Before I started my job in the news industry I could count on one hand the number of places I’ve been outside of Michigan — Ballroom competitions in Ohio and Indiana, stops in Pennsylvania, two night stay in upstate New York, weekend in New Jersey. I wasn’t a very well-traveled individual. But here I am, almost two years later, having driven to Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, southern Ohio, stops in Illinois and and numerous other places I can’t remember. I’ve shot at The Palace of Auburn Hills, covered a Big Ten Football Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium, climbed to the press box of the Joe Louis Arena, rambled through the tunnels under Comerica Park, and, as much as I hate to admit it, been to numerous University of Michigan athletics buildings.
I’m slowly becoming well traveled, and all in good fun.
Wisconsin is a very interesting place. We drove in a day early, bought a couple cases of beer, and played an olympic drinking game to pass the time. There are no turn arounds in Wisconsin. Miss where you’re turning, you get screwed. Don’t know where you’re going? Too bad. Sketchy hotel under construction? Sure. Kangaroo hop across the main road that attaches to the expressway? Just don’t get hit. Don’t know how to open the gas tank of your rental car at 7 AM? One of the nice Wisconsinites will probably help you with a smile.
The people that I had to pass the time with were without a doubt some of the more interesting people that I could have been stuck in a tiny Wisconsin town with, even if we did have to find a Rite Aid so that two of us could buy toothpaste because we were slow on the packing train.
The arena itself was interesting. I’m so used to Breslin Center athletics and knowing exactly where I’m going, knowing everyone I’ll see along the way, and stopping to “Awww” at the police dogs that I spent a couple days with once. It’s almost like a second home (after Munn Ice Arena, of course). In Wisconsin, I had no idea where to enter, no idea where to park, no idea who the hell anyone was, and the press box was strange.
But they had nice lights. The player introductions and practice times before the game? So much cooler than the ones at Michigan State.
It actually happens at a lot of sporting events. Yost Ice Arena spotlights the U of M hockey team in their huddle, providing for some cool shots, different basketball teams have different lights and entrances. It’s always an interesting part of the experience — “How will these guys run out onto the court?”
Overall, though, the one thing I enjoy about basketball games is that it’s one of the only sports in which the players always look like they’re suspended from strings.
The other reason is obviously coach Izzo. I could probably spend an entire basketball game (since I’m not a big basketball fan in the first place) only taking pictures of Tom Izzo.
And the games themselves have the ability to change within an instant. From happy reactions to sad reactions.
However, they quickly started losing. It was a game of points. It was intense.
The only part I didn’t like was when the usher told me I should be careful and get ready to run — just in case they rushed onto the court at the end of the game.