With the final game of the NCAA tournament being played tonight, many viewers will pick a side for a variety of reasons. They’ll choose for Alma Mater, tradition, team colors, town they grew up in, allegiance for a family member, etc, etc. I will not cheer for Michigan because I am a Badger. My loyalty is with my school not my conference.
My heart beats for the Blackhawk Indian head and I commit most Sundays to the Bears. If either of them is not in contention, I’m not about to cheer for the Packers, Red Wings, Blues, Vikings and our other chief rivals. I want my team to win and if they can’t then someone, anyone but “those guys.” Do you think Eagles fans were cheering for Eli Manning? No!
I have a good friend who never went to Michigan, never lived in the state of Michigan and probably has only been their a handful of times. He went to Boston College and he loves to gloat and rub it in when Michigan does well. You have no idea how this infuriates me because - HE NEVER WENT TO MICHIGAN. It’s bad enough I have to deal with the pompousness of real Michigan fans or the talk of tradition from Buckeyes. Every time I hear I-L-L I think they must also be lifelong Cubs fans – committed to a lost cause. And if you think my rationale is dumb and petty - if you're an Illinois fan and thought well Jeff George did - that was 23 years ago and you proved my point rivalry and tradition run deep.
I’m a fan of my team and I live and die with their success and losses. I still hate we lost this year in the first round against Ole Miss. It pains me to know our football team has lost not one, not two but THREE times in a row at the Rose Bowl. All games we could of won! I’m annoyed our hockey team lost to UMASS-Lowell and the girl’s hockey team didn’t repeat with another championship.
The tradition of college sports is rich with rivalry. Many won’t consider the Badgers a rival and perhaps will be the better person and say they cheer for us in the big game. But, I know you like to comment when we lose so don’t play the bigger person with me. I’m so not a fan of Michigan. I know the words to the “alternative” version of "Hail to the Victors!" If you’re a Michigan fan and don’t know them, ask your best OSU friend.
To my friend Pete who never attended Michigan - I know if they win you will text me with a few words of trash talk upon their newly minted championship. Again, you can’t gloat for them because you didn’t attend or graduate or grow up/live in Ann Arbor. Here’s another rationale…one of our first sports affiliations growing up was our high school team. I’m sure then you never wanted your rival HS to win it all. When you left HS, did you cheer for the other guy or find a new team to support? Probably not. A college sports affiliation for me is the same.
Some may think I’m being petty or lame. I say you’re not that big a sports fan or you don’t know someone who will salt that wound for eternity. Perhaps, the biggest reason I won’t cheer for Michigan is because I don’t know any Louisville fans. My phone will stay silent if the Cardinals win.
And don’t think for a second I’m alone in this…I know it will be near impossible to find one Kentucky fan that will cheer for Louisville tonight.
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.