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Much was made this weekend about what it meant to Detroit and the state of Michigan when the Spartans made a Final Four run. 

Being there, you couldn’t help but notice its impact. A vibrant Detroit was filled with fans in areas that frankly haven’t seen them in years. As impressive as it was, it was also saddening. Saddening to know that Tuesday morning Detroit would once again be back to the perplexing predicament it is in. 

But it drew on a larger issue. How important sports have become to psyche of Americans during hard times.

After 9/11, Americans turned to the Yankees for a piece of normalcy. Something about returning to the ball park after an event that changed the way we all live has a calming effect. Seeing your President, with the weight of millions of people on his shoulders turned to the first pitch as a sign of strength, and to let everyone know American’s will not live in fear or let terror control our way of life. 

Essentially, Michigan State did that. From die-hard fans to the casual observer, Michigan State not only turned into Detroit's team, Michigan’s team, but almost America’s team.

This team’s blue collar approach to the game, with the work ethic, toughness and ability to rise when others said you couldn’t hit on America’s lifeline. And they were able to do so not as a Cinderella 12 seed, but as a respected 2.

If this story didn’t speak mindset so many in this country share and have shared since its inception, I’m not sure if this was the America I have learned about and seen.

On days when things are going wrong with work, at home or at school. We turn to sports. We turn to sports with the intention of forgetting or at least suppressing the issues we have. If only for an hour, 3 hours or a day, sports are an outlet millions of people not only look forward to, but need.

No, Michigan State wasn’t able to bring Detroit back to the grandeur it once held, and will ultimately hold once again, but just for a week, Michigan State represented what sports mean to Americans. 

Sports is something we embrace and cherish, and it could lead us during dark times. Sports isn’t the answer to hard times, be it economic, international strife or any other issue that we face in our lives. But what it does create is a common ground we can all unite around, and for the last week the common ground we all stood upon was the Michigan State University Basketball team. 

Gentlemen, thank you for a great year!

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