a college freshman this year?  The campus is in a frenzy.  

Roy G. Biv

August 13th, 2016 at 12:09 PM ^

Late 70s listening on the radio, and to a lesser extent watching on TV, around the house/yard or driving with my Dad. AC was and still is my favorite. Being in the Flint area, Rick Leach and Steve Smith wers also a big deal.


August 13th, 2016 at 12:06 PM ^

the year that the first of my family, now 5 straight generations, matriculated to our favorite school.  she was one of the few women to graduate from michigan, which she did with honors in latin.  returning to the UP she married and had my grandfather ->mother->me/brother->2 nieces and counting...


August 13th, 2016 at 12:10 PM ^

August 31, 1996 3:15 pm. My dad got his Masters at Michigan so it was always the house favorite, but growing up in Ohio it was never crazy fandom. That al changed my freshman year the instant I cleared the tunnel for the student section for the first game against Illinois... Was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in 18 years of life and has started a lifelong obsession that I have successfully passed down to my son.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


August 13th, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

The 1985 Purdue game - I was five years old. Jim Harbaugh was the QB. Michigan won 47-0. I was in awe of being in a stadium with THAT many people. At that age, I didn't yet understand the rules of football. All I saw was players jumping on top of each other and I didn't get how you were supposed to win at that game. So I decided I should learn the rules because I wanted to come back to this incredible place again to watch more games. The rest is history.

Coincidentally, the Michigan Marching Band's halftime show that day involved a 'Back to the Future' theme, the movie having come out in theaters three months prior. 'Back to the Future' is my favorite movie of all time and something I still can't pass up if I see it on TV.

So kindergarten was a particularly special year in regards to fandoms.


August 13th, 2016 at 12:15 PM ^

Honestly, I wasn't a big fan until the day I was admitted to UM. I only casually followed UM before that, and never cheered for them.

My diehard team was Boston College. I shudder at the thought of following them instead of UM now.

OSUMC Wolverine

August 13th, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

Probably not going to get a lot of warm responses to this...but here we go.  I was raised a rabid OSU fan to the point that I was apalled when my parents allows UM band members to stay at our home when UM played at OSU.  I truly could not understand why they would do such a thing.  I was very young, preschool.  Few years later we started going to most of the home OSU games and I was increasingly upset at how the home crowd would boo the home team for every punt, incomplete pass, or virtually any other play that didnt result in points.  These people were booing my heroes--again very young.  It was the post-Woody hangover years.  I finally had enough of the culture surrounding OSU football when Earl Bruce was fired for only beating UM half the time (ultimately 5-4 I believe after the last game).  A feat rare to OSU football not including the Tressel years and our implosion during the same period.  I was harrassed by friends and family for not being an OSU fan but the last straw was a teacher.  She would stop class on nearly a daily basis during the fall that year to harrass me about not being an OSU fan.  One day the week of the Michigan game I decided I had had enough.  I asked another teacher I had at the time that I knew was a UM grad if she would let myself and a couple friends in the building early the Friday before the Game.  She agreed--supervising of course--we were still pretty young.  We decorated the rabid OSU teacher's room in maize and blue streamers, Go Blue on the chalk boards in 3ft high letters in blue and yellow chalk--it was beautiful I still to this day wish I had a camera that day.  The resulting uproar in that building that day was incredible--I found a way to rib every fair weather OSU fan that booed and heckled the team I once endeared.  Over the years rooting for UM and always claming the high road in debates regarding football/athletics grew on me and I began attending all the home games and have continued for now decades.  Go Blue!


August 13th, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

It helped quite a bit that my mom was an alum and that our neighbor in Northville was probably one of the single most fanatical Wolverine fans in existence (I bet a few people here know the name Lou LaChance), but it began rather early in my childhood watching them on television, then being taken to games by the mid-1980s (first game was 1985 Maryland at the age of nearly eight). It really just kind of blossomed from there, and being able to eventually attend Michigan was a bonus add to that fandom. 


August 13th, 2016 at 12:17 PM ^

The first member of my family to graduate from Michigan did so in 1881. Nearly everyone has since (a few Harvard defectors). So, indoctrination pretty much

Pepper Brooks

August 13th, 2016 at 5:38 PM ^

was the 1st real year for me.  Ron Johnson 347 yards against Wisci, Tom Curtis 10 interceptions, Dennis Brown, Jim Mandich, Dan Dierdorf... great team, and Bump Elliot's last year as coach. The team respected him so much that they gave him the game ball after the 1969 win over OSU.

Also, 1968 was the year I began to hate OSU.  With OSU up by 36 points and 1:23 left in the game Woody Hayes goes for 2 point conversion. Bump Elliot was not the type of coach to ask Hayes "What's your deal?" at the mid-field handshake, but the good guys did not forget that in 1969.

The Fugitive

August 13th, 2016 at 12:19 PM ^

I was 9 during the 1997 season.  As far as football was concerned, I was aware of Michigan football, but not fully aware.  I loved Barry Sanders and he along with a couple other Lions were the only footballers I knew of.

Then came the 1997 season and I watched all the games with my dad and I've been hooked ever since.  The next year, a family friend who was a season ticket holder took me to my first game against Antwaan Randel El and IU which we won 17-10.  A little boring for a youngster like myself but I think my eyes were as big as OPs mom's nips when I first walked into the stadium.

Football Heaven

August 13th, 2016 at 12:20 PM ^

When we played Notre Dame and Desmond did his thing.  I was already a Michigan basketball fan (My dad took me to a bar to watch the title game against Seton Hall against my mother's will), but the Desmond catch brought me into the football world.  


August 13th, 2016 at 12:21 PM ^

Around the time I was 6 I made the switch from OSU to Michigan. I grew up in an OSU family and my best friend was a Michigan fan so I think trying to fit in with him I picked the good guys.