No college football team draws more fans to its home games than the University of Michigan. The university has led the nation in home attendance every season except one since 2003, backing up Michigan Stadium’s moniker — the Big House.
There hasn’t been an official home crowd of less than 100,000 at the Big House since 1975, and last season the Wolverines averaged more than 110,000 fans, even though official capacity is 107,601. What draws all those fans to Ann Arbor for games and causes them to bleed maize and blue?
Last week, we introduced you to Dale Little, the maize-and-blue rebel son of Cornhuskers living in Illini country. Dale has fought the good fight all his life, and this summer, fortune smiled upon him in the form of University of Michigan police officer Pete Pressly. Officer Pressly and Dale met by happenstance at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Dale is also a big Cardinals fan (being a Cincinnati native and Reds fan, I’ll forgive him), while Pressly was there with two of his sons, one who lives in the St. Louis area and the other who is a big Cardinals fan and Michigan student.
One thing led to another, and the story of how Dale had never been to a game in Ann Arbor was revealed.
“He had a boisterous friend who was making noise and told me part of Dale’s story,” Pressly said. “Dale seemed like a nice guy and a decent fan.”
It just so happened that Pressly’s son has student season tickets. He wasn’t going to be able to go the game against Air Force on Sept. 16.
There is a procedure for this sort of scenario. Pressly or his son couldn’t simply give Dale the tickets. This was not a gesture on the part of the university or its police department, but proper channels were followed and Dale was able to get tickets to the game. He and friend Aaron Young made the trek from southern Illinois and … well, we’ll let Dale tell the rest.
By Dale Little
My trip to Ann Arbor was everything I could have asked for, and more.
All of the sights, sounds and smells of game day at the Big House were nothing less than amazing. I can safely say that this will not be my last trip to Ann Arbor. The feeling that was felt when we walked through the gates and saw the field for the first time was indescribable.
My buddy and I were lucky enough to meet coach Harbaugh’s dad Jack before the game as well, which made the trip even more memorable. Thank you to the people of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, and the U of M Police Department for making this dream come true for a biggest maize and blue fan stuck in Fighting Illini country! HAIL TO THE VICTORS!!