The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 26, 1997
Deano Cook, an Ypsilanti resident, simmers chill on a grill before the game against Baylor last weekend. Cook, who has been
attending Michigan football games for the past 17 years, usually prepares breakfasts before the games and cooks a large
dinner immediately after the contests finish.
Safety officials wath fo
Drop the tailgate, pour the drinks and
fire up the grill.
It's time for Football Saturday.
For seven Saturdays this fall, the golf
courses will be covered with cars and the
stands will overflow with fans - stu-
dents, alumni and those who just plain
admire the maize and blue.
"Football at Michigan is not just a
game that kicks off at 12:30 and ends at
3:30," said Senior Associate Athletic
Director Keith Molin. "It's a Saturday in
Ann Arbor, or a weekend. There are
reunions and memories."
Molin said tailgating is part of the
ambiance of football Saturdays.
"We've been playing football since
1879. That's 118 years that traditions
have been established," he said. "Each
year adds to the lure of Michigan foot-
ball. It is intricately linked to the
Tailgating memories run the gamut:
from wedding proposals to naked
shenanigans to alumni reunions.
Helen Peters, assistant executive
director of the Alumni Association, said
"the Alumni Association acts as a tickets
broker for a ton of reunion groups."
"Today, nearly everybody does
reunions by colleges and groups,"
There are fraternity, sorority, school,
college, classes and club reunions -
even some dorm groups, Peters said
"There's anywhere between 10 and 50
groups back in Ann Arbor every Saturday
for reunions," she said. "We've had
reunions as long as we've had a football
team. The 11 graduates of the first class
agreed to all come back for graduation."
Peters said the draw for reunions held
on Football Saturday is in part due to
"Fall is a nostalgic time. No matter
where you were on campus - if you
were studying or at the game - football
games where often a unifying activity for
being in sche," Peters said.
Although the Alumni Association has
no official stance on tailgating, they are
"in favor of any time alumnus get togeth-
er," Peters said.
Many alumni have been returning to
Ann Arbor for more years than first-year
students have been alive.
Richard Booth, alum '55, has held sea-
son tickets for 27 years and said "it's the
only way to spend a Saturday."
Along with his wife, son and other
family members, Booth arrives three
hours before the game and often stays as
long as an hour and a half after it ends.
"Tailgating is nothing but fun," said
Booth's son Jim. "The game is only the
icing on the cake."
With 27 years of game days under his
belt, Booth has his own collection
of tailgating stories.
"One time, when I was
not in a condition to drive,
we were going home the
back way. I asked my wife
to pull over, because I had
to go the bathroom," Booth*
said. "I got out of the car and
disappeared down a six-foot ditch. She
thought it was funny. At the time, I did-
n't think so."
Steve Meads, like many fans, is not an
alum, but attends the games because of a
"My dad was a captain in 1955,"
Meads said. "I've been attending games
since I was this high," Meads said, low-
ering a hand to knee level.
Meads said his grandfather started the
family tailgating tradition, which has
continued ever since.
"My grandfather used to have a little
barbecue ... he would open the outing
setting up his tables," Meads said. "He
would stand over the barbecue cooking
for everyone and their friends - proba-
bly 50 plus burgers a day."
Not all alumni family are as excited by
"I have to listen to old broadcasts of U
While the maize and blue fans celebrate before, during
and after the game, someone has to keep an eye on them.
The Department of Public Safety and Ann Arbor police
officers keep the peace in and out of the stadium.
DPS doesn't see many problems with tailgating cele-
brations outside the stadium, said DPS spokesperson
"There is a special ordinance that allows for alcohol in
parking lots near the stadium," Hall said. "The permits
are given to people with parking lots, not the tailgaters."
,,arking permits are handled through the Athletic
igpartment, Hall said.
"We step in when public safety is at stake," Hall said.
"Football Saturdays are fun events in the life of a
University - we support that."
.,While all activities inside the stadium are controlled by
DP&officials, Ann Arbor Police Department officers keep
*. ye on.traffic and crowd control outside.
;XAPD Sgt. Larry Jerue said there is no particular site
t *1Yotball Saturday that AAPD officers target. Officers
ae split up into different areas during game day.
,'There is a group that targets specifically scalping, sell-
ir'of tickets," Jerue said. "The parking lot patrol officers
are husy during the game keeping an eye on the vehicles."
AAPD officers also keep an eye on fans who may have
hard to much too drink and may potentially start fights.
The officers are paying attention to the climate or
')od of the crowd," Jerue said. Officers look for fans
pet by a team's loss or elated fans who egg on the losers,.
For many years, AAPD officers have been escorting the
home and away teams from their busses into the stadium.
-<'We make sure there is no vandalism done to the buses
over zealous fans," Jerue said. "It's an escort much like
ubat is done for any dignitary. It also has to do with pomp
At the end of the game, AAPD officers' main concerns
$re crowd control and traffic control.
"The traffic point officers are looking for vehicles oper-
tted ,by people who have had too much to drink," Jerue
said. "There's not one particular type of incident that's
gcing to occur."
Dver'the years, game day has seen its share of hooli-
n"In years gone by, we've had a guy streak the stadium.
.din Ohio State fan urinated on the field and was arrested,"
Jerue said. "Occasionally there is an intoxicated subject
who wants to do something for memories sake."
Hall said one of the biggest problems during the game
is fans being "ejected for throwing projectiles."
During the Baylor game last Saturday, 19 of 44 ejec-
tions from the game were the cause of projectiles.
"People will load marshmallows with batteries and
coins," Hall said. "If there's anything we can do to raise
awareness of the dangers involved, it helps. A little boy
had his face cut last year."
Hall said she is concerned with the lack of seriousness
fans give this issue.
"People don't realize there is more than a fluffy marsh-
mallow being thrown," Hall said.
Not all marshmallow throwers are out to hurt someone.
LSA senior James Winschel said most people who
throw marshmallows are doing it for entertainment.
"I learned about (throwing marshmallows) when I got
here as a freshman," Winschel said. "I've brought a bag
to games. It's something to do in between plays. It keeps
Winschel said he has never heard of people loading
marshmallows with batteries, however.
"I've heard of pennying marshmallows ... I think peo-
ple who do that are (wrong)," he said. "As long as people
aren't loading them with something hard or solid, there's
nothing wrong with it."
Winshcel was once accused of throwing marshmallows.
"I almost got thrown out once, but I ducked through the
crowd," he said.
Complaints about projectiles are on the rise from previ-
ous years, Hall said.
"There are complaints from down on the field. The staff
on the field complains," she said. "A camera man was hit
with a nine volt battery last year."
There is a fine of up to $50 for throwing objects in the
stadium, but if anyone is injured, "you could be charged
with assault," Hall said.
Hall said DPS officials locate the alleged marshmallow-
launching students by interviewing people in the area of
the complaint. DPS officials also keep a camera in the
press box that helps them keep an eye of spectators.
"We're able to monitor what's going on," Hall said.
"We can point out to people that we have their actions on
tape. People tend to leave more peaceably if they know
they are on film."
Hall said DPS officials do not use the camera to inflict
feelings of 'Big Brother.'
the game against Baylor last Saturday.
of M sportscasters the whole way here,"
complained Julie Tyrna, whose husband
is an alum. "On a good morning, we get
here at 7 or 8. We bull, cook, walk
around and see other people's set-ups."
Tyrna said a big problem with tailgat-
ing is the lack of rest rooms.
"The porta-johns (on the golf course)
have a long line and people use the
groups of trees instead. We call it using
the 'natural rest room."'
Greg Green, an '87 alum enjoys the
chance to return to Ann Arbor.
"I get to relax and enjoy myself and.
realize I'm getting old," said Green, who
feels game day is a way to stay connect-
ed with the University.
Green said he arrives early "so we can
get the same spot every time. People can
find us. We have breakfast, talk and
Green, like many spectators, does not
see a large problem with alcohol con-
sumption. "People don't drink excessively
in the morning," Green said. "They have
to stop drinking during the game, too."
Green remembered his own porta-
john story from the late '80s, when a
man who was harassing two female
spectators returned the favor on a trip
to the restroom.
"He went into the porta-john and they
started knocking it back and forth and
tipped it over," Green said.
For many dedicated tailgaters, like
Business senior William Fundaro, noth-
ing but rising with the sun will do.
"Football Saturday means skipping
breakfast and going right to dogs and
beers," said Fundaro, who arrives at the
stadium several hours before game time.
Fundaro remembered a tailgate when
man and tree became one.
"My friend was running on
the golf course and we
decided to tape him to a
tree," he said. "My friends
taped him to the tree with
duct tape and a sign saying
'slap my belly' - everyone
slapped his stomach, like a
Buddha for luck."
Fundaro's Buddha is only one of many
golf course tailgating shenanigans that
have taken place: '89 alum Amy King has
been attending pre-game celebrations
with friends since she was a student.
"I got really drunk before the game
and I stripped down to my underwear,"
King said. "I ran across the golf course
shouting 'Go Blue."'
Although many tailgaters have spent a
few hours in after-game celebration, '89
alumnus David Dameron and friends
took the cake by spending the night on
the football field. "After a game ... at 3
a.m. we went down to the stadium," he
said. "This is when the field was still
Astroturf. ... We passed out on the 'M.'
"Stadium workers woke us up at first
light and said, 'You have to go: They
weren't mad, so long as we cleaned up,"
Sometimes, true love is even found
amidst cheers and bratwursts. While the
occasional marriage proposal flies
behind a plane inside the stadium, some
take place while tailgating.
"I knew I found a keeper in my wife
when she passed out under a tree during
the '94 Michigan vs. Colorado game,"
said Dental third-year student James
Peters. "I proposed when she came to."
Besides helping Peters find a wife
he said football Saturday is a big stre4
reliever. "Football Saturday is si
weeks of the year that takes six years
off of life," said Peters who arrives as
early as 7:30 a.m. to "sing the glory of
Dental third-year student Mike
"Smiley" Carlson is a member of Peters
tailgating assembly, and radiates the spir-
its of Football Saturday.
"Football Saturday is all about cele-
brating before the game and gettix
loaded," Carlson said. "I only get sm
Saturdays a year, and I live it up."
Carlson noted his group had been dis-
cussing plans since June. He said he
doesn't see alcohol consuiption as a
danger to stadium goers.
"We're here to celebrate for maize and
blue. We're not getting in our cars and
driving," Carlson said. "Everyone walks
to the game, and there is no harm done."
Carlson did warn against the dango
of kegs, however. One unfortunat
passerby paid a heavy price when
attempting to do "a keg stand."
"He knocked out his two front teeth,"
Carlson said. "Luckily, he was in the care
of Dental students. We put the teeth in
milk and sent him to the hospital."
Carlson's efforts resulted in a happy
ending: "The teeth are still in," he said.
Ann Arbor becomes a gathering place
for friends stretched across the country.
Frank Martilotti and Dreis Landu4
'88 alumni, and '86 alumnus Louie
Theros have managed to return to Ann
Arbor for game days for many years.
Theros said alcohol awareness is much
higher than when the three friends were
"We used to be able to go out at half-
time and get beer to bring back into the
stadium with us," said Theros, who has
been attending games for more than
Martilotti added they have acquired
wisdom with age. "We don't drink and
drive. That's why we stay three hours
after the game," he said.
Football Saturday has become a con-
necting hub for the three friends and their
tailgate group. "We've all been high
school friends or fraternity brothers since
1980," Theros said. "People bring their
kids here, and we have friends who bike
from Birmingham to Ann Arbor for t*
first game of every year."
When it came time to decide between
a wedding date and a game day, the
choice was clear for Theros - the game
"I planned my wedding around a
Michigan football game," Theros said.
He moved his wedding back a week after
noticing a conflict of interests.