Welcome to the refreshed The Only Colors! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
If you know me, you know how much I care about Michigan State.
I care too much. I live and die by the Spartans. Half my wardrobe consists of green and white. It’s a borderline sickness, but man do I love it.
So how did we get to being this big of a fan?
Well, I don’t really know exactly.
Maybe it’s because I was born into it. Maybe it was my dad who graduated from MSU, or my mom who grew up just outside of East Lansing a huge Spartan fan herself. Or maybe my grandma who’s been a football season ticket holder for 26 years. Or her dad who parked cars on football Saturdays for nearly two decades with the sweet, sweet perk of being able to go into Spartan Stadium when the shift was over.
Or maybe it’s the other MSU fans, classmates and alumni I’ve meet along the way. From my best friends who are Spartans to the random people you meet in East Lansing (or Pasadena. Or Dallas) who become your best friend for 30 minutes at Saturday tailgates – it’s one big family. One big down-to-earth family.
Maybe it’s the losses. Yeah, that sounds weird, but being born in the early 90s I was right on time for the Bobby Williams and John L. Smith days. My earliest in-person MSU memories are the following, and I’m not sure the exact order:
-Watching MSU get smeared by Ohio State in a biblical rainstorm with my dad.
-Watching MSU get obliterated by Penn State, again with my dad.
-Leaving Spartan Stadium to “Fi-re Bob-by *clap clap clapclapclap*” chants.
But dang it, I still loved every minute of it. Since then we’ve had our share of heartbreaking losses – like Notre Dame in 2006 or the 2011 Big Ten Championship game. Or Middle Tennessee State on the basketball court.
They sucked, but in the end they make every big win that much sweeter. So…
Maybe it’s the big wins. Maybe it was watching the 2000 National Championship team after acting like Mateen Cleaves whenever I played in the driveway. Or Chris Hill after that. Or Drew Neitzel after that. Or watching any of their Final Fours, and the ones after they played.
Or maybe the fandom started by watching MSU football beat Florida in the 2000 Citrus Bowl on the final kick. Or Spartan Bob to Jeff Smoker to TJ Duckett.
Or maybe it continued by watching the infallible hero Kirk Cousins lead MSU to a triple overtime win against Georgia in the Outback Bowl. Or watching the 2013 Big Ten Championship win with 20 people at our college house on – you guessed it – Spartan Avenue. Or watching the Rose Bowl celebration on the field in person thinking that, for a second, I must be hallucinating because there’s no way this actually happened. Or LJ Scott’s reach over the goal line after Jalen Watts-Jackson became a hero and Michael Geiger nearly windmill’d his arm off.
Then again, maybe it’s because all of those have led to the best memories. Like when my brother accidentally punched me in the face during a euphoric group hug after that Miracle at Michigan. Or nearly driving off the snow-covered road listening to Geiger’s walk-off. Or running in the backyard the minute Jeremy Langford broke through the linebackers to clinch a Big Ten title (never saw him reach the end zone until watching the highlight the next day). Or hugging complete strangers after Little Giants. And Rocket. Or hugging Cousins in the student section after he beat Michigan – again.
Or maybe the trip we took to Pasadena to see the Spartans reach completion. Or the seven-person road trip we took to Dallas in one minivan to watch our Spartans get pulverized (still an awesome trip). Or another 90-minute road trip to East Lansing with my green and white family to enjoy another football Saturday, win or lose.
I don’t know what it is that makes me a Spartan fan – but I do know I’ve loved every second of it.