WILMINGTON — They say love overcomes all, and in the case of two Wilmington married couples it’s even endured clashing loyalties in the annual football game between Ohio State and Michigan.
Doug Woodmansee (The Ohio State University Class of 1980) and his wife Patricia Thomas (University of Michigan Class of 1964) have a good-natured tradition of flying the colors of their alma maters by placing both university flags outdoors and publicly declaring their conflicting rooting interests on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
It’s also part of their tradition that the losing fan puts his or her banner down into the basement until next year’s Big Game. The one exception is when the losing team is in a post-season bowl game; then the flag can be flown that day before being banished once more to the basement.
Actually the basement part of the tradition has suffered a setback when they moved to their current home which doesn’t have a basement to exile a school flag to.
Patricia grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich. where her father was a member of the University of Michigan faculty. She graduated from Ann Arbor High School before going to the University of Michigan. As she notes, she’s always been a Michigan fan.
She got her dad a bumper sticker that reflected the rivalry of the two large public universities, and he kept it above his office desk. Patricia couldn’t recall what it stated, but remembers it was “fabulous” in the way it poked fun at the Buckeyes. (No, she said, it wasn’t the one that gave directions to drive south from Michigan until you smell the OSU Ag Department’s farm manure.)
She married Doug in 1998, and since then Ohio State has dominated the contest, she acknowledged. But she added Michigan still leads the series that started back in 1897.
For his part, Doug said they’ve treated their conflicting support of arch-rival teams as “a very friendly competition all these years.” He recalls wonderful college experiences with friends in connection with Ohio State football games.
He also remembers going to High Street near the OSU campus after an Ohio State/Michigan game and walking around amid a huge crowd that had gathered. If he remembers right, the traffic on High Street had to be stopped because the people were out in the street.
Upon hearing that, Patricia needled Doug about Michigan having better, not-so-rowdy fans.
Earlier this week Colt Harrington e-mailed the News Journal about his split household when it comes to the Ohio State/Michigan game.
“My wife, a teacher at Wilmington Middle School, and I live in Wilmington and she has been a Michigan fan since she was a child and I’ve been an Ohio State fan since I was also very young. It goes even further as we went to rival high schools when we were younger,” said Harrington.
“We just had a baby this past summer and some people have bought him some OSU stuff and some people have bought him some Michigan stuff,” he said.
“I’m afraid that if I ever put him in anything OSU I will come home from work and find him in some horrible Michigan onesie!” added Harrington.
They will of course be watching the game Saturday. He said his wife Whitney will be in the Michigan Wolverines team colors of maize and blue, whereas he will wear his scarlet and gray OSU jersey.
Maybe college football opposites do attract.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.