Picture this: It’s over 80 degrees, it’s sweltering and the scoreboard reads 52-0, Michigan. Realistically, the game’s outcome has been decided for over two hours. Nearly the entire student section is cleared out — except for a select few.
This is their story.
Pundits of college football have criticized the Wolverines for their weak non-conference schedule, but those still standing in the student section during the fourth quarter didn’t care what opponent was taking the field.
“Genuinely, I enjoy football,” Business freshman Grant Freeze told The Daily. “So no matter what the score is, especially in the Big House, I enjoy being in the stadium.
“And you never know, the game is not over so something crazy could happen.”
Something crazy did happen. The Wolverines scored another touchdown to balloon their lead to 59 points. Still, though, some students felt that watching Michigan’s fourth stringers conduct a glorified practice was a better use of time than any alternative.
“For me, I can’t think of a better place to be than at this game right now,” LSA freshman Christopher Putnam said. “I’d be sitting in my dorm doing homework — this is just more fun even if they’re crushing UConn.”
At the start of the game, the student section filled to the brim, many eager for an encore from sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy following last week’s thrilling performance; they also wanted to make sure that the Wolverines didn’t suffer a shocking upset. But once it became apparent that Michigan would not fall to the same fate as Notre Dame or Texas A&M did last week, the fans started to head out.
Eventually, the trickle of students filtering towards the exits turned into a stream, most succumbing to the appeal of a midday nap. But those who couldn’t wait any longer to hit the showers missed out on the camaraderie taking place inside the bowels of the stadium, such as singing Mr. Brightside and dancing to the Blues Brothers.
“I’ve always been a huge football fan,” LSA junior Andrew Boehmer said. “I always believed that the game never really ends. Everybody wants to leave around halftime, but there’s so much more fun stuff to do as part of the student section … And then at this point in the fourth quarter, just being with friends and then supporting the football team is all really important.”
But everything comes at a cost.
After three hours in the hot sun, an obviously sunburnt Boehmer couldn’t help but wonder if he’d made the right call.
“I mean, yeah, when it’s super hot and I’m super tired I want to leave sometimes,” Boehmer said. “But I honestly have more fun in the long run just staying for the whole game.”
Many students wrestled with the decision of whether to stay or leave, but by the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the three hours spent at the game were already a sunk cost.
Some, though, like LSA sophomore Jason Selvin, felt the time commitment was a worthy investment.
“I don’t like leaving football games early,” Selvin said. “I want to get the value out of my ticket.”
As Selvin stood watching the product on the field deteriorate, some students behind him wanted to weigh in as well, but with a far different perspective.
“We just got here, actually,” an anonymous LSA freshman said.
That curveball came from a number of mitigating circumstances, with the student citing a late wake up time and laziness. Even still, they made an appearance, and they were even there to watch the contest conclude.
And with a game like this, that’s a statement that only a smidgen of students can make.