Immediately following the MSU football team’s 33-30 loss to Notre Dame, I felt the same as every other Spartans football fan.
I slammed the table, dropped my head in sorrow and tried to figure out what the heck sophomore quarterback Kirk Cousins was thinking when he let go of that football.
My feelings Saturday evening almost were equal to what I was feeling after the loss to Central Michigan last week — this stuff just isn’t supposed to happen anymore.
But as Saturday evening turned into Sunday morning and I thought more and more about the interception Cousins threw, I found myself not as angry.
For the first time in my sports-fanatic life, I finally realized what nonsports fans are trying to get at when they say, “It’s just a game.”
For some reason — even with a 1-2 start that seemed unthinkable just two short weeks ago — I’m perfectly content with the football season so far.
Sure, it’s not what we all expected. But, you know what? There’s more to life than football, and that’s coming straight from the quarterback’s mouth.
“I have faith,” Cousins said after he made his first mistake of the season. “Football’s not my foundation. It’s not my identity. My faith is in Jesus Christ and he’s not changing anytime soon. I’ll keep trusting in him and in his plan and move on from here.”
“I’m thankful football is not my identity; football’s not what defines me,” he continued. “If it was, this would be a lot harder to take. I have faith in Jesus Christ and he’s my rock and he’s got me, he’s holding me and I’ll be OK as long as he’s there.”
After reading that quote, some might scratch their heads, decide Cousins doesn’t love football enough and bombard Mark Dantonio’s inbox with e-mails urging the head coach to start sophomore quarterback Keith Nichol.
To me, it shows he gets it.
Sure, he loves football. And every single time he puts on his pads and straps up his helmet, you can bet he’s going to work his hardest.
But there’s more to live for.
Is there a little too much reference to Christ in there for some? No doubt.
Heck, I’m a Christian and even I roll my eyes at nearly all references to God in sports and pop culture. But when Cousins speaks about his faith in Christ and his straight-laced life, well, it gets me jacked.
And I’m not the only one.
Earlier this season, senior defensive end Trevor Anderson told members of the media he wished they could be in the locker room to hear Cousins’ pregame speeches. Anderson called Cousins’ speeches “powerful.”
The part of Anderson’s story that amazes me is that Cousins doesn’t swear during those speeches.
Somehow in today’s society, Cousins can motivate a bunch of 20-something-year-olds to play one of the most physical sports in the world without dropping F-bombs.
During the past few years, I’ve heard MSU fans talk about how proud they are of the type of people who represent the MSU athletics department.
Every single coach I’ve come across while at MSU — from men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo to softball coach Jacquie Joseph — all are stand-up individuals who make me proud to attend this school.
It’s in that same vein why I want Cousins at the center of my football team for every snap the rest of the season.
He’s got the skills — a strong arm and intangibles. He’s got the numbers — 65.7 percent completion percentage and five touchdowns.
And most importantly, he’s got that “it” factor.
The quality that makes me say — with apologies to Kirk — I am damn proud that Kirk Cousins is the quarterback at MSU.
Cash Kruth is the State News sports administration reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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