Opinion: Dating the enemy
Many members of the MSU student body have experienced the pain of a loved one succumbing to the awful color combination that is maize and blue. One moment they’re a rational, level-headed person and the next they’re practically foaming at the mouth saying things like, “Hail to the Victors!” and worshipping at the altar of Jim Harbaugh.
I have witnessed this phenomenon first-hand. My boyfriend Michael and I started dating at the beginning of our sophomore year of high school and just celebrated our third anniversary. Unfortunately, he fell prey to the wolverines. He recently moved into his dorm at the University of Michigan.
To be honest, I had never felt animosity toward U of M until I was accepted to Michigan State. I didn’t know how passionate that animosity was until I went to the enemy’s territory to visit Michael.
When I arrived that Friday, we went to his dorm. The first thing I found was the ultimate betrayal.
He made no effort to hide the cheap, flimsy thing from me. It was just out in the open, waiting for my unsuspecting eyes to stumble upon it.
There, sitting plainly on his desk next to a picture of the two of us, was the unthinkable: a copy of the Michigan Daily.
“What the heck is this?” I asked, “You’re reading this!”
I was joking, but at least a little bit of my outrage was real.
U of M was playing Air Force that Saturday, so there was no shortage of football zealots teeming through Ann Arbor. Everywhere I looked, people were decked out in the least flattering shade of yellow known to man: Maize. Michael showed me around campus and decided to take me through The Diag, where the infamous “Block M” is located. For those who don’t know, the “Block M” is the University of Michigan’s sad version of Sparty. It’s the U of M “M” and it is tiled into the center of the pavement. It is (apparently) very special.
I was not paying attention to the ground looking for sacred emblems, and my foot was dangerously close to it. Michael pulled me away by the shirt sleeve and said, “If you step on the Block M, I’ll break up with you.”
He was kidding, but as an MSU student, I was ready to step on that M. It hit me for the first time that my logical, intelligent boyfriend had become what I had feared most: A true U of M fan.
All jokes aside, it is an interesting experience to be an MSU student who loves a U of M student. So quickly, both parties fall into school rivalries. It expands across all categories. At one point, we argued about our school’s soccer teams. Michael and I aren’t sports fans, let alone soccer fans. It's fascinating how strong school spirit can be, and how your university can define your identity.
However, as hard as it can be for a Spartan to admit, Wolverines are just people too. As intense as Michael and I have become about our respective pride in our schools, it is still possible to feel affection for a person and total hatred for their school. He’s still Michael and I’m still Debbie, and even though we don’t have the same school in common anymore, there’s still one thing we can share: Ohio State is the worst.