Cleat Geeks

The Hatred of ‘The Rivalry’

The definition of a rivalry is “a competition with the same objective or goal in the same field or expertise.” In sports, the goal of every team is to be the champion- so what sets some rivalries apart?

The Big Ten has a multitude of rivalries, played for trophies from the Little Brown Jug to the $5 Bits of Broken Chair. (yes, that is a real thing) However, one rivalry stands out above the rest and it does not need a trophy to prove it.

The animosity between Ohio State and Michigan is well documented. From the Ten Year War to the current barbs the programs are trading, there is absolutely no love lost. As a fan, I hate Michigan.

The Heisman Trophy won by John Cappeliti rest in the Museum.

The Heisman Trophy.

I hate that football played in leather helmets is the reason Michigan is leading the all-time series. I hate that the 90’s existed. I hate that a former Buckeye assistant ushered in the Golden Era of Wolverine football. I hate that the most iconic pose in sports was coined by an Ohioan, for Michigan, at Ohio State’s expense. I hate that I am reminded of this fact every week when I turn on Game Day. I hate that I know Michigan getting back to being *Michigan* is great for the rivalry. I hate that despite knowing this, schadenfreude causes me to root for Michigan’s opponents week after week.

However, there are things I hate more than this. I hate that a couple beverages will cause some idiots to brawl because of a Scarlet or Maize sweatshirt. I hate that I saw members of an Ohio State tailgate, unprovoked, throw a liquor bottle at a Michigan tailgate prior to the #1 vs #2 game. I hate that jackasses like that can ruin it for everybody else. I hate that, like it or not, Ohio State needs Michigan more than Michigan needs Ohio State.

Most of all though, I hate that Michigan has not been Michigan in a long time.

I love a Scarlet and Maize collision course that starts building steam in September. I love weekly banter and friendly bets with Michigan fans. I love looking forward to games like ’02, ’03, and ’06 – not games like ’09. I love that Michigan hired a coach that understands the rivalry. I love that Jim Harbaugh has the pedigree to go toe to toe with the juggernaut that Urban Meyer is still building at Ohio State.

I love that ‘The Game’ is ‘The Game again’.

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