What would U-M be without its rivalry with Ohio State? Is there a more boisterous, deep-rooted, and irrational sense of competition in college sports. Writer Gwendolyn Freed makes the case that oddball events can act as a kind of placemaking for universities and colleges, sending a message that levity and creative expression are welcome.
"Bonding through signature events takes many forms, as I once observed from the nosebleed seats at an Ohio State-Michigan football game. The Buckeyes-Wolverines rivalry, which began in 1897, rouses more than 100,000 spectators to scream and party for days. A juggernaut among signature events, the big game coordinates expensive, high-stakes efforts in logistics, security, marketing, media relations, and halftime entertainment—not to mention the football. For an entire weekend, it overtakes the city of Ann Arbor."