People are always calling hate a strong word, as if we should suppress it and let it crumble away in the back of our minds. This leads to one of the many reasons why sports are such a fantastic getaway from the office or the house: It's not abnormal or socially unacceptable to let hate flow through you in a competitive atmosphere. Yes, let the hate flow through you.
I'm letting if flow.
The fact that I'm writing a hate piece surprises no one in my home town, where fossilized farmers and alcoholic auto workers all cheer for the green and white in the same fashion. Saginaw is a wretched place where fifty-year-old uncles who happen to be fans of Michigan State push five-year-old Michigan fans around for fun. Seventeen years later, I'm the Wolverine who doesn't shop at Walmart, finding little to no Michigan State alumni to argue with. This is fun.
It's also fun to know just how much Spartans loathe the Wolverines. The jealousy is palpable and all too familiar to me, as I was the third of four children. The fourth was – you guessed it – my little Spartan brother. My oldest sister Rachel, who is a Michigan fan through and through, came before her little sister Jessica, who is anything but a Wolverine. You're beginning to sense a pattern as the hate rises.
But this isn't a hate created out of pure desperation, or a hate created from years of wishing you were a worldwide power with $226,000,000 laying around to upgrade your stadium. No, this is a hate for the little brothers who elbow you in the ribs, only to start crying when you turn around and put them in their place.
Michigan State knows its place in the family. It isn't the brainy one. It won't ever be seen as the hot or popular pick, always falling a step short as the family watches in laughter. Shut the hell up, Meg.
Recent winning seasons don't change the Spartans' place in the family. Hiring a coach who looks like he stays awake all night on uppers while dreaming of slapping the ice cream cone out of a young Michigan fan's hands doesn't change their place in the family. So go on. Boast about your wild East Lansing parties, your defenses, and your basketball team — which you'll always bring up right after a football loss anyway. But know that you will forever be in a shadow far too large to step out of.