Here’s a quick bartending lesson: What do you get when you mix hundreds of screaming fans, a former Heisman Trophy winner, a 235-member marching band and a bunch of frat guys? The answer: A Michigan pep rally.
The 34th annual Run for the Roses pep rally, organized by Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, was an energized prelude to Michigan’s 38-0 win against Notre Dame on Saturday. The event was held Friday evening on the steps of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library.
Michigan students and fans turned out in masses, stretching across the entire length of the Diag. The large number of people crowding up to the center of the rally had a striking resemblance to the excited Michigan fans that pile up at the gates of Michigan Stadium for every home game.
This year marked the first time that the event was held on the Diag. In previous years, the event has been held at the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house on State Street, but due to the large crowds that flooded the streets and stopped traffic last year, a complaint from the city of Ann Arbor forced the fraternity to change the location of the pep rally.
One of the surprise events of this year’s rally was a cameo appearance by former Michigan wideout and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, who was doing an on-site shoot for the Fox television show “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.” Howard was mobbed by fans seeking his autograph.
The highlight of the event, at least for most fans, was a quartet of speeches given by Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and the tri-captains of the football team.
“You sound like you might be ready for a football game,” Carr said as the crowd exploded with excitement. “I want you to understand tomorrow afternoon at Michigan Stadium, when our football team is on the field – you need to be the most passionate, enthusiastic (group of fans possible).”
Carr was clearly in a light-hearted mood. At one point when quarterback John Navarre was addressing the crowd, fans started chanting something to the tune of “John for Heisman.” Carr quickly told the crowd to “shut up,” drawing laughs.
Other noteworthy happenings included performances by the Michigan marching band, cheerleading and dance teams and a speech by the original “Superfan,” Jeff Holzhausen, who has been around Ann Arbor since 1992.
“It’s a great crowd,” Holzhausen said. “With all the organizations and groups on this campus, athletics is the one thing that brings us together.”