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?
Sherry Labadie grew up in Detroit and now calls Sterling Heights, Mich., home. Her first memory of watching a football game was the 1989 Rose Bowl, a 22-14 victory for Bo Schembechler’s club against Southern California. The game and the pageantry surrounding it captivated Sherry, and it made her want to pass down that love to her daughter, Allana. Here is their story.
By Sherry Labadie
I fell in love with Michigan when I was 14. I watched the 1989 Rose Bowl parade and the game, which was the first football game I ever watched. I loved the passion Bo had and remember his reactions.
I introduced my daughter, Allana, to Michigan at a very young age, and she never turned back. We share so many Michigan memories together. One of our favorites is getting autographs.
She has met so many players and coaches. Her passion started with Denard Robinson. He was her first autograph and is one of her all-time favorite players. Allana now has about 300 autographs. She can tell you when and where she got every single one. One of her favorites was having Jim Harbaugh sign a book she won because of her community service.
I help her make signs for different events for the players. I take her to camps. We stand at the tunnel every game to cheer the players on. Our experiences have been so amazing and always bring us back to Bo, whether it is visiting the statue or his gravesite. We have met some a-maize-n people being Michigan fans. We have built friendships that will last a lifetime.
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