Green Again – 50 Years Later
When I grew up not far from the shadow of Spartan Stadium in East Lansing I was regaled with stories of the 1966 Spartan team and ‘The Game of the Century.” Both of my parents graduated from MSU but it was my mother that really seemed to be a fan of the Green and White.
I sat mesmerized by the radio at the age of 7 and listened intently to WJIM-AM as the Spartans took on the number one ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State. Levi Jackson and the run that will live in my memory forever is maybe my earliest memory of college football. The Spartans shocked Woody Hayes and the world with an amazing 16-13 win. My mother squealed like a little girl and danced around the room. What an incredible fall afternoon it was in my home.
Years later my brother headed for the school down the road and in the fall of 1976 took me to the student section of The Big House. My view of college football, the greatest game ever invented, was forever altered. I lost touch with my Spartan roots for a while. I was nearly alone in my support of the blue team. I remember walking out of the house in disgust in 1978, as Eddie Smith and Kirk Gibson worked over the Wolverines in a 24-15 win in East Lansing. I knew it was over and the Spartans had won when all the cars on I-96 began wildly honking their horns.
I’ve gone back and forth in recent years and find myself rooting for either of the big home teams. This coming weekend will mark the biggest football game in Spartan Stadium since 1 and 2 played back in ’66.
It’s the first time in fact a pair of top ten teams have met in East Lansing since then. Number 7 Oregon will come to town to square up against the number 5 Spartans for a game under the lights on primetime TV. I will be a Spartan fan this weekend make no mistake and I respect the way this team got here… hard work, desire and a pile of discipline. That is the American way.
So today I take my hat off to Coach Mark Dantonio and the incredible amount of leadership and work it took to rebuild a once great program to national prominence again. It only took about fifty years but hey good things are worth waiting for right?