I received an interesting phone call last night. It was from a buddy I used to work with down here in Columbus, OH. (For those of you who don't know, I live in Columbus, OH*. ) After a bit of small talk he asked me what I thought was a simple question: Who is Michigan's biggest rival. Without even blinking I responded: Ohio (State).
I had a split second to wonder why he would ask me such a question. Were there going to be follow up questions to a question with such a simple answer? But after a split second, I heard a bunch of "Oooooooooooohhhhhhs!" in the background. I immediately knew what this question was about.
Let me back up a little bit. 2 years ago, I began working in Columbus. One day, I got into a discussion with a co-worker about the rivalry. Now, she has lived in Ohio her whole life although she didn't attend the State University in Ohio. However, I was surprised when she said that Sparty is actually Michigan's biggest rival. I immediately corrected her, and asked if it was a Spartan fan who misinformed her. She told me no, it was a Michigan fan. I found this odd...
About a year later, I was standing in line to donate blood plasma (still in Columbus) and I heard a gentleman in line (he was an Ohio fan) proclaim that Michigan considered Sparty as their biggest rival. I didn't feel like correcting him, but I was confused and a bit disturbed.
Back to last night. After I heard the "Ooooohhhhs!" in the background of the phone call, I was pretty sure why my buddy had asked me this question. I asked for an explanation anyway, and he explained that one of his coworkers is from Boston and made the audacious claim that Sparty is Michigan's biggest rival, not Ohio. I didn't ask if the gentlemen from Boston attended MSU or not since I was a little ticked off. I immediately responded: Sparty THINKS their our biggest rival. But it is Ohio. I heard another batch of "Ooooooooooohhhhhs!" in the background. My buddy thanked me for clearing that up, and I told him I was delighted to do so.
So now, this leads me to some questions. I always thought Ohio was our biggest rival, at least since the days of Woody "ThroatPuncher" Hayes. I also assume the majority of MFans consider Ohio our biggest rival. Does anyone out there consider Sparty to be our biggest rival?
And my next question: How in the world did this rumor about Sparty being our biggest rival get started?
I have been curious and, frankly, a bit distressed about this misconception, and I wanted to get some of your thoughts.
*I have also learned to breathe through my mouth.