Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FENECH | An awkward night in Sparty Land

Issue date: 4/8/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

She sat directly to my left on the armrest of a couch, amidst a crowd of green-and-white clad Michigan State fans crowded around a life-size projection screen.

They were standing and yelling, sitting and screaming, laying and laughing as their team comfortably led Connecticut in the second half of Saturday's national semifinal.

But not her. She was asking.

"What, you don't want State to win?"

Not one time, not two times, not 10 times, but certainly somewhere close to that.

"What," she'd turn to me, the only person in the room without green, white, Michigan State or Spartans emblazoned across my chest.

"YOU don't want STATE to WIN?"

"No, I do," I replied the first handful of times, more of an absent-minded-shoo-fly-don't-bother-me answer than accurate statement.

Then, she spilled half of her drink on me. Then, she pierced my ears with high-pitched shrieks of Sparty sensation. Then, I realized, she was the poster child of a text message I sent earlier in the night.

"This is gonna be annoying," I wrote to a friend as I navigated through Michigan State's famed Cedar Village, under a parking garage with police parked outside, through a building with police on top and across a street with, you guessed it, police all around.

"Yeah it is," he said, commenting on my unfortunate situation of watching a Michigan State game with Michigan State fans at Michigan State.

The game began, halftime came and went, she asked, I answered, the Spartans shot, the Spartans slammed. But late in the second half, she stopped.

Not now, I thought to myself. Not after the spilled drink. Not after hours of pent up green anger, green disgust, and yes - green envy. "No, I do," would not be my final answer to the question of the night.

Grab another drink, start another chant, hit another sho--"OHHHHH!"

Michigan State sophomore Durrell Summers found himself with the ball, fast-breaking down the court and closing in on Connecticut's much-taller Stanley Robinson. Summers leaped, powerfully slammed the Spartans to a double-digit lead, and East Lansing joined him in celebration.

The apartment erupted. Drinks flew, chants started, people started filing outside in anticipation.

I sat there silently, a Wolverine in Sparty Land, the half-smile on my face partly in awe of Summers' high-flying act and partly because I had a good feeling about what was coming next, as one of two people still seated amongst the chaos.

Out of the corner of my eye, she inched away, high-fives and hugs all around. She turned towards me, took a sip of her drink and said, "Why are you sitting there?"

She cut me off before I could answer.

"What, you didn't want State to win?"

"No," I replied with a smile. "I didn't."

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