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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays: #18 The guy sitting next to you

Continuing our countdown of the 25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays (that was supposed to coincide with and end the day before the first game of the season but is going to miss that by a country mile) we arrive at...

#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
Such is the bonding that goes on at The Big House on Michigan football Saturdays. 

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  This is usually an older alum, parked on a seat cushion, who has some outdated and overly-large radio adding 20 or so pounds to his head.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.

Double damn.

Maybe next time.


Misopogon said...

Here are the people in my neighborhood:

Guy in a clown costume guy - There are like 17 of them, and they seem to congregate the closer you get to the corners. What's weird about the Michigan clowns is they are not at all clowny; whatever levity they possessed to put on clown costume, it's gone by the first Lewan false start.

Has a Rivals/Scout subscription guy - He is the expert on everything going on with the game, and you know this because he doesn't shut up at all, and it's always about the player when he was in high school.

I read MGoBlog guy - Similar to Scout guy but never uses the term "stud" and actually will shut up and watch the game if you compliment him on his t-shirt

Unacceptable Lady - This is unacceptable. False starts are unacceptable. Bad defense: unacceptable. Not teaching Denard how to throw an accurate bomb... you get the gist.

Adorable Moppet - the kid who's bouncing around and keeps making up smart things to say to his dad who just nods at him. Pro Tip: if the game is getting interesting, give this kid a dollar to go stand near Brian Cook and look adorable. We will thank you in the comments of the ensuing DFW-inspired Monday game reaction.

Yost said...

Love it, Misopogon!

Mikoyan said...

You forgot to mention:
Drank Too Much Before the Game Guy - Sitting in the middle of the row and staggers his way to his seat. About halfway into the first quarter, he pukes and has to go home.

Annoying Guy in Spartan Hat - He's sitting about three rows in front of you and his hat is so tall that it gets in the way of your beautiful shot of Denard.....

GoBlueBob said...

Misopogon... What is Honest Ben's lemonabe?

GoBlueBob said...

Recent graduate guy - still trys to do the key play crap (until my son's and I educate him to keep his keys in his pocket)

Sorry Yost. I hate to bring this topic up again.

phil said...

It could be worse. You could be sitting next to "phil" the entire game and hear me ramble on about how strange it is that Notre Dame has a "running back, halfback, fullback, AND a hunchback."

Yost said...

Preach, Bob. Preach! Only way to stop that crap.

Even worse: Phil does that when Michigan's NOT playing ND.

616goblue said...

What about "my son is an undergrad" guy who scoops you on various things like the truth about Manningham's one game suspension (smoking dope) before it became public. Let's not forget "my son is an undergrad's wife" who scolds you for saying the "f-word," that would be fumble, as in "do not fumble the handoff/pitch/punt/kickoff," which was prevalent in the Rich Rod era. She insists that you use the term "both hands" instead. She doesn't mind the occasional f-bomb, which is nice.

The "we live in Ann Arbor and have had season tickets since we graduated Michigan in 1974" couple. On noon starts you will see the husband on his morning jog around 7th street and Madison as you roll into town at 9am. His wife only stays thru the halftime show "to watch the band live" and then walks home. This is added value when the Big House is a full house for rivalry games--unless their son goes instead.

What about the bugle horn guy? One toot of the bugle for each point Michigan scores. Often a 10 yr old boy will take his place when the game is a glorified scrimmage.

Let's not forget the caped crusader guy in the batman outfit near the southwest corner that leads the spelling of M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N, MICHIGAN! after every score.

Such is the gameday experience in Section 16.

Ramona said...

crazy college coed turned middle aged mom, attending game with ex husband and son. The men beg me not to embarass them but it's my ex who almost gets in a fistfight with drunk MSU students. I drag him away reminding him we are entering the heart-attack years, but after the game, the guys have to stop me from hurling epithets at annoying MSU fans in our stadium.

Misopogon said...

@Bob You'll have to ask Vince Neilstein of Metalsucks.net about that one. All I can say is it involved a tasty beverage, a tall hat, a neard, and E. Williams street.