Bear with me here...I am a life-long Michigan Fan who grew up in a family full of Ohio fans - and endured multiple attempts at Buckeye Brainwashing. Not sure how I did it, but I LIKED being different.
My son (8), has been a Michigan fan for as long as I can remember - despite my now ex-wife and all of HER family, as well as MY family being Bucknuts fans. Here recently, though, he is starting to waver a little bit for a couple different reasons:
(1) Product on Field - he's only 8, but gets depressed/upset when he sees a UM loss and doesn't understand why. He is worried about this weekend's game against Ohio and has been getting plenty of flak about it.
(2) Continued family pressure - his older sister is now an Ohio fan (/shudders) adding to the peer pressure
(3) Indoctrination at the schools - I live in Toledo, Ohio - a location that is predominantly Ohio friendly. Spirit drives, etc. at the schools are heavily Ohio influenced, with teachers even "rewarding" students who display loyalty to Ohio (seriously).
They recently had a food drive where you would collect non-perishable good and place them on the team of your choice. The Ohio side was OVERWHELMINGLY covered in foodstuffs, despite my son cleaning out my pantry (literally took in 40+ cans of stuff). He got upset and concerned and said something to the effect of: "Ohio wins in everything. And all my friends like Ohio."
I have tried to encourage him to be himself, but also love the fact he is a Michigan fan - but I feel he is on the fence seeing more and more Ohio dominance. I am looking for a unique way to bring the tradition of Michigan home to him - and help make him a life-long UM fan too. We were supposed to go to UTL-II this year, but an unfortunate death in the family prevented that. Outside of taking him to a game and buying him all the gear he could want - I am struggling to "keep him in the fold".
I know, I know...TL;DR - but for those who did - any ideas on how to help encourage his faith and love of UM? Maybe a unique experience or gift idea for the holidays?
Thanks in advance.