Sunday, December 4, 2022

Where to watch non-MSU sports in the Lansing area

September 26, 2022
Coach Melissa "Toxic Shock" Anderson-Chavarria demonstrates drills for the team to practice on Sept. 22, 2022.
Coach Melissa "Toxic Shock" Anderson-Chavarria demonstrates drills for the team to practice on Sept. 22, 2022. —
Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Michigan State offers dozens of sporting events for fans to choose from – many of which are free of charge to students. But for those looking to attend a game outside of the collegiate world, the Lansing area is home to several professional and semi-professional teams.

Here's a look at a few different options to choose from:

Lansing Roller Derby

Students looking for a unique sport to watch should look no further than the Lansing Roller Derby, or LRD. 

The team, composed of women ages 18 and up, has been in the Lansing area since July 2010. Bouts are held at Court One Training Center in East Lansing. 

LRD president Ali Jahr said roller derby is exciting to watch because it’s different. 

“A lot of folks who I meet in the area, they've never seen something quite like roller derby before and so … it's a first-time experience,” Jahr said. “The sport is full contact, so we’re in the same vein as hockey or football. You're going to have that same contact level and intensity.”

Jahr said the roller derby community is also an accepting group with a wide variety of representation among its members. 

“You're gonna see people have different body types than you might normally see in sports,” Jahr said. “Every type of group … you're gonna see it.”

LRD will have a full season of seven home bouts in 2023. 

“We haven't been able to have seasons like we used to pre-pandemic, so we're finally approaching normalcy,” Jahr said.

The next home bouts are Oct. 15 and Nov. 12, both from 5-9 p.m..

Lansing Lugnuts

Jackson Field, located in the heart of downtown Lansing, is home to the Lansing Lugnuts, the High-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The MiLB season runs from April through September. Tickets are $5 for anyone with a valid student ID. 

While the Lugnuts 2022 season ended Sept. 11, they will host the West Michigan Whitecaps for their home opener on April 11, 2023.

Assistant General Manager Greg Kigar said the team loves the connection it has with the MSU community, which includes the annual Crosstown Showdown matchup between the Lugnuts and MSU.

Kigar said the 2023 Crosstown Showdown will take place next spring between April 3 and 6.

“We have a pretty good time with Michigan State, whether it's a game or event or just a department to just get together,” Kigar said. “We love our connection with the baseball program there, with the students there.”

During the season, there are a series of rotating promotional events including Dog Days of Summer on Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays and Frontline Fridays. 

Jackson Field doesn’t go unused in the off-season, as there are a number of events happening at the park this fall, including a rugby game between MSU and Michigan on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

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Lansing Common FC

The Lansing Common Football Club, a semi-professional soccer club in the Midwest Premier League, has been in the area since its inaugural season in 2021. 

It’s a non-profit with a mission to represent the community. The club is also a member of the Anti-Racist Soccer Club coalition, which works to fight racism in American soccer.

The Common’s season starts around the end of the spring semester and runs through August, so students staying in the East Lansing area over the summer can catch some (or all) of the club’s matches. 

Games are held at Eastern Stadium in Lansing. Tickets are available for single games or season memberships.

Center-back and MSU alumni Travis Hamers has been with the team since 2021. Hamers said the Common participates at a high level with some players spending the summer with the club as a way to prepare for collegiate soccer.  

“In our inaugural season in 2021, we finished second, and then again, finishing second this past year,” Hamers said. “So we're a very competitive team with sights on a championship. … it's also entertaining to watch and it's been a competitive level of soccer in the area.”

Hamers said the club has a fanbase referred to as The Branch

“It’s a great environment,” Hamers said. “We typically get a pretty good number of people coming out to our games to watch.”

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