Two Domers crash the Big House, leave for the 'Shoe
Posted: Monday September 12, 2005 1:46PM; Updated: Tuesday September 13, 2005 4:44PM
UM made its grand entrance at the Big House Saturday -- and exited in disappointment.
John Walters chronicled his adventure from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday for an epic college football doubleheader. This is the second of three parts; follow these links to read the first and third installments.
Ann Arbor. Friday evening. The students prowl University Drive as Dave and I find an outdoor table at Good Time Charley's. We hit this inveterate UM haunt at the suggestion of Cold Pizza co-host (and Michigan alum) Dana Jacobson, who told us she'd be there with a few friends. We find Dana, who is surrounded by about as many guys as Chad Henne will be in the huddle tomorrow afternoon. She is gracious enough to come over and join us for a few moments, until a synapse in her brain registers, "Stop! You're talking to a blogger."
I suggest a friendly wager on tomorrow's game. Dana agrees. "Wanna put $100,000 on it?" I ask. "How about 10?" she says. Deal.
Realizing that we are old enough (Dave's 40th birthday was Sunday) to be the "really older brothers" of most of the students we encounter, Dave and I head over to our hotel. "I'm sorry," the desk clerk at the University Inn tells us. "We do not have your reservation. But we can put you in the Jacuzzi room for the same price."
The jacuzzi room. Hmm. Two single guys in their late 30s checking into the jacuzzi room, which indeed does have a jacuzzi and one king-sized bed. Visions of Planes, Trains and Automobiles assault my memory ("Those aren't pillows!"). Poor Dave. The last person he will sleep in the same bed with before getting married is me. Poor me. Dave says that he has a headache (it's a joke, people! Chill).
Sparkling sunshine greets us on Saturday morning. We're on the road by 9 a.m. and in less than 10 minutes we've found a free parking spot (score!) within a mile of Michigan Stadium. As we walk along a railway pass, the Michigan and Old Dominion field hockey teams are going through their warmups on a field below us. The song blaring from the speakers is Jefferson Starship's We Built This City.
"How old is that song?" I ask Dave.
"I dunno. Twenty years," he says.
"They were playing that song when we were in school," I say. "It was awful then. It's still awful. What pernicious faction of society is perpetrating this evil?"
"Dubs," says Dave, "from now on in the morning, grande -- not venti. O.K.?"
In search of better tunes, we happen upon a tailgater blaring Van Halen's Unchained. Luke Mortiere (Michigan '87), clad in a "RUDY SUCKED" t-shirt, chats with us for a few moments. We like Luke -- the burgers on his grill must weigh at least a pound each -- but he fails to pick up on the hint that we are hungry and, more importantly, thirsty.
So we head over to Joe Schwarz's tailgate. We know it's Joe Schwarz's tailgate because there are signs sticking out of the grass nearby that say "JOE SCHWARZ." It turns out that Schwarz is no ordinary Joe. He's a United States congressman (R-7th district). He's also an otolaryngologist. That means he's an ear, nose and throat guy. If that isn't enough, he's also the president of the Michigan Alumni Association and a former center on the football team.
"Don't get me wrong," Dr. Congressman Schwarz tells us. "I was on the football team. I didn't play much."
We still like Joe. Besides, one of his staffers says the magic words. "Can I get you guys a beer?" Just one, we decide. It's going to be a long day.
Finally, we make our way to our seats (section 15, row 15) in the lower southwest corner of the Big House. Michigan Stadium looks a lot like Notre Dame Stadium, except that it's a little larger and it has a JumboTron behind each end zone. "You know what would make the JumboTron great?" Dave says. "If it was TiVo'd ... and if I had the remote."