Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wearing Maize and Blue

I have survived my first football match only slightly sunburnt (yes I had sunscreen).

The day started at 8am with a tailgate opposite the marching bands practice grounds. Its was actually really interesting to watch them polish lines and be instructed on baton twirling and the correct way to march on a curve.

Tailgating consisted over two cookers with French toast, sausages and cheesy potatoes, fruit and cookies. We were well fed by Kevin who hosted last weeks and this weeks. We played Corn Hole and tossed a football around. I officially suck at Corn Hole. Two kids joined later and beat a few of my officemates.

The game started at noon, so we arrived at 11.30 a half packed stadium. The stadium is divided into sections and the students get a quarter, alumni/fans a half and the opposition the rest. You can tell where the students start, its almost mandatory to wear Michigan merchandise or at least their colours, something the alumni don't. There is a seating hierarchy that puts upperclassmen closer to the field and freshman at the back (top). There were 106,724 people at the game. The stands seats 110,000 i'm told.

There are a fair number of people involved on the field. You have the football team of about 80 (60 if you're travelling to another college), about 30 support staff, 12-16 dancers, 30 cheerleaders (plus about 10 for the other team), 3 game referees and then the Marching band. The Michigan Marching Band has over 300 people. They have flag wavers, baton twirlers(2 girls, 1 guy), 1 head marching guy and 3 conductors. I must say, the conductors were awesome, they stand on ladders and conduct the band and flags. One permanently conducts during the game supporting the cheerleaders with music. There is even music for "You Suck". The half time music was a rendition of boy bands. The pick a theme for each game, this one included NSync, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block. Highly amusing. Though I have one question, how does a guy become a baton twirler for a large football loving college and survive?

The game itself was very stop and go. The guys I was with apologised for how boring it was but if it had been any more involved I would have been more lost. The guys tried their best to explain the plays, touchdowns, down rules, moving yards, but I must admit, a LOT looked way to much like run a few metres and take a flying dive to the ground. Cool aerobatics in the process though.

There are numerous chants that the cheerleaders lead throughout the game. One is called "Key Play" and everyone gets out their keys and shakes them. Cool effect. There is a war cry that starts "Hail to the victorious and the ....". You may have noted I never quite learnt the words though I can do the clapping. I'll try learn it to bring back for IV09.

We won, Michigan 16-6 Maimi Ohio. Their mascot is the Redhawk, couldn't get a picture of it, but the costume was quite cool. Their quarterback is apparently better than ours, but that didn't seem to help. Quite the change from last weeks loss. I'm tempted to get tickets to the Homecoming game at the end of the month, I might actually understand more of the game by then.

3 comments:

marco said...

I find it amazing how long and drawn out a game it is. They say cricket's boring!! This is a game you need to know the rules well before you can enjoy. And you really only get the sense of team size from watching at the stadium, it's totally different to seeing it on tv. I must say though, I love the atmosphere at the games.

Jane said...

Hayley, this was fun to read. I waon the west coast of the US. I found your blog because I have my Google News set for any news or blogs on this subject adn that's how I find out what is going on. The interesting part is that I was just working on a project for Port Elizabeth and I had your home country on my mind and there you are in my old home. I hope you can go to homecoming. The alumni band plays (minus me) and it is unusual to say the least. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Jane said...

oops part of my message disappered. I started saying i was in the UM band and now live on the west coast of the US. I found your blog because I have my Google News set for any news or blogs on this subject adn that's how I find out what is going on. The interesting part is that I was just working on a project for Port Elizabeth and I had your home country on my mind and there you are in my old home. I hope you can go to homecoming. The alumni band plays (minus me) and it is unusual to say the least. I would love to hear what you think of it.