Persecuted for the color of our blood...
I bleed Maize & Blue... but I grew up 50 miles due east of Columbus, Ohio until I was 18 years old and went away to college. My father was a OSU alum and my whole family are OSU fans. My parents dressed me in an Archie Griffith jersey when I was in kindergarten. I've seen the pictures in albums, but had blocked the shame and horror from my memory. In grade school I remember watching the Rose Bowl one year. Michigan was playing UCLA (I think) that year and being a young lad and just learning about College football in a rather prejudiced environment, I had never before heard talk of these Wolverines from up North. Nonetheless, I fell in love with the helmets, the name, team colors, and the fight song and picked them to win the game, which they did. I was a fan for life from that day forward.
By sixth grade I had met a few other UM fans in my school and we banded together against the masses of OSU idiots. Every year on the Friday before The Game, our Jr. High School had OSU-Michigan Day. And every year, my UM buddies and I would proudly wear our Maize & Blue amidst the jeers and jokes, only to again walk the halls on the following Monday with our heads still high and making a few jokes of our own. Our 9th grade science teacher was an OSU fanatic and also the lunch monitor. To really stick it to him one year, we wore our own homemade OSU shirts (we had to make them with markers because we didn't own anything scarlet & gay). During lunch period, we ripped off the outer osu shirts to expose our true Maize & Blue identities underneath and then walked through the halls with roses in our teeth. We won the game that year and went on to the Rose Bowl again, much to the chagrin of our bucknut science teacher.
During my Junior year in H.S. my father took me to The Game at the horseshoe as a way to "bond" after he and my mother had separated. He warned me before we left that I should not wear my Michigan attire because we would be sitting in the alumni section and he would not be responsible for my safety. I told him I would take my chances. After we sat down at the stadium prior to the game, my father looked at me and said, "How's it feel to be surrounded by all of us OSU fans boy?". "Feelin' a little uncomfortable are you?" Just at that moment the Michigan Band came onto the field and started playing the Victors and the three rows behind us stood up and started belting out the best fight song in history along with the band. I looked at my father with a big grin and said "now who's outnumbered kemosabe?" then joined my Michigan brethren in song. Unfortunately we lost the game, but to see my father's face when 100 UM fans stood up behind him singing the Victors was priceless!!!!
The past five years have been truly agonizing, however. Every Thanksgiving I get together with my family for our annual Turkey Bowl football game, and all I hear from my brothers and nephews is how UM can't beat osu and got our arses handed to us, etc. Even my children, who I have raised with the same passion for all things Michigan, get hassled by their cousins. My kids were brave enough to wear their GO Blue gear on their school's OSU-UM day the friday before the Big Game a couple of years ago, but my son came home crying because even the teachers game him a hard time (he was about six at the time). Now they wear their Maize & Blue on a regular basis and everyone in the school knows we are the family of UM fans. My kids have learned to ignore the insults, attempts to humiliate them, etc. I have shown my kids videos of games gone by so he does not lose hope in what will once be again... the day we return to our rightful place on top of the Big Ten!!!!
I took my son to the spring game this year. He was fortunate to get many autographs of recruits and his picture with Marvin, Denard, & Ricardo, which he proudly displays in a frame in his bedroom. On the drive home to Akron he slept with his autographed Michigan football clutched tightly in both arms. Though we've lived with trials and tribulations... persecuted for the color of our Maize & Blue blood... we have overcome and remain unwaiverable in our faith and love for the Leaders and Best... Hail to the Victors!! Go BLUE!!!
Let's do this.
I definitely grew up in better circumstances I guess... parents are alums, season tickets, blah blah blah. Still it's nice to read good stuff in the offseason, not "OMG PAULUS LULZ" or "Denard is faster than Tate - but track fast" or even the good ol' "3 STARS WTF!!!"
That was an interesting read! Thanks for the insight on how it is down there. Remarkable. Hopefully there will be many happy get-togethers for the fam in the future once Coach Rod gets it rolling, GO BLUE!!!
The John Cooper years were very good to me! I can't wait for the day we turn it around on sweater vest...
thank you for your story.
I didn't know what to expect when I first clicked on this thread, but I'm glad I did. It's good to hear a story of a fellow Wolverine fan keeping us proud in Ohio. I never had to deal with this kind of problem. I grew up in west michigan, so most people here are MSU fans (which is extremely annoying). There are still a good number of M fans here though. Great post and Hail to the Victors.
I was close to shedding tears...what a great story.
wife is an tOSU grad, converted her after the first Big house experiance. both my kids can pick out the victors in and music format. And most importantly: by the age of two each of them could say clear as day...... SCHEMBECHLER
I live in Akron, which is 15 mins. from Barberton ~ the original home of Bo Schembechler. So at least I'm close to the heart of Bo...
On another note... I work at an agency with 350 empolyees, only 3 of whom are UM fans (1 is a M grad).
I don't think Michigan has ever beaten UCLA in the Rose Bowl though. I only recall them losing to them once in the 1980s.
You are correct my friend. It was the Blue Bonnet Bowl of 1981 that we beat UCLA. However, after doing some checking it appears my memory was even faultier than you thought. The game I was trying to recall was actually played in 1976. UM beat Ohio State 22 - 0 in order to go onto the Rose Bowl, where we faced USC and lost 6 - 14. Apparently I had associated the Rose Bowl with the win over OSU in my 8 yr old mind and erased the loss to USC from my memory. Oh if only to be young like that again... Thanks for the correction though.
Wow, Ohio State fans in Ohio? Who knew?!
But seriously, the story of Michigan Football has not been pretty since 1970 if you want to be honest. One NC, a few good bowl wins, but many, many heartbreaks for those of us who tear off faux OSU jerseys in the lunch line.
Even when UM was beating OSU in the '90s--we had to stagger into that game more often than not with 2,3, or four losses and used that game to salvage some pride.
What UM needs is a transcendant figure at the helm--someone who can inspire the same kind of passionate hatred of OSU that the Buckeye state has of Michigan. I hope Rodriguez is the man to do it.
What UM needs is a transcendant figure at the helm--someone who can inspire the same kind of passionate hatred of OSU that the Buckeye state has of Michigan.
No. I don't want us ever stooping to that level. I'd much rather see OSU fans finally grow up and act like adults.
I don't want to see passion and competition and raw emotion from teenagers who give their all for team spirit.
I want to see rational discussion and intellectual debate among fans at a reasonable volume. No sense getting worked up- it's just sports.
I shed a few tears!
You tell your kids to stay strong-- our day is coming, and right soon...
When I read the title I thought it was going to be an OSU fan writing something disparaging about Michigan fans' attitude and demeanor towards Ohio State fans. That is why I avoided opening the diary and reading it for so long.
However, bored at work today, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very well written and touching story and I second what many of you had said earlier; it almost brought a tear to my eye.
of mine was born and raised in Columbus. His entire family including parents, uncles and siblings all went to Michigan and love the school and football team. I lived in Toledo for a while and there are a lot of Michigan fans there, as well. I think its great you can find Michigan fans anywhere, including Ohio. I have never met an OSU fan from Michigan though. Ha!
I know several
Teachers ripping 6-year-olds for wearing their Michigan gear? Jebus.
Anyway, good read, Jomafalo. Enjoyed it.