Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day are long and gone, but now is a time most Michigan State Spartans cherish. March begins the month of March Madness and culminates in the Final Four in April where I hope to see the Spartans in the championship game.
ESPN has written countless articles within the last week praising Tom Izzo for his pure genius and strategy. He is the Lord of the Dance. Not since being ranked No. 2 in the pre-season has anyone believed that the Spartans could make it this far—but they have. With that surprise and exhilaration comes a shared sense of community, team spirit and camaraderie on the MSU campus. Students gather in dorm rooms and bars to watch buzzer beating games, and then pour out into the streets of Grand River when the Spartans clinch yet another unbelievable win. But after those wins, there is always a sense of excitement . . . and threat.
I checked my Twitter and Facebook feeds after the Sunday win and smiled at the “FINAL FOUR!” comments. However, I also saw many comments such as “RIOTING!” and “HIDE YOUR COUCH!” I even laughed at a web site a friend sent me that posted the riot status of East Lansing. Don’t worry, as of now it currently displays the following: “There is not a riot in East Lansing . . . Keep it that way. After all, you’ll need that couch to watch the Final Four!”
As a Spartan, I can casually laugh off this usual feeling. However, I cannot support the sentiment that couch burning is a tradition with students supporting it with such enthusiasm. I don’t enjoy it when a family friend reduces my degree at Michigan State University because of a few people who chose to burn couches and start riots. There are Pulitzer Prize winning alumni, celebrated professors, and world changing grants at this university. I am a student that can work hard and play even harder, but I know when to hold back.
This weekend is the Final Four game. Supposedly, it is also Cedar Fest weekend. I know exactly where I was when CNN Headline released the footage of the running cops, burning couches and naked girls. The network replayed that newsreel all day. I never felt more embarrassed. There are a number of traditions I love about Michigan State, but I never want to see rioting and couch burning cherished and honored with the enthusiasm we have for March Madness. Save it for the boys and Izzo.