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Commentary: More than just ‘The Game’

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Aaron Tomich (author, right) stands next to brother Matthew (center) and close friend Antonio Carroscia decked in OSU and U of M gear before the 2011 OSU-Michigan game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Courtesy: Aaron Tomich

Aaron Tomich (author, right) stands next to brother Matthew (center) and close friend Antonio Carroscia decked in OSU and U of M gear before the 2011 OSU-Michigan game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Courtesy: Aaron Tomich

Whenever I find myself asked to “share a cool fact about yourself,” I have found that my typical answer stirs up conversation and quite the reaction: “Hi, my name is Aaron – I have an identical twin, and he happens to be a big University of Michigan football fan.”

Yes, this is true. My family is a house divided between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

In short – my grandfather lived in Ann Arbor as a young child, just a block from Michigan Stadium, and eventually played on the Michigan football team for a year. That said, he raised my mother to be a Wolverine.

However, my father was a fan of the Scarlet and Gray. So my dad, younger brother and I root for the Buckeyes, while my mom, younger sister and twin brother back the Wolverines.

Until leaving for college, I lived beside my twin brother Matthew for 18 years. And all 18 of those years had their fair share of rivalry talk, debate and disagreement.

At any moment of the day, there was the possibility of a conversation beginning with “The ’Shoe is the best stadium in college football. What can beat chants of ‘O-H-I-O’ ringing throughout the stands?”, followed by the rebuttal of “No it isn’t, the Big House seats 115,000-plus people. Beat that.”

This aspect of our brotherhood makes us unique, and, to this day, easily creates curious conversation.

When friends and new people we meet find this out, they commonly ask, “Wait, what? How does that work?”

Here’s how it has worked for the past 20 years: Heated debate sparks at any given moment. Each new season presents an awkward balance of giving the other the acknowledgement after the Buckeyes or Wolverines win, but, we make it known loud and proud if the other’s team were to lose before ‘The Game’ arrives. And that late-November game is always tense and filled with a combination of frustration and joy.

Being twins, we decided to be individuals, given we are 99.8 percent the same genetically.  This aspect of our lives has provided individuality, but has also yielded a distinct bond beyond who we cheer for on Saturdays in the fall.

It is more than just ‘The Game’ to us.

We have found an identify not only through the Buckeyes and Wolverines, but also an identity of unity through our unusual and fun situation. The rivalry gives us a special connection.

We both proudly embrace and proclaim the strong tradition of college football’s greatest rivalry, and we both share a passion for experiencing ‘The Game’ to the fullest.

Though it might be rough some days, and fun others, our brotherhood was meant to be this way, and this tradition will be in our lives for many years to come.

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