What does it mean to be a Spartan?
Spartans know hardship. Even in my relatively short three year run here at MSU, I have had to endure some bad games—and I have it way better than most Spartans that came before me. Whether it was letting the Central Michigan game slip through our fingers in 2009 or just flat out getting stomped in the Capital One Bowl last year, we Spartans have endured some tough losses.
We are fortunate to be able to say that we haven’t seen a loss at Spartan Stadium in two years, and maybe that’s spoiled us a little bit. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing bad about wanting that Rose Bowl and even being a little bitter when we don’t get it. I can get on board with that.
Standing in Lucas Oil Stadium as everything ended was honestly my saddest experience as a Spartan. It was a strangely poignant moment—singing the fight song through tears as the streamers fell for the other guys. Wisconsin logos flashed across the stadium banners and the giant screens lit up in red for the Badgers. I just kept thinking, It’s not fair. It’s not fair. This was all meant for us. This was our story.
There are a lot of great articles out there about how we deserved it, and how we are winners regardless, but I think it comes down to something different. Win or lose, we’re Spartans. It’s easy to be a Spartan when you get to call yourself a Big 10 Legends Division champion. But I was a Spartan when we lost to Central Michigan. I was a Spartan when Alabama beat us 49-7. I was a Spartan when we got knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament last March just as much as I was when we won the whole damn thing in 2000.
There will be roses in our future. There will also be losing seasons, losses to the Wolverines and tough calls that break our hearts. If all I cared about was winning, I’d be a Blue Devil in March and a USC Trojan in the fall. What’s important to me is knowing that I was the best fan I could have been. I will stand and sing the fight song in my green and white after a hard loss a hundred times before I ever walk out on my team or put on another school’s colors.