As I stood in the endzone after the Ohio State football game this year, the last game I will ever attend as a student at the University, I took a moment to reflect on how lucky I am to call the Big House my college football home. Earlier this year on a tour of the stadium, I was nearly in tears as I sat on the block ‘M’ at the 50-yard line, overwhelmed by the history and tradition of the stadium. For three years I took the Big House for granted — laughing at my friends from the University of Illinois who wouldn’t miss their chance to come to the Big House, even though they don’t watch their own team play games in their own stadium. But this year I realized just how lucky we truly are — the Big House is one of a kind.
A huge part of my realization came from traveling to away games. Last year, my roommate and I road tripped down to Purdue University in West Lafayette. We were amazed by the stadium. At the risk of being disowned by my Boilermaker relatives — the stadium looked more similar to our high school stadium than the Big House. The away locker rooms weren’t even attached to the stadium, and the players had to walk outside through the crowd to get onto the field. And there were constantly ads playing throughout the game. We were astonished — we thought it was a Big 10 rule that schools couldn’t have advertisements playing at the game. It didn’t take long for us to wish we were at the Big House after watching the 27th Pepsi commercial instead of a critical replay.
This year we went to the Michigan State football game in East Lansing. While it was eye-opening in more ways than one, we were again surprised by the stadium. Spartan Stadium looks like a college stadium, which was more than we could say for Purdue, but we still suffered some culture shock (beyond the sea of green and taunts that assaulted our eyes and ears). To be fair, our scoreboards are now the size of a blue whale, so it’s not really fair to compare them to other stadiums’ scoreboards. But even our old scoreboards could have eaten these scoreboards as an afternoon snack. Once again, comparisons to our high school were running through our heads. It was nearly impossible to watch a replay — something which became very frustrating at that game in particular — and there was only one scoreboard, so if you were sitting on the far side of the stadium like us, good luck trying to read the yardage and down. And Spartan Stadium plays advertisements too.
Michigan Stadium has clearly spoiled me. With history and tradition backing us up, I’ve become really proud to walk to the stadium every Football Saturday. I’m thankful that the Athletic Department doesn’t need to sell advertisements during the game so I can watch replays and awesome sports montages on screens the size of a whale. I’m proud that our stadium is admired country-wide and that fans from other schools are excited to visit. Most of all, I’m happy that I will always be able to call the Big House my home.
Erika Mayer is an LSA senior