now comes the time when we talk smack

michigan-dm.jpga 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.


27 thoughts on “now comes the time when we talk smack”

  1. I live in Notre Dame country, so I have to be bitter about Michigan handing ND it’s only loss this year.
    If it were possible, I’d like to see them both lose!
    Go ND!

  2. i know many UM fans hate ND with the same passion they hate OSU. i’ve never been one of them. i actually enjoy ND. but maybe that’s because i’ve never seen them as a real threat. (ha! how was that for smack!)

  3. Marko:

    Take your own convention advice– skip something and watch the game! I also grew up in MI, and while my little brother’s much more of a fan, I know what a big deal it is!


  4. jim and i just had this conversation last night which included several, “i just don’t think you graspt he magnitude of this event, holly.” :) he has let me know that he will be totally unavailable from 3p onward on saturday and that, should, god forbid, michigan lose, he probably won’t be able to speak for a few hours. i’m just hoping i don’t go into labor on saturday.

    peace. go blue.

  5. As a resident of Ohio I obviously agree but from the other point of view. I think the Buckeyes will pull off a W but it will be a close one. I won’t pick on you too much after the game though.

  6. I just think it’s great to see two Big 10 teams in the top 2 spots in rankings. Finally the big 10 is back where they should be. By the way….Michigan all the way!

  7. Go Biola!! Oh wait, there was no football team at my college. So GO BRUINS!! Oh wait, UCLA stinks it up this year.

    I’m rooting for Michigan as the underdog. Doesn’t everybody love the underdog?

  8. Marko, i will think of you working while i am eating and drinking while watching the game, who am i kidding i won’t think of you because i will be watching the game, go blue!!!!

  9. I grew up in NH where football falls under the category of “urban legend” like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, but now I live in Xenia Ohio where these crazy football fans are everywhere, putting flags on their porches, bobbleheads on their dashboards, and crazy massive stickers on their cars. All that to say that I read your entire post.

  10. As an englishman who spent a semester in Ann Arbor over 10 years ago I still wear my maize and blue hat with pride – will be singing hail to the victors valiant with you on saturday!

  11. Do you have or know of any plans to watch the game while at the NYWC on Saturday? I’m packing my MICHIGAN apparel and, since my husband can’t be there, am hoping to find some like-minded fans and a place to hail the victors!

  12. OSU really is the team to beat this year. Too bad it won’t be Michigan doing it. The Wolverines probably will score a few sympathy points in the third quarter. That’ll help them save face.

    Then the question will be who plays Ohio State for the championship? Rutgers?

  13. Ouch! :)

    Okay, so ND isn’t as fantastically wonderful as you perceive Michigan to be… But lets face it, ND is the essence of college football. (It’s true)

    (and no, I don’t go to Notre Dame, but Bethel doesn’t exactly have a football team)

  14. Good thing you did drive to the conference(as we will be from Michigan) All over the news they are advising not driving cars with michigan plates to Columbus and not wearing michigan gear until you get into the stadium GO BLUE

  15. If Michigan plays as well as they did against Ball State – Well draw you own conclusions. I know I’ll be skipping and watching.

  16. As a Notre Dame fan (who lives in Michigan) I could care less who wins the big game. (OK, I want OSU to cream Michigan simply because of the smackdown they put on my Irish.) That said, I am very excited about being at the convention when so many people are going to be fired up about the big game. It should add some flare.

  17. It’s gonna come down to whoever wants the win the most. I am a die hard Buckeye and will say that OSU is gonna pull out the win, but I always look forward to watching this game. I just hope I don’t have to eat any humble pie come Sunday. I would encourage you to practice what you preach to us at the convention…skip something and watch it…we did in Nashville last year and had a great time fellowshipping with some other youthworkers–who we still love even though they were Michigan fans. Might be fun to do, but harder for you since you help run the thing! So I’ll leave with saying GO BUCKS–and know that I still love you brother-even though you are a Michigan fan. Have a great weekend-I am praying for the convention I am sure it will be awesome-I know Austin was for me!

  18. thanks to you who are encouraging me to ‘practice what i preach’ and skip something to watch the game. but, uh, putting on this convention is kinda my job! if all the ys staff skipped whatever we felt like skipping, you wouldn’t have a convention full of stuff to skip!

  19. Yeah I kind of figured that was the case…but I thought I’d throw it in there to let you know that we do listen to what ya’ll have to say in the midst of our skipping the occasional event. Hope the use of “practice what you preach” wasn’t offensive to you, wasn’t meaning it to be, just as a little joke. Appreciate you guys!

  20. As a huge and life long university of Michigan fan and a lover of football the only thing that kept me from playing football there was being slow, short and not real strong. They werent offering scholarships to 210 pound offensive lineman that run a 40 in about 12 hours. There are two days that this youth minister would consider it a sin to plan a youth ministry event for, superbowl Sunday and the Saturday of the U of M Ohio State game. What a great rivalry and I am now here in pergatory where the best we can do for a rivalry is south Carolina and Clemson?? Oh no what if the birth of my child comes on this day? Do you think my wife will let me name the Child Wolverine if that happens? Go Blue

  21. matt — dude, not offensive at all! thanks for the thought. we just can’t do that if you don’t want a sucky event! :o)

    brian — buck off, buddy.

  22. Marko-
    My team and I last year skipped super seminars at the Nashville NYWC to watch OSU/UM. We walked over a mile to find an open restaurant with the game on TV.

    If I was in Cincy I’d do the same, but I live in Columbus, so I think I’ll put my NYWC training into action and watch the game with a few students :-)

    Go Bucks! (and I seriously mean that in the nicest way possible).

  23. I attended YSC in Pittsburgh last year and suffered through the anti-Steelers comments from the stage. Now OSU?

    I’ll pray for God to comfort you in your loss.

    Go Bucks!

    A proud OSU Mom

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