Last weekend I had the chance to attend my first collage football game. It was one of the most amazing sporting experiences I have ever had. Another Starter League student suggested I go watch a game at The Big House.
The Big House is the nickname for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Home to the football team of the University of Michigan. It is the biggest sport stadium in the US, with an official capacity of 109 901. At Saturdays game a few new records were set, highest ever attendance – 115 109 and most consecutive games with more than 100 000 attendance – 245.
The original stadium was build back in 1927 with a capacity of 82 000. Even today after much remodeling the seats are still just benches with no arm or back rests, which allows them to get more people in. Not that it matters much, as I must have only sat down for less than 10% of the time on Saturday.
The energy in the stadium was electric, at a level equal to a Springboks vs. All Blacks or Lions test match, which is insane if you consider that this was only a collage football game. The Wolverines, name of the football team, played their first game back in 1879.
It was also very apparent how ‘commercial’ free the day was compared to other sports. There was no advertising on the field or inside the stadium and no ads were played on the two giant scoreboards. It was actually very refreshing!
Before the game there were four fighter jets doing multiple flyovers, and there was a big blimp floating around. Walking up to the stadium it looked like most people had been spending the day with something on the braai and a beer in hand waiting for the game to begin.
The game was tense, but the home team managed to pull through in the end. The marching bands of both teams performed before, at half time and after the game. If you ever find yourself in Michigan during football season make sure to go to game at The Big House. Here is a little preview: