Wal-Mart Wolvies?

Submitted by mrlmichael on August 19th, 2010 at 6:25 AM

It has been awhile since I have had a chance to sit down and write something here. Life has a way of getting in the way when you least expect it.

We are getting close to the college football season now, and everyone is starting to get in the spirit. Sometimes spirit means watching or making your favorite youtube hype video, or maybe you are more like me and just like to get into the blogs and forums and talk some football. I can't help but notice one overwhelming trend though. Michigan and Michigan State fans cannot seem to get along. It's natural, because it is a rivalry, however I enjoy talking to a well informed Michigan State fan about their team, their expectations for the season, and maybe throw in a little competitive banter favoring my Wolverines.

There is one thing that bugs me though, and it doesn't really happen in this board too much, but happens a lot elsewhere. That is when a Michigan State fan calls a Michigan fan a Wal-Mart Wolvie. The basic premise of this attack is that, you never went to the school, you just picked up a Michigan jacket in Wal-Mart and became a fan, or your just a front runner who picked Michigan. They try to use this to diminish the arguments of Michigan fans.

I have a problem with this because it is just too silly. I know there are tons of Michigan fans who do not have any connection what so ever to the University but who cares? We all pick who we like for our own reasons. For me it is simple.

When I was a little kid I came down with a rare case of arthritis in children. It rendered me barley able to walk, and do things normal children did. My mom took me to all the local doctors and some local hospitals and nothing seemed to help. Finally, she ended making the long drive from our home in Harbor Beach, MI to the University of Michigan hospital. There, I was treated once a month and finally started to get better. Thanks to the University of Michigan and their continued help I was able to grow up a normal child, playing sports, running around with my friends and enjoying life. If I ever have knee problems again all I have to do is drop in to U of M and they will help me. This made me feel a connection to U of M at a young age that I carried on into my adult years. I never went to school at Michigan, instead I chose to join the Army after high school and serve my country. I gained a lot out of my experience in the Army and would never have been able to enlist had it not been for the University of Michigan. That Bond I feel to the school, just when I can easily take a stroll down the road still holds true today. I love Michigan for not only what it did for me, but what it does for others like me.

I know everyone is not like me. Not everyone went to U of M hospital as a child, or went to school there. However, why is it that Spartan fans decide to use this attack? If we polled every single person that considers themselves an MSU fan how many to you think would have a personal connection the the University? I grew up with, and know many MSU fans who don't have any connection. So why is this "supposed to be insult" directed at Michigan fans?

Do Michigan State fans know that the University of Michigan boast one of the worlds largest populations of living alumni at over 460,000 people? Would it not stand to reason that with that large of an alumni population, consistently in the top two in the Nation that Michigan would have a lot of fans? I am in no way trying to bash Michigan State fans or alumni, but it seems more likely to me that more Michigan fans have a connection the the University of Michigan than do to MSU.

The truth is, every school in the nation has fans with no connection to the University, and just choose to be fans and that is fine. Why keep trying to throw this half thought out insult in the face of Michigan fans?

mrlmichael

Comments

magonus

August 19th, 2010 at 7:15 AM ^

Having graduated from State and lived in the East Lansing area for the past eight years, the biggest reason is the fact that 90% or so of people who didn't attend Michigan or MSU are Michigan fans. Heck, I wasn't the only one I knew going to State and cheering for Michigan. Do you think there is a single UM student/alum who cheers for State without some very extenuating circumstances such as their kid/brother/nephew etc playing there? Michigan is our state's flagship program and as such MSU will always be little brother, thus making the Sparties bitter and eager to lash out. 

MGlobules

August 19th, 2010 at 10:21 AM ^

about the Walmart Wolvie idea. M has had more success historically, and Michiganders urged them on. State did not get that respect. 

But nothing is guaranteed. I felt that the media was doing State a huge favor by talking them up as representative of a struggling state during the NCAA championships year before last, and that maybe a blue-collar state WAS inching toward State in their sentiments; Ann Arbor and the U arouse a lot of resentment in people. 

It's also a way to dirty up M's high-tone image, associating it with Walmart. But I don't really think it WORKS, that it sticks very good in the end.

Would be interesting to know how apparel sales for the two schools match up at Michigan Walmarts. 

MGoTarHeel

August 19th, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Not to promote elitism, but a big part of the reason that there are more MSU students/alumni who cheer for UM than there are UM students/alumni cheering for Sparty is this:

Apart from a few programs, Michigan is the superior school academically and the admissions standards are much more rigorous. So there is a large possibility that one could grow up a Michigan fan for life and simply not be admitted (think "The first 3/4 of Rudy"). Usually there is not a whole lot of ill-will, it just didn't work out to get into UM or that person decided to go into a program in which MSU was a better fit. So they go to MSU but maintain that 18-year pro-Wolverine outlook.

MSU tends not to have this problem as much. If you grow up a Sparty and want to be one for life, you are often given this opportunity. So the only Sparty's you have at Michigan are the ones who wanted a program that MSU didn't offer or realized that UM has a better academic reputation and wanted to be a part of that. This phenomenon occurs in every state. In North Carolina you have it big time between UNC and NCSU. To a lesser extent it even happens between UNC and (Go to Hell) Duke. Se la vie.

hailtothevictors08

August 19th, 2010 at 7:05 PM ^

who goes to Michigan  and is a die hard state fan from high school ....

while the above statement doesnt reflect it, she is actually quite bright and decided to come to our school anyway, but to be honest she is the only one i know

 

also the family argument is invalid, i had a cousin swim at osu and i didnt cheer for her if she was swimming versus michigan

mrlmichael

August 19th, 2010 at 7:21 AM ^

I agree, U of M is the States flagship University and naturally would garner more attention. However, I would argue that a lot of people who prefer to watch basketball over football grow up becoming MSU fans as opposed to people who prefer football. The original point of the post still stands though. MSU fans like to call out Michigan for having not connection to the University, even though Im sure their fan base has a lot themselves.

kevin holt

August 19th, 2010 at 7:52 AM ^

but I'm sure a lot more MSU fans shop there, just sayin. Someone sent me a screenshot from 16 and pregnant or Teen Mom where one of the teen's parents had a Michigan sweatshirt on, and they lived in a small house, might even have been a trailer. But that didn't make them less of a person or a fan. They lived in MI, I think.

But the more blatant error in logic is the argument that UM fans and students care too much about money, or that we are all rich. Then they insult part of our fanbase as being low income or Wal-Mart shopping (read: white trash). Sounds like a fixation on money, but with an inconsistency. Are we rich or are we poor, Sparty?

When a school is known for its academics, it makes me think a lot less white trash than being known for drinking in cow fields. At least they combine partying with their agro specialty.

turd ferguson

August 19th, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

My problem with the Wal-Mart Wolverine accusation is sort of similar. MSU fans often make these two allegations:
(1) UM fans are elitists who look down upon the rest of the world;
(2) those who didn't graduate from a four-year BCS school are not entitled to cheer for one.

Argument 2 seems so disgustingly elitist to me that it undermines their ability to make Argument 1.

Stymie2000

August 19th, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

is that people want to support a winner unless they have a pretty strong affiliation with another team such as being a student or alum.  People jump on the Spartan bandwagon because they have a great basketball team.  They jump on the Wolverine bandwagon because of the football team.  One thing that I've noticed is a lot fewer Notre Dame shirts walking around.  If they ever start winning again you'll see the shirts in droves just like you'll start seeing a lot of Lions shirts after they win it all this year!

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

August 19th, 2010 at 9:08 AM ^

I first encountered the "most Michigan fans didn't go to Michigan" meme in high school, which is really dumb for reasons that should be painfully obvious.  The retort was obvious even then: who the hell would want to be a Sparty fan?  But if Wal-Mart Wolverine means someone who didn't go to Michigan but is still a fan, then give me my badge, I'll wear it.

Louie C

August 19th, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

I used to get pissed by that  moniker, but then I realized two things. First, there really are Walmart Wolverines, but I can honestly say that I'm not one of them,  which is why I don't get upset anymore. I know the history, the tradition, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of  the sports teams' stats, rosters, and records. Most WW wouldn't know Mike Hart from Brett Hart. When I see the colors maize and blue, or hear "The Victors", it incites a feeling in me that is indescribable,  and makes me pretty damn proud to be from the state of Michigan. That feeling was only magnified when I stepped on the field at the Spring Game (Thank you Woodley!)

The second thing I realized is that that term really speaks of Sparty fans' arrogance. You have to be an alumnus to be a Wolverine fan, but any Tom, Dick, and Harry can be a Spartan fan, which tells me they feel they should be the only game in town. It also speaks of their inferiority complex. Nobody outside of the state besides transplanted alumni gives a rats ass about Spartan football, and ironically, despite the success they've had the past decade plus, when elite basketball programs are mentioned, teams like Duke, UNC, KU, and UK are always mentioned before them.

othernel

August 19th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

I think it's a double-edged sword. As a UM alum, I welcome fans who have no connection to the University, so long as their not fair-weather.

However, I hate people who do the same thing for other teams. When I say I went to UM and someone tells me they like ND, but they've got no connection to it or haven't ever even been to South Bend, I think "I want to kill this fair-weather fan!"

MyUncle played-4-UM

August 19th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

it was the Lions famous backup(sarcastic grin) former Msu quarterback who coined the phrase several years back, and their fanbase has run with it ever since. We owe it to the great Drew Stanton . I remember right before the UM/MSU game  he spoke about how he hated Walmart Wolverine fans. On a personal note before I even got on this blog I would argue til the cows jump over the moon (ODE to MOO U) about those who were saying it to give Drew back his quote and come up with something new.

Blue-Chip

August 19th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^

I want to chime in on this subject as I am what those Spartan fans would consider a "Wal-Mart Wolverine."  My dad was always a Michigan fan, and from an early age it rubbed off on me.  When it came time for me to go to college, while Michigan was the best school, it wasn't the best fit for me at that time.  I still fail to see how that negates the years I've spent hanging entirely too much emotional investment in all things U of M.

BGAlumLovesUM

August 19th, 2010 at 11:27 PM ^

The out-of-state tuition made it flat impossible to go to UM when I was looking at schools.  That didn't, however, erase the previous 18 years of fandom.  If anything, I get a shred of respect around here for being a fan from birth and taking my lumps presently, rather than hopping on the bandwagon when they were thumping OSU in the 90s.

switch26

August 19th, 2010 at 11:16 AM ^

I think the whole term is hilarious..  Do state fans just think they are the only school around whose fans are alum?  Give me a break i got into an argument with some faggot a few months ago while drinking who currently went to MSU and started talking shit about how we haven't beat either their BB or Football team in however many days...  That statement in itself is a joke because it has been a span of our 2 worst years ever, and they needed OT to win last year.  We continued to argue, and he didn't even know who scored during the games etc.. then tried telling me i had no idea what I was talking about.  After I pretty much embarassed him he tries pulling out the card of asking if I even go to UM, which i graduated from college a few years ago anyway, so I said no.  Then he just says exactly and ran away..  I wanted to punch him in his face because that is exactly why spartan fans are fuckin idiots..

My family has had season tickets since 72',  I think that gives us enough reason to be valid fans for all the money we have put into that stadium over the years.  The other thing that i think is funny is I have probably 30 or 40 kids i went to HS with that attended either UM or MSU, but maybe only 3 that went to UM and a few that went to MSU actually watched football before they ever attended UM or MSU.

What I would like to know is how many people were diehard college football fans before they even went to UM?  Probably a stupid question since everyone on here probably was, but i know there are a lot of kids out there who wouldn't ever think to turn on a Michigan football game and watch the whole thing.

DerylG

August 19th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

I live in the Lansing area, I'm a Michigan fan, and I did not attend
Michigan
(I graduated from EMU).  I would have loved to have gone to
Michigan
, but my GPA wouldn't cooperate.  I certainly don't think this means I should be stuck rooting for the Eagles.  That would just be mean.

dahblue

August 19th, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

I think you'll find that you're preaching to the choir on this one.  While I am an alum, I couldn't care less if someone who loves Michigan (whether it be the athletic programs, the hospital or even political science department) went to UofM or not.  It just means you have good taste.

How many fans of the Detroit Lions live outside of Detroit?  Did anyone "go to" the Detroit Pistons (who aren't even in Detroit)?  Of course not.  Look, we choose our sporting loyalties for a variety of reasons.  Sparty certainly didn't mind everyone pretending to be long-time Spartan fans when they were getting embarrassed by UNC at Ford Field.  That's just the way it goes when a program is seeing success (consider, for example, Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys, etc.).

All that being said, Wal-Mart gear is garbage.  Buy your Michigan t-shirts (and whatnot) at Moe's or Underground Printing.

And, the ultimate irony, is there any school with a more Wal-Marty appearance than MSU?  Ok, maybe Kansas State...

WM Wolverine

August 19th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

It is the university of MICHIGAN, not the university of those who went to michigan.

I was born and raised in MICHIGAN. Although no one else in my family had any interest in sports, I grew up loving the teams which represent our state.

Every saturday the football team that was on TV was MICHIGAN.  I was ten and they won almost every game , so obviously I became a fan.

I am more of a MICHIGAN fan than thousands of graduates who spent their saturdays polishing their pocket protectors and checking the batteries in their calculater.(no offense)

There is a reason Michigan stadium has long had a reputation as the least advantageous home field despite the largest attendance.

The stadium is filled with those who went there, not because they love team,but because being there is part of the academic culture which produced them.

It is these "true fans" who are responsible for the recent ncaa "violations".

Their hatred of someone they percieve to be beneath them(RR) created an environment in which players felt comfortable complaining publicly.  At one time being a michigan man (BO) ment keeping your mouth shut and working your ass off, these "true fans" changed that.

It is not the MSU fans reference to Wal Mart Wolverines which bothers me. It is those who attended sharing that same view.

 I am a "true fan" . I have loved them since I was a child.

The only fair-weather fans I have noticed are graduates who cant comprehend what goes into the final score.

Much like the worlds largest retailer, falling quality seems to be a real issue among graduate "fans".

Perhaps the moniker, Wal Mart Wolverine, is being placed on the wrong group.

P.S.  grammer, sentence structure, spacing etc do not invalidate the thoughts themselves.

 

 

mtzlblk

August 19th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

let's ease up on that sentiment a bit.

admire your passion and dedication and indeed you are a real fan, no one is saying you aren't.

Yes, there is a contingent of people that have taken a personal dislike to RR for some petty/cultural reasons that have nothing to do with coaching and while they certainly don't help the situation, they definitely are not responsible for it. Whatever the case, I think that this mentality is present to some extent in every segment of the fanbase, alumnus or not. What it really boils down to is whether a person:

A. Knows anything at all about football, the reality of the situation in terms of the program/players/recruiting and what is involved in rebuilding a team while also implementing a radical change in the schemes it deploys on the field.

B. Cares enough to inform themselves about the facts surrounding the off-the-field issues and how they came about, or if they simply hear about the headlines and want to point to the situation as a rationale for not supporting RR.

Rich rod DOES deserve some blame for the current situation, however slight. It is a large mess and there are plenty of fingers to point and lots of blame to go around. It is a perfect storm of mess that hopefully will just fade into the past.

Is there a group of older alumnae who know very little about the team and care nothing about it beyond the number of W's v. L's? Certainly, but I don't think it is limited to alumnae.

I agree with you on RR, as an alumnus I support him now because I understand very clearly the situation he came into and am realistic about the time it takes to rebuild a program. With regard to his character, I look at all the evidence before me and see far more real, concrete evidence that he is honorable, cares about his players and I believe that he will represent UM extremely well in that respect for a long time if afforded the opportunity to do so.

I think he can (and likely will) be successful at M on the field, however I think the jury is obviously still out on that. There is no guarantee that he is going to be successful, but he should be given the right amount of time to produce the results for which he was hired and then he should be judged on what happens on the field.

There will always be knee-jerk, 'fire-him now' type of fans that don't have the stones to stick with a team when it is down. Those fans who know the name of the QB and a few star players and nothing else and who just want to cheer on weekends and go home with a W and will whine and cry when they don't get it, but it is not a phenomena that is limited to people that graduated from M by any stretch.

hailtothevictors08

August 19th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

You basically said you are a better fan then me because I spent my time in high school working to go to the school i love (the calculator  comment) then i guess watching football.

Screw you. I miss the grammar police because of people like you.

I know a ton of great Michigan fans who don't attend the school and i have no problem with it. I was a die-hard long before i started college. However, there is something to be said for actually attending it.

Just because we choose to get an education doesn't mean we are worse fans than you.

alanmfrench

August 19th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

Wolverine here. I bought a skull cap there once. It fell apart. ****ers!

I spent some time at the U of M Hospital with an eye trauma. I was shot with a BB gun (insert Christmas Story joke here). I was 11 years old and I went ape shit bananas when instead of taking my Bo sweatshirt off of me the regular way they f'n cut it off of me. I mean, the eye was already destroyed so what more damage could they possibly do. Looking back on it, it probably hurt them as much as it hurt me. I miss that sweatshirt.  I spent 4 days there in recoverey and that place had there shit together. I go back there once a year (it's been 20 years now) for checkups and I live in Texas.

My old boss used to give me shit for being a U of M fan when I didn't go to school there (She's a MSU alum). My response was simple, "I'm a Detroit Lions fan and I've never played for them or worked for them so what's your point?!"  Although a couple years back I probably could have played for them. I can get paid to lose as well as anyone.

HailGoBlue86

August 19th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

I have been called that many times by State fans. I just graduated from high school but my GPA would not let me get into Michigan and now I'm going to a community college to try to get into Michigan after a few years. Growing up it really was my fourth grade teacher that made me a Michigan fan and since that year, 2001, I have rarely ever missed a game. Even though none of my family has any connections to the University at all I still feel absolutely in awe whenever I go to Ann Arbor and see the campus and pass the Big House. Hopefully I can proudly call myself a alum in future years, if not I'm still going to be a die-hard Wolverine.

jericho

August 19th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

Yeah, I hear this from time to time too, but as soon as I call them City Dump Spartans it tends to go away.

 

Seriously I have more class then to call Sparties names, but I think it really loud.

Gulo Blue

August 19th, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

The 'Wal-Mart Wolverines' do thier fair share of funding of the University though tickets, donations, merchandise purchasing, and don't forget, through taxes.  It's their University too.  Not that that you can't be a fan for any reason you like...but in the case of the University of Michigan, the idea is even more absurd.

Michigan Offense

August 21st, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

Quite a few months back, when Brian was appearing on WTKA with more regularity, he had a great response to the "you didn't go to the school, so why are you a fan" notion.  Basically, he said that it doesn't say too much about your team/program if the only reason you would ever be a fan of it is if you attend the school.  

 

Bosch

August 19th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

The next time anyone brings up the WW tag to you, tell them your story.  There is nothing that will help them to see how ridiculous their reasoning is better than a good dose of reality.

MadMonkey

August 19th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

The OP and many of the others that follow are fascinating.  Our fan base has tremendous class and passion regardless of the reasons for their affinity to Michigan.  I had the good fortune to attend and graduate from Michigan, but several of my closest friends from high school did not.  I have never thought my education at Michigan entitled me to a superior claim to Michigan fandom.  To the contrary, many fellow students were pretty weak ass supporters and fair weather fans.  Case in point:  the frigging red shirts were in the seats of a lot of alumni last year!

Thanks again for the OP, it was a thoughtful piece that actually makes me that much more proud of Michigan, Michigan football, and particularly Michigan football fans..

stillMichigan

August 19th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

I really don't let other people's opinion affect me at all. My mom worked at U of M hospital when I was a baby. She took me on the field and took  my picture before it was even called the Big House. It's in my blood. Became a rabid fan at 11 and when we moved to Cinti.  Ohio I would go out to my dad's car on gameday and listen to WJR on the radio. Barely audible at times. For 30+ yrs I have known who our next opponent is. I have felt that pain you all know so well. And the chills when I hear the Victors some times. I cried when I saw the preview video last year when it went to color....sometimes when you're on...  I don't know,  For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. And for those who don't, none is possible.

andyreid14

August 19th, 2010 at 4:33 PM ^

The whole concept of "Wal-Mart Wolverine" is just a coping mechanism for Spartan fans. They love to have it both ways — for UM students and alumni, MSU fans bitch about arrogance and whatever. On the other hand, they want to feel better about themselves and trash UM fans that didn't go to the school.

Waters Demos

August 19th, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

MSU grad and current MSU law student here.  It won't surprise many to know that I find the "walmart wolverine" moniker to be amusing (and nothing more), but I empathize with the author of this post, who obviously has a deep personal connection with the university.  No reasonable member of an opposing fan base would ever be so rude as to use this term against someone whose fanhood is so personal.

The problem I have, which I don't see voiced very often by anyone else, is the thoughtless and public (all too public!) adoption of the university by people that didn't graduate from UM.  What I'm saying is that if I am at, for example, the grocery store, the day after MSU loses to UM in football, wearing MSU apparel, and am suddenly accosted by some DB M-fan, who subsequently gives me crap about the game, I am tempted to ask, "what year did you graduate from UM?  In what discipline?"   More likely than not, I'll get a blank stare, or deflection.  What right does this imbecile have to say anything to someone who actually has a degree from the university s/he supports?

In other words, no one has good grounds to attach the "Walmart wolverine" tag to someone who privately roots for UM but did not go there, and otherwise keeps their mouth shut.  You wanna root for them?  Have a family member that went there?  Just like the rate of success and look of the helmets?  Fine by me.  

The problem arises when you are PUBLIC about it.  If I never graduated from MSU, I'd have too much shame and self awareness than to make public my allegiance to it.  Of course, the issue becomes more sticky in this electronic forum, where everything is anonymous.  If you must be public in this forum (note: you really don't, it's a choice), then have humility in your comments.

Generally speaking, however, graduate from your school of choice first; then you may publicly adopt them.  Until then, have the decency to enjoy "your" school's successes or lament their failures in private, and leave grads from opposing schools alone.   

Pea-Tear Gryphon

August 19th, 2010 at 6:55 PM ^

Your points are too stupid to respond to and fly in the face of what is common fandom.

This is the part that really got me laughing though:

 If I never graduated from MSU, I'd have too much shame and self awareness than to make public my allegiance to it.

Bingo. Nice job reinforcing everything we Michigan fans believe about every Spartan fan. I will make sure to share your opinions with the numerous MSU fans I know that didn't attend the school. I'm sure they'll appreciate your stance on the matter and immediately stop cheering for them in front of me.

OHbornUMfan

August 19th, 2010 at 9:40 PM ^

And all of you stupid Tigers fans who never played for them or worked in the organization should never show your fanhood publicly!  The same with all of you ridiculous Lions "fans" who just jump on the bandwagon now that they are winning game (no typo, thanks) but never graduated from Detroit Lions U or wroked in the front office!

Sports teams affiliated with schools or for profit organizations should only be publicly rooted on by those directly affiliated with said schools and organizations. 

As an addendum, we should probably stop cheering for the folks who show up on the Friday Night Lights feature on this blog - they haven't even attended a single class at Michigan yet!

JTGoBlue

August 19th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

The word itself implies a lack of rationality...unbridled,  unconditional, and obsessive allegiance to a group, a political cause or view, and in this case, an athletic team representing a university.  Validation and qualification are immaterial. Why are so many Michigan fans fanatical about their support of the team? It is because of the rich history, the far reach, the vast impact the U of M has had on our state, our country, our world.  No university has made more of an impact in the arts, sciences, and business, and along the way entertained millions of fans with unmatched success in athletic endeavor.  For me, a Michigan alum, I observe no qualification for Michigan fandom, and all wearing the maize and blue are welcome to the Big House!

liam1231

August 19th, 2010 at 10:15 PM ^

UM, I graduated from EMU. But I did attend UM-Dearborn for 2 semesters! (Yea Me!) But I've always looked at it this way, I pay taxes to the state of Michigan, part of those tax dollars are channeled to the many public, state universities. The baseless argument of, "You didn't go there!" holds no water. As a previous post mentioned, I never played for the Lions, Wings, Tigers, Pistons, etc., so therefore can I root for them and buy their merchandise from Wal-Mart or elsewhere?

My love for UM is for the athletics. Having never attended the Mothership campus, I have no true knowledge of the educational aspect of the university. I know it is a very highly ranked school and would love for my children to attend. The prestige of being a UM alum and having the block "M" on your diploma carries alot of weight.

My personal story for being a UM fan starts when I was about 7, 8 years old in '79-'80, I was just starting to get into sports, especially on television. I saw Bo numerous times and thought he looked like my grandfather, with whom I was very close to. That pretty much started my UM love. I remember watching Anthony Carter and became the biggest Michigan Panthers fan because of him. Next came Harbaugh and Jokish, still two of my all-time UM favorites.

On a more personal note, I also have a UM hospital story to contribute. Three years ago, my wife was pregnant with our daughter. She was considered high-risk because of a mis-diagnosed thyroid disease that claimed the life of our newborn daughter, Abigail in 2006. Because of her high risk status, she could not be treated by her OB. She needed to be seen by a high risk OB/GYN. Plus my wife wanted a hospital with a neo-natal ICU. That left DMC downtown or UM. She wisely chose UM based on national rankings. She was seen every Tuesday for the entire 9 months by a team of three doctors assigned to only her. In fact, one of her doctors was a high school class mate of hers! Anyway, the doctors were awesome! They actually caught the onset of the same disease early enough and treated the baby in utero and carefully monitered every aspect. My daughter was born healthy in Feb. 2008 and is a beautiful blonde tornado today. I have no doubt that DMC would have done they're best with my wife and unborn child, but UM has the amazing reputation that many don't.

BTW, unless you are an alum of EMU, then I don't want to hear a word regarding last season! J/K

Govt Franzen

August 19th, 2010 at 11:02 PM ^

Here's my background.  My Dad went to MSU, my Mom taught at U of M, my brother went to U of M, I went to MSU.  I've seen both sides of the rivalry for years and even spent some of my HS days in AA rooting for Michigan on those weekend I was allowed to go up and visit my big brother (get drunk).  I have a number of friends and coworkers that graduated from Michigan and we have a healthy rivalry.  We bet bottles of booze on games, tease each other about the other school and have fun with it.  I also have a number of friends that went to Oakland, Western, Miami of Ohio, Central and Wayne that root for Michigan that love to give me crap when State loses or does something dumb.  We take it in stride and have fun with it, but those were also the guys that wanted to come crash on my couch every weekend and get drunk because East Lansing is one hell of a town for a 21 year old kid. 

I don't consider them Wal-Mart Wolverines.  Just because you didn't go there does not mean you can't root for them. 

Who do I consider "Wal'verines"? 

Last year I was at Hogan's on Telegraph for cocktails wearing an MSU golf shirt.  Some guy from a landscaping crew (still wearing the dirty uniform) leaving that had to yell "STATE SUCKS GO BLUE!"

The guy at my car dealer that changes my oil that saw the State sticker on the car that joked "Back up school?"

The admin for one of our warehouse managers that would always talk shit the Friday before football games, but would say "Go Green" to me when we're in the Final Four.

Or last year the day of the UM/OSU game I went to take my CPL class and the instructor started making fun of my MSU hat and did the old "How do you get an MSU grad off your porch?" joke.  When I said "Focus on your school today, you're going to need all the help you can get" his response was "Why, who do we play today?"

The bus boy at my friends restaurant who asked me before the MSU/UM game last year "why would you root for that loser school?" who is 20 and a HS drop out. 

Or the blown out wookie I saw at Phish last year that kept yelling "Little Brother" at us as he was trying to bum money off people to get gas money.

THESE are the people we call Wal-Mart Wolverines.  For most of us the Wal-Mart Wolverine fans are not a blanket statement on anyone that didn't go to school in Ann Arbor.  It refers to the people that we run into that seem to feel some sort of arrogance or superiority because of the school's athletic teams that they choose to root for. 

Waters Demos

August 20th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

I wrote a post a few back about how earning a degree gives one the right to publicly adopt the institution.  Of the 3 responses, however, only RedKnedy (whose comments were thoughtful and made me reevaluate my position somewhat) appears to have read the entire post, as opposed to only the sections I bolded for emphasis.   It's not possible to say or write anything without someone taking selected passages out of context or altogether misunderstanding it. 

Nothwithstanding that, what I meant to say is essentially what Mr. Franzen has said here (and a full reading of my post, instead of only the bolded points, would have included my grocery store anecdote, which is strikingly similar to the several instances that Mr. Franzen has cited).  By "public," I do not mean watching games with friends/family wearing "your" school's gear, and the like.  Instead, "public" means berating fans of other schools - something that no one should do regardless of whether or not they have a degree from the school (as RedKnedy so aptly pointed out).  What I was trying to say, however, is that these people (those without degrees giving shit to a stranger wearing another school's colors) are the lowest of the low.  If you're going to do this (note: you shouldn't . . . ever), you should at least stand on the foundation of a degree from the school.   If you do, you're just a jerk - but at least you're not trashy.  If you don't, you're a "walmart wolverine."

skipinmich

August 19th, 2010 at 11:58 PM ^

Glad to see there is another person from the Thumb in here besides me, mrlmichael.  I'm from Parisville and attended Ubly High School...Home of the Bearcats.  I did attend the University of Michigan (MS '83).  I commend any person who follows/supports U of M's athletic teams whether they attended the school or not.  You should never have to defend having good taste! 

skipinmich

August 20th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

Yeah.....I thought you might be feeling that way when you saw a Bearcat guy in here!  Funny thing is....I did my student teaching at the elementary school in Harbor Beach.  I volunteered to chaperone on the bus for students/fans going to Pirate away football games.  Somehow the students found out where I went to high school and did they ever give me grief!  BTW....it was really difficult to cheer for Harbor Beach at those game.  Fortunately, Ubly was a home game for them that year!  All kidding aside, we Thumb people are the best...especially those of us who cheer for the maize and blue...
 

markusr2007

August 20th, 2010 at 12:11 AM ^

all you can pick are USC *gack*, Cal and UCLA gear (as if there is something wrong with Stanford?)  Stanford and Walmart must not compute.

Anyway, I wish I could be a Walmart Wolverine fan where I live because there's no M-Den or  Mo Sports Shop in Southern California, dammitall.  I wish they'd sell national store franchises to serve the Wolverine fan diaspora.