Follow Us

  

World Entries
User Latitudes

50 Latitudes (USA) Feature

The 50 Latitudes Feature will showcase Latitudes from a resident of each US state in their own words to illustrate that despite age, sex, location, or occupation, every living being on the planet has a favorite Latitude.  A person's favorite Latitude is not restricted to their home state.

Entries in Ohio (1)

Wednesday
Jun292011

Ohio

Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the United States. It is the pantheon of College Football and home to the all time winningest College Football program in the country. Keith Jackson once said if you really want to know about the history of Michigan Stadium, aka "The Big House" - the name he coined during a live telecast - you go there late at night when there is nobody in the stadium... and listen.

Each season, the last Friday of training camp, (aka two-a-days / Groundhog's day) after the second grueling practice in the unforgivable humidity, a soak in the ice bath, shower, buffet dinner and 2 hours of additional film analysis, a full team meeting was held to bring the team together to officially "break" training camp.

Coach Carr would share the story of Keith Jackson describing The Big House.  He wanted to make sure every player - especially the freshmen - in the program understood the history, memorable games and teams that played in "that hole" and how important it was to defend that great stadium.

We started our walk from the practice fields at Schembechler Hall to The Big House at dusk - a trek that takes about 5 -7 minutes. Every man was dressed in some sort of team issued gear: shorts, t shirt, shoes or sandals. Now that the sun was down, the humidity loosened its grip and some guys wore team issued sweatpants and sweatshirts. Small talk ensues as we make our trek, but for the most part guys are focused and are prepping their minds for "meditation" and the season ahead.

We crossed the parking lots to the east end of the stadium with the lights atop the press box (which at the time consisted of 4-6 large bulbs) providing the only beams of light onto the field.  As we approach the gate which protects the tunnel to the stadium ("there is only one way in and one way out" Coach used to say) all the chatter that occurred up until that point is now gone and every man walks into the tunnel focused and silent.

Only a few flood lights shine inside the tunnel to illuminate our path down to the hole. As I descend down the tunnel path, under the maize and blue painted "Go Blue" sign, I recall the times I had walked the same path in previous seasons.  I think about the adrenaline rush that hits me each and every time I walk down that path. In my mind, I can hear the marching band chanting "Let's go blue!" rhythmically timed with the percussion section feeling the bass drums in my chest as I near the end of the tunnel.

We meet at midfield.

Coach Carr shares some of the greatest memories that have happened on this great field, in the great stadium:

"Look in the end zone! That's where Desmond Howard made 'the catch!'"

Coach then pointed to the 25 -30 yard line on the south end of the field:

"Look men! that's where Anthony Carter caught the pass from Wangler!"

He then asked us to walk the turf; start thinking about how we were going to protect and defend our field; our backyard.

This year would be different for me as it was the first time I earned the right to start and play. I started thinking about all the hard work and tough times I endured to get to that point in my life - losing my Dad at 11, everyone that doubted me back home that said I couldn't play at Michigan, all the hard work in the weight room, running stadium stairs (and subsequent vomiting), the golf course runs - the culmination of all the hard work was about to pay off.

I often reflect on that night in Michigan stadium. When I need a pick me up, or an reaffirmation that you truly can accomplish anything if you want it bad enough-  I think of The Big House.

Not only is Michigan Stadium the largest stadium in the country, but it's also the largest symbol of accomplishment that I have in my life, something I will always leverage to harness positivity when I need it most.  It is my Latitude.

See Jeremy Miller's Latitude HERE in the Gallery