The clash of the fanbases

Submitted by MichFan1997 on June 11th, 2009 at 2:59 PM

So reading another post on here got me to thinking about my interactions with other fans. Do I go out of my way to rip on people? Is this acceptable? Are subtle jabs like shirts that you wear acceptable? Everyone has interactions like these on the Internet. I don't find any real fault with making fun of people online, though it is juvenile and I tend to avoid taking part in it. For instance, I would never venture to an OSU blog to rip on them.

Overall, I'm looking for a few things. What are your thoughts on these issues. Also, the thing I'm most interested in are interesting stories of interactions you've had with other fan bases, online or in person. Here are just a few of mine:

-I mentioned in another post that my roommate is a Notre Dame fan. He brought an OSU fan over to try and set me off. Me and this OSU fan ended up spending the evening ripping on Notre Dame, much to my roommates dismay.

-Once at a Tigers game, me and my cousin were discussing LeBron James and how we believed he was a choke artist. This guy near us, overhearing our conversation, fires back with "Oh yeah, the Indians are in first place!" (Boy, what happened to that?!!)

-Once, an MSU fan was making fun of me in my own dorm about Michigan's 0-2 start. I fired back that he woudln't talk once Michigan once again defeated MSU. He laughed. Michigan won. He avoided my room for the remainder of the year.

-My favorite one. I went to a Tigers vs White Sox game in 2006 where we beat the hated Sox 2-1. This White Sox fan decides to talk trash afterwards anyways. "We're still the 2005 champs baby," he says. "Welcome to 2006 you little bitch," fires back a Tigers fan.

-If we win the 2009 Stanley Cup tomorrow night, I will take my subtle jab. I'm going to a Pirates-Royals game in the near future and am planning on wearing my "Beat Pittsburgh...again" shirt with Wings logo that I just bought.

Anyways, I'll hang up and listen!



June 11th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

I just about always wear a ND hat whenever I am out and I do live in Michigan. But to be honest the only people who ever give a quick jab only do it to try and start a conversation.
A couple quick examples being standing in line at an amusement park or riding a boat over to mackinaw and it has always been a pleasant conversation.

If it is one of my buddies who I know is a UM fan or whatever school I will normally be bit more malicious in what I say because I know they will think its funny and try to hit right back.

But between random people in person it has always been pretty civilized and normally helps pass the time. On a message board though, it can quite often turn into something like road rage. Which isn't so enjoyable.


June 11th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

thing turning into roid rage and not being fun. The in-person stuff holds you accountable because they can, you know, see your face and know who's talking to them. That's why my in-person taunting is even limited to more subtle jabs meant as conversation starters. What I can't stand is people in person who run up to you and start going "LOL OMGZ YOU LOST. YOUR LIFE SUCKS."

To add to my original post, I just thought of one. At the Michigan-Toledo game, there was actually a Michigan fan I wanted to hit. This guy (from England, had never been to a football game before, but attended the University) was sitting next to this young couple--both Toledo fans. After every play, he'd get in the girl's face and scream "FUCK TOLEDO FUCK YOU." He was yelling it right in her face. I could tell she was having a terrible time, even when her team won. All this because of some random asshole. That is the sort of thing that is unacceptable to me. Random Internet message guys (especially on MLive) are of the same breed.


June 11th, 2009 at 4:17 PM ^

I don't think it is cool to talk shit to a stranger, especially if it isn't at the game. If someone says something to me when I am wearing Michigan gear, I try to figure out if the guy is joking or being an asshole. Assholes are for ignoring.

But people I know who are fans of MSU, OSU, ND, well hell, I think it is my duty to bust their balls every chance I get. I mean, what are friends for if not to try and help them see the folly of their ways.


June 11th, 2009 at 4:25 PM ^

The only fan base that has proven abnormally annoying was MSU. When I was there for law school a couple years ago, they were still struggling through the JLS era and were just ornery. Despite what they may claim, the average MSU fan has a major inferiority complex when it comes to UM, and will go out of their way to make some comment, no matter how inane, to rile up a UM fan. Plus, a couple of times while we lived in EL, my wife and I were verbally and/or physical assaulted by (usually drunk) MSU fans because we happened to be wearing some form of Michigan apparel (usually just a standard grey alumni or engineering shirt). Given, this treatment tended to manifest itself later in the day on toward the weekends, but it was still a little disconcerting when a group of them were making their way down the street.


June 11th, 2009 at 9:12 PM ^

And it comes on really quickly. We had kids in my law class from completely random schools (like Valparaiso and Rhode Island) who acted like from-the-cradle MSU fans when UM came to town, making snide comments to fellow UM alumni and always pointing out how they "never" understood UM fans' claims that MSU fostered a healthy complex. They were great people the other 50 some-odd weeks out of the year, but the transformations were incredible at times. And listen, I liked my time at MSU and think that some UM fans (usually not alumni) knock it too much for being a supposed "cow college." It has smart people there; the idiots just are louder and more prevalent than at other schools.


June 12th, 2009 at 2:32 AM ^

The only fan base that has proven abnormally annoying was MSU.

I take it you have never been to Columbus. The sheer hatred (and "hatred" is really the only word to describe it) they have for all things Michigan is surreal. It's far beyond anything that goes on in East Lansing. I literally would think twice about wearing Michigan clothing in that city.


June 11th, 2009 at 7:18 PM ^

...and nobody said anything to that guy? Imagine being in that person's shoes... what a horrible way to spend a few hours at the Big House.

There are a few OSU/ND/Wisc fans where I live, and for the most part, they're very knowledgeable people. I only really know one OSU fan, and besides being a little paranoid (he lived through Cooper), he's easy to talk to. The UW fans are a little more annoying, but not intolerable either. The ND fans are usually older couples who stay silent given the large crowds of Mich/MSU fans who live here.

HOWEVER, MSU fans have always been intolerable. Even when I was in high school here, the State fans were ridiculous and wouldn't stop trying to shit talk when I wore a Michigan shirt, even if I never said a word to them. It wasn't even good-natured teasing, they were actually *mad* at me for being a Michigan fan, something that's always made me laugh (well, maybe they only got mad when I responded to what they'd say with "what is it? five in a row now? six?").

I gotta say, though, the ridiculousness of fan bases and the general ease that they can be stereotyped with is just another thing that makes college football awesome. This is from an incoming UM freshman, so maybe I'm a bit more inexperienced than all of you as far as fan bases.


June 12th, 2009 at 2:47 AM ^

As a general rule, fans that live away from their team's home territory will be behaved; they know they're outnumbered. It's when you go to their territory, and encounter masses of them, that their real character comes through. Usually, that's when they're at their worst.

(One exception to this rule is ND. In South Bend itself, people are generally respectful to visitors. It's the "subway alums" from elsewhere that can be obnoxious.)

In your case (I'm assuming you haven't spent much time in the rest of the Big Ten region) you've only witnessed MSU fans on their home turf. A lot of the stuff you've witnessed from MSU, you'll probably see from other fans if you visit their campuses. MSU fans can be annoying, but I maintain that OSU fans (the ones that live in Ohio) are far, far worse. Wisconsin and Illinois fans can be tough to tolerate, too (though not quite at OSU's level). On the other hand, PSU and Iowa fans are generally okay (though their students might be jerks). And at Northwestern, the crowd is usually 50-50 (or even in our favor), so there's not usually a problem.


June 12th, 2009 at 12:34 AM ^

I joined Mgoblog purely for the privilege of telling this story:

This past year I was attempting to travel back to Ann Arbor from Spring Break when North Carolina got its once a year snow storm and my flight from Greensboro to Detroit was canceled and I was delayed a day and rerouted through Charlotte. (One inch of snow is enough to close our airport.) Making my connection to Detroit was going to be a close call and of course I had to make it all the way across the airport.

Having literally run the length of the airport it looked as if I was going to make my flight. I had to go across a moving sidewalk and down one escalator and I would be at my gate. As I entered the moving sidewalk there was a family of four in front of me all wearing tosu sweatshirts. I said "excuse me" and attempted to pass them, but they would not let me pass and justified said actions by saying, "You are wearing the wrong sweatshirt." (Did I mention I was wearing a Michigan hoodie?) This being a 100 yard long moving sidewalk, I was delayed a good two minutes. They also hustled to cut me off at the escalator, at which point I realized it would be wise to take the stairs.

I ended up at the gate just after they closed the bridge. The next plane was in 4 hours, causing me to miss my ClassicCiv class. Fortunately the professor was understanding enough to allow me to makeup that week's quiz. Having grown up in the middle of Duke-UNC, where the proximity of the two causes people to learn to work together, I couldn't believe what I experienced. Let's just say it is even easier to hate tosu as well as the entire state of Ohio (West Virginia's West Virginia.)

Six Zero

June 12th, 2009 at 8:13 AM ^

Is that there is almost no memory-- the only game that matters is the last one. Here in Nittany Lion country I get all kinds of jabs about the last game: "46-17 baby!" "Does Michigan even have a football team anymore?" "DickRod sucks!", etc.

Naturally, I've found the best responses are the simple "Well isn't it about time you won one?", "9 years... 9 years...", or "The last time State beat Michigan you weren't even old enough to drive."

But yes, what's worse are the damn Buckeye fans... I bump into 'em quite a bit, especially in the western part of Pa. I've watched people go out of their way to approach me and rant about Beanie or Troy or something just because I'm wearing a UM shirt... a few years ago in Gettysburg some guy just about tried to pick a fight with me at Little Round Top. Their usual shtick has become "we own you," but it's funny how Buckeye fans were nowhere to be seen around here back in the 2-10-1 Cooper days. The bandwagon was clearly jumped on in Western PA during the early 2000's.


June 12th, 2009 at 9:10 AM ^

There is only one fanbase where I've actually had an honest-to-god Bad Experience with at an actual game. I've met really nice people at Tigers-Orioles in Baltimore. Good-natured jibing with BC fans at BC. Wearing Purdue gear to the Motor City Bowl against CMU didn't get me yelled at. And so on. I figure either I've been really, really lucky, or just, you don't go into the home stadium and act like a dick and people won't be dicks to you, even if you're wearing Enemy Colors. For the most part. I've never been to rival territory (Columbus, East Lansing, Blacksburg, etc.) for a game though.

In case you're wondering what the Bad Experience was: Maryland. Repeatedly. Maryland and MSU are the only college fanbases where I assume the worst, not the best.


June 12th, 2009 at 9:24 AM ^

I agree with most of the sentiments already posted. Indeed, if you want to see a fan's true nature, go to their home territory and see how they act. Case in point, go to EL and tailgate at their tennis courts to see just how 'classy' msu fans can be... I just hope you have quick reflexes and can duck quickly, lest you get hit in the head with a bottle for supporting your team.


June 12th, 2009 at 9:40 AM ^

I grew up in the Lansing area where I experienced State fans firsthand for 18+ years, then went got my education on OSU during school at UofM. Two annoying/awful fanbases (as a whole...I have close friends from both sides) in veeeery different ways.

MSU = Inferiority complex

OSU = Pure hatred (I wasn't a psych major so I won't even attempt to analyze)

Either way, two quick stories.

2005 UM v. MSU in EL - I'm sitting in the UM section with 6 friends of mixed allegiance. MSU has started its 2 quarter long comeback so the MSU guys are getting louder. One of my best friends (MSU fan) is screaming his head off when a random UM fan asks him to keep it down and ease up the language. My friend responds with a comment like "JESUS...typical UM fan, can't take losing...pussies!" (mind you he was hammerred and MSU had lost like 4 straight at the time). Anyway, I respond with something like, "Quit being a dumb-ass." His response was immediate and conditioned..."Oh here we go, all MSU fans are idiots, we can't all be as smart as UM grads....bler bler bler...something about WalMart" This is just one of the times a simple comment to an MSU fan/grad/etc. has turned into me insulting an entire fanbase....ladies and gentlemen INFERIORITY COMPLEX.

2004 UM v. OSU in Cbus (the bag inspection incident) - I worked for the team so I was at the stadium the Friday before the game. Got hungry around lunch time, so a couple co-workers and I headed towards campus to find food. We were wearing full UM gear from head to toe (just asking for it). We turn a corner and are walking towards a cute girl on her way to class. She makes eye contact and gives a little smile, then takes the most noticeable double-take ever...realizes what we're wearing and gives a look of pure horror at what she sees. It's hard to do her face justice, but I swear she'd just been flashed by a wrinkly 75 year-old man. It was pure, it was hatred.

The next day Troy Smith had another game of his life, we lost, and while loading all of our gear back in the truck we lost about 20 game jerseys as rabid OSU fans mobbed us and stole them from our laundry bins. As a parting gift, fans tailgating around the stadium threw full beer cans and bottles at the team busses...all class.


June 12th, 2009 at 11:14 AM ^

gives me a chance to experience tOSU fans on a regular basis. The funniest was when I was in a McDonald's drive thru. I was reading the latest copy of The Wolverine while waiting for my food. The guy who gave me my food couldn't control himself and yelled at me "Michigan Sucks" after I took my food. I can't remember what I said back but it had something to do with him being an honor student at tOSU. They are unable to keep their mouths shut.


June 12th, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

I grew up in Toledo and agree that it's somewhat of an anomaly. I'd say the town is about 70% Buckeye and 30% Wolverine. Everybody seems to get along though because interaction between the two sides is routine.

I remember in grade school, on the Friday before the UM-OSU game, our school would officially tell everyone to wear their colors. Both sides were well-represented by the students. There would always be some good-natured trash-talking, but no fights.

I was surprised when I traveled to Columbus wearing my good old Michigan sweatshirt. Some little 3 year old girl who could barely talk came up to me, screamed "BOO BLUE!" and then stuck her tongue out at me.

It was then, finally outside the Toledo bubble, that I realized this rivalry is like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (but not as violent). Kids on both sides are trained to hate the other side. It will go on for generations.


June 12th, 2009 at 9:32 PM ^

The Israeli-Palestinian analogy is a good one, but it applies mainly to OSU fans. I don't think we treat OSU fans the same way when they come here. I think you can describe it this way: Michigan fans dislike OSU, but OSU fans hate Michigan. I blame it on Woody Hayes.


June 12th, 2009 at 11:28 AM ^

Though 2002 in Columbus as a freshman life-long UM fan was probably the only time I've actually felt my life in jeopardy. My encounter is interesting in that it involved tosu vs. UM and then a bunch of outside perspectives...

I wasn't sure how well represented the rivalry would be out here in Albuquerque, NM. Growing up the son of two Michigan grads, I'm use to encountering it anywhere I go, so I figured it would live on. And live on it does...

We have a sports bar here called Fox & Hound. Your typical sports bar.. Ton of TVs, beer mugs and team banners on the walls. The waitresses wear their favorite team's jersey during football season. Always a tosu girl and a umich girl, and a lot of Texas and UNM (University of New Mexico) jerseys. We usually have some fun with the tosu waitress, but always ends with a smile and another beer.

When I first moved here, I found out that this bar is the Saturday reserved alumni spot for Umich fans to watch the game, get a room reserved and everything. Well, it also happens to be tosu's alumni place as well..

During the big #1 vs. #2 battle I noticed something of interest. Between the random buckstached invaders to our side to promote the most recent touchdown, I noticed that more and more of the female wait staff was just standing around in our side of the place. I got the attention of a couple of them and asked why. They informed me that almost every single waitress hates tosu because of the people who come there. They show up an hour before the place opens. They get mad when the staff won't let them in 30 min. before opening. They decorate the entire place, streamers, red wall covers, inflatable Brutus, etc. Obviously, the Michigan jersey waitress gets the worse of it, but every one of the waitresses can't stand them. They even went as far as attacking the look, smell and eating habits of the tosu fans.

I tried to apologize to them as a general fan of college football. I told them I hope we weren't a pain for them on our side. The response I got will always make me even more proud to be a Michigan Wolverine. They told me that they love us there and that the staff will actually fight over who gets to work in our side and the ones that get stuck on the tosu side go as far as calling in sick sometimes to avoid them...

I think when your fan base creates loathing from waitresses, you've reached a whole other level of being obnoxious.

Though I guess in the end I should thank them... Room full of Michigan fans and all the gorgeous wait staff who are more than willing to keep the beers coming.. I'll take that any day...


June 12th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

Living in London, ON, we are somewhat removed from this. Most of my interactions here in hockey country with US college football fans are with people like myself who lived for a while or went to school in the US. I have a colleague who is from Florida and is a fan of the other UM -- yes that Miami -- and it refreshing to find someone, anyone, who is knowledgable enough to hold a conversation about the sport we all love. I wear my Michigan stuff all the time -- I especially like the Cutter and Buck polo I have on today -- and occasionally have some tOSU fan shoot daggers at me from a distance; but, most of the time, running into fans of the game is an opportunity to exchange business cards and network, talk recruiting, or the upcoming or ongoing season -- the fans you find here are all generally hard core and knowledable and are generally desperate to talk college ball with anyone who knows the game even if they are sporting the colours of a rival school.

My recent "anxious" moment came last weekend when I was crossing the border at Sarnia/Port Huron to do some shopping -- my wife still misses Target and Meijer's and needs a periodic fix. We were stuck in the slow lane with the guy who was "The Stickler" and when he was done asking us the usual questions, he points at my sideline jacket, hands back the passports and says to me with a completely dead pan face that only a border guard can manage, "everything is in order, you can go, even though you cheer for the wrong team." No smile, no wink and a nod, nothing but that deadpan face. Note to self: no shopping trips the week after the UM/MSU game.


June 12th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

So i haven't ever been to a game besides this year's spring game, but ive followed the Wolverines for as long as i can 10-12 years, and i don't doubt that the tOSU fans and MSU fans are the worst, but in Iowa, Iowa fans are terrible. After their upset of Penn State, its been really bad, and their mauling of Minnesota. its terrible. Minnesota fans are pretty bad too, their Tubby time shirts are worn constantly, and they always try to put Michigan down. like this year, one of them was talking crap, and i was just like "well, this year, how many times has Minnesota beaten Michigan, in ANYTHING?" he promptly turned around and shut up, and the iowa fans started laughing.