a little bit of history hardly anyone will give a rip about:
both of my parents were raised in ann arbor, michigan (the home of the university of michigan). both went to ann arbor high school. both attended the university of michigan.
my maternal grandfather was a massive michigan football fan, holding season tickets for enough years, that by the time i remember getting to sit in his seats, they were just about at the 50 yard line (for the uninitiated, this is a really big deal, as season ticket holders slowly — over many years — shift to better and better seats). through most of my childhood, i was lovingly welcomed into the michigan football worldview. one of the earliest songs i learned was the michigan fight song. i can’t sing my own college’s fight song (does wheaton college even have one?), but i can sure belt out ‘hail to the victors valiant…”.
we always attended a few games every year. and we usually stopped at “the big house” a couple other times during the year just to run around in the empty stadium (it’s a truly gasp-inducing stadium — seating about 110,000 in one giant bowl, without any ‘levels’ or overhangs). even though i never lived in ann arbor, i could still take you to the exact street or two where we would look for parking. my blood runs maize and blue.
i always assumed i would attend michigan, play in the marching band, and major in engineering. problem was, by the time i was a senior in high school, i didn’t play in band anymore, and it was clear i sucked at math and was sensing a calling to youth ministry.
anyone who grew up in columbus, ohio, or thereabouts, can understand this from the other direction: there is no team in any sport, anywhere in the world, that i would rather see lose than ohio state university football. michigan and osu have had a strong rivalry since before i was born. when i was a kid, the classic coach match-up of bo schembechler (michigan) and woody hayes (osu) created the commonly seen bumper-sticker in our area, “woody is a pecker”. really, as a kid, i DID think he was an idiot, and i thought bo was an almost-god.
all that said: this saturday’s game between michigan and osu is a big deal, in case you didn’t know (if you didn’t know that, you probably stopped reading this post long before this point!). osu has been ranked #1 all year, and michigan has slid upward through the ranks to hold onto a #2 ranking for quite a few weeks now. both teams are undefeated, and are clearly the best two teams in college football.
the game is in ohio. and… i’m in ohio (not for the game, unfortunately, but for the national youth workers convention). know this: i will represent. it’s just about killin’ me that i technically have a window of about 30 minutes to watch a slice of the game on saturday. i might have to ditch a couple things.
so, really, i ask — if a wolverine and a buckeye (a nut, btw) were to encounter one another, which, pray tell, would get the best of the other? i think the outcome of saturday’s game is obvious.