Michigan football. The season has begun!
For the past (I can’t remember how many…before I was married…) years, Katie and I have made it our tradition to go to a Michigan football game. We usually go to the season opener, which I think, is one of the best games to go to, besides the MSU and OSU games. Why? There is so much hype for a new season, a new coach this year, and the players AND fans, are just PUMPED UP! Because it’s the first game of the season, ya never know what the weather is going to be like or what the outcome of the game will be!
Katie and I have been to quite a wide range of games – the historic Appalachian State game, a freezing cold Minnesota game, a blow out of Notre Dame (after a loss to App. St.), losses to teams they never should’ve lost to, and this year was a memorable one as well!
Yesterday Michigan opened up their season against Western Michigan. The weather leading up to yesterday said it was supposed to be stormy. We arrived in Ann Arbor at 12:45 (for the 3:30 kick-off) and it was pure sunshine and HOT. We cranked up our cd of Michigan songs (including the fight song) and we blare it when we reach Ann Arbor. (Yeah, we’re diehards!) Because of the new rules for The Big House, we could not take ANY food or water, or bags/purses. So, we obviously had to take the minimal. We packed a sack lunch, took a poncho, camara, and keys. That’s it.
We walked to Crisler Arena to eat our lunch and realized it was going to be LONG day because it was so hot. We went into the stadium at 2:15 and watched the players warm up – thankfully there was a breeze! While walking to the stadium, we saw a thermometer that said it was 95 degrees. We later learned it was 130 degrees on the field. I can believe it! We all shared sweat as we squeezed into our seats! The Big House holds 109,901 people – they always have way over that.
As the game began, we realized we weren’t going to make it to the half before we had to get water – so after the first quarter, we got some water and cooled down. Already, there were people laying on the ground with medics assisting them. It was kind of nuts – we were just thankful we weren’t one of those people. We went back in and we felt TONS better. Still dripping sweat, but manageable. Western Michigan scored first on a drive that seemed to take FOREVER, but nevertheless, they scored. We soon answered, and from then on, it was all Michigan! Troy Woolfolk caught an interception and ran it for a 94 yard TD!!!! We went CRAZY! Like jumping up and down, screaming, and getting chills b/c we were so excited. I then partially lost my voice. We knew Michigan football was back!
As the second quarter rolled around, the clouds were few and far between. Michigan was started to defend better, catch the ball on tough plays, and run over WMU’s qb. By halftime, a nice breeze had set in over the stadium – but people were still getting heat exhaustion. A few people around us left because they just couldn’t take it. We were loving every minute of the game because the crowd was so into the game! It felt just like old times. By the 3rd quarter, it got dark. I mean, one cloud in the sky was dark. Then all of a sudden we heard the student section going nuts – we were like WHAT is going on? Then about 5 seconds later, the skies UNLOADED with rain! I don’t think rain has ever felt so good! You could see everyone trying to put their ponchos on, but really it was worthless because it was raining so hard! We used our one poncho we had to cover the camara, watch, and keys. They delayed the game for 15 minutes, took all the players off the field (and the bands), and then it was pure sun. We never left the stadium – I suppose we are diehards. Really it was a pointless delay. Everyone was booing. We all started chanting “we want football.” The crowd was relentless! I suppose when you have over 110,000 people there who want to watch a game, it can be expected! It ended up being 30 minutes of no gameplay, but oh vell, at least they continued! The players were just as excited as we were to have a game “under the lights” and in the rain! They were ON FIRE! They played until there was 1:27 left in the 3rd quarter, and then they suspended game play again. We were trying to watch the game, but it was raining SO HARD that you couldn’t even look up! It hurt to look up b/c it was windy too! This time lightening was right over us and you could see it was not good. Then they made everyone evacuate the stadium b/c we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. It took FOREVER for everyone to exit! I guess this was the first time a game never finished in Michigan’s history. They kept showing the radar at the game and it was looking like it was just going to get worse. Kate and I both said “they are going to call the game.” Sure enough, they did. So, Michigan ended up winning 34-10!!!!! It was obvious Michigan had control of the game too, so we weren’t surprised.
Well, we had the long walk back to our car – meanwhile, it is still JUST POURING! We actually ran part of the way back b/c we saw how dark it was getting – we just wanted to get to our vehicle. We made it, wrung out our clothes as best as we could, and sat on our ponchos the whole way home. Traffic wasn’t horrible (at least from past experiences), and we made it out of Ann Arbor. I called Dan to see what the weather was going to be driving home and he said it’s not pretty. Sure enough, just out of Ann Arbor, there was a HUGE gust of wind that veered our vehicle to the left just far enough where it scared us to death. Everyone slowed WAY down – I’m talking to 40mph. It was scary. We honestly thought a tornado was nearby. The sky was so ugly and the wind was just circulating. Then it just POURED and lightening was striking SO close! We felt tingling in our bodies it was so close. Thankfully we made it out of there with no accident or without needing to stop. I must say it was one of the worst storms I had ever driven through!
As we were driving home, we said this was one of the THE BEST games we had EVER been to! Yeah it sounds crazy, but it really was! There was so much hype, everyone was just READY for football, no matter what the costs! So many diehards were just cheering, going nuts, and having fun in the rain – including the players. I mean, what were we going to do? Leave? YEAH RIGHT! We decided we’ve never been so hot, then so cold (and wet) in one day! The atmosphere of a game makes it the best! We probably stick out like sore thumbs at the game…people around us recognize us (b/c they are season ticket holders) and they always talk with us. They probably wonder where our husbands are :). Our husbands just know how much we love Michigan football and support us in that! Random people will start talking to us, but hey – it’s all for the love of football!
It was definitely a game we will NEVER forget! We will just chalk it up to another memorable game in Katie and Kristin’s books. It’s a game that I actually miss. And now…Michigan is now 1-0. A great start to a season that we are PUMPED about! Oh how we love our maize n’ blue boys!
Hail to the Victors and GO BLUE!
**Hopefully I will be able to post pictures at some point too!