This is it! This is the weekend that some among us have long-awaited — the weekend that the Ohio State football team plays the team from that state up north!
Rivalries fascinate me, because it is often unclear why they exist or what started them. I tried to investigate the source of the big rivalry in football between OSU and Michigan, but with little success. The football teams have been playing each other since 1897 and have played every year consistently since 1918, which was the first year they played as Big Ten conference members.
I just couldn’t find a definitive answer as to why there’s such enmity. One website noted that when the University of Michigan and Ohio State met for the first time in 1897, the Toledo War was within the memories of some still living, and the short-lived border war may have fueled the rivalry between the two opposing teams.
Certainly the 1902 game was one that might have sparked a rivalry. It was a long (and I’m guessing depressing) train ride home for the Buckeyes after they lost 86–0. The drubbing was hard to take, I’m sure, but it sparked a freshman athlete, Fred Cornell, to write the lyrics to Carmen, Ohio, which became the university’s alma mater.
There are a lot of rivalries in the world, both now and throughout history. I looked up several websites to find the most celebrated ones.
A few of the rivalries were mentioned in several different articles. Coke vs. Pepsi (I personally prefer Pepsi) came up as the No. 1 rivalry in four of them. Mentioned at least twice were Microsoft vs. Apple, DC vs. Marvel Comics, and Star Trek vs. Star Wars.
One website listed Macy’s vs. Gimbels. I know that many young folks today probably don’t realize just how much of a rivalry existed, nor have any idea why that rivalry was impactful on business and retail practices. I urge them to watch any version of Miracle on 34th Street and they’ll get a better understanding.
In pop culture, Miller vs. Budweiser was mentioned as was the competition between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
One of the sites listed the most famous feuds in history. It was there I was able to read about the Hatfields and McCoys (a bloody, decades-long hatred between the families was chilling) and the opposition between Al Capone and Bugsy Malone. Neither of these feuds ended well for either side, but they certainly qualify as “rivalries.”
One interesting site listed more philosophical rivalries, if they can be termed as such. These include science vs. religion, boys vs. girls, nature vs. nurture, and cats vs. dogs. It’s very likely that each of us has an opinion, maybe even a strong one, about each of those topics. This website ended with the ultimate rivalry — good versus evil.
In our house, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s always clear to us that OSU is the “good” and the state up north is the “evil.” At least, they are to us. Go Bucks!
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.