My MSU Story: How I Became a Fan

How does one become a fan of a team? With some, it stems from a favorite player, or where you went to school. With others, because that’s just the team your family cheers for. With most of my favorite teams, it’s the latter.

But, I became a fan of Michigan State because 6 year old me liked green more than yellow.

My dad’s side of the family was from Southern Michigan, Branch County to be precise, and my mom’s was from Wayne County. Both were avid U of M fans. As with most fathers my dad introduced (indoctrinated) me to his favorite teams, which I, as a somewhat delayed child (I was deaf till I was 4) who craved his approval quickly picked up… Except for Michigan.

Something about how the uniforms looked like on our state of the art 25 inch Zenith cabinet TV just repelled me. But, the first time I recall seeing Michigan State on TV in 1992 I was captivated. The white jerseys with green lettering, the green helmets with the block S on one side, I was amazed. MSU might have been blown off the field that day (as UM was on its way to another blowout in the Rose Bowl), but they won me over.

After the game I asked my folks for anything Michigan State related. To their credit, they obliged, and for Christmas I received a child’s MSU football uniform that I kept far past my ability to wear it.

Now, I still cheered for UM, I didn’t hate them or anything, and I developed the correct hatred of Notre Dame and ohio State. But, I developed peculiar dislikes unknown in my family. I disliked Indiana because of the Spittoon, and an absolute LOATHING for Iowa (Penn State isn’t a rival of MSU so all I have to say is that the LAZER trophy sucks and I hate George Perles).

As the years went by I became comfortable cheering for both in football but MSU only in basketball. I cried when Michigan won the Rose Bowl against WSU a year after my dad passed. I cried when Mateen Cleaves heroically defeated the dastardly Florida team. But I was drifting away from football. Bobby Williams and John L Smith did more to drive me to the Michigan side than anything the old man did. When Dantonio was hired I barely noticed.

Then they started winning. And Michigan started to suck. The final nail in the coffin was Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh. He always rubbed me the wrong way as a coach, just too whiny. He also brought out the worst in my family. The Dantonio years were pretty good to me, I never thought MSU would play for a National Title so I was unbothered by the loss to Alabama. They were Winning B1G Titles! Whoa!! When the problems in the offense became crises and Dantonio didn’t react I was concerned, but hey, he wasn’t Loser Smith!

It was a relief though when Dantonio retired, it was time, and at least the cupboard wasn’t bare. When Mel Tucker was announced as coach I was upbeat, and ready to give him a few years to build the team. 2020 was of course a pass year, and good things were there to be seen. Then Kenneth Walker III had that transcendent season and suddenly MSU was BACK…. My faith was shaken in 2022 but I consoled myself with thoughts like; hey, they had growing pains! It might be ok! They’re ahead of where they should be! Look at the recruiting!

This past year I watched maybe 15 minutes of college football. Not because of Mel Tugging or the team sucking but because my partner and I were travelling to Toronto 1 to 2 times per month for our baby who was born December 9th. But I didn’t miss it. Really didn’t miss Michigan winning it all either.

It is human nature to look back at your youth with rose tinted glasses, and in most respects our world is much, much improved in the ways that matter. College Sports though… between the overwhelming ads for sports betting, the terrible tv presentation of the games, the wrongheaded desire for a ONE TRUE NATIONAL CHAMPION and, the worst IMO, the consolidation of conferences to a Big 2, Average 2, and the poors.

Where things go from here is anyone’s guess. Most I hope for is a 9 or 10 win season every few years, beating Michigan as often as possible, and no scandals. If you are looking for in depth research and fine analytical analysis of the MSU football team, you won’t get it from me.

You also won’t see me being a cheerleader for MSU: They suck, but your team sucks more.

Go Green

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