If you spend any time here at Maize n Brew, odds are you are a pretty passionate fan of Michigan sports --- and if you aren't you are passionate enough about your team that you feel the need to scout out the enemy; I can sympathize.
Well, all of us that write for the site feel the same way. We all do this because we love Michigan and I think I can safely speak for all the authors here when I say that if we weren't writing about Michigan sports somewhere we would all still be obsessively reading and thinking about Michigan sports in our spare time.
Since the site is still in a bit of a transition period, and since we have a bunch of new faces on board I figured it would be cool to let the guys behind the scenes here tell you a bit about their love of Michigan in their own words.
Over the next three days I'll post a question and a bunch of answers. Feel free to leave us a comment with your own answer.
See how we all became UofM fans after the jump...
Tell the readers about your Michigan fandom. How long have you been a fan, what made you become a fan, and how old were you when you first self-identified as a Michigan fan?
Dave Ryan - I've been a Michigan fan since early childhood. My grandfather played tailback for the Wolverines back in the 30's and went on to coach football at a handful of high schools around the state, so I think I got a heavy dose of UM athletics from an early age without even knowing it. I honestly have so many memories of going to the Big House on Saturdays that I'm not even sure when they began. I do remember watching the Fab Five team play back in the early 90's though, and would say that's probably the time when I really started to comprehend that Michigan was 'my' team in a competitive sense.
Alex Cook - Well, each of my parents graduated from the B-School at Michigan, so I can pretty safely say that I've been a Michigan fan for my entire life (there's a picture of me with a Michigan football in my crib on the day I was born, so I was indoctrinated early). My earliest memories of being a fan were both back in the 1999 season when I was six years old -- my first game was Tom Brady's senior day victory over Ohio State, and I recall the joy of that poor Alabama kicker shanking that extra point in the Orange Bowl -- and I've been a diehard fan ever since. I've been a Michigan fan forever, and I had always wanted to attend Michigan. Now, I'm fortunate enough to be a student, and it really couldn't have been a much better season for football and basketball in my freshman year.
Maize in Spartyland - I've been a fan since I was in grade school, for sure. My first memory was Michigan playing Penn State in football (1994, I think) - roughly 8 years old. My dad has had season tickets since the 1970s, so it was a great experience to join him at the games. To this day, I still attend the games with him.
DGDestroys - My Michigan fandom actually came about by a form of childhood rebellion. As a kid, I 'picked' my teams in order to be the opposite of my dad. That meant I liked the Vikings (Lions), Indians (Tigers), a variety of NHL teams (Red Wings), and Michigan (Sparty). In the first three, my contrarian nature subsided, and I've actually become huge fans of the teams I grew up hating. In the case of Michigan, though, my fandom always stuck. As I grew older, I stuck with the maize and blue through thick and thin. When it came time to choose a college, I applied (and was admitted to) the University of Michigan, but financials kept me in-state, at William and Mary. My life has moved by quickly, but one of the few constants (besides my family) has been football, and Michigan in particular.
Holdin' the Rope - My Dad came to Michigan to teach and conduct his post-doctorate work in Ann Arbor when I was only two months old. My Dad tells me that he had the option of doing his research at either Michigan or Stanford; if he had chosen the latter then I might be writing for Stanford's SBN blog right now. Thankfully, he chose correctly.
As such, I've basically been a lifelong Michigan fan, although nobody is exactly making memories of sports, let along anything at all, when they're younger than 6 or so. The Moeller era was before I was able to really understand anything that was going on, so the beginning of Lloyd's tenure marked the beginning of my actual fandom (as in, my ability to watch and at the minimum be happy or disappointed as a result of what I was watching). For whatever reason, my first memory of actually watching and understanding what was going on was the Outback Bowl against Alabama after the 1996 regular season. Griese's pick 6 in that game was, unfortunately, one of my first vivid memories of Michigan football. After living in Ann Arbor for a little while as a kid, I didn't really have much of an option of rooting for anybody else, but if there were any doubts then, like most kids, Michigan's iconic helmets put them to rest. Even to this day, when anybody says anything about Michigan's helmets that isn't something along the lines of "they're the greatest helmets ever to be worn by anybody, anywhere, ever," I get a little angry. After all, how many can say that their helmets are worth two touchdowns before either team even takes the field?
After the 1997 dream season, Michigan football would become a part of me forever. I've said this before, but as great as a Michigan national championship will be to experience as an adult (and, rest assured, it will happen again eventually), I think that '97 season was best taken in as an 8 year-old. Charles Woodson was the only athlete that occupied the same plane of superhero-dom that Michael Jordan did for me.
Zach Travis - I don't think I ever considered myself anything but a Michigan fan. My father followed UofM sports since he was young and eventually completed his M.A. at UMFlint while working full-time and helping my mom raise my sister and I. Michigan sports were always on, be it on the TV or on the radio (I distinctly remember listening to the '97 Penn State football game on the radio as we did work outside). The more I got into playing sports as an adolecent the more I found an outlet for my fandom and burgeoning love of the games in Michigan sports. I always watched pro sports, but I never connected to any of the semi-local Detroit teams the way I did Michigan.