Mar 22, 2012

Bearcats & Buckeyes: A Match-Up Made in Heaven, Part 1

One might think today’s Bearcats vs. Buckeyes NCAA match-up wouldn't be so “sweet” a tradition for couples divided by their opposing alma mater allegiances. But for a few brave souls who have made one of life’s greatest commitments to one of their proclaimed "rivals", today’s battle of the bUCkeyes may actually prove to be – like them – more of a match-up made in heaven.

Today’s exclusive “Sweet Sixteen” blog post series brings you an inside look at how six devoted Bearcat/Buckeye couples are preparing for tonight’s big game and not letting one of the tournament’s most celebrated match-ups come between them. Enjoy their spirited (and sometimes hilarious) responses below. If you’re facing a similar “house-divided” dilemma under your own roof, consider taking their advice before tonight’s big tip-off. As one couple said: "There will be other games."

And of course, at the risk of losing the attention of any Buckeyes reading this post (not to mention spoiling our unbiased credibility)…we must stand committed to our own allegiance and say, “Go Bearcats!”

Meet our couples...

John (UC) & Barb (OSU) Linser
Ryan (UC) & Lori (OSU) Lumm
Dave (UC) & Julie (OSU) McGinnis

One a Bearcat, the other a Buckeye…how did you possibly meet, much less fall in love?

Ryan and Lori Lumm spent their second date
at an OSU/UC football game.
Dave McGinnis: We met at our then-mutual place of employment, where I rearranged my workload to more closely coincide with hers, by which I mean that I used every flimsy and thinly-veiled excuse at my disposal to visit her office. We’ll celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary on game day.

Barb Linser: We met at the fish pond during a church festival in Zanesville, Ohio I was in the 7th grade and he was in the 9th. We have been married 32 years.

Ryan Lumm: Lori and I met shortly after I moved to Columbus for a new job. We did in fact meet at a bar in downtown Columbus and have been married now for almost 3 years. Our second date was at the OSU/UC football game the last time UC played in Columbus. I got tickets through UC so we were able to sit with fellow Bearcats. As an OSU grad and fan, Lori was outnumbered in our section but she was far from outnumbered in the stadium. Unfortunately for me, OSU won that game but we still had a great time.

How are you feeling about Thursday’s big game? Any “parting” words?

OSU grad Barb Linser with oldest son, Alex,
on his graduation day from UC’s College of Law.
Dave McGinnis: I think it’s going to be close no matter what. It is time that UC assumed its rightful position at the top of Ohio’s collegiate athletics hierarchy. Besides, we have a potentially vicious animal as a mascot. They have a tree. It’s a well known fact that the bearcat’s diet includes fruit, small animals, and TREES. And let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a scary or intimidating tree since “Poltergeist”.

Barb Linser: For my bracket and my UC alum sons, Alex and Sam, I would like UC to win, but a Buckeye win gives me bragging rights so either way I win. My son, Alex, has a JD and a bachelor’s from UC and Sam has a Physics degree from UC and is currently working on his Master’s there.

John Linser: It is OK with me if Barb roots for OSU on Thursday as long as she does it with the full knowledge that it will tear apart the hearts of her three children!

Ryan Lumm: I'm excited about Thursday's game. I've wanted to see UC play OSU in basketball since I was a student. Whenever UC is playing, Lori is always supportive. She owns some UC clothing and has attended several football and basketball games with me including the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, but this game will be different. It will be weird to cheer against each other’s Alma Mater. The only parting words I have for Lori are GO CATS!

How do you plan to watch the big game?

UC grad John Linser with his son, Sam, who followed his
dad to UC and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Physics.
Dave McGinnis: We’ll be watching at home, partly because we have young children and partly to avoid causing any sort of scene we’d later regret.

Barb Linser: From the comfort of my couch.

Ryan Lumm: Due to the late start of the game Lori and I will be watching together at home. I can envision however that she might be watching in one room while I watch in my man cave which is painted in Red and Black. (No she doesn't have an OSU room).

Lori Lumm: I think that we will both wind up watching the game at our house – hopefully in the same room, but perhaps on different couches. However, I will be sporting my Buckeye gear and Ryan will likely be in his Bearcat gear.

Who do you think will bring home the win?

Dave McGinnis: I think UC gets the win in a close and physical game.

Barb Linser: UC.

Ryan Lumm: This will be a tough matchup for the Bearcats but they have been playing great. If they keep up the defensive pressure and hit some open shots I think they stand a really good chance at beating OSU. My prediction is that the Bearcats win a close one.

Lori Lumm: I think it will be a close game. However, I think that OSU will be the victors in this match up. Go Buckeyes!

What advice would you offer to other couples in your “situation?”

Lori Lumm is not too proud a Buckeye to root for
husband Ryan’s alma mater every now and then.
Dave McGinnis: Make sure you hide your spouse’s spirit attire well before game time. Especially those buckeye necklaces they always like to wear. Most hardcore OSU fans won’t even leave the house without those on, so you can easily sabotage their game viewing plans. Also, if you have young kids, make sure you get them new UC t-shirts the day before the game so they’re excited to.

Ryan Lumm: Don’t let the game get too big. It's exciting to have these games but the fan of whichever team loses can't take it personally and the winner can't rub it in (too much). Our allegiances may differ in this game but we would never hold any resentment toward each other based on the outcome...after all there will always be another game.

Lori Lumm: Have fun and don't let it get too serious. Just remember there will always be other games. Also, whoever wins, remember not to rub it in your spouse’s face too much and try to root for their team when they are not playing against your Alma Mater. Ryan is still working on this.

Are you raising your kids as Bearcats or Buckeyes?

Dave McGinnis: That depends on which of us you ask, though I contend that I am winning the war for their collegiate allegiance at this point.

Barb Linser: I already lost that battle, having raised 2 Bearcats and a Ball State Cardinal.

Ryan Lumm: We do not currently have children but have often discussed if they would be raised as Bearcats or Buckeyes. As of now it's yet to be determined, but I'll be doing my best to raise them as Bearcats.....but that won't be easy living in Columbus.

Lori Lumm: We will be raising our future children as part Buckeye and part Bearcat. My parents who are big OSU fans and his, which are strictly Bearcat fans, will be sure of it.

All in good fun of course: How difficult is it to love a rival Bearcat/Buckeye during times like this?

UC grad Dave McGinnis posing with one of his loves,
second to wife and OSU grad, Julie.
Dave McGinnis: I knew of her checkered educational past going into the relationship, so I am fairly well adjusted at this point. I try to remember that we all made questionable decisions at that age. Being a Buckeye is her burden to bear and I love her just the same. I just try to live by a “Proudly Cincinnati” example and work to make sure our children have the tools to make better, more informed choices when they are considering their post-secondary education. :)

Barb Linser: VERY tough, but of course when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.

Ryan Lumm: It's not difficult at all to love my wife even though she will be my rival on Thursday. Lori has always been supportive of my beloved Bearcats and always cheers them to victory. I am willing to let her have this one game to cheer for her Buckeyes.....because I know if UC wins, she will be cheering them on again in the Elite 8. I wish I could say the same for me but I have not been an OSU fan for longer than I've known Lori and old habits are hard to break, but I'm working on it.

Lori Lumm: It is never difficult to love Ryan even during these situations. And, yes, he is right in saying that even if his Bearcats win I will be rooting for them in the tournament. However, if OSU wins I can only hope that he will root for them. But, I don't think I will be so lucky. At least maybe he will try. As he said, old habits are hard to break.

Is tonight's game a win-win for you and your significant other too? Comment below to tell us how you're feeling about tonight's game!

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