Michigan State beat Michigan in football this weekend but that is not what anybody is talking about. MSU was supposed to dismantle Michigan and that is exactly what they did.
All of the talk leading up to this year’s match up was about the general feeling that, if this was any other team, it would be just another rout. I couldn’t even get up my usual Blue hatred that begins to simmer around a week before the match-up.
But then Michigan had to be Michigan.
They planted the “Stake Heard ‘Round the World” before the game and reminded all of us that no matter how awful the program is, no matter how tumultuous their season, Michigan has less than zero self awareness.
One of my favorite fall-backs for any program is referring to their “long and proud tradition.” It is a sentiment echoed by other programs like Indiana and Kentucky basketball and Notre Dame anything. Even if these programs are bad they still remain relevant because they have been historically good.
As much as it destroys part of my soul to admit it, this is correct. Mostly because media and fans want to know why that storied program is down.
The problem lies in situations where the fans or team believe that this “tradition” allows them to continue to act as though they are a successful program.
Planting a stake in the Spartan helmet before the game would have been a disrespectful move even if the roles were switched (i.e. Michigan was good) but the fact that Michigan is as bad as they are and still refuse to acknowledge MSU as a superior opponent is so vintage Big Blue it’s beautiful.
I could use the cliche that you have to be able to walk the talk or whatever but I’ll go a different route; if you plant a stake in the Spartan helmet, you better make sure you’re ready to do it for real. I’m all for pregame pump up shenanigans and getting ready for one of your biggest rivals however you want but some situational awareness is necessary.
All of this seems like I’m a butthurt MSU fan who just wants my older brother to recognize that I’m becoming a man. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m thrilled that Michigan pulled this. I was just about done mocking them and Mike Hart for the little brother comment and ready to feel sorry for them. I almost felt compelled to pity them because their “storied program” is in such shambles.
Then the stake thing happened and I realized Michigan will never be likable. They will never accept the fact that maybe, even for one year, they need to shut up and be bad and come back whenever they want to field a successful team.
I couldn’t be more thrilled.
There’s nothing worse than mutual respect as a fan. I want to have a blind hatred for the team I’m playing. I need to feel like defeating the other team is a service to humanity. That the other team is so evil that no matter how many points my team hangs on them, it isn’t enough.
So thank you Michigan. Thank you for allowing my hatred to continue. Keep being you.