Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Spring Game, part II

Finally getting back to this blog.

Well, if you're dying to know--I WAS at the Spring Game. My wife and I were among the 48,000 (or so) who heeded Mark Dantonio's call and showed our support for Michigan State Spartans football.

I will spare you my observations of what transpired on the field, because honestly I wasn't paying too much attention to the minutiae of the game. And, really, what can anyone glean from a spring game?

I'm still trying to get used to the notion that spring football games matter that much, or that the attendance to these affairs is any barometer of a football program's strength or popularity. However, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense given the way that television and social media dominate  our culture these days. In the era (pre-Big Ten Network) when these games were not televised and simply scrimmages. Nobody gave them much thought at all. And when MSU football was mediocre to just plain bad, I don't remember ever hearing anything about them.

Now, Mark Dantonio has taken Spartan football to heights not scaled since 1966. That, coupled with the modern age of 24-hour sports, social media, and the ever increasing popularity of college football (despite the recent concerns with concussions, etc.), the spring game is much more important and is approaching the level accorded Midnight Madness in basketball. Based on the flurry of commitments MSU received from recruits during and after the game, I'm willing to accept and embrace the spring game's new-found relevance.

The folks at MSU did a good job in making this more of an event. The pre-game youth clinic was a rousing success--and what better way to cultivate and encourage a young fan base then give these kids an opportunity to meet and mingle with the football players? Another nice touch was giving people the opportunity to take photos of  the (enormous) Cotton Bowl trophy and the (much smaller) Rose Bowl trophy.

Overall, the day was a big celebration of MSU football, and after how much this program has accomplished over the last six years and counting, it was appropriate. I was happy to see so many people come to the game and demonstrate how much they enjoy and support the renaissance of Spartan football.