UNITED STATES—I’m not the biggest sports fan, but when it comes to sports I love college football and college basketball. The biggest reason is that you actually see athletes fighting for something; they have something to prove if you ask me. What I find more interesting is the rivalry that exists between certain colleges that can get fans riled up in ways like no other. I am an alumnus of Michigan State University, and anyone who is a Spartan, knows very well, that we have an ongoing rivalry with the University of Michigan and their beloved Wolverines.
These two schools do not get along people when it comes to sports. Spartans dislike Wolverines and Wolverines dislike Spartans. It’s not a wise choice to venture into Spartan Stadium with maize and blue colors, and if you enter The Big House in Ann Arbor in green and white you should prayer. No, this is not saying things will be violent, it’s noting you will be heckled quite a bit to say the least.
However, when it comes to college football you are either: a Spartan or a Wolverine; there is no in-between America. These two teams have gone to battle since 1898, and as a result this century plus long rivalry gets sports fans amped up in ways that even alumni like myself have trouble fathoming at times. Spartans dress in school colors to show their support, and Wolverines dress in school attire to root on their favorite team. Saturday marked the 119th time these two teams have met to battle. At stake the school’s reputation, not to mention the iconic Paul Bunyan trophy which the winning teams gets to maintain for the rest of the year.
The Wolverines who were ranked #7 in the nation were expected to turn their record from 4-0 to 5-0. As for the Spartans, while underdogs they were ready to prove themselves to all the naysayers and doubters. I’m not that big of a bar person, but I decided to hang out with family and friends on this momentous football outing. The bar was pretty packed with Spartan fans, but there also were plenty of Wolverine fans. Drinks were flowing, cheers echoed throughout the room and most important of all: rivalries were front and center. When the Spartans made a great play cheers erupted, when the Wolverines stopped the opposition from scoring cheers erupted.
It was an energy to be honest I haven’t witnessed in quite some time; it was fun, exciting and a thrill-a-minute. I mean the game started at 7:30 p.m. and didn’t conclude till a little after 11 p.m. The score was tight the entire game, not to mention it was a battle; one team didn’t control the pace of the entire game. It was a sporting event that was fun to watch from start to finish. To make the game even more exciting was the questionable weather.
It was predicted that major storms would intercept the game near the third and fourth quarter and it did happen. I mean can you imagine watching people get drunk, while it pours down raining outside? To make things even more predictable was the fact that the football field got pelted with tons of rain, just as fans shivered together. Rarely do things of this magnitude transpire in the football arena, so when they do it just makes the sport that much more exciting. I mean a game is ONLY stopped for major, threatening weather like lightening, massive high winds, a tornado or impending hurricane.
What am I getting at when it comes to the core of sports? A good school rival creates a level of comradery amongst people. People bond because of sports and even if you’re rooting for the opposing team, it still makes for a fun outing for all involved.