I spent the weekend in Ann Arbor for the Ohio State vs. Michigan game. There was no overarching narrative, so instead of a "real story" my thoughts are simply presented below in numbered/list form — sorta like Terry Pluto's columns these days, but with more sex toys.
1. Buckeye fans sometimes like to wear buckeye necklaces with their jerseys and other apparel. These have a slightly different name in Michigan parlance, as evidenced by the best insult hurled at Buckeye fans, me included, during tailgating: "Why are you wearing anal beads around your neck?"
2. Eschewing the predictable and vulgar "Your mom let me keep them," response, we decided the best retort was simply: "Hey, you guys enjoy the Chipotle burrito bowl this year."
3. Naturally, as day turned to night, early drunkenness became "drunk for the third or fourth time today," and the pangs of another devastating and embarrassing loss hit the Michigan faithful, their insults suffered from a certain dip in quality and coherence.
Observe: A guy standing in front of a bar, by himself, circa midnight, yelling at any and every Ohio State fan, "Hey, High Street sucks! That's your street? I've been there. It sucks. High Street is the worst street in the country. You know why? Because you guys get high and stupid. Ha. HA! High Street sucks!"
4. If you are a Buckeye fan and you see a fellow Buckeye fan being verbally accosted by some Michigan fans, you don't have to come to his defense if he's wearing an Ed Hardy hoodie.
5. Don't be surprised if random people walk up to you and say, "Go to Hell," simply because you're wearing an Ohio State shirt. It just happens. The antagonistic relationship really can not be understated here. Much, much worse as the night goes on, which is why I switched into regular clothes before hitting the bars Saturday night.
6. If 20 is the over/under on the number of Michigan fans you can shove a rose in front of and ask, "How does this smell?" before being attacked or punched, take the over.
7. Eventually, however, your rose will get snatched and thrown 10 rows in front of you. So worth it though.
8. Tailgating on a golf course is tremendous. Don't let the picture fool you — that's just the scenic view down the fairway of No. 18 at the university course — there was plenty of rowdiness to be found. Arrived around 7:45 a.m. and couldn't have had a better time, even if all the Jell-O shots were maize and blue.
9. Best sign of the day: UM Law — Clarett Would Have Walked.
10. If you don't want beer thrown at your car at 7 in the morning, don't drive with Ohio license plates in front of all the frats. Lesson learned.
11. As a Michigan fan in front of me commented after the crowd around us threw out every vulgarity in the world in about a five minute span in front a family with small kids, "You don't bring kids to an Ohio State vs. Michigan game."
12. If you watched the game you saw how heavily scarlet dominated the crowd. It was even more pronounced in person. And as you might have seen already, the O-H-I-O chant around the stadium was very audible, was louder than the boos that tried to drown it out, and made it for several minutes before finally dying out. Video below.
13. Food recommendation: World famous Zingerman's deli. Holy hell was that a delicious reuben. The Browns game was blacked out in the area, and I must admit that the sandwich was more enjoyable than any pleasure I would have derived from watching the Browns. Zingerman's slings just about every type of meat you can imagine, piled high on freaking outrageously scrumptious bread. Fully endorsed.
14. Bar recommendation: Ashley's. Ann Arbor is a college town, and as such caters to a bunch of douchey undergrads who want to grind against anything that moves in a dimly lit room while drinking overpriced drinks, and all that only after standing in line for an hour to have the privilege of the aforementioned entertainment. Ashley's, however, has over 50 microbrews on tap, a dingy little basement that feels like an English pub, a 2001-version Golden Tee machine, and a lack of belligerent idiots. They had two Great Lakes brews on tap, but sadly not the Christmas Ale.
15. Lastly, I learned that it will take you two hours after the game to get from your parking spot by the stadium to the highway. I didn't learn this personally, mind you. Like a reasonable person I decided to stay the entire weekend; my friend didn't, however, and when I texted him three hours after the game he told me that he had just reached Toledo. At that exact time I was at the Brown Jug watching Michigan State vs. Penn State and drinking. The lesson? Always make it a weekend, not a day.