TBG Sports Awards

[trophies] May has come, and another Fall to Spring school year is in the books. And whether you are headed home to work tireless hours at a low-paying and underappreciated summer job, hanging around campus to take a few summer classes, or busting your tail at that amazing summer internship, one thing is for certain: no one will be longing for snow or nasty 8 a.m. classes for the four months.
This past school year has most likely had its extreme highs, like that time when you partied all night long the night before an exam only to ace the thing the next day, and its saddening lows, like that time you partied all night long the night before an exam only to bomb the thing the next day.
Yes, life at MSU can certainly be filled with peaks, valleys and downright holes. The same can certainly be said for the athletic teams on campus as well.
Throughout the past two semesters, MSU sports fans have seen moments that leave them in euphoric awe as well as instances that leave them in disappointing heartache.
Take October for example, when after an incredible 4-0 start to the football season which included an overtime thriller at Notre Dame, fans then had their hearts torn out as the Spartans inexplicably dropped six of their last seven games.
Or what about the winter basketball season? With both the men’s and women’s teams coming off Final Four appearances last season, everyone in East Lansing expected nothing but greatness for the 2005-2006 campaign.
There were the extremely high points, like the big three of Paul Davis, Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager leading the team to a 30 point drubbing of Iowa in January, or watching senior honorable mention All-American Liz Shimek become the school’s all-time leading scorer in March and all-time leading rebounder in January. There were also the low points, with both teams ending their seasons considerably earlier than last year, the men in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the women in the Sweet 16, the MSU gymnastics team who ended the year taking fifth place at the NCAA regional meet and the MSU women’s rowing team, who going into the Big Ten Championships were ranked No. 7 nationally with a Big Ten Boat of the Week honor coming for the week of April 18.
All in all, it has certainly been another exciting, exhilarating and exhausting year of collegiate sports here at MSU. But what is a sports year without a post-season awards ceremony?
So without further adieu, I unveil to you the first ever MSU Big Green Sports Awards for the 2005-2006 season. These awards have been carefully determined and researched by TBG’s resident sports expert…me. They include all athletes and teams who have completed their sports seasons this year, so I apologize to any softball or baseball players out there who may wish bad things upon me after reading this list.
Most Improved Player Award: Victoria Lucas-Perry, MSU women’s basketball[vic2]
For the Flint native junior guard Lucas-Perry, the 2005-2006 season was definitely a break out year. After averaging a solid 7.7 points per game for last year’s national runner-up squad, Lucas-Perry jumped into a starting role this season and flourished with a career high 10.2 points per game and an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection.
Highlights of the year for Lucas-Perry came on Feb. 2 at Northwestern where she scored a season high 23 points including four 3-pointers and on Dec. 21 at Oklahoma where she notched her first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Coming off her best season at MSU in 2005-2006, Lucas-Perry seems to be primed for an outstanding senior year next season for the Spartans.
Best Individual Achievement: Lindsay Bowen beats Marquette’s Steve Novak to win the 3-point shootout
After beating Stanford’s Krista Rappahahn in the women’s final of the 18th Annual Dell College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Shootout, the MSU senior guard then topped the men’s winner Novak in the co-ed final in a rout by a score of 25-17.
This was a great cap to an outstanding senior season for Bowen who finished her career as the second leading scorer in school history behind teammate Liz Shimek and the all time leading 3-point shooter.
Bowen, along with Shimek, also finished her stellar career at MSU as part of the all-time winningest class in school history with 96. Bowen will truly be remembered as one of the best players in MSU women’s basketball history.
Other candidates include Bowen’s teammate Shimek being selected 18th overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA draft.
Game of the Year: MSU Football, MSU 44-Notre Dame 41 (OT)
[foot]Forget the fact that the Spartans finished the year on a disappointing slide, on Saturday, September 17 in South Bend, the Spartans certainly played like champions.
Junior quarterback and team MVP Drew Stanton finished 16-of-27 for 327 yards and three touchdowns passing along with 14 carries for 48 yards and one touchdown rushing.
During this game which featured over 1,000 yards of combined total offense between the two teams, MSU saw a 21-point lead in the third quarter evaporate before surging back in overtime to take the win.
Senior running back Jason Teague took an option pitch from Stanton and scampered 19 yards for the winning touchdown in overtime.
The win put the Spartans at 4-0 on the season and gave them a much impressive road win over the highly ranked Fighting Irish.
Team of the Year Award: MSU men’s hockey
Not only did the Spartan skaters end up as the most successful team on campus this past year, but they might also be considered the most improved.
After coming off a non-customarily mediocre 20-17-4 season in 2004-2005, the Spartans stormed back in 2005-2006 with a critic silencing 25-12-8 record which included its first CCHA tournament title since 2001, as well as finishing their year one win away from the Frozen Four.
Junior captain Drew Miller led the team in points with 43 including a team high 18 goals and freshman goalie Jeff Lerg planted himself as the next great Spartan goalie finishing with a 17-6-6 mark and a miniscule 1.96 goals against average.
Other notables were sophomore forward Bryan Lerg who finished with 38 points for the Spartans and senior forward David Booth who ended the year with 35.
MSU also finished the season with a 14-7-7 mark in CCHA regular season play, good enough for a second place regular season finish.
With most of its key members returning for next year, the bar will certainly be set very high for head coach Rick Comley and the Spartans.
Other candidates for the award included the MSU women’s basketball team, who finished their season 24-10 before falling to Duke in the Sweet 16 and the MSU gymnastics team who ended the year taking fifth place at the NCAA regional meet.
Player of the Year Award: (Tie) Nick Simmons and Andy Simmons, MSU wrestling
The junior brothers from Williamston both finished with outstanding seasons for the Spartan grapplers with Nick ending with a 36-2 mark at the 125-pound weight class and Andy finishing 36-6 at the 141-pound weight class. Both brothers won individual Big Ten titles at their respective weight classes as well. [bros]
Nick ended his year by taking fourth place in the nation in his weight class and earning his third straight All-American award while brother Andy finished fifth nationally in his weight class and garnered his second All-American recognition.
The brothers shared the team’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, which makes three straight seasons that a Simmons brother has taken the honor (Nick in 2005 and Andy in 2004).
Nick Simmons will enter next season only 10 pins short of the all-time MSU pin record of 45.
The brothers will both chase the all-time wins record for MSU with Andy holding a slight lead at 101-97. Each will also be making a run at finishing high on the all-time NCAA tournament victory list as well.
Other notable candidates include MSU junior quarterback Drew Stanton, who broke single season school records in individual total offense, touchdown passes, consecutive games with at least 200 yards passing and consecutive games with touchdown passes thrown; Liz Shimek, who was named as an honorable mention All-American in women’s basketball and Spartan hockey captain Drew Miller.
There you have it, the best of the best at MSU in the 2005-2006 fall and spring semesters. So as you get ready to soak up some sun this summer, take a deep breath and get some rest as you will no doubt need it for next year’s sports seasons.
Just remember to scream loudly, keep your fingers crossed and keep a heavy supply of Maalox and Pepto Bismol on hand for those nail-biters.

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All On the Same Team

In the world we live in today, a person might find himself leisurely sitting on his front porch reading the morning paper one afternoon and find the next day that his perfect porch no longer exists due to a massive hurricane. [sports]
In a world where full-scale wars are fought daily over reasons most people don’t even understand and in locations that most people couldn’t even point out on a map, we struggle with the fight of massive epidemics and battle against unemployment problems. We live in a country where it is estimated that a child is born every three seconds and in a world where an estimated 107 people die with each passing minute.
Things tend to get a little crazy around here.
A question often asked of the media is a pretty basic query on coverage selection: why in a nation and world with so many hardships and pressing issues do we see so many front page stories focused on simple athletic games intended for childlike amusement?
What is it about a sport that captivates people so much? Why do we deem it acceptable for someone who has a strong throwing arm and can hit for both average and power to make millions of dollars a year while a school teacher who molds the minds of our youth has to live from paycheck to paycheck?
So might it be a mistake of the media to focus so much time and effort on games while so many other issues demand constant attention?
MSU journalism senior and Lansing State Journal sports stringer Matt Kemper doesn’t think so. “Absolutely not,” said Kemper. “If the market wasn\’t there, sports wouldn\’t be covered.”
Kemper, who covers mainly Lansing area high school sports for the paper, believes that the sports media certainly has a place in the world and an obligation to the public as well.
“People love to fall in love with their teams and schools,” Kemper said. “The media knows what it is doing, and if people didn\’t want sports coverage all the time, then there wouldn\’t be sports coverage all the time.”
But what is it about sports that make an average reader grab for the sports page quicker than the nation and world section and what is the huge draw that engrosses people by these events?
Mike Hautamaki, an MSU pre-med sophomore, looks to the sports page as a break from everything else. “I usually like to check out all of the local stuff, like any of the Michigan State sports,” said Hautamaki. “It just allows people to have a distraction from everyday life I guess.”
Ashley Romanowski, an MSU English sophomore, agrees with Hautamaki and explains that she mainly reads the sports page just to keep up with what’s going on around campus. “If it has to do with MSU then I am usually always interested,” said Romanowski. “I don’t see it as something that is more important than anything else or necessarily more attention grabbing though. I just think that sometimes it might be more timely.”
LSJ sports writer Kemper said that as a reader, he grabs the sports page as an escape. “I pick up the sports page because I\’ve usually just been made depressed by the news page,” said Kemper. “And I need something to cheer me up.”
Kemper also explained how sports provide something a little different than the average everyday news can give a reader. “As a writer, sports provide the absolute best material for storytelling, which is basically what we do,” Kemper said. “The drama and the intrigue give us so much to work with. News reporting is wonderful, but there is so much more opportunity, at least it seems so to me, for creativity in sports writing.”
Memorable Moments
There have been moments in time where people will often use the phrase, “I will always remember where I was,” when discussing an event. Moments such as Sept. 11, 2001 or the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
But what about Nov. 7, 1991? The day where a national icon was made human and an entire world took real notice on a global epidemic that has now reached pandemic proportions. This was the day where a larger than life man from Lansing, Mich. took his unmistakably brilliant smile and uncanny talent for running the fast break and brought the world to its knees.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the man who put MSU on the map in 1979 and brought a pulse back to the National Basketball Association in the 80s with his brand of basketball known as “Showtime,” was HIV positive.
The incredible Spartan and Los Angeles Lakers point guard from Waverly High School told the world at a press conference that he had the disease that everyone thought was both a gay-only disease and a death sentence. People watched in utter disbelief as the man who was beloved and admired by all contracted a disease formerly known to be associated with only gay men and intravenous drug users.
But true to his nickname, something almost magical seemed to happen. Days, weeks, even years went by and Johnson never seemed to be affected. His survival and ability to live with HIV in the public eye seemed to bust down the doors of AIDS awareness and help everyone understand that no one was safe and prevention was needed.
Johnson’s “hard news” moved beyond the playing fields and assisting in something positive in the real world.
And who could forget Jason McElwain? The senior basketball sensation from Rochester, New York who stole the hearts of everyone this past February with a performance not to be soon forgotten.
McElwain, a senior at Greece Athena High School who suffers from Autism, served as his varsity team manager throughout the season and had never suited up for a game before.
But during the last regular season game of his senior year, Athena head coach Jim Johnson decided to reward him by letting him dress in uniform and sit on the bench.
No promises were made to McElwain as to whether he’d actually get to play or not, but it didn’t seem to matter. Just being in uniform on the bench was special enough. Things got even more special though with about four minutes to play in the game and his team up double figures. With the roar of the crowd behind him, the kid who his teammates affectionately call “J-Mac,” entered his first ever high school game.
What happened next was something not even the most far fetched of Hollywood movies could predict.
After airballing his first shot and missing a layup, J-Mac proceeded to hit a school record with six three-pointers and finished with a game high of 20 points. He was then carried off the court by a mob of teammates and students
In a mere 240 seconds, J-Mac went from being a popular team manager to a national sensation and a symbol of hope for Autism sufferers everywhere.
The Great Equalizer
But why sports? What is it about watching grown men crash into each other on a football field or watching in amazement as a figure skater lands one triple axel after another?
“When you talk to people about why they participate in sports, they’ll say its fun,” said Dr. Martha Ewing, an MSU sports psychologist and faculty member for the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. “From an emotional perspective we don’t see so much fun in the world’s pressing issues and problems.”
“As a fan, I love the passion it inspires in me,” Kemper said. “It\’s not even intentional, but I end up enthralled in these games that are of little or no consequence to my life.”
Hautamaki explained how a lot of people actually play many sports to keep active, so it would be natural for them to relate to them. “I’ve always played everything,” Hautamaki said. “The competitiveness of it all and everything about it has just always interested me.”
Ultimately, no one may ever argue that game seven of the NBA Finals is realistically more important than a presidential election. But what is important about sports is the release it gives people. The power it has to reach millions on a daily basis, and the ability it has to impact our lives- to help us escape from reality and give us inspiration.
“To the athletes participating, the positive consequences are obvious. To the fans watching, it’s an opportunity to get lost in something bigger than they are,” Kemper said. “Sports provide the fans with the chance to escape for a few innings.”
Sports can bring anyone from any walk of life together. It can bring lifelong political adversaries together for a mere four quarters if they are both rooting for the same team. Sports certainly have a place in our culture, and one that doesn’t seem to be fading away anytime soon.
“I like to think of sports as the great equalizer,” said Kemper. “Two guys with completely different ideas and views of the world can become best friends over a good game.”

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It can all happen in the blink of an eye. The time it might take is only a mere second or two. One shot, one pass, one mistake is all it takes to immortalize a player, coach, team, town or school for the rest of time. [mad]
One such moment took place in Austin, Texas on March 27, 2005. After battling in one of the best games of the year, a relatively unknown junior guard from Kentucky threw up one of the biggest prayers in NCAA tournament history.
Patrick Sparks, a Kentucky native who was just fulfilling his dream of playing for his hometown team, might not have known it at the time, but he was about to plant himself smack dab in the middle of tournament lore with names like Jordan and Bird.
With less than 20 seconds remaining in the 2005 NCAA Austin regional final, MSU led Kentucky 75-72. After a mad dash like fury and several missed three point attempts by the Wildcats, Sparks picked up the ball at the top of the key and threw up the heave.
The ball seemed to bounce around the rim with extreme indecisiveness for what seemed like forever before deciding to finally fall and tie the game at 75 apiece. What made it look like it took even longer was the five minute delay and review of the shot to determine if Sparks’ foot was behind the three point arc or not.
Never mind the fact that the Spartans then put on one of the more gutsy performances in tournament history to come back and finish off Kentucky in double overtime to advance to the Final Four. Forget the thought that Sparks’ three is still debated to this day, and forget the notion that neither of these teams actually won the title that year.
For that one moment in time in Austin, the world watched as an unknown kid living out his dream slammed himself into tournament history.
Yes, March is back again, and with it come the usual suspects. Unplanned snow storms, teasing summer afternoons and overall insanity in every major college town across the country.
The NCAA tournament is an annual event that creates legends, breaks hearts, fills sports bars to capacity and captivates the entire nation for a month long span like no other sporting event during the calendar year.
It has become such a large part of American culture that even people who couldn’t tell the difference between a slam-dunk and a three-pointer, let alone the difference between a Hoosier and a Bruin, can’t wait to get their hands on those beloved March Madness tournament brackets.
East Lansing has not been an exception to the madness over the past decade or so. From Mateen Cleaves and the “Flintstones’” miraculous tournament championship of 2000 to last season’s gut busting run to the Final Four, Michigan State basketball certainly has the town’s attention every March.
Magical Memories
Every college basketball fan reacts differently to the tournament, and each has his or her favorite moment from the past.
MSU journalism sophomore Allison Crawford is no doubt one of those fans who inexplicably feels the insanity every March.
Crawford’s best memory of the NCAA tournament takes her back to spring break of eighth grade. This was the season when MSU last won the national title and captivated everyone from Detroit to Iron Mountain. Crawford fondly recalled being in Lansing during the team’s triumphant return home as well as the victory parade.
Now a co-director of MSU’s famed chaotic student section, the Izzone, Crawford has developed a sort of expertise when it comes to the ways of the sports fan.
“I always try to get into the bracket pools and my parents will sometimes try to get to some of the early round games,” Crawford said. “So I try to catch a ride with them when I can.”
Crawford, a die-hard fan, explained how her superstitious behavior tends to shine through at tournament time. “If the team is playing and they are wearing the white jerseys, then I always have to have my white Izzone t-shirt on,” Crawford said. “For games when they are in the green jerseys, it is my green Izzone sweatshirt.”
Shaun Ramsey, a Lyman Briggs physiology sophomore and another Izzone co-director, is yet another collegiate-sports-die-hard who has fond memories of tournaments gone by.
Ramsey, who, along with Crawford, might just be one of the most die-hard Spartan fans on the planet, followed the squad to St. Louis last season for the Final Four.
“The whole thing was great, just pulling into town at night and seeing those arches was enough to give me chills,” Ramsey said. “Just to have the feeling that we were one of the four teams left playing for it all was very cool.”
But it wasn’t just the trip to St. Louis that was surreal for Ramsey, the overall aura of the tournament here in East Lansing was something he says he won’t soon forget.
“Just the week leading up to the Final Four and the buzz in the air around campus was great,” Ramsey said. “The way we beat Kentucky and Duke to get there was great and then for me to actually get to go and watch them…it was a once in a lifetime experience that I hope to have again soon.”
But what makes the tournament so special and unique isn’t just the games themselves, it is everything that’s at stake. And so much more.
“Anything can happen,” Crawford said. “You can try to predict every game but there are always those Cinderella teams that come out of nowhere; every game has to be treated equally.”
Even simple daily tasks become tougher to do when the madness hits the air in March.
“It’s really tough to go to class during the tournament with all the games on, it’s pretty much all you think about,” Ramsey said. “What makes the whole thing so special is that you have college players fighting their hearts out for their school and their pride, there is just something about college sports that makes it great.”
Business Boom
But not only does March Madness create rituals and memorable moments for students and fans alike, it also serves as a massive cash cow for sports bars all over town.
[wings] Twenty-eight-year-old Buffalo Wild Wings general manager Aaron Weiner said that the NCAA tournament is usually the direct reason for March being the busiest and most profitable month for his business.
Last year’s Final Four appearance for MSU was certainly no exception. On the Saturday of the national semifinal, Weiner made it into work at around 10 a.m. and experienced the madness in all its glory.
“We didn’t open that day until 11 a.m. and the State game that night was at 9 p.m.,” Weiner said. “When I got there at 10, there were about 300 people standing in line [to get inside], which was crazy.”
Weiner said he was told that people were standing outside his bar as early as 6 a.m. just to get a seat for the game that didn’t start for another 15 hours. If people stay for the entire 15 hours do they have to order food the entire time they are there? Can they just sit and wait?
“We opened up right at 11:00 and were immediately at capacity for the rest of the day,” Weiner said.
Weiner credits both his bar’s location, which is within walking distance for many students on campus, as well as the success of the team for the business boom. In addition, this season’s tournament also crosses over with another green and white major bar holiday. “The second day of the tournament this year is St. Patrick’s Day,” Weiner said. “So we will definitely be busy then.”
Helen Widener, the 27-year-old manager of Reno’s East Side Sports Bar, agreed with Weiner on the level of business brought in by the tournament. “I can’t think of a busier time of year for us,” Widener said. “It [the amount of bar patrons] depends on who’s playing, but once it all gets going it becomes an all day thing.”
Widener also added that the bar makes sure it takes special preoperational steps to get ready for the insanity. “We try to staff up and stock up on everything to be sure we are ready,” Widener said. “We also have over 70 televisions with the special sports package that let’s us show every game, so it doesn’t take a lot to get people in here.”
With all of the pomp and circumstance of having up to two rounds of play and 64 teams in action over the course of a four day span, things clearly could and have ended up out of hand around campus and town.
Putting any and all raucous past experiences behind them, local authorities are looking to the next tournament with optimistic eyes and want to make sure all crowded areas are as secure as possible. “Our main plan is always to make sure the students and everyone else is safe,” said MSU Department of Police and Public Safety Master Sergeant Florene McGlothian-Taylor.
“We always encourage students to party smart and watch out for large crowds,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “The main message is to celebrate responsibly.”
One Shining Moment
Clearly there is no other event during the school year that single handedly can captivate the entire university like the NCAA tournament. The camaraderie it brings between students, family, athletes and even complete strangers is unprecedented. At no other time during the year can you find yourself cramming into a local sports bar with perhaps a hundred or so complete strangers and yelling yourself hoarse on a Thursday afternoon hoping for a tournament win.
It has been a CBS tradition to play the song “One Shining Moment” to a video montage of the winning team after the tournament ends in April. It is something that players, coaches and fans alike dream about seeing for their entire lives. It can bring grown adults to tears and inspire the dreams of young children across the country.
“The time before the tournament starts, it almost feels like the feeling you get before Christmas morning,” Ramsey said. “Just the excitement of all the games and how everyone has a shot is incredible.”
So whether you bleed Spartan green or just want to fill out one of those brackets, have a very merry March Madness.
After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

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Knocking On All the Wood in East Lansing

The term “obsessed” is defined in Webster’s dictionary as simply, “[T]o have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic.” But is that really the whole definition? No matter how many times I read over this definition, I can’t help but think of one glaring omission: a photo of a screaming, face-painted, insane yahoo student at any collegiate sporting event across the country.
[motion]As MSU students, and more importantly, as rabid fans of the sports teams on campus, we are all susceptible to the obsessive behavior that comes with the territory. Consider the day-breaking tailgates on football Saturdays that leave us either exhausted and let down, exhausted and overjoyed, or exhausted and sunburned; those overnight “Izzone” campouts that beg the question, do college students ever actually go to class; the feeling that something absolutely tremendous could possibly be in the works every time coach Joanne McCallie and the women’s basketball team take the floor at the Breslin Center.
[q1] Yes, we sports junkies certainly share a lot of precious moments. We celebrate, we cry, we let out blood-curdling screams when we don’t even know why we are yelling. But perhaps more important than all that, the most exciting, essential and extraordinary trait we share is our God-given ability to predict the future.
All right, maybe that’s not entirely true (especially if you read my story in October when my mere notion that the football team was finally on the right course for a title inexplicably seemed to bring on a complete and total debacle). Nevertheless, we all see ourselves as experts and gurus. So, try to find it in your heart to humor me as I unveil my MSU winter sports predictions for the upcoming semester.
Let me go ahead and apologize to any team I jinx with my predictions right here and now. Keep in mind I will be knocking on wood throughout this entire process.
So without further adieu, here are The Big Green Sports Guy’s humorous, yet serious, sports predictions for the winter semester.
Wrestling:
After a solid season last year and a promising start this year, the MSU wrestling squad seems to be well on their way to a strong finish. Led by junior brothers and All-Americans Andy and Nick Simmons, the Spartan grapplers already have a national ranking and will no doubt push the envelope for the remainder of the season. But how exactly will their season conclude? Well, I see it going something like this.
The Spartans will follow the Simmons family connection for the remainder of the year and prove themselves serious contenders all the way to the Big Ten Championship in Indiana in early March. During the tournament, MSU senior and University of Michigan transfer R.J. Boudro will single-handedly pull a Hulk Hogan and eliminate each and every U of M wrestler with extreme quickness and precision. Behind this superhuman performance, the Spartans will capture the Big Ten tournament team championship and celebrate to Hogan’s theme song, “Real American.”
Men’s Ice Hockey:
Following an uncharacteristically up-and-down season last year, the MSU Ice Hockey team will certainly be looking to use that experience to level out the peaks and valleys this coming campaign. But the team is extremely young this season and is continuing to have a back-and-forth year. However, they won’t have to look far for guidance as junior captain Drew Miller, who hails from East Lansing, will most assuredly have an All-CCHA-type season and sophomore forward Bryan Lerg seems to be well on his way to taking over the Spartan hockey torch.
My prediction for the Spartan icers will be an above-.500 finish and a strong showing at the CCHA tournament. Maybe not the best of fortunes, but look on the bright side: with all these underclassmen getting so much experience, next season should be an enormous success.
My vision of the year\’s highlight will come on the final day of the regular season, when the Spartans take on Lake Superior State University at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. In front of the ghosts of “Hockeytown,” the Spartans will battle the Lakers in a match of epic proportions. During the closing seconds of the third period, sophomore sensation Lerg will receive a penalty shot after being unceremoniously dragged down a la Gordon Bombay/Charlie Conway of the Mighty Ducks thrill-ogy. Lerg will summon the power of Bombay’s vaunted \”triple deke\” maneuver to beat the Laker goalie glove side for the season-ending victory.
Women’s Basketball:
What else can be said that hasn’t already been mentioned about the MSU women’s basketball squad? After having a record setting year and phenomenal run in the NCAA tournament last spring, some might say it would be borderline impossible for the team to exceed what was accomplished last season. However, anyone making that claim must not have watched the national title game last April where the Spartans were defeated. Which means there is still one more mountain to climb for Coach P and company. And judging by their solid showing at this point in the 2005-2006 season, the women occupants of the Breslin Center may very well have their hiking gear ready for that final ascent.
But what exactly does the proverbial Big Green crystal ball have in store for the Spartan women? [huddle2] Well, I see a bit of sorrow leading to an eventual triumph. The Spartans will not repeat as the Big Ten champions, instead losing out by one game to rival Ohio State. However, this will be a motivational factor for the Spartans as they sprint into the tournament instead of limping. They will demolish everyone in their path on their way to a second straight final four where in the national semi-final game they will dismantle national superpower Tennessee and women’s basketball superhero Candice Parker. But what about the national championship game you ask? Well, here is how I would like to see it played out. [q2]
The Spartans will battle arch-nemesis Ohio State in the national final and it will be a battle for the ages. Back and forth, up and down, inside and out. After gritty senior point guard Lindsay Bowen draws a charge with five seconds remaining, the Spartans will take a timeout and inbound the ball at half court. After eating some magic spinach passed to her by an unusually muscular sailor and his needle-thin girlfriend, senior sensation Liz Shimek will take the inbound pass and fly to the basket finishing off the game and the national championship with a Jordan-esque reverse windmill dunk. Coach P will then have a bronzed statue of herself placed next to that other guy from the \’70s in front of the Breslin.
Men’s Basketball:
Last, but certainly not least, we come to Tom Izzo and the legendary men’s basketball team. After finishing last season with a somewhat unexpected run in the Final Four, the Spartans of 2005-2006 certainly will not be sneaking up on anyone this time around. Gone are the heart and soul players from last season in seniors Kelvin Torbert, Alan Anderson, Tim Bograkos and Chris Hill. As most experts would be quick to add however, a team with the talent caliber of Spartans does not re-build, it re-loads. [man2]
Back for another go around are team leaders and seniors Paul Davis and Maurice Ager. Add in junior human highlight reel Shannon Brown, and the Spartans look primed for another late season run this coming March.
While this season has had its share of ups and downs to this point, with a disappointing loss to unheralded Hawaii and solid wins over perennial powers Arizona and Indiana, MSU will undoubtedly have something to say about the national tournament picture.
Predicting a finish and outcome for an MSU men’s basketball team can be about as tough as one of those $1.95 steaks you find at Country Market and can’t help but consider purchasing. The team has had so many tremendous moments over the last decade or so but conversely, they have suffered just as many letdowns and disappointments.
The Spartans will find themselves in the “Sweet 16” this coming March where once again every MSU fan will have one of those “why-are-they-doing-this-to-me-don’t-they-know-my-heart-has-already-been-
torn-out-from-football-season” moments.
Down 15 points with three and a half minutes remaining to last year’s national champion, the North Carolina Tar Heels, senior superstar Maurice Ager will grab out his superman cape from under the Gatorade cooler and once again show us why he is one of the most talented wingmen in the country. After a furious rush by Ager down the stretch, with 13 straight points, including several “that just isn’t fair” type dunks, the Spartans will inbound the ball down two with one and a half seconds remaining. Sophomore guard Drew Neitzel will look to inbound to the hot hand in Ager but realizes he is tightly covered and has no chance for a pass. He will then look to Shannon Brown, also covered. The only other two options left are the two massive post players in Drew Naymick and Paul Davis. Not knowing where to go with the ball, Neitzel will then decide to use an ancient but certain method for success. Using the “eeni-meenie-minie-mo” technique with his eyes closed, Neitzel fires a blind strike right to the hands of a shocked Naymick. Shocked and stunned, Naymick does the only thing that comes natural to him. He launches a 35-foot sky-hook that seems to travel about as fast through the air as the time it takes to sit through a two hour economics lecture. The shot then hits the front of the rim and does the random bounce around the backboard and iron as seen in such movie classics like Teen Wolf and Air Bud before falling in to secure a Spartan victory. Naymick is crowned king of East Lansing for a week but the joy is short-lived as the Spartans fall the following week just one win away from a second straight Final Four appearance.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Prepare yourself for another rollercoaster winter sports season here at MSU. You will see wins and you will see losses. You will see miracles and you will see disasters. And maybe if you get lucky, and if the crystal ball is correct, you will even get to see some things never to be forgotten.
Oh and if by chance this column jinxes any of the aforementioned teams, I will give anyone a free pass to club me with that piece of wood I have been knocking on.

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Senter Stage

There are several unique little quirks about collegiate sports that make them great. Where else in society is it acceptable to wake up before nine on a Saturday morning and have a beer with the sunrise? In what other sport are there athletes who can go for 40 points in a basketball game on Sunday afternoon only to have to scuttle back to their room and cram for a Monday morning exam? College sports are full of traditions and rituals as well as unrelenting, terrorizing and passionate fans that fill student sections as fast as people de-boarding the Titanic at every sporting venue.
Here at MSU we have Corner Blitz for the football team, where you can find shirtless face painted yahoo’s screaming their lungs out on football Saturday’s even if the team isn’t exactly dominating on the field. Catching a men’s hockey game at Munn Ice Arena just wouldn’t be the same without the Slapshots section acting like Mel Gibson’s army from “Braveheart.” And then there is the fabled Izzone, a pride and joy of MSU and maybe the summa cum laude of fan sections, not to mention one of the most intimidating presences in all of college sports.
But what about that other major sports team that lives in the Breslin Center and finished better than any of the aforementioned teams last season (and yes I did include Mr. Izzo and Co. in that statement)? You know, that team that was a mere half of a basketball away from being crowned the 2004 NCAA champions? Well they too have themselves a group of rowdy, boisterous and unwavering fans who call themselves, SenterCourt.
Formerly known as the “Pack Attack” and then the “X-Factor” while being a part of the Student Alumni Foundation, SenterCourt has entered its second season as the official student section for the women’s basketball team and has no plans of quieting down any time soon.
“The section started a few years back and was part of SAF but they just didn’t have the resources we felt were needed,” said Sarah Haines, an MSU department of basketball operations intern. “Now we are much larger and have a lot more freedom.”
Last season, the Lady Spartans finished an incredible 33-4 behind outstanding performances from Associated Press All-Americans Kristen Haynie, Lindsay Bowen and Liz Shimek. They were both Big Ten regular season and conference champions and the runner up in the national tournament. The team enjoyed the best season in the program’s history and the SenterCourt gang steadily grew and by season’s end were leading cheers from near sellout crowds in the Breslin Center, something never before seen in the women’s basketball program.
SenterCourt coordinator and MSU kinesiology sophomore Keleigh Knapp remembers rushing out onto the court after the team clinched a Big Ten title and standing side by side with them covered in confetti as they hoisted the trophy.
“The best moment of the season was probably the Ohio State game where they came in ranked high and we almost had a sellout crowd,” special education junior and SenterCourt coordinator Elena Strom said.
The 14,066 people in attendance that day far exceeded the usual 6,500-7,000 person crowds the team usually draws, proving perhaps once and for all that the women’s team had officially arrived. And judging by the frenzied crowd, SenterCourt had also arrived and was ready to become a household name in the MSU culture.
But it wasn’t always like that. In past basketball seasons, before SenterCourt, when the student section was ran by SAF the attitude and excitement just wasn’t there.
“It was kind of dull and kind of just like, blah,” MSU Director of Women’s Basketball Operations Kate Senger said. “The section used to not even be full and the crowds just never got into it.”
Senger explained that the reason for the lack of excitment wasn’t necessarily because the section was ran by SAF, but just because basically it wasn’t organized the way it maybe should have been at the time.
“It is a lot easier for us to monitor now and it goes in the direction that we want it to,” Senger said. Senger also explained that the program wouldn’t even mind seeing the section go back to the students and SAF in the near future.
“It has been tough over the years to get fans to rally for this, so hopefully we can use this momentum we’ve got and maybe eventually give the section back to the students and SAF so they can run it,” Senger said. “But obviously we love to have it here with us.”
That momentum that is building doesn’t just stop at MSU home games however. Senger explained that there are often times where the group will travel and support the squad as they venture into enemy territory.
“Sometimes they will make the trips to a close game, like Michigan or Ohio State which helps a lot,” Senger said. “We provide them with a bus and encourage them to come along. It says a lot because these are young kids with little transportation means and a lot to do.”
For the time being however, the main goals of SenterCourt are simple. Be a known presence each and every game, and continue to increase in size.
\”We are always growing and hope to continue to grow,” advertising sophomore and SenterCourt coordinator Patricia Kota said. “By the end of last season we had 65 people in the group and our goal for this year is to end with around 100.”
Kota explained that even though SenterCourt basically sits in the shadows of the Izzone as a student section on campus, that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as loud and crazy.
“Basically we want to make the group as rowdy and noisy as possible,” Kota said. “The Izzone is awesome there is no doubt about it, but we think we can have that too.”
Perhaps the underlying factor holding SenterCourt back from immediately reaching the size and prestige of the Izzone is the same factor that has kept women’s sports on the proverbial back-burner in this country: a lower interest level in all women’s sports than in men’s.“Women’s sports just doesn’t get as much respect as Men’s in this country,” Knapp said. “We’re just as successful and can do just as many great things.”
But SenterCourt doesn’t plan on resigning to that fate or fading away any time soon. Especially with the expectation of another great season ahead, the women’s basketball team will be earning more well-deserved respect with each basket.
Just having student sections in college sports make them so unique. When else in life is it so fun to get together with peers who have a unified interest of screaming-until-you-can’t even-feel-the-back-of-your-throat, all to help your team score one more basket down the stretch in crunch time? In student sections like SenterCourt, it’s our job to make the home court a place where the opposition can barely collect their thoughts let alone ignore the ever present crowd. All in the name of school spirit.
“I would like to think that it gives us a big advantage out there on the court every home game,” Senger said. “It is important for a lot of morale issues with the team getting support from their fellow students, and they definitely notice them out their with their shirts and signs and hear them screaming. It is just cool to see the excitement out there.”
Not only do they give their team an advantage out on the court every game, but SenterCourt also does its part in helping the community and more notably the Mid Michigan Children’s Initiative.
“Whenever a team player hits a three, SenterCourt donates ten cents to the MMCI,” Kota said. “So for every three you will hear a ‘Cha-Ching’ from the section.
The women\’s basketball team compassion for their community extends to its camaraderie shared between those who lace up their sneakers and the fans who cheer them on through the good and bad.
“We’re all Spartans here when it comes down to it,” Haines said. “We share an identity and a passion for the game. I think the women’s team is much more accessible and we get to know them better, it is a very family-like atmosphere.”
And that idea of having something in common with the athletes is really what separates college sports apart from anything else. For those screaming SenterCourt members, this is no different. Even though they may be on posters and signing autographs after a big game, they too will have to go back to their room and study for an upcoming test.
“We relate so much more to them than we would any other professional athletes,” Knapp said.
So if standing in ankle deep confetti celebrating a Big Ten championship this March sounds like something enticing, you might want to come down and join the gang in SenterCourt and be part of something big. Just make sure to bring a big lung capacity.

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Long Time Coming

Sixteen months is a long time. In that time frame, a person could have a child (gender permitting), learn a musical instrument, develop rock hard abs and maybe even have enough time to watch every single re-run of the popular MTV reality show, “The Real World.”
Sixteen months can also be enough time to forget about someone or something once loved, but in the case of the National Hockey League, many fans just aren’t ready to let go. [1hockey1]
On Feb. 16, NHL owners officially cancelled the 2004-2005 season after a drawn-out and highly publicized labor dispute with the players that made a Mike Tyson comeback fight look like a civilized social event.
But cooler heads prevailed in late summer as the frugal nature of the owners proved to be stronger than the unrelenting greed of the players, and the NHL finally resumed play on Oct. 5.
With its return, the NHL has been careful thus far in attempting to regain some of the fans quite literally left out in the cold last winter. They have placed cute little logos on the ice at every arena reading, “Thank you, fans.” Whether they are thanking fans for putting up with their third grade-like squabble, or simply for showing up at a game remains a valid question.
Perhaps making it tougher for the fans to make a return to the game is the fact that the league’s major television contract with ESPN has not been renewed. This leaves NHL watchers with only a few choices: watching a game on a regional Fox Sports broadcast or searching their cable boxes feverishly for the new home of the NHL, the Outdoor Life Network.
Yes, I said the Outdoor Life Network, a channel famous for its “Survivor” replays and Tour de France coverage. Most college students couldn’t find this one on their Comcast cable box even if you paid them a full year’s tuition.
Finance sophomore Ryan Merz is definitely one of those fans who has missed the NHL and will be sure to have access to OLN this season. Merz, who currently plays on the MSU men’s club hockey team, is originally from Chicago and has a hockey background that would make even the most pedestrian fan envious. While attending Shattuck St. [3hockey]Mary’s prep school in Minnesota, Merz played alongside several icers who currently grace NHL rosters, most notably Pittsburgh Penguins rookie phenomenon and media proclaimed “Next One,” Sidney Crosby. “It was really a downer not to see games on during the week [last fall],” said Merz. “It just left me with a lot more free time and a lot more Sportscenter watching.”
Renee Buck, an MSU fisheries and wildlife junior, also felt the deep void in her schedule without hockey on the tube. Buck, who plays hockey on the MSU women’s club team, said she focused her spare time on playing more herself so she wouldn’t miss it so much. “I played a lot more and followed college hockey more than I ever have,” said Buck. “I also watched the World Cup avidly to keep some hockey around.”
A self-proclaimed “newer” fan of the game, Buck has strong memories of watching Stanley Cup playoff hockey and feeling the pain after her Red Wings were bounced far too early in their last playoff run of 2003. Apparently even bad, heart-breaking hockey is better than no hockey at all.
During the labor dispute last year, some sports experts questioned not only when the NHL would return but if it would ever return. Maybe more importantly, they questioned whether anyone in this country would actually care. Some fans in areas where hockey was a struggling sport before the dispute were left with enough time to forget the difference between a puck and a goalpost. “I think the fans that were not really regulars might not have cared [if the NHL had never came back],” said Merz. “Sooner or later it would have just been forgotten, and that is sad to say.”
There is no question a longer lockout would have been devastating to the sport, even more so than what Major League Baseball went through following their players strike of 1994. Once the players returned the next year, the fan base was clearly decimated and some say it has yet to fully recover, even after countless attempts by the MLB to draw them back. “I think it would have been a major disappointment all over,” said Buck. “It might have helped college hockey a little more in the end but it would still be a major disappointment.”
However, in Michigan and specifically on the MSU campus, where the Detroit Red Wings are as beloved as a dollar beer pitcher, it just didn’t seem normal to turn on the television and not see grown men fly around on skates chasing a little black frozen thing and violently crashing into each other. “Without hockey on television, for me it was just like, what do you do?” said Merz.
Jim Martin, general manager of the MSU men’s hockey club, said it didn’t seem right not to see the teams playing even though it helped out his club’s coverage and attention. “We actually received a lot of national coverage in our national tournament that probably wouldn’t have been there before last year,” said Martin. “It did seem very different though in the spring when the playoffs were missed.”
Martin said the problem and conflict with the lockout just didn’t make sense. Over the past few years, teams started moving from small markets where hockey was a small form of organized religion to larger markets where the only ice is in a frozen margarita. The Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix, the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Colorado, the Hartford Whalers shipped south to North Carolina and maybe the biggest travesty of all was the beloved Minnesota North Stars migration to Dallas. These moves have all unquestionably hurt the sport’s overall popularity. In addition, Martin also questioned why the sport would tinker with the physicality of hockey that people love so much – the fights.
Martin believes that in markets where hockey has always been big, fans will continue to flock to the arenas, but it remains to be seen about those warm weather rinks. “Hockey has always been a blue collar type of sport, which gives it roots around this area; in addition the cold climate itself attracts people,” said Martin. “But they might have really lost those bubble fans who they were really trying to build up.”
Another question to be raised isn’t just how the league itself is doing with the return of play, but rather how local businesses who specialize in selling NHL apparel are fairing. With the lost season, hockey shops across the country, especially in Michigan, suffered in NHL merchandise sales that are normally considerably high. Add that to the fact that the retail price of an officially licensed NHL jersey will run you about as much as it costs to fill up an SUV ($60-70), and you have a bit of a problem.
“Really the one thing we’ve missed out on are the jersey sales,” said Bryan Hobson, manager of Perani’s Hockey World of East Lansing. “We just aren’t selling as many as we did when they were playing before.” Hobson said the overall sale of hockey equipment hasn’t been affected, but did say certain aspects of player-endorsed equipment has seen a slight dip. “Say [Detroit Red Wing’s forward] Brendan Shanahan uses a new stick, a lot of times kids would come in here and say, ‘Oh, I want to use that because Shanahan does,’” said Hobson. “You just don’t see that as much anymore.”
Adding up all the problems facing the NHL can be as daunting and painful as filling out a federal tax form. But in Michigan, hockey has become a way of life. Everyone has their favorite Red Wing, people will seriously consider selling you their first born child if you have a playoff ticket close enough to ice level, Steve Yzerman could literally run for mayor of Detroit and probably win by a landslide and I think we all remember those corny flags people left on their cars forever after the Wings won their recent Stanley Cups. So it might be safe to say hockey is back and fans around here are starting to forgive and forget. [2hockey2]
“I was at the Vancouver game earlier this year,” said Hobson. “And down there in the building it felt like the strike never happened. I think slowly but surely fans are starting to come around and get back into it.”
Maybe things are a bit different around here where hockey and the Red Wings still hold the eye of sports fans. It seems apparent the diehard hockey followers that fill the Great Lakes State have not only missed, but craved their “coolest sport on ice.”
In celebration of the comeback, feel free to break out those old skates, start thinking of ways to sneak octopi into the Joe Louis Arena and you might even bring back those corny car flags.
Hopefully there won’t be any more 16-month-long trial separations.

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Another Season, Another Chance

Over the past five years or so, MSU football fans have had far too many “here we go again” gut-busters to suffer through, far too many of those painful to watch “what were they thinking” disasters, far too many shoulda-coulda-woulda efforts.[1again]
In short, far too much heartache.
There was last year’s painful to watch fourth quarter debacle against the evil empire in Ann Arbor which made every fan across Spartan nation feel as if they had been punched in the stomach by each and every one of those 111,609 fans in attendance. It felt like your significant other telling you he or she wants to see other people and would rather just be friends.
Then there was the pathetic showing against an atrocious Penn State team that same season a week after completely dominating a highly ranked Wisconsin team, a meltdown that could make Chernobyl employees blush.
And that was only last season.
Then you have the numbers: no Big Ten titles since 1990, no Rose Bowl appearances since 1987-88, three losing seasons in the past five years and countless dashed hopes and borderline emotional breakdowns throughout the East Lansing area.
Being a football fan in East Lansing hasn’t exactly been a cake walk over the years especially with the immense success of Tom Izzo and recent final four appearances from both the men and women’s basketball squads. Leaving football fans to ask, why not football? It has no doubt become a common theme that most of the excitement with football Saturday’s has been focused on tailgating festivities and partying afterward rather than the game on the field.
No preference sophomore Tim Gurevich was in the stands at Michigan Stadium that dreary day last October. He sat and watched his beloved Spartans as they built a 17-point lead late in the fourth quarter on the road in enemy territory. Gurevich was so confident in a Spartan victory that day that he even bet $50 with his uncle before the game. And as every student knows, $50 is about as valuable as finding clean air and drinking water.
Good fortune turned to panic-stricken horror however as then Michigan standout Braylon Edwards took the game over by shredding the helpless Spartan defense quicker than students fleeing from an economics exam with two touchdown catches late in the fourth quarter and the game winner in overtime.
He stole the game, and with that he also stole Gurevich’s precious pizza and gas money for the next month or so. “I was just crushed,” Gurevich said. “I just sat there in the stands and couldn’t believe what was happening out there.”
MSU football teams have certainly had a knack for toying with fans emotions more than if every liquor store in the greater Lansing area were to put up “Free Alcohol” signs before each weekend, only to take them down once everyone crowded outside.
They seem to all have the same generic excuses behind their abysmal seasons and disastrous collapses. Not enough leadership at the quarterback position, a patchy defense, lack of coaching motivation, the injury bug, players in legal trouble and maybe even the possibility that a worldwide conspiracy looms over Spartan Stadium.
Michael Mckenzie, a fifth year communications senior at MSU, is another one of those long suffering taunted fans. Mckenzie has had season tickets for each of his five years at MSU and has seen it all in that time.
“I can remember a few years back when Bobby Williams was coaching, they really stunk,” Mckenzie said. “I thought there was a lot of talent on those teams with [Jeff] Smoker and Charlie [Charles Rogers] but they ended with wasted chances.”
Mckenzie painfully reminisced about another sad time in Spartan history, yet another disappointing bout with arch rival Michigan.
[2]There he sat in Spartan Stadium in November of 2003 and watched a highly ranked MSU team get manhandled as then Michigan running back Chris Perry ran for 221 yards on an astronomical 51 carries.
Another one of those games where everything was supposed to turn around. A game where the Spartans would finally put their stamp on the national football scene for good.
Another wasted chance.
Mckenzie also recalled the disgust and pain after watching a jubilant Perry run over to the MSU student section and sing Michigan’s fight song.
But with an impressive start to the 2005 season, Spartan football lovers may finally be getting a chance to be cheering for an actual contender in late November instead of busting out their basketball shoes and getting those “Izzone” tee shirts ready a month early…
“It makes all this much more gratifying now,” said Mckenzie of the Spartans fresh start and new- found winning ways. “It has been pretty rare when an opponent comes into East Lansing scared, except for basketball season.”
The rekindled enthusiasm has even brought in fans that really never paid much attention to football on campus.
Aaron Pahl, an MSU accounting junior, said until this year he has only been a casual fan of MSU football and never really had a reason to get fired up about a game. He preferred to watch a game or two at his own leisure in front of the television rather than in the stadium with the Spartan faithful screaming in his ear. In fact he was initially an Ohio State fan before getting swept up by the school spirit here as a freshman.
“When I got here as a freshman the team was going through the whole Jeff Smoker thing [Smoker’s off the field issues],” Pahl said. “So it was pretty disappointing at first.”
But Pahl said he has definitely taken notice after the quick start this year and looks forward to watching more Spartan victories.
Just the thought of a possible Big Ten championship, which was last captured by the Spartans when most MSU students spent their Saturdays watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Tturtles with a bowl of Lucky Charms, rather than screaming their lungs out in Spartan Stadium. The thought has Pahl, a fan who really didn’t care too much before thise season, thinking of a rather large football investment.
“That would be pretty amazing,” Pahl said. “I would probably even buy tickets for next year then.”
Medical technician senior Meagan Hipchen is another fan who never really got that much into football before this season. “Since I’ve been here I’ve always followed football,” Hipchen said. “But I would not have considered myself a die hard fan.”
However with the recent change in Spartan performance on the field, Hipchen, a former MSU cheerleader, said she has definitely converted from an on again off again game watcher to a full fledged die hard and could see her self basking in the sun of a warm weather bowl game come January.
“Oh yeah I’d be there,” Hipchen said. “I think we’re going all the way.”
The recent excitement boost has not only helped increase the possible number of season ticket holders, but it also adds to East Lansing business profits on football Saturdays and not to mention the overall atmosphere on campus.
“The more they win the more excited people get, especially after the Notre Dame game, people went crazy,” said Mark Sata, manager and part owner of Spartan Sports Den located on Grand River Avenue. “As long as they keep on winning then all the excitement and enthusiasm should last.”
Perhaps a testament to the loyalty of football fans on campus could be how they show up rooting for their Spartans even if the season is a classic Spartan train wreck.[3]
“We usually have good business in here on football Saturdays,” Sata said. “But the winning always helps out.”
Mckenzie agrees the winning obviously helps morale and keeps the interest level high.
“I really enjoy tailgating and going to the games and it is much easier to go home happy after a win rather than going home after a loss,” Mckenzie said.
There is no doubt about how tough it has been to be a Spartan football fan in the recent past, but by the same token there is no doubt how excited fans are getting over the prospect of becoming a national power and more than just a “basketball school.”
Even though anyone reading this should now be rushing for the nearest wooden object to give it a good luck knock, the mere notion of a major bowl bid or a Big Ten title seems to have consumed fans from Hubbard to Wilson Halls.
“I would love to end my college career on a high note like that,” Mckenzie said. “That would be unreal.”
So in the meantime Spartan football fans will go on fighting through those tense moments that will surely come. They will cheer themselves hoarse and slather on that green and white face paint like it was their job. They will go on sitting on the edge of their seats as excited as a Peanut Barrel patron on a Thursday night with hopes of being part of Spartan football glory.
And this time they might actually get it.

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