Wolverine and Buckeye Mix

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A man wears Michigan colors in Grandview Heights, OH.

Submitted: March 10, 2018

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Submitted: March 10, 2018

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WOLVERINE AND BUCKEYE MIX

By Chris E. Clarkson

 

When I moved to Grandview Heights, Ohio from Ann Arbor, Michigan, I got a

job as a school secretary at the Grandview Heights High School. I often ate lunch

with the teachers in the teacher’s lounge. We often talked about sports, especially

college football. Even female teachers discussed football and other sports, especially

if it involved that school up north, which is the way they referred to as the University

of Michigan, the school that the late coach Woody Hayes loved to hate.

One crisp, fall Friday afternoon, after work, I decided to take a walk around

Grandview Heights. I went to the closet and got my Michigan Starter jacket. I

already had on my Michigan jogging suit. My left foot Nike running shoe was blue,

and my right foot Nike running shoe was yellow. I was all decked out in my

Michigan colors, and ready to do my power walk. I had mixed emotions about

walking around Grandview Heights wearing Michigan colors. Many of the

residents were staunch Ohio State fans. Most houses in Grandview Heights that

displayed a flag indicated the residents were Ohio State fans. I had nothing against

Ohio State. It’s just that I, Christian Marshall, was a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan,

and I was a staunch Michigan fan. I was going to live, breathe, and sleep Michigan

until the day that God called me through the pearly gates. I pumped my arms as if I

was a diesel engine. It was HEEL, TOE, PUMP, and GO. At the intersection of

Grandview and West First Avenue, the traffic lights were blinking, evidently

malfunctioning. I walked north on Grandview Avenue. As I was walking, I could

smell the aroma of coffee brewing from Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. The smell enticed me.

I had eaten there, and the baked goods caught my attention. The scones knocked me

off my feet. Next to Stauf’s was Spagio’s Pizza. Sitting down at one of the tables were

Kathleen and Mitchell Edwards. Kathleen was a reference librarian at the

Grandview Heights Public Library. She also wrote screenplays. Her husband

Mitchell was a filmmaker, photographer, and a musician. I was a member of the

Grandview Heights Public Library, and I often checked out books and DVDs on

college football, since I was a college football enthusiast. I also printed out

information off the Internet on Michigan football at the Grandview Heights Public

Library.

“Well, if it isn’t Christian Marshall,” said Kathleen. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing much, other than just taking a walk around the neighborhood,” I

told Kathleen.

“That’s fantastic,” said Mitchell. “You must be a fan of Michigan, judging by

the jacket that you’re wearing.”

‘I was born in Ann Arbor, as a matter of fact,” I told Mitchell. “How’s the

pizza?”

“It knocks us off our feet,” said Kathleen. “The word is that Spagio makes the

best pizzas in all of Grandview Heights.”

“I’ve always intended to eat at Spagio’s,” I said. “But I haven’t yet. By the way,

do you have Ohio State Starter jackets where you live?”

“We do, Christian,” said Kathleen.

“We not only have Ohio State Starter jackets, but we have Ohio State jogging

suits, and Ohio State caps,” said Mitchell.

“Mitchell, have you ever been to an Ohio State versus Michigan game?” I

asked him.

“I have, and I love how Ohio State and Michigan do their utmost to win,” said

Mitchell. “Kathleen and I may not have anything against Michigan, but I’d be

careful walking around Ohio State with your Michigan outfit.”

“Some people will take advantage of you in a heartbeat,” said Kathleen as she

ate the last pizza slice.

“I won’t be walking around the Ohio State campus wearing Michigan colors,”

I told Mitchell and Kathleen.

“Smart choice,” said Kathleen. “Take care. See you at the Grandview Library.”

“See you there,” I told her. Kathleen and Mitchell waved at me as I continued

my walk down West Third Avenue. As I was walking, orange and brown leaves were

falling off trees like raindrops. A lot of the trees were almost naked. Their branches

twisted almost like entwined snakes. I walked down to Cambridge Boulevard. At the

northeast corner of West First and Cambridge Boulevard was the First Community

Church where I attended services on Sundays and Bible study. I continued walking

east on West First Avenue as more and more orange and brown leaves swirled down.

At Ashland Avenue, I saw a rope dangling from a tree in front of my house. What

was it doing there? I had no way of knowing without closer inspection. Suddenly, the

rope swooshed me off the sidewalk! I was hanging upside down. It looked as if there

was someone out there that didn’t appreciate the outfit that I was wearing from that

school up north! Two boys, one an African American, and one white, had cakes and

pies.

“WE HATE MICHIGAN!” said the white boy. “MICHIGAN SUCKS!” The

white boy and the African American boy threw pies and cakes at me. My face was

covered with pies and cakes! I looked horrible being covered in all that sweet stuff!

Why did I have to be picked on just because I was wearing Michigan colors?

Kathleen and Mitchell Edwards may have appreciated my Michigan outfits, but

those two boys thought that my University of Michigan outfit was vulgar! They

thought that I was invading Ohio State territory. The African American boy took off

his belt. OH MY! He was going to hurt me so badly! Just then, Jonathan Brownfield,

my next-door neighbor, who was about seven feet tall appeared.

“ALL RIGHT YOU TWO!” said Jonathan. His stern tone was as loud as a

police siren. Jonathan’s voice was loud enough to scare the boys away. “GET OUT

OF HERE THIS INSTANT!” The boys reluctantly ran off.

“Are you all right, Christian?” asked Jonathan.

“I’m all right,” I told Jonathan as he tore off the rope with his hands. I could

tell that Jonathan was strong. I tumbled like a tire down to the walk.

“My, my, my, you look as if you have a sweet tooth,” said Jonathan. He was

laughing at me.

“I HATE THOSE BOYS!” I told Jonathan. I was about to blow my top. That’s

what you get when you’re a Michigan native that tried to adjust being an Ohioan.

You try to avoid being homesick, but it’s easier said than done. “YOU DON’T KNOW

WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING A MICHIGANDER THAT’S TRYING TO ADJUST TO

LIFE BEING AN OHIOAN!”

“I know how you feel, Christian,” said Jonathan as pieces of pies and cakes

smeared down my clothes to the sidewalk. “Sometimes, being a new kid in town isn’t

easy, especially when you don’t root for the home team.”

“I’m a Michigan fan,” I told Jonathan. “Why did those boys have to pick on me

because I wear a Michigan outfit?”

“It’s like this, Christian,” said Jonathan. “A lot of people in Grandview

Heights are Ohio State fans. Just because you live in Ohio doesn’t mean that you

can’t wear Michigan colors. Take it from me. I grew up in Illinois, and I’m a

University of Illinois fan that cheers on the fighting Illini.”

“You mean that I have the right to wear my Michigan outfit?” I asked

Jonathan.

“You should,” said Jonathan. “Not EVERYONE in Grandview Heights is an

Ohio State fan. Those boys had no business taking advantage of you because you’re

not an Ohio State fan.”

“Those boys need a lecture,” I told Jonathan.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Jonathan kindly but firmly. “I’ll bring the boys over

here. They have some serious explaining to do. In the meantime, why don’t you go

inside and take a warm shower.”

“Do you know where they live?” I asked Jonathan.

“I know where they live,” said Jonathan. “Michael McCain lives on the corner

of Merrick and Ashland. John Jackson lives next door to Michael. I’m going to come

down hard on them. I’ll teach them a thing or two about not picking on others

because they don’t cheer for some team.”

“Please do,” I told Jonathan.

“I’ll tell them, Christian,” answered Jonathan. “Why don’t you go inside and

wash up.”

“I will,” I told Jonathan. I went inside the house. I looked so horrible being

covered with frosting. My Michigan outfit was filthy. I didn’t have to be taken

advantage of just because I was a native of Michigan who cheered for the Wolverines.

Like Jonathan said, I had the right to cheer on the Wolverines. I took off my

Michigan outfit. I went in the shower and washed off all the frosting. I threw my

Michigan towel and put on a different Michigan jogging suit. There was a knock on

my front door. When I opened it, Jonathan was standing there with Michael McCain

and John Jackson.

“Michael and John have something to tell you, Christian,” said Jonathan

sternly. “Don’t you, Michael and John.”

“A lot of people here in Grandview Heights are Ohio State fans,” said Michael

in a soft voice.

“Michael’s right,” said John in an even softer voice. “In Ohio, you cheer on the

Buckeyes.”

“Not EVERYONE in Grandview Heights cheers on the Buckeyes,” said

Jonathan. “How would you like it if someone picked on you because you don’t support

their team?”

“We wouldn’t like it,” said Michael.

“I guess that picking on you wasn’t a smart choice,” said John.

“I would ask Christian to forgive you for taking advantage of him, John,” said

Jonathan. “That goes for you, Michael.”

“All right,” said James. The two of us shook hands.

“I’m sorry, Christian,” said Michael. The two of us shook hands. “You can

cheer on Michigan.”

“Thanks,” I told Michael and John. Now that the incident was over, I felt free

to cheer on “THAT SCHOOL UP NORTH.” With a little understanding, I could stay

a Michigan fan until God called me through the pearly gates.

A few weeks later on a Saturday afternoon, Ohio State and Michigan teams

met on the football field. It was football’s greatest rivalry. Jonathan and I were

watching Michigan compete with Ohio State with a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.

Michael and John were with us. We had snacks such as potato chips, barbecued,

green onion, hot, as well as ridged potato chips, corn chips, corn puffs, pretzels, and

peanuts, pizza, rib tips, and barbecued chicken wings that Jonathan cooked on his

grill with the rib tips. The four of us washed the food down with soda and juices.

Michigan was 10 points ahead. I was so glad that they were.

“Michigan’s ahead by 10 points!” I yelled at the screen.

“They’re doing awesome,” said Michael.

“They sure are,” said Jonathan. “I hope Michigan gets to go to the Rose Bowl

in Pasadena, California.”

“Do you want to know something?” asked Michael.

“What’s that?” I asked him.

“It’s fun watching this game with someone rooting for THAT SCHOOL UP

NORTH,” answered Michael.

“Thanks for saying so,” I told Michael. We saw Ohio State and Michigan

football players knocking each other down. Michigan was ahead by 15 points.

Michigan was doing its utmost to defeat Ohio State, and that made me feel on top of

the world. I wanted the Michigan football players to win so badly, and the team was

headed in that direction.

“Michael and John, you did a great job including Christian in your

territories,” said Jonathan.

“Thanks,” said John. “We might be upset that Ohio State is behind, but that’s

not what really matters to me. Win or lose, Ohio State’s the bomb.”

“The two of us can root for Ohio State, but we can certainly appreciate

Michigan,” said Michael.

“Both Ohio State and Michigan teams play their best,” I told Michael and

James.

“You’ve got that right,” said Jonathan.

“Tell him, Jonathan,” said Michael. A Michigan player knocked down an Ohio

State player. Michigan was ahead by 24 points. I jumped up and down like my shoes

had springs! Michigan and Ohio teams can play well together. So can their fans.

And nothing can be better than that. . . .

This story is dedicated to the students and the faculty of Ohio State, the Grandview Heights Public Library staff, and the Upper Arlington Public Library staff members who hate seeing students wear Michigan colors on the Ohio State University campus. ©2015 by Chris Clarkson


© Copyright 2018 c.c. rider. All rights reserved.

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