Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Since being overseas, I have been quite disappointed with the lack of Michigan paraphernalia I’ve seen. If the lines that the school and the alumni association feed us are true—“Michigan has the largest body of living alumni in the world,” “The Michigan logo/colors/name are the most printed logo/colors/name of any sports team, college or pro,” etc.—then you would think I’d see be seeing Wolverines everywhere I go. Even in rural Kenya I saw a good amount of Michigan apparel, but I hear that’s more because thrift shop cast-offs get sent to Africa than because rural Kenyans are Michigan fans (I also saw a fair amount of Kenyans wearing fraternity and sorority apparel, and I think we can assume that 99% of them were not in the Greek system). Painfully, I have seen more Notre Dame gear than Michigan gear in the last six months.

But this weekend was practically like being home again (not really). On Friday I was at a Ministry of Health party (who knew that Public Health is the party directorate?) and spotted those familiar colors from across the room. My friend who I was talking to was really confused because I interrupted him mid-sentence with “Is that a Michigan shirt?!” and walked away. It was indeed a Michigan shirt, and the woman wearing it was from England, but her parents had both gone to U of M. She told me all about how much she loves wearing the shirt, and how her parents always talked about how great Ann Arbor is. She and her brother finally got to visit a few years ago, and made a point to go stand in the middle of the stadium and soak it all in. Glad to see the pro-Michigan brainwashing works just as effectively on people raised in other countries.

Then on Saturday I was out with my flatmates and ended up talking to some guy who asked where I from. When I told him Michigan, he replied, “No way, I’m moving there in a few months! Do you know Ann Arbor?” Pretty random, no? So I gave him a quick rundown on everything from Arbor Brewing Company to Zingerman’s, and only got mildly homesick in the process.

I’m not exactly sure what the universe was trying to tell me with all of this, but I assume it had something to do with the fact that football season is starting soon. Despite the fact that I usually spend football Saturdays cursing traffic and napping while everyone is at the game, I’m actually getting really excited this year. I’ve already researched a sports bar where I’m told they’ll show the games, and have shown my flatmates pictures of the Big House to prepare them (they were in awe—as they should be—that Michigan Stadium is something like four times bigger than the Westpac Stadium here in Wellington where the rugby is held). I guess being away from the madness actually makes me miss it and has unexpectedly brought out my school spirit.

There’s really no other way to end this post: GO BLUE!


Jaya said...

I think I saw a Michigan shirt in Haiti--again with the thrift shop thing. If you see a Chatham shirt or a Longy shirt, that will be a surprise. (Actually, I was in school at Longy with two Kiwis, so maybe it won't be such a surprise...)
Did you teach your flatmates to sing "Hail to the Victors"?

Eric said...

After my freshman year I flew out to California to visit hallmate of mine from East Quad. We drove from the Bay Area out to Yosemite National Park. We set out from Tuolumne Meadows in the northern part of the park and hiked down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. By midday of our second full day out, miles away from any development, we had yet to see another living soul. As we were walking up a moderate slope, with our heads down, focusing on the trail we heard a very audible "Go Blue" from the path ahead. The guy we met was an alum in his late 20s who was working in LA. We talked to him for about 20 minutes about A2, the campus, the reputation the different dorms had, etc.
Even in the middle of the wilderness, we found another wolverine;-)

teana said...

i love running into fellow wolverines here. i get all excited. i'm such a dork. there's something about seeing a fellow alum who knows and understands what its like to go to that school. its probably why i love going back to campus so much too. the only problem is, whenever i see a maize and blue hat or shirt, i have to check for the block m since cal has the same colors.

oh, i saw snakes on the plane...i liked it. it was actually pretty decent.

a bobcat said...

Teana and others,
Just to be perfectly clear, that blue and gold with an M could be Montana State, too. There are a few MSU (the real one) alums running around out there, though most don't really advertise that fact.