There’s a lot made about sports rivalries. From the Yankees/Red Sox’s to the Lakers/Celtics to the Eagles/Cowboys to the Rangers/ Every other NHL team. It often seems that these rivalries are mainly driven by the media and the rabid fan bases of the teams. You almost never see players or coaches or front office personnel take these rivalries to heart. I myself am I die hard Buffalo Bills fan so I hate everything and everyone related to the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. I more envy the New England Patriots cause they draft well, build a god team, and (being a Michigan fan) how can I hate Tom Brady. But really who hates Tom Brady. Outside of hockey(where they can actually take action in their hatred for another team) you never see players really get involved in the rivalries. You see a lot of crazy fans. Poisoning trees, beating up other fans in the parking lot ect ect . College fans steal other team’s mascots. In fact you often see players sign with a “rival” team when their contract is up. I understand the business behind it. If you’re a player why would you come out and say you hate a team knowing full well they may offer you the biggest contract or the best chance to win a championship.
It was good however to see one player put his mark on a rivalry. In my opinion the best in sports. Michigan/ Ohio State. This past week Michigan commit Logan Tuley-Tillman burned a letter from Ohio State. He’s a O line man which isn’t the biggest media draw in today’s media but he is ranked highly by most scouts. Highly enough the 20 schools offered him scholarships. It must burn Ohio State that the lost a possible top recruit to their rival school. A rival school that just beat them for the first time in 7 years. One of those past wins was vacated by the scandal around Jim Tressel and his players selling stuff, some of which were gold pants medallions that the players get for beating Michigan. That just goes to show you how much they care about the rivalry. I applaud Logan Tuley-Tillman. He’s added spark back into an already heated rivalry. A rivalry that goes back 1897. A rivalry that even though the teams are now in separate division in the Big Ten remains as the last game of the season. One that countless times has had major impact on national championships and with the new Big Ten format could have the teams playing 2 weeks in a row if both were to get to the Big Ten Championship. The Yankees and Red Sox’s play a bunch of meaningless games throughout the year. Most game are meaningless when there is 100+ games. The Lakers and the Celtics are only rivals in the finals. The Rangers and every other team in the league will fight it out on the ice and then shake hands afterwards. The Wolverines and Buckeyes will carry the fight on for years. Their children will grow up singing Hail to the Victors and O-H-I-O. The players will never swap sides. They will never hang out. This is what a rivalry is and should be. So let it burn like Logan Tuley-Tillman’s letter.