So Saturday morning Kory, Simon and I found ourselves on a road trip to The Big House in Ann Arbor Michigan, home of the Michigan Wolverines.
Kory has been a Michigan football fan for as long as I have known him. It used to baffle and annoy me. As a loyal Illinois fan, Michigan was the enemy. But marriage has a way of changing a person. I went from rooting against Michigan, to being a neutral observer and somewhere in the past year or so the beginnings of Michigan fandom started to take root.
Kory on the other hand is passionate about his Wolverines. So when he was given three tickets to opening day at the Big House, we had to go. We planned to arrive for the game an hour before it started, but crazy traffic in Gary, IN, a torrential downpour on the Michigan border and long lines at Burger King had us running into that legendary stadium just as the ball was kicking off.
I have been to my fair share of stadiums over the years. Baseball, tennis, basketball and football. I think most sports aficionados would agree there is something special about walking out into a stadium for the first time. Leaving the darkness of the stadium's underbelly, through the tunnel, spit out to take in the vista of brilliant colors of field and fans laid out before you.
I remember the first time I went to Wrigley Field, or the first time I took in Soldier Field. Awesome experiences, but none of them came close to walking into the Big House for the first time.
The green of the field surrounded by the masses dressed in Michigan maize and blue. The energy and atmosphere. The heat and camaraderie of over 100,000 passionate fans (and Michigan fans are among the most). It was a moment worthy of any bucket list and while it wasn't officially on mine, it should have been.
It was a great day. The weather settled right at 80 degree with a cool breeze. Michigan couldn't stop scoring and at the end of the game we were able to go down by the field to watch the players head into the locker room.
And then it was time to head home. Over twelve hours of driving for 3 hours of experience. Bucket list items are worth a little crazy. This one was. In fact it is a trip we are hoping to repeat.
Kory's not the only Michigan football fan in our family anymore and we have five other kids we hope someday will get to spend an afternoon at the Big House.