By: Michael Graf ’22
I’ve been a Michigan fan ever since I was a kid, despite growing up in California. My parents were from Michigan and raised me a Wolverine. In middle school, I would tell my teachers I thought Michigan would win every game. Unfortunately for me, I lost most of the bets I made, typically to my 8th grade math teacher who was a fan of “that school down south,” but no matter what, I always supported the team. When I enrolled in Michigan, there was no doubt that I was going to get football season tickets to support the team. Going to a U of M football game is something I will never forget. If you know anything about Michigan football games, you know about the incredible sense of community fostered there. The Michigan football game experience doesn’t start during the opening kick-off; it starts when you walk through the streets of Ann Arbor to the historic Big House, the pride and joy of A2.
As you walk through the streets rocking your maize and blue colors, you encounter a range of people, all sharing the same passion as you for the sport and the school. There are the college students, who love to partake in pregame festivities before watching their classmates obliterate that week’s victims. There are the beloved University of Michigan alumni, who graduated in 1974 but still have a profound connection to the school and its spirit. There are scalpers, who will make sure to “cut you a deal” on a ticket if you are buying or selling one. Even street performers come out and entertain fans on game day. No matter who they are or what their affiliation to the school is, on game day they are all part of the Michigan family. When you actually enter the stadium, you’ll understand why Michigan didn’t lose a home game this 2018 season.
The Big House holds over 100,000 fans and will always exceed that number on any given game day. The atmosphere there is something that just cannot be described. You have 100,000+ people all supporting the same cause you are. When you watch Karan Higdon juke a defender and dive into the end zone, or Shea Patterson complete a 40+ yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones, you can’t help but spring up and cheer with your 100,000 best friends for the day. The energy that the fans bring to that stadium helps the team dominate over any opponent, and is a crucial part of an authentic Michigan gameday experience. For me, personally, this is the best part of any football game. Watching your team play their hearts out on that field with your friends and family beside you is something remarkable.
Going to a Michigan football game, seeing all the fans, feeling the energy in the stadium, and watching our team bring pride to our school reminds me that being a Wolverine is something special. I am a part of something bigger than myself. I am a part of a team, not just any team, “The Team.” After my first football game here at U of M, there was no doubt in my mind that we are “the greatest university in the world,” because being a Michigan Wolverine means you belong to something special, something bigger than yourself. You belong to The Team.