When I was a freshman, the Michigan football team took its traditional trip to the Rose Bowl to take on a powerhouse Southern Cal team. I didn’t go.
Three years and only one bowl trip later, my collegiate career doesn’t seem fulfilled without a senior year pilgrimage to some warm-weather climate to see the Wolverines play football one last time.
I’m sure that many of you — seniors or not — also feel slighted by another holiday season spent watching Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State enjoying theme parks, gift baskets and nationally televised games while the Wolverines take a very extended break from the playing field.
But have no fear. Just because the football team isn’t going anywhere until next season doesn’t mean you have to mope around Ann Arbor until then.
There are plenty of Michigan sporting events coming up at that you can double as vacations.
Dec. 19 — Michigan men’s basketball at Kansas
Because of the University’s short holiday break, this trip may not be possible for those of you with late final exams, like me.
But if you are lucky enough to have an early exam schedule, this trip is the perfect way to kick off your break. Pack a car with some friends and head down to Lawrence, Kan. to see the Wolverines take on one of the most storied programs in college basketball history.
I know a couple of people who are going to try and scalp tickets for this one, and I’m insanely jealous. I’ve always wanted to see Rock Chalk Jayhawk in person.
Jan. 2 — Copa Coqui Invitational
OK, you may be asking yourself, “Michigan has a women’s swimming team?” Yes, but this trip isn’t really about the sport. Under the guise of Wolverine fandom, you can take a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Adventure tours and castle trips would be totally worth the flight down there — nevermind if you accidentally “forget” to actually go to the Wolverines’ meet.
Regardless, a little sun right before the winter term kicks off sounds pretty good to me.
Feb. 6 — Camp Randall Classic
This is college hockey the way it’s meant to be played — in front of 80,000 screaming fans in the middle of the coldest month of the year. Outdoor hockey games are all the rage right now, and this one looks to be a doozy.
You’ll see Michigan, who played in the first college hockey outdoor game in 2001 in East Lansing, and Wisconsin, one of the WCHA’s best programs. Oh, and the game is in Madison, where the bar scene is crazy and the student union serves pitchers of beer. Plus, you’ll probably get to see the only rendition of the famous “Jump Around” that isn’t at a Badger football game.
A trip to Madison is to a college kid what finding one of Wonka’s golden tickets was to Charlie. If you’ve never been, start looking into Camp Randall Classic tickets immediately.
March 21 — Michigan baseball vs. New York Mets
Fred Wilpon, owner of the Mets and a Michigan alum, has made this exhibition game, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., a yearly tradition. For all you baseball nerds, a trip to spring training is worth it in and of itself. But this game should be something to see, too.
In fact, it could be something of a budding rivalry.
After now-graduated Wolverine Kevin Cislo tried to bunt with the game on the line, New York was apparently not happy.
“If he got that bunt down, I would have drilled the next guy,” Mets closer Billy Wagner said after last year’s game. “Play to win against Villanova.”
Maybe that sauciness could lead to some dugout-clearing action this year? Only time will tell.
March 25-27 — Men’s swimming national championships
Michigan hasn’t won a team national championship since the 2005 softball team pulled off an upset in the Women’s College World Series. This could be your best chance of seeing a title in your four years as a student. Michigan coach Mike Bottom has assembled a helluva team, chock full of Olympic-caliber talent.
The three-day event is in Columbus this year, so a trip won’t be too big a strain on the pocketbook.
April 3-5 — NCAA Final Four, Indianapolis.
Well, I can dream, can’t I? Well, maybe not after that ugly loss to Alabama last night…
—Reid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.