Taking my son to the BGSU game - Need suggestions...

Submitted by The Harbaughnger on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 AM

I'm taking my 8 yr. old son to the BGSU game and I haven't been to enough games to know what kinds of activities they've got for kids- if any.

Any suggestions?

Also, anything to specifically stay away from?

I want him to come home with a glowing first experience at Michigan Stadium...I don't think there will be any rabid opposing fans considering that it's BGSU so there probably won't be any "I wish you hadn't done that in front of my son" moments...



September 22nd, 2010 at 12:21 AM ^

I know they use to have like a kid area out in the parking lot over near crisler but i'm pretty sure they don't do that anymore, however, i haven't been over there in forever.  It was a neat little place for kids to go and have some fun. Other than that i can't think of any  "kid" specific things.  


September 22nd, 2010 at 12:33 AM ^

I think it's pretty harmless regardless of the gear your wearing, except for maybe OSU.  I remember last year for the ND game there were a couple of guys with ND gear on and there was good natured teasing but nothing too bad.  A couple even complimented me on my "Charlie Weis tried to eat me shirt",


September 22nd, 2010 at 1:06 AM ^

I started going to games back when college students looked like parents. I just thought all those people were really, really excited about Michigan football, just like me. I doubt your son will think anything of the debauchery.*

Involve your son in as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Walk through the law quad and the union on the way to the game. Pick him up when you walk in with the band so he can see all the fans. Watch the band's performance after the game and be sure to point out the percussion tricks, e.g., passing the drumstick down the line and throwing it back to the point of beginning, leaning backwards to smash symbals, playing eachother's drums, etc.. All these little things will go straight to his brain and he'll be a Michigan fan for life.

*Realizing later that alcohol contributed toward the crowd's excitement level was a small letdown. Isn't Michigan football stimulating enough to enjoy soberly?


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:40 AM ^

at the game.  Got my 6 year old a foam Wolverine claw last week.  He thought that was the schanizzle.  Bring some good binoculars, if you have some.  Kids like using those during the game.  Teach him the words to the Victors before going to the game, so he can sing it when we score 9 or 10 times on BGSU this weekend.  Teach him to stand on this seat when everyone else around him stands up during a big play, that way he will see all the action.  Don't miss the "wave" action at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, kids really dig it.  Run up to the top of the stadium after the game.  Have fun!!!


September 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 AM ^

A State street experience is probably the best experience in the world, especially for an eight year old. Ahhh The delicious ill-remembered taste of big ten burrito.  The smells of beer, vomit and freshly smoked marijuana. The sound of elegant phrases such as "chug you pussy" and "OH MY GOD I fucked that chick that just walked by during welcome week". Who wouldn't take his eight year old to such a wonderful place?


September 22nd, 2010 at 12:27 AM ^

It's a great place for kids and adults alike. They are open on Saturdays 10am-5pm, so time may be short what with a noon kickoff, but it's a must when visiting AA with your son.




Also, autographs from the players after the game. I don't know exactly where they do it, but I'm sure someone on here can chime in on that.


September 22nd, 2010 at 12:35 AM ^

Unfortunately not that i know of. What i was talking about above was exactly that though, it had field goals, throwing accuracy "practice", a place to take a picture with your son in michigan football gear, etc etc. It was a great spot for kids. They may still have it, but if they do its just not in the same(convenient) spot that it use to be.


September 22nd, 2010 at 12:38 AM ^

M Fanfest: Has happened the 1st 2 home games, and is likely gonna happen again. Takes place at Pioneer High School. They have had games, radio broadcasts and other fun stuff (GIANT WOODSON BOBBLEHEAD!?) It went from 9 AM - 1:30 PM last Saturday.


Victors Walk: Likely to be at 10 AM again this week like last week. See the players and coaching staff walk to the stadium in the UM Dept. of Public Safety Building in the Blue Lot (where it was last week, so again I'm assuming here).


Michigan Marching Band Shows (all last week's times): 

  • Rehearsal on Elbel Field from 7:30 - 9 AM 
  • Percussion Step Show at 10:30 AM on the steps of Reveli Hall 
  • Parade to the Stadium at 11:10 AM from Reveli Hall


Hope this also helped. Start them off young, and start them off right! Go Blue, and have a great time with your son!

South Bend Wolverine

September 22nd, 2010 at 1:39 AM ^

Definitely recommend the step show.  One caveat, though - even for adults, the sight-lines are pretty difficult, as it's a popular show & there's no risers or anything like that, so a kid might not enjoy the lack of being able to see anything.  I'd recommend getting there a little early to make sure you get up near the front.


September 22nd, 2010 at 9:28 AM ^

Zingerman's in the morning for brekkers, let him have some chocolate chip cookies even though it's early.  Go to the M Den early and grab a $20 shirt if he doesn't have one.  Try to get a spot near the street for the Parade to the Stadium - he'll get a kick out of it when it looks like the band is going to walk into you.

I just took my 10-year old nephew down State Street, warning him before hand that they're drunk, they're loud, but they're harmless and just having fun.  It still might have been a little much, but he was geeked.  From there just make sure you stop for a moment when you enter and he gets his first glimpse of the stadium...

Feat of Clay

September 22nd, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

Yep, I took my 11-year old through that FanFest stuff (at Pioneer) before UMass.  Before UConn we did the Revelli Hall thing, but as has been stated, that can be hard to see.  It was fun to watch the band parade down Hoover (and join the crowd to march after them, when they'd passed by) but I think he enjoyed Fanfest more.  I guess you could do both if you timed it right.

Last week at FanFest they had a "Quarterback challenge" and an obstacle course, both fun for kids.  A radio station had a cornhole game available.  Meijer has a big truck with three Wii stations inside, too.  Hersheys was handing out free smores, and what kid doesn't love hearing his mom say yes, he can have a s'more for breakfast?

Officer Laura will sometimes engage the crowd in trivia at the Main/Stadium stoplight. 

In general the people watching is fun.

Nothing wrong with getting to the stadium early, when your kid has some time to move around and explore.  Hit the bathrooms before they get too busy, watch warmups, stake out your seats. 

If you stay for the whole game, the band (or bands) do a show afterwards.


September 22nd, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

I took my boy last week for his first Big House experience. We got there early enough to see the Walk (which was rained out). We also went in as soon as the gates opened so he could see warm ups. He went straight down to the tunnel and got 20+ "high fives" from players like Denard, Tate, Roh as they came in and out. They are very quick to acknowledge the kids standing there. Also got could pics from front row.


September 22nd, 2010 at 1:01 AM ^

You've got to bring some sub sandwiches, a bag of Doritos, and a football. Do a little tailgating. (You can probably skip the beer for a few years.) I remember as a kid thinking it was really cool to be able to eat from the trunk of the car. Not sure now why that's impressive, but as a kid it's something I looked forward to.

I also recommend the parade to the stadium with the band, and of course, get to your seats in time for the band to be introduced, and the team running under the M Go Blue Club banner.

There are things to be wary of, but it's all part of the experience. I still remember the blue-collar, cigar-smoking, guys that sat in front of us and got hammered every game by the 3rd quarter. Also, after a particularly bad call, the student section would chant b.s., b.s. I was looking forward to going to UofM so I could curse with impunity, but sadly, that tradition ended before I enrolled.


September 22nd, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

Tailgating is always a great option as well, for at least a little while. Some of the best memories i have was just eating some food and play catch with my dad before the game. Simple, yet i remember it to this day and will never forget the good times I had.


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:14 AM ^

Be sure to check out the drum line when they come out. Very cool. And then wait and walk in with the band up Hoover. Check out the Victors' Walk a couple of hours before the game. And if he likes throwing around a football, bring one along. I don't know if you can bring it into the stadium - we usually hide ours in some bushes and pick it up afterwards. 


September 22nd, 2010 at 7:55 AM ^

I have the strongest urge to tell you to sneak him under your shirt over to BOX and get him his first hang over. He'll come home glowing, alright.

In all honesty, there is very little in Ann Arbor, even on game day, to be avoided with children. We've got some classy fans, baby.


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:51 AM ^

I distinctly remember walking around the outside of the stadium circa 1989-90ish when I would have been 8 or 9 years old.  We came up on a group of students (our season tix were and still are section 35 Row 1) chanting somthing.  To me it sounded like "Show your hits, Show your hits!"  As my father and I looked up to the top of the bowl there were some pretty girls looking down enjoying the attention and then just as quickly as I looked up my mother's hand came across my eyes and the crowd errupted in cheers around me. 

I remember being disapointed that I didnt see what happened but was quickly distracted by the drums and the band.  I had forgotten about that for years!  I am sure my dad could fill you in on the details of what happened when my eyes were covered.  I on the other hand couldnt begin to tell you! :)


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:01 AM ^

Hang out by the tunnel outside the stadium after the game and try to get him some autographs, mine always loves that. Actually, I think he may enjoy that more than the game itself at that age.


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:21 AM ^

Eight could be interesting. he may be cool to sit through the whole game, or he may start to freak out about halftime if the drives are uninteresting. Getting him to stay after and stand around by the tunnel for half an hour hoping to get hold of one of the players could be a real challenge.


September 22nd, 2010 at 8:31 AM ^

My experience is to not expect him to make the whole game so be mentally prepared for an early exit.  Don't get to your seats too early of he may be burned out by game time.  

I think all of the suggestions here are good.  I'd just add that if you leave early swing by Cottage Inn on East William for Pizza.


September 22nd, 2010 at 9:11 AM ^

Where are your seats?

If you're in row 8, he'll probably be good for most of the game. If you're in row 80, not so much. It depends on how well he knows the game of football, I suppose, but I know it very well and sometimes I have trouble following plays from the top of the bowl. If a kid can't follow the plays, he's going to freak out a little sooner.

One thing that may help, though it's much harder to do with football than baseball, would be to keep score. Take along a sheet with rosters for both teams divided by position groups with a place to mark stats, and he may understand the game better if you say, "Okay, that was a hand-off rush by Shaw for 12 yards, so next to Shaw's name, write down 1 rush for 12. Now that was a pass to Roundtree, so next to Denard's name, mark 1 attempt, 1 completion, 38 yards. Next to Roundtree's name, mark 1 Catch for 38 Yards."

This is simplified score keeping, of course, but it'll help him learn jersey numbers and how to identify plays, and then you'll have something to do at halftime and the end of the game, adding things up together to figure out who the big performers were. You can point things out to him like the difference between big play and possession recievers, "See  how Stonum had 2 catches for 112 yards, but Roundtree had 6 for 64 yards.", and then explain to him what that means. Show him how to figure YPC. If he's really getting it, do the other team's as well, and then you can show him how our defense performed based on what kind of yards and scores we gave up, and who missed on assignments, etc.

The Harbaughnger

September 22nd, 2010 at 10:19 AM ^

Excellent suggestions- what tickets we're getting yet...my buddy has two sets- one set that's up 58 rows and another set that's up 67 rows- won't find out until he makes his pick...both are in the endzone opposite the golf course...

He's a numbers kid too so I'm sure your suggestion about bringing a roster along would be a huge hit with him...he'll love that he's learning the players names/stats.  He'll probably want to keep it up at home too...

Thanks man- great stuff!


September 22nd, 2010 at 9:13 AM ^

Talk about all of the different things going on in the stadium. I took my 7-year-old last week and sure, he struggled a few times to stay engaged, but he enjoyed the experience again.

My wife thinks I'm crazy because I've taken him to at least one game every year since he was 2. He's made it through the entire game every year but the first two, making it to the third quarter in year one, and early in the fourth in year two. But it's been so fun, even when I had a diaper bag. As the UMass game wound down, however, it occurred to me that he hasn't been much of a lucky charm. M lost two of the first three he went to but he's on a streak now. His games attended:

2005 - Minnesota - L 23-20 (the horrible ending happened right after we left)

2006 - Vanderbilt - W 27-7 (a beautiful day and we made it into the fourth qtr)

2007 - The Horror - (my wife and then 2-year-old daughter attended that one too and my son literally was bawling when he realized that Apple State [as he called them] had won)

2007 - @ Northwestern - W 28-16 - (my father-in-law is an NW grad so this washed some o the stink off the Horror, attended with my in-laws, both kids and my wife)

2008 - Miami (NTM) - W 16-6 - (amazingly, he got to see a win in 08)

2009 - Western - W 31-7 - (I like the early season games since the weather's nice, he was really engaged in this game and still talks about Michigan crushing the Broncos)

2010 - UMass - W 42-37 - (the game took a long time because of all the scoring, but once he got the corn dog and bucket of fries at halftime, he was less crabby)

Just realizing my daughter went to two games in 07 when she was 2 and hasn't gone since. I'll have to make sure to start taking her to a game each year next season. We'll have to have a draft.

Number 7

September 22nd, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

I would have loved reading through this thread even if I wasn't, also, bringing my kids to their first game this weekend. Actually, my Dad is taking them (and me), just as he first took me to a game 30+ years ago. ( her's hoping the score is 70-1 again, just as it was for me.).

Fwiw, my "debauchery witnessed" memory involves the students on either side of me (in 1980 my mom went back to school, so we got student section tickets) rolling their own "cigarettes" with their own (funny smelling) "tobacco", and then passing it across me and my mom to share it with their friends.


September 22nd, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

I'd say if you plan  on any tailgating do it at Ann Arbor Golf and Outing.

The fans there are generally under control, boozing is going on but its not the same debauchery from my experience going there as you will find elsewhere. Also the people are generally very welcoming of other people joining tailgates and you will see lots of other people with children there.


(I have attended 60+ games in my life, and always tailgate there..)


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

I'd imagine that by age 8 your son will probably be interested in the whole game.  I've been bringing my two daughters since they were around 3 (they're now 5 and 6), and we always stay for the whole game.

Tailgating: If you can tailgate with some friends that have kids his age that will probably help.  We tailgate with a group that has a few other kids and my girls are always excited to wear their cheerleader outfits and see their friends.

Walking to/from: Catching the band and/or the Victory Walk before the game will probably be a highlight.  We walk up Hoover to Greene/Keech street and the mass of students is always fun for the kids.

Before the game: I always get in about an hour before kickoff.  I talk up the Barwis Circle of Death to the kids, and they're now fans of Barwis, since I told them that he's a proponent of Chocolate Milk.  I think their favorite time of the whole day is seeing the MMB pre-game show.  Just before kickoff try to get one last bathroom trip out of the way.

During the game: My kids are just starting to get into the game itself, but just barely.  I started describing exactly what was happening each play and my older daughter seemed to appreciate that.  Eventually, though, their interest fades away some.  The cheers during TV timeouts help keep them in it, but sometimes it helps to get them out of the seats and walk around the stadium a bit.  One year on a nice day one of my kids spent 20 minutes rolling down the grass hill on the north side of the stadium with a bunch of other kids.  I listened to the game on my ear-radio.  Snacks are also a way to keep them up and interested, especially the kettle-korn and frozen variety.  Try not to miss the wave in the 3rd quarter.

Having more than one parent helps, but if you're by yourself expect to miss some of the game (bathroom runs, getting food, dealing with some boredom, etc...).


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:22 PM ^

Best way to deal with kids I bet now is to rent one of those handheld thingies that show the game.

That way when you have the inevitable as beforementioned bathroom breaks/boredom and needs to go do something, you can.

However, by 8 I bet your son will be able to stay the whole game, just keep him excited. My dad had me in the stands since I was 3, and about 8-9 I was able to keep track of players, the game, and that is where my memories of specific Michigan football players/plays/games really kicks in.

You should be fine, but definitely watch out for those dickheads who start screaming obscenities, if you run into one, don't just sit there silently, tell him to shut his mouth and watch his language. If he continues to be a dickhead, get an usher.

Im all for cheering/getting into the game, but when you are standing next to like a 8 year old, watch your mouth.