#18: The Guy Sitting Next to You
Before the game, he is a stranger you might exchange perfunctory head nods with if you happen to catch glances as you find your seat. But by the end of the 4th quarter of a close, thrilling Meeechigan victory over a big rival, the guy sitting next to you just might end up being one of the groomsmen at your wedding (but not at The Big House).
|I don't know these people...|
and yet I love them
The instant camaraderie of 110,000 Wolverine fans on gameday is electric. Sure, the same guy on the side of the road with a flat tire during a snow storm may only warrant a sympathetic shake of the head as your cruise past at 75 m.p.h. But sit that same dude next to you for a game like Michigan's triple OT win over MSU a couple years ago and you'll have high-fived him so many times both your hands will lack several layers of skin.
During Michigan football games, you will also find yourself bonding with folks you'd normally find as embarrassing to be around as your dad that time he wore his dark socks and sandals to the beach.
For example, I enjoy sitting next to Headphone Guy at The Big House. This is usually an older alum, parked on a seat cushion, who has some outdated and overly-large radio adding 20 or so pounds to his head. With a silver, extendable antennae reaching toward the heavens and ginormous padded earphones that cover roughly 40% of his exposed skin, the guy looks like he should be hunched over in the radio room of a trans-Atlantic ocean liner circa 1934.
But on gameday in The Big House, this guy is invaluable. He's the one who updates you all afternoon on Denard's increasingly jaw-dropping stats (eliciting more skin-removing high-fives with Excited Guy behind you). And when Shoelace got hurt, he's the one everyone in your section turned to. Waiting for him to share the news of how bad it was. He'd put one hand on the E.T.-phone-home looking thing on his head and another in the air to quiet everyone so he could hear better. Instantly, your entire section fell silent. And if he shook his head and said, "It's not good..." high-fives would be replaced by simultaneous head-drops.
|When not updating my section at The Big House|
on Saturdays, I listen in on radio chatter coming
from the international space station as it orbits earth
There's also Fire Up Guy, the self-appointed dude who is the first to stand up and try to get the crowd cheering before a big third-and-short play. Raising his arms like a symphony conductor minus his wand, before suddenly turning around to see if you're being naughty or noisy in your team's time of need.
Some people don't like Fire Up Guy. Me? He great if he's sober. Drunk Fire Up Guy can be annoying. But Proper Fire Up Guy can get a whole section rocking in no time. It's a fine line.
Yes, the above are but a small sampling of The Guy Sitting Next to You. But each is just as much a part of Meeechigan Football Saturdays as tailgates and marching bands. That's why he (and she) are #18 on our slooooowly unspooling list.
|No, I've never sat next to them either, |
even when I was a student.
They're like Big House unicorns
ED. NOTE: You know, just as I finished writing up this post way past my bedtime, I had another (I think even funnier) idea for a post using the above concept - simply listing all the "guys" one will meet/sit next to at The Big House this Saturday (Start the Wave Guy, Leave Early Guy, Down in Front Guy, Always Leaving the Section During the Game Girl, etc.). Damn.
Maybe next time.