With visitors filling up extra space in the residence halls, parking lots full of people tailgating and proud Chippewas and Broncos sporting their school colors, it was clear Saturday’s rivalry game was a big deal.
Since the Central/Western game was played in Kalamazoo last year, this weekend was the first time freshmen and sophomore Chippewas got to witness the rivalry on their home turf.
“My first Central/Western game experience was a lot of fun,” Clark Lake sophomore Curine Demeuse said. “It was what I certainly expected it to be like, big and have everyone all over the place, but it was good to see everyone come together. I really liked that because a lot of people haven’t been to the last couple of games.”
Though the home team did not end up with the victory, several students still had an entertaining weekend. Demuse hung out with friends and felt as if her expectations for the game were met, despite the loss.
“That was the bummer about it,” Demuse said. “It was still a lot of fun to see everybody come together. I’d rather have it be a close game than not having a chance at all.”
Freshman Meita Porter enjoyed her first Central/Western game experience, despite the disappointing 42-31 CMU loss.
“It was a good experience,” the Farmington Hills native said. “It was the rivalry game and for some people, it was the first one. So, it was really cool. I didn’t want to miss it. So I made sure I went.”
Saginaw freshman Brianna Haynes said the most exciting thing about Saturday was the rivalry in general.
“I love the atmosphere and how into it everybody was,” Haynes said.
Another thing that stood out for her were the skydivers that delivered the game ball before the game.
“The skydivers were absolutely amazing,” Haynes said. “I was not expecting them so it was a total surprise. Great asset to the game to hype everybody up.”
Even with students dressed up from head-to-toe in Central or Western gear, yelling at the top of their lungs against the opposing team, it was not nearly as wild as some students thought it would be.
“I could say my worst moment is that fumble at the end of the game,” Demeuse said. “But … the best moment I would have to see is being able to see the rivalry between Western and Central and having all our friends come together, hang out and have fun.”
The cold weather had several people layering up to stay warm. The crowd was filled with students in gloves, scarves and hats, snuggling under blankets. However, that did not stop people from cheering on their team.
Porter said she was really cold but still had a good time.
“If you’re a true football fan, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, cold, hot, sleeting or snowing because you love the game too much,” Haynes said. “I was very cold, but I stayed the whole time to support my team, even though we lost.”
What made the experience special to some were the people they chose to attend the game with.
“I guess just being around friends and being around everyone, so we could hype each other up for cheering and stuff,” St. Charles freshman Paige Kushion said when asked what made her first Western game interesting.
Haynes said she stayed the whole time, cheering on her football team.
“There were many things that made this experience unforgettable, but being with other students that cheered and were excited made it unforgettable,” Haynes said. “Whenever we scored, it was just excitement and noises of joy everywhere I looked. This has truly been a great experience.”