Students and parents alike get pumped for Big Ten conference games

The Parents

With Parents Weekend in full force, some perspectives had to change

“What is he doing?”

“Oh my god…no!”

“Why? Come on Fitz!”

The ‘Cats were going for two and my family wasn’t happy about it. Sitting in the upper deck of Ryan Field, a bunch of Floridians buried in sweaters and winter coats, we were too cold to believe what we were seeing.

For my mom and sister, it was their first Northwestern football game. They’re both sports fans, but even they had a hard time getting excited about a game in which neither Northwestern or Michigan seemed particularly interested in winning. But they loved watching the marching band, shot me a dirty look when I jingled my keys before kickoff and tried their best to learn the fight song. All things considered, I’d say it was a successful Saturday.

My dad was a different story. He’s been an Ohio State fan his whole life, but when I decided to attend Northwestern, he swore off the Buckeyes for good.

We’re a Wildcat family now.

Throughout the season, he’s sent me almost weekly texts calling for someone on the team to be fired or benched. And on Saturday, he was so wrapped up in the game that you would’ve thought Northwestern was fighting for a Rose Bowl bid.

At Ryan Field on Saturday, thousands of parents got to experience Northwestern football (or whatever that was) for the first time. The game was the culmination of Family Weekend, a yearly event that allows students to show their parents a little bit of what campus life is like here at Northwestern. For many freshman, it was the first time they’d been with their families since coming to school.

Freshman Jason Ferry took in the game with his parents, Kim and Mike Ferry. Jason said that while the action on the field may not have been too exciting, it was cool to share the experience with his family.

“It was one of the ugliest football games we’d ever seen,” Ferry said. “But it was definitely fun. My dad went to [graduate school] here. He’s a Northwestern fan too.”

He said that while sitting with his parents was a little different than being in the student section, he felt that he was still able to experience the game. His parents also didn’t seem to mind when he jingled his keys (see Mom!).

“I explained to them what it meant and they were just like ‘Oh, that’s funny,” Ferry said. “It was definitely cool to show them all our cheers.”

Even though the game ended in disappointment for the ‘Cats, it was still an unforgettable experience for many of the families in attendance, especially my own.

While my sister is probably still a little confused as to why I insisted on staying for the whole game, it was particularly meaningful getting to share the day with her. A junior in high school, she’s just beginning the strange and stressful journey that is the college admissions process. While I know she’s got some long nights of SAT cramming ahead of her, it was nice getting to show my sister what awaits on the other side.

To be totally honest, that was my favorite part about the game. I wasn’t nearly as pumped about the action on the field, but because of whom I got to spend the game with in the stands, I still had an amazing time. And I sincerely hope that every other family there felt the same way.

So when Trevor Siemian went full Charlie Brown and the ‘Cats ended up losing by one, it didn’t really matter.

Because for once, Northwestern had already won.