Us or Them? Somebody help a non-Michigan Man/Michigan fan.

Submitted by 74polSKA on July 27th, 2011 at 8:26 AM

The more I post, the more I find myself wanting to use "us" and "we" when talking about the football team.  I am not a U of M grad, although I steered my little brother to Michigan over ND and tOSU and he graduated in April.  

I have developed a strong aversion to people who have no connection to a school using inclusive terms like this.  I don't know if this is a result of constant bombardment from tOSU fans who act like they've toted the ball for the Buckeyes, called plays, etc. or if I'm being self conscious because I'm not a real Michigan Man.  Pro sports fans don't bother me because you don't have a realistic chance to be a part of the team or organization at that level.

Is there a name for this disorder?  Am I alone?



Young Hero

July 27th, 2011 at 8:36 AM ^

We here at Michigan are committed to foster an all-inclusive environment that is not just limited to those who have walked the halls of the many classrooms that inundate central campus, mid-October.  Your loyalty is always appreciated and while we will not smile upon using "us" or "we" from non-graduates, we certainly will not frown upon it either and will maintain a straight face and invoke no reprocussions.


Also, do not worry.  You are not alone.  I will always be there for you.  There is no medical consensus on the name for your disorder but much debate on whether it can be called a disorder at all.  Rooting for the good guys here!


July 27th, 2011 at 8:44 AM ^

us Walmart Woverines, i.e., any fan who did not actually go to UM.  How many farmers have the "S" on their barn who actually went to MSU?  I saw a post on facebook by a sparty after the second UM win over the sparties in bb that he only would take shit from anyone who had actually gone to UM-how pathetic.


July 27th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

Sparty fans came up with the myth of the Walmart Wolverine because nobody who didn't actually go to MSU cheers for them by choice, unless it's some poor kid whose parents went there.  Then, while almost all of the kids he goes to school with choose to cheer for Michigan, he has to cheer for MSU because that's what his parents taught him.

In other words, Sparty is jealous because people choose to be Wolverine fans, while people only cheer for MSU if they or their parents went there.  They have managed to spin this into what they consider to be a "badge of honor."    

If you're a fan, you're a fan.  Sparty just doesn't see it that way.  Sucks to be Sparty.


July 27th, 2011 at 7:39 PM ^

Consequently, Walmart Wolverine is a term used almost exclusively by MSU students and alumni--of which a majority, simply because of the sheer numbers of them who grew up in this state, say it with a particularly sense of self-loathing, since although they're no longer keen to admit it, they, too grew up Michigan fans. 

So if you hear it, brother, simply dismiss their hate and be thankful you're not in their shoes. Such wayward souls who use the term were often once were just like us, but for one unfortunate reason or another became bitter with age.

Mr Mackey

July 27th, 2011 at 8:49 AM ^

I say "us" is fine for any Michigan fan. The outcome of the game affects you, and if you care about the game and cheer for Michigan, then you should use ''us.'' It's the moronic Sparties who will say "Oh it doesn't count cuz you didn't go to UM so you're just a Walmart" which is idiotic. If Michigan fans were made only of alums, we wouldn't have many of our most loyal fans.

So.. yeah. Us.

ND Sux

July 27th, 2011 at 8:53 AM ^

I grew up in SE Jackson County, 1/2 hour from AA.  I had the grades for UM, but my family didn't have the dough.  Eventually I put myself through Walsh College (partial academic scholarship helped), a fine business school in Troy.

Due to proximity, I grew up a HUGE M fan, starting at age seven (late sixties).  Since then, I've poured countless dollars into apparel & tickets, and scattered lots of dough amonst AA businesses over decades of game days.  I cheer my lungs out and support the team every chance I get, and do my part to fight the evils (tSIO, MSWho, ND).  I also have a Meeeechigan tattoo, and can spout all the history and tradition same as most grads can. 

I'll always envy and respect Michigan alums, but fuck it, I'm blue in my mind and in my actions.


July 27th, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

Grew up just West of GR, but was cheering for Maize and Blue since I could walk.  Had a damn good paying internship and couldn't risk losing it to try and move over to AA, so ended up going to and graduating from Hope College.

Every year, would spend most every last penny i had on tickets in the nose bleeds of the Big House to see every home game rain or shine.  Even went on a few road trips to see away games.  I hope to some day move back home and do my Masters at U of M to get the real experience, but i will always bleed maize and blue (and orange and blue, go dutchmen!)


July 27th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

I grew up in Ann Arbor (my dad works there) and have bled maize and blue since childhood. I was barely old enough to remember the national championship year of '97 but I do remember watching the game with my family as a six-year-old.

Now I am actually attending Calvin College (go knights!) but still bleed maize and blue through and through. I feel I am allowed to use "we" or "us" given the emotional investment I have put in for all my life.

Wisconsin Wolverine

July 27th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

go Dutch :)

I worked in a lab at Michigan after graduating from Hope, & it was a great experience.  I've loved Michigan since I was little, & living in Ann Arbor for 2 years was like realizing the dream of being a part of it all.  of course Holland is very nice, but the big university atmosphere was new & exciting.

plus I can't say enough about the work experience - adding that Michigan cred to my Hope background definitey helped me get into my current grad program at UW-Madison.  so I highly recommend such a combination (even Calvin to Michigan is cool) :P


July 27th, 2011 at 9:04 AM ^

just like the alums who sit on their hands are "us" and the alums who don't care for Michigan athletics are "us".

The nice thing about U of Mers is that we're not really as snobby as others would make us out to be.  It's a big family and is inconclusive whether you went to school there or not.

Michigan Arrogance

July 27th, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

In my mind, if you want a Michigan man, it's simple, pick someone who gets that for so many of us, there is nowhere else in the world we would rather be associated with than the University of Michigan, for good or for ill, in right and in wrong. If they understand that, and if they feel the same way, if they are respectful of tradition without being beholden to it, if they are mindful of what has made Michigan great in the past without trying to do it exactly the same way, if they hold fast to the spirit of the thing rather than the letter of it, they will have a strong chance to be successful.


-John U. Bacon

       - Michigan Arrogance


July 27th, 2011 at 9:09 AM ^

are perfectly acceptable options, but if used with a really weak, negative argument, can be tricky. 

My stance, "We are going to kick the shit out of Michigan State and their PRO-bullshit uniforms at their place!! Glory will be ours!"  - Perfectly acceptable use of inclusionary term or first person.

"We are overrated.  We saw the same thing last year and it is all going to cave in again."  Unacceptable use of inclusionary term or first person.

If a biting criticism, go with "Michigan" or "M," not we or us.


July 27th, 2011 at 9:10 AM ^

I was born and raised in Cbus.  My whole family are buckeye fans.

I graduated from Alabama.

But I have BLED maize and blue my whole life (well since I could watch a whole game, about age 7).  I laughed at my school mates during the Cooper era, I wallowed in my sorrows during the Tressel era.

I am proud to say "us" and "we", because I am a fan, I have stuck with the wolves against all odds.

I am a part of this.  That is all.


July 27th, 2011 at 9:09 AM ^

Don't let Sparty and the brahs get to you; your reference to "us" and "we" refers to all Michigan fans, not just those who hold a diploma from the University.

M Vader

July 27th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

The ones who say Michigan is arrogant and evil are the delusional  Illinois, MSU, and OSU fans out there who are trying to attach a bad rap.  In truth we are actually a very generous and supportive group and  I personally believe that anyone who has a strong interest in Michigan suceeding should be included.  I grew up in NJ and had no interest in college football until I went to UM in 1991.  When I got there I certainly viewed the locals who weren't going to UM as just as big and credible M fans as myself.  If you are still a fan after App state, losing seasons, and blowout losses to MSU (NNTMSU) then you are always a true fan.


July 27th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

Everyone has different experiences.  Based on my experiences (in Ann Arbor only), Wisconsin fans are the biggest assholes in the B10 (Nebraska fans could challenge them for that though).  

OSU fans I have never had a problem with.  Probably because they realize how big of assholes they are to visiting Michigan fans in Columbus, they keep a lower profile in Ann Arbor. 

I hate ND but their fans are among the nicest.

MSU fans are the most delusional and some of the dumbest.  However, only being a short drive away means that a lesser fan who doesn't know as much is more apt to show up than say, a clown from Columbus.  

I have read people on here state how Texas fans think of us much more highly than OSU fans (thank god).  But I can also tell you this - there are some Texas fans who went to the Rose Bowl in 2004 that would disagree.....

Wisconsin Wolverine

July 27th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

hey now, hey, you stop it.  :P  living here in the heart of badger country, I can't complain too much about the local wildlife.  they're pretty high quality folks,  friendly & humble.  almost equally dedicated to eating, drinking, & having a good time as they are to their football team.  the only ones I've met with a chip on their shoulder have been in the marching band haha ... can't explain that one.


July 27th, 2011 at 10:59 AM ^

This is a tad bit embarrasing but I almost cried after the Appy St. game. I was in complete shock. Watching video clips of other teams celebrate as the last field goal attempt was blocked made me want to throw up.

That game cut deeper than any of my own highschool games or any other teams I support. I'm not a UM alum so the only time I use the term "us" or "we" is when I'm arguing with someone from out of state. Especially OSU fans.


July 27th, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

I jagerbomb'd myself to blackout after that game.  

One of two games I fell to my knees in disgust at the end of the game, cutting up my knees both times.  The other was the Nebraska Alamo Bowl game.

If you think about it - those two games are (partially) offset by the Phil Brabbs game (Washington 2002) and the "TOUCHDOWN MANNINGHAM!"  game (PSU undefeated up until that point).  


July 27th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

Indeed. I accidentally broke a glass table as soon as I heard "TOUCHDOWN MANNINGHAM!" (yeah I was covering my eyes. Too scared to watch)

The msu and Fla games KIND OF made up for it that year. The next 3 years tested my fan loyalty, but I'm still here!

Louie C

July 27th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

"If you are still a fan after App state, losing seasons, and blowout losses to MSU (NNTMSU) then you are always a true fan."

I agree with that wholeheartedly. Call me crazy if you want, but I think my affinity for U of M grew stronger during these trying times. I liken it to a family that has gone through some kind of hardship and in the process, it made them closer and appreciate each other more.


July 27th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

Don't worry about it. Any Michigan Fan can call themselves (ourselves?) us. 

In Soderstrom's book on Yost, Yost talks about how ANY Mi Taxpayer should be able to get season tickets at the new stadium, not just the Alumni. They pay taxes that go towards the public university. In the same vein, if you've ever bought a ticket, T-shirt, or supported Michigan in any way, then you're "Us"


July 27th, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

I've been using "we/us" since I started watching UM football when I was 12. Yeah - I ended up graduating from UM, but I think the requirements for using "we/us" are just that you are a fan and emotionally invested in the games. Fans who've been following UM football for years have more of a right to use "we/us" than a michigan grad who doesn't know we have a quarterback with a blinding smile.


July 27th, 2011 at 9:22 AM ^

If Michigan wants to use the name "The Big House" and brag about the 109,000+ stadium capacity as the largest in the nation, then everyone needs to realize that our stadium wouldn't reach the attendance numbers without the support of ALL fans whether they attended/are affiliated with the University or not. Boom. 

Michael Scarn

July 27th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

I wouldn't call you "old fashioned" I'd call you "wrong" or "elitist".
<br>Let's say we've got 2 hypothetical Michigan fans - Charles and Maurice.
<br>Charles came out of the womb during the final minutes of a historic Michigan win. Among the first sounds he heard was The Victors on a nearby TV. Since that day, he's been blue. He saved money in his piggy bank to buy apparel and give to his Dad in the hopes of getting tickets. When he became old enough to work, as much of his paycheck as possible went towards Michigan athletics. He moved to Ann Arbor when he was 22 and hasn't missed a football, basketball or hockey home game since. He goes to bowl games and any away games within 500 miles. He can quote Yost and Oosterban and Bo at length. He knows every All-American, all 42 years we won the Big Ten championship, has the two deep memorized like his social security number and can accurately and knowledgeably give you scouting reports on any Michigan recruit. But he has never gone to Michigan.
<br>Now we have Maurice. Maurice grew up in some state outside the Midwest. He came to Michigan for undergrad because it's the best school he got into and his parents pressured him into it. Maurice couldn't care less about sports. His parents got him season tickets for the revenue sports, but most of them go unused. On the occasion that he gets dragged to a game by his friends, Maurice says things like "I heard Devin Robinson was pretty good huh?" and still thinks Lloyd Carr is our head coach. He sits down most of the game and leaves in the 3rd quarter.
<br>Tell me, would you rather include Charles or Maurice in the collective "we"?
<br>Obviously I've set these up ideally for my point(even the names are a Heisman winner and a Buckeye criminal) but the message is the same.
<br>I grew up living and dying with Michigan sports. My best friend since first grade is an MSU fan, and we can't speak to each other for weeks surrounding games between our teams because it will end in fisticuffs. I went elsewhere for undergrad, but still followed Michigan religiously - literally treating fall Saturdays like a sabbath. I've now come back to Michigan for my law degree. I feel no more a justifiable "we" today than I did as a 9 year old watching Woodson nod emphatically with a rose in his mouth or an 18 year old thousands of miles away wallowing for weeks after the horror.
<br>Sorry for the diatribe.


July 27th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

Unless you are a player, former player or coach, I don't really like using the terms us or we when referring the team.  And this comes from a UofM grad.  If you didn't put in the blood sweat and tears to run out onto that field on fall Saturdays, I don't think you've earned the priviledge of referring to the team in that manner.  If you are talking about Michigan as a whole, or the fan base I don't see any reason not to use the term we.  College sports is much bigger than just the students and alumni, otherwise it wouldn't be able to rake in the billions that it does.  There are probably more Michigan fans who didn't go to the University than those who did, but it doesn't make them inferior fans.


July 27th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

I may not have put in the blood, sweat and tears of a player... but:

Maybe my student season tickets provided that extra dollar they needed to help build the Hoops Practice Facility

Maybe my cheering and jumping up and down helped make just enough noise that the Offense false started and I helped our D. Mine could have been the voice that put us over the edge

Maybe my buying a shirt provided enough $$ to go do something else awesome. 

Maybe me tuning in to Michigan games on TV put them over the edge to build the BTN and provide us with huge revenue and get us Nebraska.

Every little bit helps, and who's to say it would have happened without your little bit? I'm just playing Devil's Advocate, but I'll use "We" you can use "Them/the team" and we'll all be happy Michigan fans. Sound good?

KC Wolve

July 27th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

This is my feeling as well. I don't play on the team so I never use "we". It doesn't bother me that people do it though.
<br>To the guy that says I have to be an alum to say we. I paid $650 for two corner seats and $400 for a plane ticket to watch we play Notre Dame. Eat one.