A MAC Grad in a Big Ten Border Town

I won't hide it, I was born and raised in the state of Ohio. I grew up in a small quaint suburb of Toledo. I went to college at Bowling Green State University. It wasn't bad really. We had a decent football team while I was there. We had Urban Meyer, before he sucked. We had Josh Harris. We beat Missouri a couple times, we beat Northwestern a couple times. Went to a couple bowl games. We were even ranked for a while. There we lots of newspaper headlines that read "Un-Falcon-Believable!". It was great.

But I never grew up wanting to be a BGSU fan. Don't get me wrong, MAC schools are great, but they lack the feeling that you can only get with a powerhouse school like Michigan or Ohio State.

I grew up in a house divided. Half of my family was die-hard Buckeye fans with tickets to every game, and the other half of my family was Michigan fans, with tickets to every game. It was conflicting to say the least.

But Toledo is a rarity in Ohio. It's a pure border town. And as much as people don't realize it, there are just as many Michigan fans in Toledo as there are tOSU fans. But my proximity to Ann Arbor eventually won me over, and I became a Michigan fan for life.

Toledo is a odd place. There are so many ways you can go, sporting-wise. You can be a Michigan fan, Ohio State fan, Toledo or BGSU fan. You can like the Tigers, Indians or Reds. You can like the Lions, the Browns or the Bengals. You can cheer for the Pistons or the Cavs. And recently, you now have a choice of either the Red Wings or Blue Jackets. The only pro sports you have in Toledo itself are the Mud Hens minor league baseball or the Storm (now the Walleye), a minor league hockey organization.

So for me, I took to the sports teams up north. Which was a good move because now I live in Michigan. But for me, Ohio sports just seemed lame. And that's probably not the case, but to me at the time, it just seemed that way.

But when the Toledo Rockets take on the Michigan Wolverines this weekend at the Big House, it will be the first ever meeting between the schools who are separated by about 50 miles. That makes this game very special, for both teams. I think in the 20s the Rockets played Michigan's B-Team though.

Either way, it's only fitting that I am attending this game with my family. And also attending this game will be Toledo mayor Carty Finkbeiner. Yes, the same guy who became famous years ago when he proposed that the city should move all of the deaf people to live out near the airport. He's an odd bird, but regardless..Carty is a huge Michigan fan and has been a season ticket holder for many years. He's also a good friend of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

So who's he cheering for? It's a tie.

Look, I know that a year or two from now no one will remember this game (unless Michigan plays as bad as they did last week), but for a kid who grew up in Toledo and was a huge Michigan fan, this game will be pretty neat. I hope Michigan wins of course, but at the end of the day, I hope the people of Toledo and fans of the Rockets enjoy the experience all the same.

1 comment

  1. Where were you from? I grew up in Sylvania. Whenever people hear that I'm a Michigan fan from Ohio I have to tell them about Toledo being so divided. I usually bring up the fact that they have a local chain called "The Buckeye-Wolverine Store."

    I always like it when Toledo does well. I remember back in the late 90s when they went undefeated.