Origin of "The Game" ?

Submitted by SpazCarpenter on November 19th, 2018 at 4:45 PM

 I am currently working on the Student Union renovation, and although we are roughnecks, us skilled trade workers take pride in making the greatest campus in America even greater. Spirits are high among us, and also among those who are taking in hate week around campus. I've been in a kind of nostalgic-like-trance participating in the beauty of trash talk and blue collar football analysis.

 There are many hot takes going around. Plumbers are typically pessimists, Electricians are always cautiously optimistic, Carpenters talk shit, (yeeah.) Iron Wurkurs is stupid dum doo-doo heads, and Sprinkler Fitters save lives.

 However, I was stumped today when in discussion with an old guy we talked about "The Game" and where that nickname originated. (Is it a nickname? Alternative title? Whatever.)

 I'm 26 years young, and my first recollection of Michigan - OSU being called "The Game" was on the ABC commercial snippet maybe 10 years ago or so.

 A Quick Google and Mgoblog search came up negitory. I guess this isn't really a big info find, but it has been bugging me all afternoon, dammit. Any help board?

 Lastly, some of us are assholes but most of us workers appreciate all of you that make the University of Michigan a great place to work. Go Blue and Attack Each Day With An Enthusiam Unknown to Mankind!


L'Carpetron Do…

November 19th, 2018 at 6:21 PM ^

Yeah one of my buddies went to Yale and always laments that people refer to Michigan-Ohio St as "The Game" because that's supposed to be Harvard-Yale (and I'm always like 'nobody cares about that shit')

(I don't particularly care for the term 'the game' one way or the other though. I always liked how it was always just 'Michigan-Ohio State' because every other rivalry game seems to have some nickname)


November 19th, 2018 at 6:33 PM ^

Every region in the country has their version of “The Game.” The folks in California use that specific reference for the annual Cal/Stanford tussle. Other regions may have different nomenclature for their big game between arch-rivals. Though born and raised in SE Michigan, I’ve lived in California, Texas, Colorado, and now Florida. Except for some ex-pats from the Midwest, I doubt many locals in those areas would identify the title “The Game” uniquely with UM/OSU.


November 19th, 2018 at 7:15 PM ^

I don't think it does.

I used to have (or my dad used to have, and I used to watch semi-obsessively) this old VHS tape showing highlights and stuff of the rivalry.  This one here, actually:


I don't recall it even once being called "The Game" by anyone in that tape.  Not Bo or anyone else who speaks.


November 19th, 2018 at 5:01 PM ^

Zebras are reactionaries, antelopes are missionaries, pigeons plot in secrecy, and hamsters turn on frequently 

Your line about plumbers being pessimistic got me thinking about a truly awful Simon and Garfunkel song lol


November 19th, 2018 at 5:03 PM ^

My dad owned a business that put up steel buildings all over the Midwest. I met a bunch of iron workers that worked for him. Some really great people for the most part. He had a guy that worked for him named Clayton. However, everyone called him Shit. It was short for dumb as shit. He truly was dumb as shit, but he was one hell of an iron worker. 

I had a chuckle at your iron worker joke. 


November 19th, 2018 at 5:13 PM ^

As a carpenter who worked once in awhile on the UM campus I agree that we talk shit. I'm thinking you are a pipe fitter so I will tell you that one time on a job I had a kid come up to one morning and ask me a question. I didn't know and said to him go ask that plumber over there, a fitter up on a ladder working. Boy did that pull his chain, he came down and told me that he was not a plumber. The difference he said was a pipe fitter puts his ass where a plumber puts his face, LOL. I never forgot that, one of the funniest things I've ever heard.


November 19th, 2018 at 5:20 PM ^

I think the whole issue of calling it The Game sort of grew organically, in an acknowledgment that it doesn't need a nickname.  It doesn't need a sponsor, it doesn't need a trophy designed by a focus group.  It's just the game.  Capitalize it if you have to, but even that's pushing it.


November 19th, 2018 at 5:22 PM ^

Id be willing to bet Keith Jackson coined the term.

It could have been called that during the 10 year war but I dont remember it being called that. Id think Ufer would have picked up on it but I dont remember him ever saying it.

I do remember in the 80s or early 90s it being used.


November 20th, 2018 at 1:31 AM ^

Agreed. First started going to games in '97 and figured, as an eight-year-old child, that Michigan dominance held as an immutable de facto law. osu's rise coinciding with the fear-based gestalt characteristic of the w bush era soon metastisized to shade my time growing up in Toledo a cloudy shade of pessimism.

Sure, during the early aughts, Michigan's teams were fun. Braylon's OT theatrics over msu. Manningham's walk-off catch against psu. (2003 was also generally a great time.)

But living in Toledo as a teenager whose elementary school classmates openly defected from UM fanhood to board a bandwagon populated with the same gray-skinned middle managers and abject rednecks baselessly thirsty for Iraqi blood relegated these otherwise-bright sports moments to a sort of JV status in lieu of the reality that Michigan could not field a football team capable of vanquishing these petty, obnoxious fucks. Petty, obnoxious fucks helmed by individuals whose signature garments respectively comprised a sweater vest and bowtie, no less.

Yes, allow me to corroborate that the hatred runs fiercely in Toledo.

Mike Damone

November 19th, 2018 at 5:32 PM ^

1969 - Bo's first year as head coach, when Michigan pulled off a stunning upset over the "team of the century", thought of as Woody Hayes' best Buckeyes team ever.

The final score per Bob Ufer - "Rose Bowl Bound Meeeeeechigan 24 - Bewildered Ohio State 12".

No data to support this - but it feels right...

Arb lover

November 19th, 2018 at 7:04 PM ^

Yes! I remember referring to it as the game growing up, but I don't think it really took off from "the game" to "The Game" until Sparty started trying to act uppity somewhere in the late oughts and we had to remind them that "The Game" wasn't for another month and a half. 


November 19th, 2018 at 7:59 PM ^

Yeah my grandpa had a book from 1979 that was about "The First 100 years of Michigan Football".  It referred to the Game.  It wasn't that well put together (centennial committee?) so I am not sure if that name was accepted fact as a title or just the writer running out of ideas.  Probably the former but seriously a tough book to digest even for a topic so close to all of us.  


Gob Wilson

November 19th, 2018 at 6:24 PM ^

Ancient history, but UM v. OSU was moved to the last game of the season in 1935. Prior to that an argument could be made that our biggest rivals were the Golden Gophers as the biggest "the game" for the Wolverines was against Minnesota as the last game of the year from 1919-1927. 


November 19th, 2018 at 7:04 PM ^

Apropos of nothing, do you guys on the crew think the "I WOULDN'T DO IT AND I WON'T LET YOU DO IT EITHER" signs from the construction company are as funny as I do? 


November 19th, 2018 at 8:01 PM ^

Yes and no. Safety is important, and the industry has changed drastically from what the old timers tell me. The ones who intentionally disregard safety rules usually lack common sense, or they are incompetent. Many jobs require workers complete safety modules and drug screens. 

But.. I've noticed when the general contractor starts bitching about money and deadlines, they lax their safety walkthroughs.

The contractor Walbridge, who is running the Student Union job, is known for being one of the safest contractors, and they enforce pretty strict rules. 

I hate to admit it but I've been sent home from a Walbridge job because I was rolling on a baker scaffold, which is lame... I was pissed.

scanner blue

November 20th, 2018 at 8:41 AM ^

Another carpenter here whose kind of jealous of you working on the Union. I do mainly residential high end jobs in A2 but would have loved to work on the Hill Auditorium renovation or redoing Schembechler Hall.I've worked on many professors and doctors houses but my contribution to campus life is working on the Phi Delt house. Nothing like coming into work on a monday morning to literal shit on the bathroom floor and regurgitation on the walls.