To the Daily:
I am a little concerned about the future of non-marching band music being played at the Big House. Reading Matt Darby’s thoughts (Michigan Stadium needs to play right music for fans, 09/15/2009) and Andy Reid’s column (My pipe(d) dream: a better Michigan Stadium mixtape, 09/14/2009) got me thinking about what’s important to students and fans at a game.
When I think of getting pumped up at the stadium, my thoughts immediately jump to the Michigan Marching Band. Whether it’s the Victors, Temptation and the Hawaiian War Chant (because you can’t have one without the other) or Ironman — the band is where it’s at. But we can’t count on the band to play straight through the game. They need breaks.
This is where the student section comes in. 20,000+ students screaming “Go Blue,” cheering on Michigan players and coaches, is what should be filling the silence. This is what I come to games for: camaraderie with the entire student body — Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn and alumni.
But what happens when the band isn’t playing and the students aren’t cheering? Cowbells — the unification of a section under one person and his or her clanging cowbell. But what is a cowbeller supposed to do when all of a sudden, after seizing the opportunity to play the familiar beat, the PA starts blaring “Welcome to the Jungle”?
We cowbellers try to be respectful — waiting for the band to finish, for the National Anthem to be completed and for the announcer to stop talking before busting out the bell. Though a full minute of “Lose Yourself” excites the crowd, it cuts off our bells. Should we stop the cowbelling to accommodate? Or do we keep going and hope the public address system doesn’t play for more than ten seconds, as happened multiple times last Saturday?
Maybe I am being selfish. Maybe I am just caught up in a Michigan tradition. Maybe I am averse to change. Maybe I just love to beat my bell. But maybe you too find that cowbelling is not something that should get lost in recorded music.
Scores of students bring their iron to the game and rock out beats for their section to get excited about. The stadium is now much louder and I don’t think we need all of this piped-in music to pump us up. We have the band, we have our cowbells and we have each other. Go Blue!