Last week I took my family on a train trip from Chicago to Seattle for Spring Break. This trip was planned months ago and as luck would have it our flight from Cleveland got into Chicago early last Saturday and the train didn't leave until 2:15pm CST so I had time to find a bar and watch the Michigan-VCU game. We selected "Mother Hubbard's" because it was fairly close to Union Station and had good reviews for their food & beer selection and was considered "kid friendly (I had our 8 year old with us) and we had a great time. I wore my Michigan warm-up jacket and Sugar Bowl hat and both my wife and son had Michigan gear on as well. We were pretty much the only Michigan fans in there that day based on the cheering (just us mostly) and people were friendly and supportive.
On our way out after the game we passed a big table of MSU fans who had recently arrived to watch their game against Memphis. They were all dressed in their finest Sparty gear and as we passed their table I said "good luck today guys - keep the B1G domination rolling" and smiled. I was greeted back with "whatthefuck-ever dude" by one guy and some chick giving me the finger. Everybody at their table laughed at that (the girl flipping me off) and they all basically turned their back on me and said nothing after that. I was way too happy to let a bunch of MSU fans bring me down so I just left and reminded myself that they truly just hate us in all situations no matter what and left.
On Thursday of this past week we were winding up our stay in Seattle and getting ready to fly home the next morning. By the way - if you haven't spent time in Seattle I HIGHLY recommend doing so as it's a fantastic city with more to do than we could squeeze in four days but that's another story. Anyways we decided to go to a Sports Bar near our hotel to watch the OSU & Indiana games and cheer for our fellow B1G schools while enjoying a few beers and some food. Shortly after the OSU game started I heard a roar coming from the other side of the partition and when I stood up I saw about 200 OSU fans all decked out in scarlet and grey with a giant "Seattle Buckeye Club" banner hung beneath the biggest TV in the place. I live in Cleveland and somehow I manage to run into the largest collection of Buckeye fans I've ever seen some 2,000 miles away from home.
Well the difference between the Buckeye fans and the MSU fans was pretty stark. I was dressed basically the same (full Michigan-wear regalia) and other than some good-natured teasing about why I picked THAT bar I was welcomed and to a person, told they were going to root like Hell for us tomorrow. No snide comments, no smug laughs and certainly no one-finger salutes like I got from the Michigan State fans earlier last week. And mind you Ohio State was losing most of the game Thursday and Michigan State was killing Memphis when both encounters occurred so I couldn't attribute their reactions to me on the score of the game they were following.
To me it summed up and confirmed what I've thought about how the respective fan bases view Michigan and our fan base. OSU dislikes, but respects Michigan and generally roots for us to win unless of course they are playing us. MSU, on-the-other-hand, dislikes us period and would like nothing better than to see us lose every game no matter what. Oh, and one last thing. If you ever get the chance to take a cross-country train trip I would recommend that experience as well. You will get to see parts of the country you just can't see any other way!
UPDATE: I got about six congradulatory text's from OSU friends of mine here in Ohio after the game yesterday. A couple of guys were texting me mid-game telling me they were very happy that at least one B1G team showed up large for the tourny.