It’s football season and yet again I feel the need to explain a few things to the degenerates who text, the losers who email, and the guy who “just doesn’t get it.”

“Why is Valenti like this?”

“What makes him think he is a better man than me?”

“God the guy is so defensive about MSU!”

It’s pretty simple…

It’s pretty simple: you don’t get it and you never will. To people who actually attended their university of choice, not a fallback or didn’t go period, it becomes a part of you. A part of your life. There is an ownership in it. It’s not a sweatshirt, a poster, ora jersey. It’s simply you: your life, your soul.

I was the first in my family (immediate or otherwise) to go to college. I borrowed every red cent. I fought and clawed my way to graduate while picking up every internship and $5-dollar an hour radio gig I could. MSU means the world to me. The memories. The heartbreak. The highs and lows. Dreaming big and living small. The vault of memories and moments is tightly sewn into my “fandom.”

It’s not to say I’m a better fan or somehow on a higher ground. But it does help you to understand why it means more to me. Why people who actually “lived” their respective university look at things differently. Why a 2006 game against ND meant so much to a father and son. Why insults on a school or a degree are taken with such a personal nature.

People can be a fan of anything they want. For some its death metal, others Michigan football. But for those who actually lived and breathed it, it simply becomes a lot more than wins and losses. Their fandom isn’t defined by a sweatshirt or some drunken memory of a game 10-years ago or what their father raised them on. It goes on and on. It only ends when their time here is done. It is a badge of honor. The degree. The experience. All of it. You don’t get that by simply “rooting” for a team and heading to a store to buy a hoodie. Sorry fellas, you don’t and you never will. That is why college athletics is so special. Why grown men cry at the “Dotting of the I” or get chills during the alma mater. Or why no matter what I gotta see the band enter the stadium with the kickstep.

None of us will ever “own” the Red Wings or Pistons etc. The fan experience is limited. But college? It’s special.

You get it or you don’t. I’m done explaining myself to anyone.

Comments (67)
  1. martin says:

    I understand it and I get it. Michigan fan here to. Yes there idiots out here that will never understand the meaning of college…

  2. Spartan Krik says:

    Couple of points here…now that the game is over.

    1. I am an MSU graduate and I bleed green. Therefore I root for the Spartans in all sporting events. PERIOD. Not only when they win…but when they lose.

    2. Because I am an MSU grad, I do NOT root for U-M in any sport, because…well…we’re rivals!!! And that’s what rivals do.

    3. More often that not, I am given grief for being an MSU grad by this question: How can you root for MSU? The answer: That’s easy, stupid! I went there! U-M graduates would never ask that question. They know better…

    4. It becomes real easy to become condescending towards people who criticize me for being a Spartan when they didn’t attend U-M or any college for that matter.

    5. What’s funny is that the people who actually attended U-M are more civil towards me than the Walmart Wolverines. A little smack talk (of course)…but they never once put me down for wearing a Spartan baseball hat. Unlike…the Walmart Wolverines.

    6. Oh…the U-M grads….they don’t like you guys either…you’re an embarrassment.

    1. Tony Reid says:

      How come you “MSU Grauates” are always getting picked on. Being in the public in and out of work I have yet to see anyone randomly come up to a person and say “hey did you go to State” The real world does not care. Football is a game and the fact of the matter, MSU crybabies, need to stop pretending your part of the team when your not. Spend that wasted energy on doing something good for somene..

  3. Janet says:

    I get it. The adoration is engrained in those that had the honor of attending that particular college. Its truly personal. I was an on-campus EMU student and hung out in Ann Arbor and attended a few parties with UofMers. You’d think I’d support UofM but I don’t. I’m an MSU fan. Because I chose to. UofM’ers have an arrogance about them that turns me off. State displays a fight; a will to win. Both schools however are great colleges and anyone graduating from either should be very proud. Its all in a fun with our college rivarly football. Now its MSU’s season!! BTW, I made green and white themed snacks for the game: spinach/feta quiche, cucumber sandwiches, and celery/green peppers/cucu’s with ranch dip. Ha ha – now I’m wondering – should I repeat a green/white theme for the Rose Bowl???

  4. James says:

    I get it, but you’re wrong. Your Father, or Mother may have gone to school at any college, and you could have been raised with that school all over your house. If you weren’t able to attend that school for whatever reason, it doesn’t make you less of a fan. It’s a rather obtuse look at it, but athletics in general is black and white that way.

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