112,450 Rabid Fans

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor!
What I did
"THE BIG HOUSE" Plus, Plus, Plus "Go Blue!"

Flag of United States  , Michigan
Monday, November 12, 2012

Nance and Kath (Nancy Culotta and Kathy Reilly) live about 6 blocks away from THE BIG HOUSE, the largest college football stadium in the country, home of the Michigan Wolverines. And as luck would have it, Nancy - Mary's best friend from Holy Child High School in Potomac, Maryland - as you now know, works for the University with a connection to the athletic department and she loves "Maze N Blue" football, so we got to experience the enormity of a Michigan game against Northwestern, which  Michigan won in overtime. 
One hundred and twelve thousand screaming fans in total jubilation {minus the visitors] on a beautiful partly cloudy 55-60* day in Ann Arbor, Michigan in November. Sweet.

It's amazing to think that every person from Whitefish to Polson (which constitutes the Flathead Valley where we live in Montana) could fit in this stadium with room to spare.

One football game does not satiate a couple of sports-craved parents, so we walked home, ate some dinner and then headed back to campus for a soccer game and a volleyball match. I guess we're true UM fans now. Go Blue!
We were pretty stoked to be at this game for lots of reasons...  Everyone should experience a D-1 packed house football game! It seems to me ALL Division I teams are rivalries on some level or another but I really just think the "Go Blue" fever is just a daily thing.

Before we left Chicago, Jodi & Tom had mentioned they knew one of the Northwestern players who played ball with their sons in Wheaton, a hugley successful running back who starts for the Wildcats. Two minutes into the the game, wouldn't you know, Mike Trumpy (#32)   is the play maker who gives NW the opportunity to get on the board first.  It was a volley of scoring all day keeping the game very interesting and exciting. To be there for an OVERTIME victory for Michigan was pretty cool.

The Michigan Marching Band is remarkable and inimitable in size and talent and very entertaining.  Half time performance was amazing.  Of course, we did what all good tourists (and adopted fans) do... We took pictures at the Wolverine Statue post game.

At one point Nancy called a friend about reserving a parking spot close to campus so I wasn't miserable from the walk.  But feelin' good, we nixed that plan and all opted  to walk.  Nancy, Margot & Bobbie left our (delicious) home tailgate party early to get there for their coveted  "banner-holder job."  Kathy, Billy & I locked up and walked a VERY DILIBERATE  game-day route which was quite a scene!  I've been trying to think of any other urban campuses I've experienced and nothing is registering but, so here we are, cruising the "hood" and EVERY-EVERY-EVERY HOUSE has its own style and flair. The sea of "Maze&Blue" is unbelievable. From decked-out babies and strollers, to "youts" and their bicycles and skateboards, to alum/fans and their cars and motorhomes and golf carts to seniors with wheel chairs and canes - its CRAZY the energy, enthusiasm and spirit - in every direction! 

One fun facts I have to share is about the homes on the game day route... Kathy told us that when houses go on the market in the neighborhood, in the documantation they list information on how many cars can be parked (and diagrams on positioning for maximum potential) and how much income the home can derive during football season...

We  took it all in  (after espresso) – and,  well, we actually wondered if there were truly any ACADEMICS at Michigan since we attended not only the Football Game, but went to watch  Haley (Kopmeyer) play in the Michigan Women's Soccer Game (under the lights vs. Michigan Central) and the Michigan Women’s Volleyball match vs University of Minnesota–in an INTENSE AND AWESOME arena.   

It was a remarkably warm night and continued to get warmer as the evening wore on. And, well, if you consider the Volleyball arena it was downright HOT.   It was jam packed full of spectators. Fans stripped down to their bottom layer, using hand fans, provided by the venue so clearly this is not simply a one-time thing or even just a post-season phenomenon.  One would have to guess they have a huge and consistent fan base - for soccer and volleyball as well....very cool.

This visit was one that we had talked in advance about puting Billy to work. I mentioned earlier that we had changed our Ann Arbor arrival days a couple of times  and one of the things that happened as a result of it was that  Nancy, Kathy, Margot & Bobbie were all planning to go to their Cottage "up north" for the long (Columbus Day) weekend after the game... and they did.  This left Billy & I (and espresso) to hold down the fort for a couple of days.  Billy had his work assignments which ended up working out perfectly for everybody and they were very happy about what he did.   
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Kathy Johnson on

So much fun following you guys, even in Sao Paulo, Brazil! By the way, my maiden name is Reilly, hence, Kathy Reilly. I wonder....? My sister and her family are rabid Michigan fans, attending games every year even though they have been gone from Ann Arbor for a while. My niece is alumni andstill lives there. So Go Blue!

Banana on

I went to a Penn State- Nebraska game last year and it was craaaazy! So much different from a Maryland game. With Maryland moving to the Big Ten next year. maybe some of that craziness will come to College Park!

eew on


gypsytour on

Eldon.... Susan welcome to the Odyssey!

gypsytour on

Banana! Thanks for the note... see you this weekend?

Nancy C on

OMG Anyone reading this would think all we do in Ann Arbor is drink espresso and got watch the Maize & Blue.....and they would be right! I can't beleive the highlight of this visit for "Berry" was the espresso machine, as I remember her drinking other beverages well into the evening, but my mind isn't what it used to be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had THE BEST TIME! Mare is right, it was as if we just had espresso the day before and didn't miss a beat! Anyone who is on the route these guys are taking HAVE to take advantage of renewing, starting, enjoying Mary and Billy's company. They are the easiest people to be around, and to have around. We hope they come back this way and stay for another week! Seriously, I wouldn't have traded the week for anything! And also sharing it with Margot and Bobbie (aka Boobie) made it even more special.

I am living the life of retirement in a dream job, in a dream college town, for the best athletes in college sports! GO BLUE and go Mary and Billy!

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