Every last Saturday in November, the greatest rivalry in Unites States sports takes place. It’s Ohio State versus Michigan, in the border battle football game. This year, the teams entered the game ranked number two and number three in the country (respectively) with each team fighting for one of the four spots in the college football playoff. The stage was set for an instant classic, and like so many installments before, both teams delivered a hard-fought game of unimaginable toughness and passion. We don’t claim that this was the greatest match, because that disrespects the teams of the past; but, undoubtedly, this game rises up and joins the legendary games in the rivalry.
This game holds a special place in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Toledo sits on the border between Ohio and Michigan. In 1835, both states nearly came to war over each’s claim on Toledo’s strategic port. Thankfully, President Andrew Jackson stepped in to prevent war and also make the Toledo strip undoubtedly part of Ohio; but, the city’s split identity still prevails. Today, many Toledoians attended both schools and work in both states. The city’s strong industrial core draws it closely to Detroit auto manufacturing, while others honor the state boarder and unwavering support all things Ohio.
Moving from this divided community to Columbus was a transition (spoiler alert: there are no Michigan supporters in Columbus!). During rivalry week, it was odd to see houses and cars decorated only in Scarlet & Grey. Cheering with my roommates in the sixth row of the south end zone student section, there was one lone Michigan fan directly behind me. He has seen Ohio State dominate the rivalry over the past decade, came to a hostile home crowd, and still represented his school well. He was a good reminder that there are much, much more, important things in life than any football game. We are rivals, but are more alike than different. Ohio State and Michigan love each other more than anyone will admit, and it is great to be a part of it – Go Bucks!