Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Billboard Phenomenon

Well, it looks like we're not the only blog that has been slow lately... While I'll use this as justification to not feel so bad, it probably means things are horrible for the average reader, as the MSU sports news must be slow... Sorry...

A story about the University of Michigan caught my eye today...

Ohio State fans put up a billboard Thursday to gently remind UM fans that it has been 2,000 days since UM last beat The Ohio State University in football. Michigan seems to be a common target of this, as MSU fans have done this same basic thing several times, most notably after MSU defeated Michigan in football last year.

I've heard a range of opinions on the "Billboard Phenomenon." Some fans think it's entertaining and funny. Others think it's poor sportsmanship. I've heard that it's too "small time," only reaching a small group of people who pass by. And a Michigan "friend" made the point that UM doesn't need to take out a billboard when they beat MSU, because it's normal. MSU has to do it cause "the rare win is a big deal."

That last point struck home with me, cause honestly it is true. The wins over Michigan have been rare, and they are a big deal. But are they "billboard-worthy?" A football coach of mine, after my team won its first game in about 18 tries, told us at the end of the game to "act like you've been here before." That advice always stuck with me. Something about those billboards, to me, goes against that advice.

But then today came along. Ohio State has certainly "been here before." They are on the other side of the situation, the longtime winning side, and they seem to be enjoying it just like we did. Does this change the argument? Is it still "small time?" Is it obvious even more now that it is poor sportsmanship? Or is it just the new norm, something that should be expected and enjoyed.

If we're going to enjoy it, lets just remember that it can go both ways when UM puts up a sign on Grand River Avenue.

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