Behind Enemy Lines

At the grocery store. The car wash. Maybe even at a family wedding.

There are few places you can escape catching shit for being a Michigan fan around here. This month, with another edition of The Game looming—and perhaps because with the game taking place in Ann Arbor, we can create a safe environment—we wanted to give Fans of that Team Up North an opportunity to vent about life surrounded by Buckeye lunatics. The results? A lot like Jim Harbaugh: Sad, unpredictable, and silly. Ready, BREAK!

My dad used to work at Riverside Hospital, and was on the staff basketball team. Riverside’s colors then were navy and yellow. Incidentally, he was in grad school at OSU at the time, and wore his team jacket to the Michigan-OSU game and proceeded to sit in the student’s section. Needless to say that it wasn’t a popular sartorial decision. – Ben Slobodien

When I was 12 I went to an OSU game with some classmates. I had a 50-year-old man try to start a fight with me cause I was wearing my Michigan hat. The chaperone had to intervene. And even though my better half is employed by them and they have kick-ass insurance I can never root for them. Ever. – Ryan Burke

I was told to park backwards in my driveway when I moved here because it was football season, and I had that single MI backplate on the car. (Didn’t get Ohio plates until April.) I had a party and told all visitors from up north to also block their plates. – Shelagh Conley

Half of my family went to Ohio State. My late grandmother was a die-hard OSU fan. When the B*ckeyes played Miami in the National Championship in 2002, I was the only one at her National Championship party rooting for Miami. I could go on and on. But, I grew up in a carefree era of B*ckeye Football, the John Cooper years. How I long for those days to return again for the rivalry, with Jim Harbaugh running the show in Ann Arbor. This will be Michigan’s year to beat Ohio State. I can guarantee it. – Bryan Curtiss

I’ll never forget walking home after a game with all my Michigan gear on. I was at Neil and Lane and some Ohio State fan had another Ohio State fan lifted over his head. As he threw him to the street, I grabbed my hat and quickly put it in my backpack and walked home around the block. Dodged multiple bullets. It’s gotten easier though now that Ohio wins. No one really gives a shit anymore, so I got that going for me. – Andy Robinett

I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, grew up three blocks from the stadium. My father was a professor at U of M. I was pretty enmeshed in U of M culture and had no idea the rivalry was so big until I moved here. It’s a pervasive hatred for Michigan here whereas up north we don’t give a f*ck unless you’re a Spartan. There’s stories to tell but none of them are fun; let’s just say if you don’t like the Buckeyes you get the black eyes. – Summer Dabilis

If you’re looking for “fun” stories, I have none. Buckeye fans live in their own little bubble. They think everything is about them and that everyone else cares what they think. But we don’t. I’ve lived in Columbus for almost 20 years and I will wear my Michigan gear anywhere except down by the stadium during game days. Not because I’m scared, more because the level of annoying, ignorant, non-nonsensical verbal diarrhea coming from their drunk mouths completely siphons any ounce of enjoyment that I may have left for that day. Go Blue! – Jeff Carr

I think the best one is growing up we had a huge blow-up Wolverine in our yard and our neighbor across the street had a huge blow-up Brutus and it was a battle between the two blow-ups each year on and after game day…one family would take the other families giant blow-up and do something like make one stand on top of the other, have one laying face down in the grass, etc. All the neighbors got a kick out of it. I’ve lived in Ohio longer than I lived in Michigan but all my family is still in Michigan and I’ll forever be a Wolverine! Go Blue! (Plus our state is much prettier…) – Trier Knieper

I was born on campus in Ann Arbor and have literally been a Michigan fan since the day I was born…that made moving to Columbus and subsequently taking a job at Ohio State Wexner Center Medical all the more ironic. One of my favorite things was proudly wearing maize and blue outfits the week of the big game and getting compliments on my “bright and cheery” yellow. One year when an attending physician commented on my scarf and I pointed out I was wearing maize and blue, he responded with “…on purpose?!?!” I no longer work there, but still plan on wearing my favorite color combination that whole week. – Missy Bates Bussy

It’s brutal. I’ll never forget being in a grocery store when my brother was maybe 10 … he was wearing a Michigan shirt and a grown man walked by and said “F*ck Michigan” to him. That about sums it up. – Matt Shields