When it comes to rivalries in sports in general and college football specifically, you can probably count on one hand and still have a finger or two left over those that are more heated than the iconic and annual Ohio State-Michigan grudge match.
One of the lesser known qualities of the two-sided interstate despising? There has been and will continue to be a whole helluva lot of respect and class coming in from both programs.
Case in point: earlier this month, we posted a piece on a 12-year-old Ohio State fan who had undergone his final chemotherapy treatment. Two years ago, upon being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Grant Reed, whose parents met when they were both members of Ohio State’s famed Best Damn Band in the Land, decided to give the insidious disease the nickname of “Michigan.”
So, with the final chemo treatment in the book, the young man had, in essence, beat Michigan.
Shortly after the story went viral, Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke was quoted as saying that, in this rare case, he was happy someone “Beat Michigan.” Two weeks later, Hoke showed just how classy he and his football program truly are.
According to NBC4 in Columbus, Hoke again reached out to the young man Monday. This time, though, the coach came bearing gifts along with some encouragement: four tickets for the UM-OSU game in late November in Ann Arbor.
An answer from the brave young man came in short order.
“He gave a very clear yes—he’s very excited,” Grant Reed‘s father, Troy, said.
The dad then added that “[i]t’s getting hard to keep my dislike for [Michigan], because they’ve been so classy and unbelievable to us.”
Bravo, Coach Hoke. Bravo. The game of college football is all the better for people like you being in it.