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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trapped Behind Enemy Lines

I always get a kick out of emails like the one below from MZone reader W-i-B (after you read the email, you'll understand the need for his name to be remain classified).

Dear Benny and Yost,

I love the blog. I am a two-time alumnus of the university of Michigan and I'm back in college to get my teaching license. Because of geographical and financial necessities, I am unfortunately attending TOSU.

I know I'm not the only Michigan alumnus there, but, as far as I can tell, I may be the only one who regularly wears Michigan shirts around campus. I was booed once, some guys told me to go home, some dude asked me if I was on the wrong bus, and I witnessed one frat hole whispering to his buddy, "Are you serious?" upon seeing me. Oh, how I love pissing off the Buckeyes. But most people have fun with it. The most common comment I get is, "You're a brave man."

I just thought I'd let you guys know that there is someone in the trenches facing the Buckeye menace on a daily basis, and not fearing to show his Maize and Blue pride. I've attached a picture of me in front of the Horseshoe on a typical day on campus.


Godspeed, W-i-B. Godspeed.

P.S. Hey, Surrounded in Columbus, you guys really should start a buddy system down there for safety.


whetstonebuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whetstonebuck said...

Guess those UM degrees didn't open any doors outside of Wonderland. Poor Alice, WiB, whatever.

There is a fine line between brave and suicidal.

SiC, as Yost said, you need to sweep this mad man up and do an intervention before something ugly happens. Apparently, your fair fan majored in martyrdom in A2.

*There were no dbraylon17s killed in the making of this post.

Katie said...

Brave indeed. I have run into countless grad students here this semester that completed their undergraduate at tOSU. I asked a number of them why they would come to Michigan.....the answer.........."Michigan has a better program". Interestingly enough, I have seen all but one of them wearing Michigan gear and have not seen any of them wearing tOSU gear.


surrounded in columbus said...

Columbus is a funny place. only town (of this size, at least) where because you live here, you are expected to be a fan of the local college.

parents ZEALOUSLY police their kids' "buckeyeness". young ones showing an interest in other schools are sent to re-education centers. older ones are hauled before the tribunal responsible for policing "unbuckeye" activities.

think i'm kidding? received this email from the school this a.m.:

Please be advised that the 8th grade choir is singing the National Anthem in tomorrow's Veteran's Day assembly. All choir members should wear their Informal Concert Attire (Option 2), to school which is:

TENNIS SHOES (no flip flops)

They are permitted to change into OSU (Go Bucks!) clothes after the ceremony. However, due to the respectful nature of our day with the Veterans in the building all day, the kids are not to paint their faces or dye their hair. Rather it is Jim Tressle day, and the motto is "Act like you are wearing THE VEST".

Thank you,

**** *****
******* Middle School, 740-###-####, ext. #####

Smile Daily!

what are you supposed to do if your parentsfamily went to Wake Forest? or Duke or Texas or Iowa or one of a million schools other than tosu? just conform?

and wtf does "Act like you are wearing the VEST" mean? what are you supposed to do? lie about what you wrote on your science test?

that's the sort of thing that you live w/ daily here. the suburb where we live is only about 2/3's home grown. roughly 25 or 30% are transplants that had no contct w/ tosu before they moved. however, the natives just assume you'll become a fan, just as you might expect an immigrant to learn english.

as a group, they're self absorbed and parochial. it's not that it never occurs to them that you might have gone to school somewhere else. it's that even if you did, they assume that you're a fan anyway because you live here.

as for WiB, he should buy some nice blue & yellow shirts w/ out any logos. wearing Michigan logo gear to campus is a bit cheeky, even for me. reminds me of the opening scenes of the third "Die Hard" movie. Bruce Willis is dumped off in Harlem wearing a sandwich board covered in racial slurs? Willis had a better chance than WiB.

DaBraylon17 said...

whetstonefuck, you never cease to aMAIZE me.

oh wait, my comment was not funny enough for wing.

Mikoyan said...

I was in Columbus for some training (nice town btw) and I made it a point to wear Michigan stuff. Wish I would have gotten a picture of myself in front of da Shoe though. Oh well.

Sgt. Wolverine said...

I once wore a Michigan shirt in Columbus, but I wasn't ever on campus. However, when I went to have dinner, one man held the door open for me, saying that it was the least he could do for someone brave enough to wear that shirt in Columbus.

whetstonebuck said...

"and wtf does "Act like you are wearing the VEST" mean?"


If you have to ask, you're not worthy to wear the VEST.

By the way, you are describing my observations when I visited Nebraska. Home grown fans are the healthiest.


That was actually quite clever. I'm impressed. I think you have potential.

BigDumbAnimal said...

I can feel the pain. Die hard wolverine and I work for tOSU....^_^. It brings me great joy when I wear my gear. My office has a few items with the Maize and Blue so everytime one walks in, they have to see it.

whetstonebuck said...


That's an unfair anecdote. Everyone knows tOSU refused to fund graduate studies in underwater basket-weaving. Of course you all have the better program.

Sgt. Wolverine said...

Actually, Michigan doesn't have underwater basket weaving; Michigan has thermosphere basket weaving. You know, astronauts and all.

Katie said...

Whets, that was pretty damn clever and Sgt Wolverine.......you are my hero!

whetstonebuck said...

"thermosphere basket weaving"

Fancy term for custom woven hot pad on your stadium thermos. Go team.

michigan man (from ohio) said...
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michigan man (from ohio) said...

I went to cbus. They only are focused on one thing all year round, Beating Michigan. With that, anyone supporting Michigan down there is definately behind enemy lines. They have no mercy. Especially if they are drunk. I was just wearing a shirt with "MICHIGAN" on it and almost got jumped. I think if i would have wore my "Ohio State Sucks" t-shirt i could have single handedly been the reason riots in cbus.

ohio_guy said...

"I think if i would have wore my "Ohio State Sucks" t-shirt"

wait, I thought UM fans were above that sort of thing?

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy said...

SiC, I have to tell you, it is my impression that it is like that in other college towns too. Maybe not to the extent of columbus, but it still exists. For example, I live in Austin, and frequently have to explain to people that I am NOT a Texas fan. Most of the time I get strange looks and comments when I wear Michigan stuff.

For the record, I think that being a "fan" is a great thing. If I grew up in Ohio, I have no doubt that I would have been a buckeye fan. What I don't understand is the violence and/or blind hatred towards others because they do not "fan" for the same team as I do. That is just plain stupid.

I see that WAY TOO MUCH on both sides of this rivalry.

Jessica said...

Did you copy and paste that, SiC? If so, I find it extremely amusing that they spelled Sweater Vest's name wrong. I'm sure whoever "Jim Tressle" is, he's happy he's being honored...

Props to WiB. You're a brave, brave man, sir. Insane, yes, but brave nonetheless.

Joshua said...

"TENNIS SHOES(no flip flops)"
-So the anti A.J. Hawk from the caption contest isn't allowed in?

Seriously dude, why is Alec Baldwin in your avatar?

Jessica- simply awesome.

surrounded in columbus said...

yes, i cut & pasted it. thought it was pretty funny that she either didn't proof read it or didn't know how to spell his name.

you are correct that it happens in "college towns". however, Columbus isn't College Station, Tx, or Norman, Ok, or even East Lansing.

it's a fairly large, growing "city" w/ a metro area population of over a million. even East Lansing is not so singularly focused on MSU as Columbus is on tosu. as Wetrock noted, it sounds more like Nebraska.

that you'd find behavior like this in a college town? not odd.

that a city that purports to compete w/ Indianapolis, Charlotte, Nashville, and other "young" up & coming cities would be so fixated on the college team? not good.

try telling some company in NY looking to relocate in the midwest how having the buckeyes is just like having an nfl team and see how long it takes them to move on down I-70 to look @ Indianapolis?

it's a real deterrent to growth in the long run.

ohio_guy said...

"it's a real deterrent to growth in the long run."

which explains why 5 fortune 500 companies, as well as many slightly smaller ones, are based in Columbus and why the population is growing....

Mikoyan said...

It's not Alec Baldwin. It's The Smoking Man.

I was surprised when I wore my Eastern Michigan shirt to a Reds game that people didn't ignore the "Eastern" part and start razzing me about Appalachian State. Of course, maybe they are color blind to Green and White.

I could see a company relocating to Columbus it does have some upside besides that place.

ohio_guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ohio_guy said...

"I could see a company relocating to Columbus it does have some upside besides that place"

yep, these are all based in Columbus and seem to be doing fine:

Abercrombie & Fitch
American Electric Power
Bath & Body Works
Big Lots
Bob Evans Restaurants
Cardinal Health
Charley's Grilled Subs
Chemical Abstracts Service
DSW, Inc.
Damon's Grill
Donatos Pizza
Hexion Specialty Chemicals
Hollister Co.
Huntington Bancshares
Limited Brands
Max & Erma's
Mettler Toledo
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
Now Software
Skybus Airlines
Steak Escape
Sterling Commerce
Value City
Victoria's Secret
Wendy's International
White Castle

surrounded in columbus said...

ohio guy,
duh. a city of over a million people has a list of successful businesses. you left Ashland/Marathon and Gates-McDonald.

and i do work about a third of those companies on your list. so what?

what's that got to do w/ attracting new ones/relocations?

ask any former bankone/now jp morgan/chase employee where the top jobs are landing. not in columbus.

check the chamber for the stats on job development vs new jobs attracted/relocated to the area.

then compare those same stats for Indy or Charlotte. we've been getting beat to death by other similarly sized cities for a decade.

better yet, walk thru the city center mall/around the capital square/etc.

Indy had the Pan Am games; we got "Son of Heaven" and Ameriflora.

Indy has the Colts & the Pacers; we got the Buckeyes??

try selling that to a NY banker as the same thing.

whetstonebuck said...


Isn't attracting a N.Y. banker about the same as contracting crabs? Not that I know anything about either. Just askin'.

surrounded in columbus said...

Wtrk, typically, the one pays better than the other. However, they both often involve getting screwed.

WingRG said...

now that was hilarious. SiC, Bucks are so popular in C-bus b/c there wasn't a true pro team here until very recently. People in Indy are nuts about the Colts, and C-bus people like their Buckeyes. I don't see one being better than the other b/c one's a pro team and one's a college team (i personally prefer the "purity" of college sports to pro sports).

people defect from one university to the other all the time. As a grad student you know that we pick a university based on reputation of the program and financial reasons (almost never based solely on our football preferences). But there's also a myth (perpetuated on this blog) that EVERY program in UM is better than EVERY program at OSU. UM is a great institution, but that's simply not true.

Katie said...


Just reporting my personal experience. I certainly did not say that ALL departments are better at UofM. Apparently the basket weaving department is though ;o)

WingRG said...

i know, i wasn't blaming you for anything. But, (tongue-in-cheek) if the basket weaving program really were better at UM, Katzenmoyer would've been a Wolverine.

whetstonebuck said...


You are as sharp as ever. This round's on me.

Katie said...

Ahh, The Big Kat majored in basket weaving and STILL had a poor academic record? Maybe that is why he is coaching High School Football in Ohio instead of working for Longaberger! ;o)

srudoff said...


one thing you have to remember about columbus vs almost every other city of it's size - they don't have multiple pro teams to root for. you can count the blue jackets if you want but it's a relatively new NHL team.

i think you'd be hard pressed to name another american city even close to columbus' size that doesn't have an NFL, MLB, or NBA team AND has a BCS school in it's backyard.

hence the difference. Columbus IS a large COLLEGE town.

here are the top 25 largest cities in the U.S.....

1 New York City
2 Los Angeles
3 Chicago
4 Houston
5 Phoenix
6 Philadelphia
7 San Antonio
8 San Diego
9 Dallas
10 San Jose
11 Detroit
12 Jacksonville
13 Indianapolis
14 San Francisco
15 Columbus
16 Austin
17 Memphis
18 Fort Worth
19 Baltimore
20 Charlotte
21 El Paso
22 Boston
23 Seattle
24 Washington DC
25 Milwaukee

Interestingly enough, Austin is RIGHT behind Columbus in population (these figures are from 2007) so you essentially CAN compare the two cities and their obsessive fans

surrounded in columbus said...

sru/wgrg/wtrk/et al,
don't dispute or disagree w/ any of your observations.

my point (which i may have failed to make clear) is not that columbus is not a really big college town. that is exactly what it is.

my point is that the city desperately wants to be seen as a "big" city and not a college town, but can't shake its image.

we don't get taken seriously by a lot of possible businesses the way charlotte & indy do because of that college town image.

i have lived here 17 years. i love the city. it's home.

however, the opportunities for long term growth are limited, compared to charlotte & indy, for all the reasons you've added.

tosu pumps millions into the local economy, so we're not going to stop or diminish that. the flip side is that so long as tosu/college sports remains the city's dominant image, we're limited on the types of expanding or relocating companies that will consider us, as most are looking for a "big city", not a "college town".

WingRG said...


i agree with you whole heartedly. The opportunities in C-bus aren't what they're in major cities. I would love to stay here after i get my degree, but b/c there're no jobs for me or my wife here i'll have to move. I think a part of this is circular. People don't stay (after OSU) b/c there're no jobs for them, but the companies also don't move here and create jobs b/c there aren't enough "well-educated" employees that they can hire here.