House Divided: Families discuss U-M vs. MSU splits
The MSU vs. U-M rivalry runs deep, even between family members.
Journalism sophomore Katie Birecki grew up with a mother who graduated from U-M.
“I grew up a U of M fan,” Birecki said. “I have a picture of me probably, I have several pictures of me, in U of M stuff from when I was a little baby to maybe 8 or 9 years old. I was a U of M cheerleader for Halloween for two years in a row. I had a bunch of teddy bears that were U of M. I had a U of M piggy bank.”
As an only child, Birecki said her mom wanted her to attend U-M.
“I think my mom, she’s accepted it but she was kind of sad that I really wanted to go here,” Birecki said. “But she’s definitely accepted it and she’s happy that I’m in a place that I really enjoy.”
However, their home does a have a few “house divided” items. Birecki said her favorite is the house divided garden flag that they fly for the MSU vs. U-M football game.
Her family has running jokes about which university is superior, just like MSU alumnus Kyle Kirkland
“If somebody says something that’s like a dumb statement, they’ll say like ‘that’s the Michigan State education,’ and if they say something dumb ‘I guess that’s the Michigan difference,’” Kirkland said.
His father went to U-M and his younger brother is currently attending U-M.
“I think it’s funny because when I first got to school, we were a lot better than Michigan. So it was kind of on our side,” Kirkland said. “Last year wasn’t really a good year to be on the losing side, because we were really losing all the time.”
However, not every family with MSU and U-M fans has a rivalry.
Comparative cultures and politics junior GlenEllen Lehmberg's older sister went to U-M for undergraduate and MSU for her master's degree. But Lehmberg and her sister were never really rivals, Lehmberg said.
“I mean I definitely don’t care as much as I used to,” Lehmberg said. “I think I made the divide greater than she actually cared about because she’s not the biggest football fan ever.”
Either way, when the players take the field on Saturday, all bets are off.
“I’m trying to remember last year. She said ‘I don’t want to say good luck … because I want my team to win," Birecki said.