Merrick Bank was seven when he went to the game that made him a lifelong Michigan football fan. It was 2006, and No.13-ranked Michigan was playing at No. 2-ranked Notre Dame. The Wolverines ignored the rankings and won 47-21.
“Walking out of the stadium, all the Michigan fans were singing “It’s Great to be a Michigan Wolverine. I couldn’t even hear myself think,” Merrick said. “I knew right then I didn’t want to stop doing this.”
Merrick in 2006
Merrick, now 16 years old, has attended an impressive 105 consecutive games with his dad, home and away. His father, Mark, edges him out with 188 over 15 years.
Merrick’s father and life member Mark, ’88, attended U-M football games with his father. He remembers the connection it gave him with his dad.
“It was understood that every Saturday that Michigan was at home, we would be going to the game. It was something I came to really look forward to.”
Mark met his now-wife at U-M, the pair moving to D.C. after graduation. They kept coming back to Ann Arbor for the football games, so the family decided to move back to Michigan. Now Mark bonds with his son the same way he did with his father–through Michigan football.
Not missing a game means not missing a bowl, of course. Merrick has attended eight bowl games with his family, many of which they book through the Alumni Association Bowl Tour Program. The Wolverines are 2-6 for the bowls Merrick has attended, but don’t hold that against him.
At the 1997-98 Rose Bowl, Mark was offered $5,000 for his mother’s and older son Mac’s, ’18, tickets. ” I turned to the guy and said, ‘This could be a one-in-a-lifetime thing, my kid’s going to the game.'”
LUCK OF THE IRISH
Another memorable moment for Merrick came at the 2013 Michigan Notre Dame game. The first time the game was played under the lights, Mark and Merrick guessed what the attendance number was for the packed Big House. Merrick guessed 115,109. He was right on the money.
Merrick with Association President Steve Grafton
LOOKING FORWARD WITH MERRICK
Merrick has his college-sights set on U-M, as you could guess. Football, of course, will be a big part of his campus life.
“Whenever I get my acceptance letter, I will be first in line for general admission tickets and the last to leave the stadium.”
Athletics has since updated their student ticket policy to a loyalty-based smartphone app. Regardless of an app, there’s no doubt Merrick will be loyal. And we can count on him continuing the tradition through Alumni Association membership and bowl tours like his father.