On campus, away from the niceties and the pleasantries of the office, the dynamic of Rivalry Week is a little different. Folks have to get along with their co-workers after The Game is over – while that tempers the emotion in the real world, it’s not the case on campus.
Which team are you on? That seems to be the B1G question of the week.
On campus, this week is known as HATE week for these two rivals. One anticipated day each year, the green and white battle the maize and blue for more than just a victory on the field. This rivalry dates back to 1898 when the two teams, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, first kicked off this annual battle.
Most people do not understand the animosity of this rivalry… so let me offer an explanation from those of us closest to the fray. Both MSU and UM compete in almost everything; academics, sports, and all else included. The state’s population of the smartest, most-athletic, most-successful, most well-known students and athletes are split between two universities.
Growing up in a state this competitive, each family is committed to loyalty for their colors; green and white or maize and blue…hardly ever both. Heck, even as children we made hand gestures, whispering your opposing team with your thumb down, and inflecting on your favorite team with your thumb up. (Michigan? STATE!)
It is instilled into our brains as children that we are to choose between the two and cheer for them alone. Today, the extremist students and alumni from each University definitely go extreme in legal and illegal ways; some vandalize the other’s monuments with the appropriate colored paint while others paint in the sky to show their animosity.
This year, the date is November 2, 2013 – Michigan State and Michigan take the field, fighting for respect in this never-ending battle. Each year, while these young men represent our school on the football field, this battle continues on and off the field, in the classroom and in educational rankings. Both schools believe they’re better than the other, and neither is willing to admit a negative thing about themselves.
Just yesterday, I went out and talked to the green and white community about their opinion on the game. When asked who he or she believes has the biggest advantage and why, the responses were as expected: nothing short of competitive.
Kristen Dantonio, Mark Dantonio’s daughter and a junior at Michigan State, said, “I think we have the advantage because of a very strong defense that is able to stop the running game which Michigan QBs always rely on. We have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game and play in the nation. I think we also have been becoming better and better on offense, and our confidence is growing. But I think the chance of rain could be a disadvantage for both teams, and the wind could factor — but we performed well against the wind last weekend.”
Robbie Goldi, a junior at MSU agrees, “No one can come to the beast [bEAST Lansing] without a battle, and we will win this battle. The fact that we lost last year is our biggest advantage. Revenge is a huge deal in these kinds of games. It is going to be a battle because both teams will have their best game this night.”
When asked about the rivalry, Dantonio said, “I’ve been raised a Spartan and a Buckeye so I’ve grown up with the rivalry. In this state people grow up either green or blue. It gives the word a whole new meaning.”
Goldi said, “It’s our neighboring school. They are who we compete with through everything in life. It’s embarrassing to lose to them.”
When I asked these students if they had any additional comments, they all respond the same as the chants that will be raining down in Spartan Stadium on Saturday as the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy gets under way: “Go Green! Go White!”
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