8B The Statement // Wednesday, October 62010
A FOREIGN EXPERIENCE
BY NASTASIA PETEUIL
Editor's Note: Nastasia Peteuil is a
student from France who spent the
summer and the first few weeks of the
semester in Ann Arbor. She is not a
native English speaker.
W henI walk in the streets of
Ann Arbor, I think to myself
what a quiet place it is to
live. The city is actually quite large, yet
the nature is omnipresent. I am always
astonished by the sight of all the baby
squirrels in the city, and the forestry of
Nichols Arboretum surrounds one in
calm and serenity despite its setting in
an American city.
But one day, I went to a Saturday
American football is a real cultural
phenomenon here in the States, espe-
cially at the collegiate level. Each uni-
versity has its team, and just asI'd heard
from American studentsaback in France,
Michigan is particularly obsessed with
its football team. Every Saturday the
pre-game begins before you're out of
bed, then comes the game and then the
post-game for the still able-bodied few.
Every Saturday, game after game.
In my short time in Ann Arbor, I
went to two football games. And what
I found was that Americans love to
play games. The most famous seems
to be beer pong. It's really a game of
skill. You make your opponent drink
by tossing your ping-pong ball into
his or her cup of beer. A special game
for football pre-games is the ice luge
game. This is a special way to drink
fast and freshly. Plenty of other games
exist, some sillier than others. The
wet umbrella, for example: you pour
your beer on the umbrella and a friend
tries to trap the liquid in his mouth.
The dangerous beer thrown in the
air: I never understood the purpose
except thatyou take a cold beer show-
er. The ski: a game of solidarity where
you help your friends to drink as fast
as possible. The crazy reverse wine:
you try once, not twice.
They sure love drinkinggames here
in Ann Arbor.
Another American specialty is
what I will call sidewalk drinker
hunting. This is where the campus
police watch for people drinking on
the sidewalk, lookingto write as many
tickets as possible. This whole open
But I bet most freshman or foreigners
do the same thing I did my first game.
You don't have to know how to go, you
simply follow the others going to the
game like a herd of sheep.
Michigan stadium is the biggest in
the USA. For the first game, the stadi-
um set a new record: 113,090 people!
The colors of the team - maize and
blue - fill the overheated stadium to
capacity. I wondered what the whole
fascination was around these two col-
ors. Everyone in this town seems to
want everything about Michigan and
football to have these colors. I caught
a lot of scorn when I decided to buy
a beautiful plastic fashion bracelet
with the block 'M' - a red 'M'. When
I proudly wore it
ainer law to the first game,
specially if astonished at me:
"What! It isn't
e nch." blue?!" Nope, it
"This whole open co
." can be very costly.
you are clueless and
container law is pretty foreign to m
and it can be very costly if you do
follow it, especially if you are clu
less and French. This whole undera
drinkingthing is pretty funny as we
Half an hour before the game sta:
comes the exodus: thousands of spe
tators flock to Michigan Stadium. D
sive, and I think notvery friendly. The
University band actually supports
this with their instruments. Michigan
students apparently love that.
Indeed, it's also interesting to see
how much everyone loves the band
here at Michigan. Everyone loves
the band and thinks it's cool. Back in
France, musicians are seen as arro-
gant or lost souls. The way the college
band operates is different from any-
thing I've ever seen; they even get to
play during the games and at halftime.
The game is also very special. Of
course, there is the part of Ameri-
can football where you're just wait-
ing around all the time for the game
to start, stop, then start again. When
you're watching the game, it's actually
a bit of a game in and of itself to figure
things out. You have to follow the ball.
At moments you're wondering where
the ball is: Who got the ball? Why
did he run and not throw? What is he
doing with the ball? All of these ques-
tions are racing through your head
looking to be answered.
But the, most magical moment of
all is that split second that feels like
an eternity where the quarterback
heaves the ball way up into the air
and time stands still. The stadium
goes silent and everyone follows the
flight of the ball through the air until
that fateful moment when the catch
is made and an explosion of joy rocks
the entire stadium. Or if he misses the
ball, the entire stadium lets loose a
collective sigh. It must be a tough life
for someone after missing a catch to
hear the disappointed sounds directly
at him from 110,000 people.
ne, inside the Big House, you have to
n't support your team, and your voice
e- becomes a real weapon. Each song
ge occupies a special niche. For example,
ell. the famous fight song, "The Victors,"
rts dates back to 1898 and serves as the
ac- song I'll remember most. The song is
)id known everywhere as the fight song
ot. of Michigan and everybody knows it
by heart and sings it passionately as a
My favorite song is a different one,
though. I'll simply call it "You Suck."
Thelyrics are really easyfor aforeign-
er like me to remember, unlike the
fight song. "You Suck" is more aggres-
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