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I Do Not Hate You, Sparty

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Because I Do Not Have To

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A year ago, I wrote the annual Sparty hate piece. The piece was decent, though nothing incredible. A chuckle here, a good jab there. It was mild, but fitting. The reaction was anything but. MSU fans on here came after me with the full weight of their man-boobed vitriol, lambasting me with sad pizza photos and the trademark MSU "he disrespeckin' us" schtick. I was dubbed a hack, a "writer", and was made keenly aware that my arrival here marked the end of OTE and the end of their desire to be here (wish you fellas had kept that promise).

Those were the nice guys.

Once news of my audacity spread, the slobbering masses over at Red Cedar Message Board put down their morning cups of Dantonio Piss and bowls of Narduzzi Butt Skin Flakes to turn their collective lens toward yours truly. A maelstrom of poorly spelled rage engulfed me, as they focused their blazing white hot brand of crazy like a sadistic fat kid hovering over an ant hill. Little Brother's henchmen got so far as to seek out my name and address--though in true MSU fashion they couldn't get over the idea that I was not an OSU fan but an agent of Big Brother. They settled on the name of some poor sap who attended UM-Flint and lived in Texas. They were sure the OSU articles were a ruse to throw them off the scent. I can only imagine the tidal wave of garbage that consumed his life thereafter. I wish I had made some or any of that up, but it's all true.

So what's different this year? Well, this year I don't have to care. Because Natty. Because trucked Sparty in their own ramshackle dump of a stadium. But most of all, because Sparty fans can't take a loss. Or two. Because Sparty isn't top tier and that's how it's supposed to be.

For months we heard how that "gimmick" Oregon offense couldn't take a real defense like Narduzzi's Praetorian Guard of Two Star Talent. By the 3rd quarter, Sparty was wishing for three more stars.

Then it was OSU who was going to be "exposed." Thanks for the hospitality, bitches.

And then the god forsaken tent stake incident.

Then a bird shit on Dantonio's car.

The schtick. Never. Ends.

We did our time, OTE friends. We endured the endless off-season of Sparty self-congratulation. I ruefully accepted the millionth rehashing of sad pizza. I and others like me put up with every single OTE discussion becoming a furious leghumping of Mark "Coach 'em Up" Dantonio and Pat "I'm A Master Against Bad Offenses" Narduzzi. We heard how Dantonio turns 2-stars into 5-stars, and 5-stars into 8-stars and how Narduzzi singlehandedly invented the linebacker. We feigned interest in the threadbare narrative of Michigan forever disrespecting those humble, godly folks in East Lansing.

Then OSU happened. The grimacing face of Dantonio, forever looking as though he's filling his Depend undergarment to the brim, said it all. For the second time in as many tries, a quality team embarrassed Sparty. All that off-season talk, all the bravado...it melted away in losses.

And then they left. The legion of Sparty bomb-throwers evaporated into the night. Familiar names who'd made the veneration of Sparty their daily bread, who'd denigrated everyone from Urban Meyer to the Pope for daring to not be Spartans, vanished. They tucked their tails and walked away. They fled back to TOC and the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is RCMB.

It's hard to care about a team whose biggest fans can't stomach a loss. That comes with time in the big leagues, though. When you're just a mid-grade program that blundered into a few decent seasons, your fans aren't strong enough to handle tough losses. They can't take a beating once the weight of expectations are on their shoulders.

Now they're arguing about which Guy Who'd Be 4th String at OSU is the best quarterback in Sparty history. Poetic.

You'll get there, someday. Maybe. Probably not, but maybe. But for now, for this season, we don't have to care. Because Sparty is back where they belong: just another B1G team fighting for life in a bowl. The order of the universe has been restored. Narduzzi gets to waste what little talent he has at Pitt, to the raucous cheers of 346 fans and 12 hot dog vendors. Dantonio doesn't get to take on the coaching equivalent of a collapsed tent at his hated cross-state rival. It's suddenly feeling very B1G around here again.

It's nice to be back to normal. Toodle-oo, Sparty fans. Come back in ten years and we'll let you sit at the VIP table for another night. Bring a bag of chips. Or just take some from Dantonio's shoulder. He has an infinite supply.