I was born and raised in Michigan. I joined the military in 2000 and have been gone since. I have lived in California for the last 10 years. It's safe to say I miss it.
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Rose Bowl game this year. It was an incredible experience for several reasons, and a few that weren't game related.
First and foremost, the game was exciting as hell. It was a great game, and a great matchup of two solid teams in Stanford and Michigan State. But for me, this experience meant more than just a great football game.
For me, it was California Vs. Michigan. Past Vs. Present. Two completely different cultures colliding. It was so refreshing to be around Michiganders again. I had forgotten what it was like. With over 95,000 people in attendance, my foot got stepped on quite a bit. However, every time it happened, someone wearing green and white would apologize to me. At first, I was startled. That's not the kind of thing I'm used to happening in California. After the game, as the procession to the parking lots were in full force, I straight up got pushed in to a young college kid who spilled his beer. He IMMEDIATELY asked me if I was ok and offered me napkins to wipe the beer off my shirt. I was absolutely shocked, I half expected to get shoved and cursed at.
In the refreshment lines, as we waited seemingly hours to get snacks, everyone was talking and being nice and polite. It was so nice to actually hear people call it pop again. WTF is a soda? I walked past the tailgaters, the Fonoti family had a large tent and were well represented. As I was walking, a cop started coming after us for supposedly carrying glass bottles. A gentleman, who had an awesome Detroit Lions Tailgate Bar immediately informed the cop that we were obviously carrying cans.
It was an awesome experience. I felt like I was home again. What made it especially incredible was the fact that I had to look around really hard to see anyone at all wearing red. Pasadena belonged to Michigan that day. Outside in the tailgate areas, Michigan State fans easily outnumbered Stanford fans 100 to 1. Inside the stadium, it was plain to see that white and green dominated 70% of the seats. This was not a home game for Stanford. Stanford had to play against a Spartan team at home in Pasadena, Michigan.
Way to represent Michigan. I only drove for 2 hours, but I went to Michigan on New Year's Day. It felt good to be home and I can't wait to come home again and come to Ford Field to watch my beloved Lions.