Say What You Will, It’s Personal!!!

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Say What You Will, It’s Personal!!!

Personal is the only word I can use to describe the Michigan State- Michigan rivalry. It was Christmas 1985. Nestled beneath the tree was a box with my name on it. I tore open the package that Christmas morning and my life changed. I was officially a Spartan. I had my first piece of Spartan gear and I was anointed a Spartan for life.

It was my brother’s interest in Agriculture and our trips to MSU’s livestock pavilion for cattle shows that cemented my love for East Lansing. From the day I received that green hooded sweatshirt until the time I take my last breath, I will be a Spartan.

Growing up in the central Thumb of Michigan, allegiances were certainly in favor of the Wolverines. Long before Wal-Mart made its debut in Lapeer County, we had Wal-Mart Wolverines and I hated them. You know, the adoring Wolverine fans that never had the GPA or ambition to go to Michigan, but loved their football team. The mere sight of the Ann Arbor city limits sign on my way through that landfill makes me gasp for air. The venom that I feel in my heart goes well beyond the football field, ice or court. It is part of the very heritage I stand for as a Spartan. It is my love for agriculture and our landgrant university and my absolute hatred toward the arrogance that has lives 60 some miles to the southeast.

I cannot forgive the abuse I took as a kid for being a Spartan fan. It is personal. When we beat Michigan in 1987, it was personal. When we won again in ’90, it was personal. When Michigan State’s basketball team beat Michigan 116-63, it was personal. I cannot stand the Fab Five talk. I cannot believe Jalen Rose was so arrogant as to put a billboard in Detroit honoring such a dishonorable disgrace. Wait a minute, that display of arrogance is just par for the course. I loathe the Fab Five. I cannot believe there is still a book in print about them, glorifying their existence.

I know that my general attitude toward Wolverines and their fans probably isn’t considered “healthy” by most psychologists. I gave up on a healthy relationship with Wolverines in about eighth grade. I do admit to having a few in the family. With the exception of one, that was a member of a Schembechler Rose Bowl team, I know more about Michigan football than any of the rest of my cousins. We work very hard over the holidays to not bring up Spartan and Wolverine football. It is just too personal.

Saturday’s game brings about a certain intensity as I pound out the words on my keyboard. The thought of losing to Michigan again makes my blood boil. I am tired of the beatings. I am sick of the talk at family get togethers and I want redemption. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel differently about this rivalry. I thought the thorough beatings Izzo provides Michigan would be enough to satisfy my heart. The truth is, the score can never be lopsided enough. I just want to go back to my hometown, visit the local watering hole and see every Wolverine with their yellow jacket cringe at the sight of my mere presence. If you don’t have feelings like this rooted deeply within your heart, than you are either a better man than I or you’re just not a tried and true Spartan. Go get ‘em boys, ‘cause we need this one. The Spartan Nation needs a win.