A sports blog this is not.
Regular readers know that the above might even be understatement, as I have less than zero interest in athletic events. Where it comes to sports, I’m like an alien visiting a strange planet. This has never been more true than since the move to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I find myself living just a block away from the Michigan athletic complex, in an area dominated by students, many of whom would be stereotyped as “jocks.” However, I very much like the fact that even though they have loud parties, they generally mind their own business, don’t care what other people do (nor do they express busybody fears of “pit bulls”), and I can enjoy the relative anonymity of being an older guy who happens to live in the neighborhood.
Just because I’m generally uninterested in organized athletic events does not mean that I’m hostile, though. I’m also ignorant about science fiction, but I’m not hostile to that. Why, were I to be plunked down in the middle of a Science Fiction Fair somewhere, I’d probably be curious enough to at least ask questions, and maybe read some of the most important things. (You know, the stuff that SciFi folks might see as basic “cultural literacy.”)
Additionally, there’s that slogan “When in Rome.” Considering the absolute intensity of what happens when there’s a football game down the street, I don’t think it is any exaggeration to say that living here and not attending a football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor would be a bit like time-traveling back to ancient Rome and not bothering to attend a gladiatorial event. You’d not only be violating the “When in Rome” rule, you’d be missing out on an important aspect of the culture.
I think that’s enough by way of a background explanation of what happened to me yesterday, which was in and of itself a highly unusual event in my life:
I went to a football game.
And not just any football game, but Michigan versus Wisconsin. The Wolverines versus the Badgers! Yes, by a process of inverse anthropomorphism, football apparently turns people into animals — in this case it was a battle of the mustelids versus a weasel like group. Interestingly, both animals are quite vicious in real life, and although combat is unlikely in nature, I think wolverines could defeat badgers. (As happened yesterday with the human variety.)
The human variety of wolverine can be just as wild as the natural variety, especially when seen in its characteristic blue and gold phase:
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Yes, that’s me on the left, wearing a very fraudulent T-shirt. This year’s official T-shirt is bright yellow gold. Too bright for me. So my blue color is out of date, plus I never attended Michigan Law School. And even though I am a lawyer, my only connection with “Michigan Law” is a blog post I wrote criticizing one. But I’ll leave the T-shirt ethics to others; I am in Rome doing as Romans do, and that shirt is the “When in Rome” equivalent of a toga.
When I first entered the stadium, here’s what it looked like:
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Eventually, it was filled to capacity; around 110,000.
The first half of the game went so poorly that I was beginning to wonder whether everyone was a bit deluded about the Wolverines being such a great team. The Badgers scored two touchdowns and a couple of field goals, and were ahead 19-0. But finally, in the third quarter, the Wolverines showed their stuff. During halftime, I had heard someone talking about how they had “worn out” the Badgers and allowed them to get ahead, but they’d definitely come back and finish them off, but I thought this was wishful thinking. To my astonishment, the Wolverines did just that, and pulled off a wildly impressive upset victory. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd go as wild.
A couple of action pictures I took:
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In the stands, a couple of very blue Wolverine fans:
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And in the air, the Goodyear Blimp was replaced by the DIRECTV Blimp!
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The final score was 27-25.
Here’s a video of the final “Hail to the Victors” as the team leaves the field in triumph.

To show what a total ignoramus I am, I was already familiar with the tune, but because I’d heard it played repeatedly at Republican events and conventions I had assumed that it was a traditional celebratory tune intended for political rallies. Once I learned that it is the official Michigan victory song, I put two and two together, and realized that it had been seared into my memory as a “political” tune only because I had heard it played for years to honor President Jerry Ford, who was a noted football star here in the 1930s. (Fool that I am, I had unwittingly put a political spin on something that wasn’t political.)
I can’t believe that I had so much fun doing something I’m not supposed to like.