How Will The Spartan Nation Handle Success?

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I don’t know about anyone else that reads this site, but I am just chomping at the bit for September 1st. Ahhhh… the sound of THE SPARTAN MARCHING BAND blares throughout the stadium concourses, beautiful Spartan cheerleaders take flight as the “Men In Green” run out of the tunnel to 75,000+ waiting to see the new product.

I wasn’t able to see Nick’s first season because I was away on semester exchange in Ireland. My siblings will tell you that I was an absolute nuisance with my telephone calls and e-mails. I was desperate to get any information about our beloved boys and even tried to bribe numerous pub owners in Dublin to turn their satellite receivers toward East Lansing. I called my father one particular November day from a pay phone moments after the Michigan game was over and he said, “Smike, they did it… they pulled it off… Tony Banks was just unbelievable.”

My sister was kind enough to send the game tapes over after each win or loss. A video storeowner in Goatstown, Dublin 4 let me sit in the back of his business and watch each game after store hours. For the life of him, he just couldn’t understand the tears in my eyes after Derrick Mason’s 4th down reception against Michigan that proved to be the game winning drive. It was that day that I knew my second home would always be East Lansing.

More than ten years later we all know the story. It has been told a million times. MSU and its administration botched our football program by using it as a political battering ram and we’ve yet to recover. Every year I get my hopes up only to have my heart broken in the month of November. I’m sure everyone in the Spartan Nation can relate. Yet, we find ourselves coming back for more. The football loses are tempered with a Tom Izzo run deep into the NCAA tournament the following spring only to do the same thing all over again.

So, you have to ask yourself this very question. Are you ready to handle success as a Spartan fan? The overwhelming response from the Spartan Nation is always a big YES!! It is proven each and every year that we continue to fill the stadium after a sub-par season the year before. I’ll ask you again, are you prepared to handle success and the responsibility that comes with it?

Here is my answer to the very question I have posed to all Spartan fans that have been down this road with me before. Most of you are cautious with your optimism and rightfully so. You don’t want to have your heart stomped on all over again and here this Mike Henne guy (no relation to Chad) comes to me and asks that I do the inevitable; pour my heart, soul and undying love into the very team that has broken my heart every stinking year? Absolutely, why?... ‘Cause you are a Spartan. As John Belushi so eloquently stated “Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” Spartan Nation, I believe this weekend marks the beginning of something very special. I’ve said anything above 6 wins for this team would be a gift. I temper those words by saying they could stay healthy and squeak out one or two more. The ticket for MSU is to make sure they win the games they should.

What is about to take place in East Lansing over the next four years will be nothing short of a metamorphosis. It will look very similar to the change we saw with men’s basketball when Izzo took over. Granted, Spartan basketball wasn’t really broken, but it was in need of a tune up. I believe this roster has the capability to far exceed the preseason expectations. With this Dantonio directed metamorphosis will come success and a change in state alliances. Kids are just looking for any excuse to suit up for Dantonio and the Spartan faithful. The commitments of highly talented, highly skilled, high character kids are a testament to what we’ve always known. Michigan State is the premier place in the state of Michigan to receive that all around college experience. Saturday mornings along the Red Cedar are beautiful whether it’s rain or shine, the Spartan family will be there with brats a simmering, beautiful children running throughout campus and some men and women from days of old that will recount a story or two about 1966.

The key to MSU success on the field is to continue to believe that a new day has dawned. The message boards will be clamoring to discredit my optimism. I welcome all of the shots that are sent my direction. Why, you might ask? I believe… I have faith and I am a Spartan. Imagine the hugs and kisses exchanged after every Javon Ringer touchdown. Imagine the spin from the Detroit media when Enos continues to rock Ann Arbor one recruit at a time in metro Detroit. Imagine; just imagine the looks from the Wolverine faithful when Swenson hits that 4th quarter field goal in the closing seconds to win the game. I can’t wait. If only Dish Network could get this Big Ten Network contract buttoned up. How will you handle Spartan success?