Note to Michigan Fans: West Virginia Is Over It

Christopher LockeContributor IMay 15, 2008

Michigan fans, here's a bulletin:

Most WVU fans are already over "it" and have been for some time.

"It", of course, being Rich Rodriguez's departure from West Virginia. Despite protestations to the contrary by many UM fans, few here in West Virginia are obsessing.

Granted, people here don't like Rodriguez very much.  When one says, "I plan on coaching at West Virginia for as long as they'll have me", it is supposed to mean that, and if one later backpedals, people tend to feel betrayed.

In Ann Arbor, some see Rod's reversal as "just business". Many knowledgeable UM fans have told me this.  But, no matter.  Mere dislike of a person doesn't rise to the level of obsession, as much as Michigan fans would like it to be so.

And WVU fans aren't just going to forget about a $4 million contract that he signed and now claims holds him "hostage".  Not on your life.  That's money for our football program, which is an investment in something we love and are passionate about.

WVU fans fully expect him to honor his contract, because he signed it. There's nothing personal or hateful about it; it's "just business".

Some UM fans seem to miss the concept that Rodriguez himself isn't doing much to move on, either.  He's made the whole departure it into a drawn-out, very public dispute, instead of just honoring the terms of the contract that he himself signed.  Even considering that, however expecting a contract to be honored is not an "obsession," no matter what UM fans think.

If you disagree, you can get a second opinion.  Call your bank and tell them that they are "obsessing" about your mortgage payments or your car loan and that they just need to let it go. Feed them the line about the psycho ex-girlfriend, too.  Then, please come back here and let us know how that worked out for you.

In all honesty, when you talk to WVU fans without becoming arrogant, resorting to insults, or trying to stereotype them, you'll find that WVU fans are polite, love their team, and the name Rodriguez is rarely mentioned. 

Instead, when WVU fans talk football, they talk about the recruiting class that Stew and his crew were able to put together for 2008 in such a short time and under dire circumstances.

They're thrilled  to tell of the high caliber of talent that Stew has assembled on his staff here, and they're positively giddy with the new philosophy: an already explosive offense will be completely unleashed next year. They're also incredibly excited aboutt the talent that is coming to WVU in 2009.

Michigan fans who thrive on our misfortune might be disappointed to overhear these conversations, which actually do NOT consist of bouts of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth, self flailing, sack cloth, ashes, or wailing about how sad we are at our former coach, nor any lamentations about wanting him back.

On the rare occasion that we do talk about him, he's often the butt of a joke.  For example, there's the one about Rich's house being egged after he announced he was going to Michigan.  The cops were there for an hour trying to figure out who might have done it, and Rich was up the rest of the night trying to figure out how the perpetrators got the eggs from the car to the house. Rim shot, please.

But, again, making jokes about someone isn't obsessing, despite what the Ann Arbor crowd may say.

Speaking of the Ann Arbor crowd, just today, I read yet another article from one of them informing me that I should get over it.

Wow. I thought I was over it, and I thought most of my fellow fans were over it too. A contingent of UM fans seem to be the ones talking about it now. The article unnecessarily stirred up a lot of people on BOTH sides who actually might have been over it, but now are not.  Good work, Mr. Womeldorf!  You've done the exact opposite of what you supposedly set out to do.  Or, maybe that's exactly what you wanted to do?

Here's a fundamental concept that everyone needs to remember: fights break out on every type of forum on the Web every day.  The Internet is not real life, and people you don't know will readily argue with you, even if they wouldn't in real life. Ignoring those you disagree with is the best way of dealing with them, rather than calling them out by pretending to be superior. You only keep the flames going by responding, so you then lose any right to complain about someone being "obsessed" with you.

It's like poking at the hornets' nest. If you're foolish enough to do it, you don't deserve a lot of sympathy for the consequences.

But, some UM fans read these types of comments and grab their stick, then scream bloody murder about what big meanies we Mountaineers are when we respond, and how we won't leave them alone, all the while trying to take another jab at the nest.

To which I would say:  Toughen up.  Grow a thicker skin. You're supposed to be elite, so start acting like it. Just get over it already.

Many UM fans will be the first to brag about the eliteness of their program, but in the same breath, some will protest because little ol' WVU won't leave them alone.  If one truly believes they are elite, they don't feel the need to repeat it over and over to convince themselves, and they sure shouldn't have to convince the fans of a supposedly "lesser" school like West Virginia. 

And, above all, they shouldn't be affected by any criticism from us. If they're so sure of this eliteness, how come they can't just ignore all things West Virginia and move on?

Bulletin for UM fans stuck on WVU: you have a new coach, whom most of you like very much.  You believe he's an innovator, that he's going to shake things up, and after a time, you'll be at the top of the Big Ten and quite possibly the country. 

So, there's no further need to visit WVU message boards, no reason to respond to WVU fans, and no sense in complaining about all of it. 

Yay! You win! You can now safely let the controversy die and move on. 

The buyout needn't concern you as fans, since you won't be paying it nor receiving it.  We don't concern you either (or so you say as you crash our message boards and insult us).  If you're truly as confident in your new coach as many of you have indicated, shouldn't you be looking forward to the dawning of a new era of Wolverine football instead of messing around with us hillbillies?

Oh, if only we could be so fortunate.  But alas, we still hear the tired old crying about the "jealous ex-girlfriend".

Maybe it's because Michigan football fans haven't had a lot to be smug about lately. Sure, Michigan won a bowl, but they were an also-ran in the BCS race this year from the first game of the year.

Speaking of which, we won't even begin to talk about that first game of the year. That hurts. Maybe that's why I haven't seen nearly as many UM fans talking about the bowl win as I have seen them flinging insults at Mountaineer fans.

And the fact is, since success at UM is still months or perhaps even years away, maybe some Michigan fans need to fill the time. So, they keep the controversy going, finding new and exciting stereotypes that allow them to continue to look down their noses at us.

Fine.  I just hope they don't expect us to be in awe of them.  Quite frankly, we're not interested.

But, months later, many UM fans still show up in various places on the Internet to poke at the hornets' nest, saying that Rich was the sole reason for success and now that he's gone, we'll return to being a mediocre program, and our new coach is an emotional hire, Oklahoma didn't show up for the Fiesta Bowl, ad nauseum.

To which I would ask, "Why are you even talking to us?  Why do you care at all about WVU?  Don't you have your own football program to concern yourself with?" 

Apparently, if they do, it isn't much worth talking about.

Have these obsessed Wolverine fans not heard the term "whistling past the graveyard"?  Look it up sometime. 

Or, you might just ignore it because repeating the phrase "Jealous Ex Girlfriend" is much easier, like most poorly thought out knee-jerk reactions usually are.

Hopefully, at some point, these UM fans will quit crying about the big, mean West Virginians saying all those nasty things about their coach, once and for all.

It's your turn, Michigan fans.  Let's see if you can get over it and move on.


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