Ann Arbor Halloween Homecoming part 2: the Hailgate

The University of Michigan football team has many wonderful traditions. It has the most football wins out of any college ever. It has the highest average attendance of any game in the United States (> 110,000 per game). Now, the Big House has an official capacity of 109,901 (biggest in the nation, 3rd biggest in the world). When I was there, it was a little smaller – “only” 107,501. Every home game since November 8, 1975 has drawn a crowd over 100,000. That is an active streak of more than 200 games. It is insanity on game day – it’s like the population of a small city in the stadium alone.

However, there is one tradition which I do not like. Football games are typically held at noon. Put it this way: until last year the stadium did not even have lights. The other thing, it is freaking cold! Who decided it would be a good idea to start football in the Midwest anyways?! I can see why tailgating caught on so well in the South because of the weather and NOT having noon games. Also Muschamp faces.

Sidenote: the new renovations look awesome. We have skyboxes and two new scoreboards at the endzones. It looks great! Back to the rant now..

WHY ARE WE WAKING UP SO EARLY? I love the fact that 110,000 people pile into Ann Arbor, but why do it by 12 to watch the football game? I mean, think of all the poor people who are too hung over to make it to the stadium by noon. In the latter half of undergrad, we curbed our adventures on Friday nights to ensure that we could be popping open the first can by 7 AM (at the latest!). In the first half of undergrad I guess we just went all-out. No excuses. You’d be surprised what your body can do on 3 hours of sleep.

Anyways, last weekend was no exception. We were out the door at 8 AM (sun just peeking out and ground covered in frost), headed to the tailgate (dubbed “Hailgate”) which was already rocking by the time we got there “late.”

This particular tailgate was organized by an acquaintance of mine. He’s done a good job, we had all the necessities: beer, cornhole, pong table, flip cup table, food, and lots of chairs. He’s even made wristbands. It’s pretty legit.This Hailgate was particularly hilarious because Attack went in costume as Keith Stone.

Another unsettling tradition is the army of bums walking circling tailgates looking for cans. If you don’t remember, you get 10 cents per can/bottle for recycling in Michigan. So needless to say, a lot of beer gets consumed during tailgating and a lot of cans/bottles get tossed aside… and there’s a bum with a trashbag full of cans diving for it like a Hail Mary pass.

So to get me into the game, we made a student ID for me since my M-Card has long since expired. Here’s what it looked like. I blacked out the name of the template so my source doesn’t get in trouble..

I mean, we had to resize it but it was pretty bad. We taped it to the back of an ATM card and put it into the billfold of a wallet. Turns out we didn’t even need it because we got general admission tickets anyways. Here’s us after the game.

Looking at it now, that’s actually a decent portion of a special group of friends I had in Ann Arbor we called FNDC (Friday Night Drinking Club). We had shirts and everything, so you know we were the real deal. Maybe I’ll write about the annual FNDC Christmas party later. Remind me to do it, it’s worth it.


Related Links
Ann Arbor Halloween Homecoming part 1: the Burrito


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