This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
I have a confession to make. For the first 18 years of life I wasn't a Michigan State fan. I was...a Michigan fan.
My Michigan fandom as a youth was inspired by my dad. He actually graduated from Michigan Tech (note - probably the only communication grad ever from Tech) and since most of his friends were State grads, it only made sense to align with Michigan. I was pretty avid as a youth, even wearing my Michigan windbreaker to a MSU-Boston College football game in the mid '90s. In the mid '90's though, my family's Michigan fandom started to weaken, beginning when my dad mentioned at dinner one night that MSU basketball had a new head coach. My mom's face lit up.
My mom had played basketball for a year at Northern Michigan, and back then all athletes lived in the same dorm. She remembered that Tom (Tommy to her) Izzo lived on the same floor as she did back then. She was rooting for MSU from this point forward, but I was still devoted to Michigan.
Fast forward to February of 2002. I applied to two schools, Michigan and Michigan State, and I only completed MSU's application because I didn't have to write an essay (Michigan fan says "COW COLLEGE DERP" here). I was accepted to both schools, but for whatever reason, didn't confirm my attendance at Michigan immediately. It's a good thing I didn't because Michigan State sent me an invitation to its Alumni Distinguished Scholarship weekend, where MSU invites 1,200 students to spend a Friday touring the campus and a Saturday morning taking one of the most insane tests known to man. The test covered calculus, Greek architecture, literature interpretation, European history, and about any subject imaginable. The top 20 students would win a full ride, and the next 20 would win full tuition. My antipathy for State had waned in my high school years, and free money? I wanted some of that.
Like any high school senior, I took whatever opportunity I could find to get a day off and headed to East Lansing on a February morning. I spent most of Friday touring campus and...wow. Landon hall was beautiful amidst the snow, I found the talks given about my future career path (pre-med) informative, and everyone I met there was surprisingly cool. I completed the test Saturday morning and headed back home. I left thinking that the experience I had during my Michigan State visit was superior to my Michigan visit, but that it was a shame that i wouldn't be going there. I still was planning on attending Michigan, but I wanted to see if I won a scholarship first.
During Spring Break, I heard. I was in Panama City Beach with a couple friends when my Mom woke me up one morning. She had opened a packet and told me I won full tuition to MSU. To be frank, I was stunned. I knew immediately that I couldn't turn down $25,000 of scholarship money to a Big Ten school. On top of that, I enjoyed my Michigan State visit more than my Michigan one, and with a good enough MCAT score, getting into my choice of medical schools would be a snap (that wouldn't happen, but that's another story for another day).
Once I got back from Spring Break, I sent my acceptance to Michigan State. From that day forward I was an MSU fan.
The first blog (Ground Zero East Lansing) would come later, during my second tour of undergrad in 2008. I'm writing this story on the second blog, having recently graduated a second time and working in the Lansing area as a Chemical Engineer. Throughout the past eight years a lot of happened (undoubtably in your life as well), and one of the few constants has been able to drive into campus on an early Saturday morning in the Fall, and celebrate before a Spartan football game with old friends. It's those moments in being a fan that make life worth living - moments that might not have happened if I hadn't decided I needed a day off eight years ago.