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.