Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bye week, basketball, hockey, soccer, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

There was no Spartan football this past Saturday, and that was just as well because the MSU football team could probably use a weekend off. I hope they can regroup after that horribly painful Nebraska loss, get healthy physically and mentally, and take out all their frustration on Northwestern this coming Saturday. For what it's worth, I will be at this Saturday's final home game against the Wildcats. It's the second consecutive Senior Day in which I will have my butt parked in Spartan Stadium. I bought the tickets way back in September (from StubHub) not knowing what was in store for this game. I had no idea at the time that the Spartans would enter this game simply trying to get a sixth victory and bowl eligibility.

In other Spartan news, basketball season started on Friday, November 10 at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. Unfortunately, the MSU basketball team lost to UConn, sending the Spartans' "gimmick game" record to winless. Listen, I agree that scheduling these unique games is great for MSU's national profile, but at some point it sure would be nifty to actually win one. Thankfully, the Spartans more than made up for this loss by beating Kansas on Tuesday night in what was an outstanding team performance. Gary Harris looks like the best MSU freshman hoopster since Jason Richardson (at least in this blogger's humble opinion) and Keith Appling made some brilliant plays in crunch time. After feeling really down about the team on Friday evening, I know am greatly encouraged after the Kansas game. Thus is the up-and-down roller coaster life of a sports fan.

In this past non-football weekend, the MSU hockey team split with Michigan (losing on Friday but pounding the Wolvies 7-2 on Saturday) and the Spartan soccer team defeated Michigan 2-1 on Sunday to capture the Big Ten soccer tournament. Clearly, as you have no doubt gathered from this blog, I'm primarily a football and basketball fan (though I have been to a handful of games at Munn Ice Arena and usually watch the MSU icers when they are on TV), but I always enjoy it when MSU wins in any sport.

This brings me to the non-sports segment of our program. On Sunday, my wife and I took our two boys to the brand-new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on MSU's campus. The museum had its open house that day. Like many other Lansing-area residents, I was a bit dubious of the building as it was being constructed. The architecture brought to mind the image of a dented sardine can. However, as the building neared completion, my opinion softened. By the time the museum approached its grand-opening, I was actually excited. For a museum dedicated to contemporary art, the architectural style made perfect sense, and I suppose I simply got used to seeing it alongside Grand River Avenue. It's odd metallic appearance was no longer quite so jarring.

As we walked towards the museum on Sunday, I felt myself becoming emotional--but emotional in a good way. I have seen many changes to MSU's campus in the last few decades, most of them positive. However, I never thought I'd see a modern, cutting-edge cultural addition like this. I was suddenly struck by how far Michigan State University has advanced since I was a student in the late 1980s, and now we have this wonderful museum that may attract art patrons from around the globe.

Entering the museum and looking at the art pieces and installations, many of which were highly conceptual and challenging, I pondered the juxtaposition of this avant garde art and sleepy Midwestern East Lansing. Old EL, though it is not by any means a hick town, may have to play a little catch-up to meet some of the demands of the hip art patrons who may be invading the city. I suppose time will tell.

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