Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Poor attitudes at Spartan Stadium

September 2, 2013

It’s never crossed my mind that I would be ashamed to be a Spartan.

Never, until Friday night, when those venomous thoughts attempted to creep in against my will.

For those die-hard Spartans out there ready to come egg my house or, more likely, question my Spartan spirit, let me just say, I love MSU through and through.

When looking at colleges, I applied to 12 schools and was accepted to 11. Out of schools across the nation, I knew I couldn’t be happier to be anywhere else.

When I came to campus as a freshman, I fell in love with the culture, the people, the camaraderie, the classes — all the things that make MSU what it is. Since that time, I will call out a Walmart Wolverine when necessary, and “MSU sucks” are fighting words.

I truly bleed Spartan green, but on Friday night, I began to question what that meant.

Trash soared through the air. People tossed bottles at strangers and poured water directly on them. There were yells of anger and laughs at others’ expense.

It wasn’t another night at Rick’s American Café or a scene from “Mean Girls.” It was Friday night during the first MSU home football game of the year.

While many fans did as they were told as the scoreboard and announcers requested fans leave for what turned out to be an hour-long rain delay, I found myself in the midst of a well-sized crowd that did not leave the stadium.

Looking back, I probably should have joined the mass evacuation.

As a general rule, I do what law enforcement and organizers tell me for my safety, but in this instance, it was hard to tell what announcers were saying and the sky seemed clear.

And after days of no air conditioning in temperatures higher than 80 degrees, the rain felt pretty darn good.

There was a sense of camaraderie for those that stayed in the stands as we rushed to the front to grab a better seat after the game was just delayed and not cancelled.

But between the cheers of “Go Green” and “Go White,” a situation erupted that made me ashamed to be a Spartan.

While chatting with a friend, a Western Michigan fan in the student section began to draw attention. The usual expletive-ridden chant commenced while the Broncos fan smiled and shrugged and occasionally, to my recollection, flipped the bird at the green-and-white-clad fans.

The chant is typical for our stadium. Although it’s perhaps not our classiest moment during a game, I have to admit it’s such a childish, college-like thing we do that I can’t help but laugh when it occurs.

But my smile started to fade when the foam green hats set out at the beginning of the game began to pour down on the fan, followed shortly by empty water bottles, full water bottles and beer cans that had been snuck in.

Somewhere in the mix, another Western Michigan fan joined the first for a brief chant of “Let’s go Western.”

As I can remember, it was about that time a wet foam Spartan helmet was twisted over the original Broncos fans’ head — soaking him in a way the rain had yet to.

As the second Broncos fan walked away he stopped for a moment and told my roommate and I, “You guys are the worst fans ever.”

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“Worst” is a strong word, but the violence of throwing bottles and the rudeness of pouring water on someone, much less a stranger, made it pretty fitting at the time.

A few minutes later, my roommate said she saw the original Western Michigan fan and another walk out of the stands after ripping several foam hats to pieces.

As fans, we probably deserved a lot more than that. Sportsmanship doesn’t mean having to shake the hand of an opposing team’s fan every time we see them but simply practicing common decency.

Our chants, to some, might already suggest MSU’s fan base has considerable work to do when it comes to matters of sportsmanship. But issues with one-on-one interactions with other fan bases suggests problems on a much larger scale.

It suggests not only are MSU students and fans poor losers and smug winners but also incredibly self-focused and uncaring.

It doesn’t matter if the opposing team’s fans were rude or we’ve had one too many beers, we have a reputation to uphold in the name of MSU.

On Friday, we failed to uphold positive values as Spartans and as human beings.

A weekend with friends restored my Spartan spirit, but I remain utterly disappointed in everyone in the student section, including myself, for allowing this to happen.

I never want to have to apologize to someone on behalf of MSU student section again.

Darcie Moran is the digital managing editor for The State News. Reach her at darcie.moran@statenews.com.

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