Every year, on the third Saturday in November, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines meet for a football game. It is twelve months of fevered anticipation for this one day that is played out on a frosted green field, on which strokes of scarlet and gray clash with maize and blue. It is a rivalry rich in emotion and history, ingrained in Midwestern culture for over one hundred years.
It is a Big day for all Ohio Sate and Michigan fans. And for the players that are geared up and ready to go, carrying the weight of tradition upon their shoulders pads, the results of this game forever define their legacy.
As a fan, you feel apart of a devotion that stretches from before your existence and will be here long after you are gone. It has been that way for Mike's parents; It is that way for us; And that is the way it will be for our children and their children.
If you don't think this game is a big deal around this area, just ask the guy that loses. It's a stain he carries for 364 days before he gets a chance to remove it and get that blemish off his spirit. This day sets the whole tune for winter, as the victor or being humiliated by losing to your biggest rival.
It is a remarkable annual festival; today is. Whether held at the Horseshoe or The Big House, it is a mighty feeling when our great band hikes the team across the field showing that Ohio is here to win today!
It is a day that Mike thinks about all year long, but as this day draws closer he cannot think about anything else.
On this past week, Mike and I sat around our dining table, eating a scrumptious meal I cooked up on his lunch break. As I talked, Mike nodded his head respectively and even had an intrigued smile on his face. He appeared like he was listening but his eyes seemed to be looking right through me. That is when I knew his thoughts were a million miles away.
I stopped in mid sentence as I noticed my words were flying right on by.
"You're thinking about the game on Saturday, aren't you?" I said to Mike in a stern tone but completely blowing my cover with a big grin on my face. The gleam in his eyes and the dimples on his cheeks were just too cute to be angry at. He looked like a little kid dreaming of Disneyland.
Mike sheepishly laughed at himself as he realized the horrible crime he had committed; not listening to his wife.
"Oh man, I guess I was thinking about the game. Sorry about that. How did you know?" Mike said to me, seeming surprised that I know him so well.
"Because all week you've not been paying attention. Plus, I can practically see your thoughts of the game floating above your head, it's so obvious!" I said, teasingly to Mike.
We laughed and then carried on the rest of our blissful lunch hour together.
Mike will be attending today's Big Game with his friend Ryan. I am excited for them but nervous too. You see, the game will be on Michigan's turf. I have been told the fans at The Big House can be quite brutal. And Mike, while he means it all in a fun loving way, does not hold back on his Buckeye spirit. I'm just not sure if the Michigan fans are ready for Mike.