Michigan State: The Other Stuff

Didn't make it to the game? No problem - one fan fills you in on all the "other stuff" no one would bother to put on television.

Long and off-topic. You've been warned.

Getting out the door this morning was easy. No problems picking game day attire to pack when playing against a team wearing green!

Because I will have to leave the office early today to get to the game, I made up for it by getting in late after an appointment for my yearly physical. (I'll pay for that tomorrow as folks run out the door for an early Thanksgiving departure). My doctor is a huge KU fan. He told me that at the service for his recently departed father, he eulogized him as the eternal optimist because he had KU football season tickets since 1948.

My doctor has a rotating collection of KU memorabilia in his office. Today it was the basketball poster in which Vaughn et al. were impersonating Secret Service agents, and a Nick-n-Kirk only signed basketball. He is such a fan that he still has season GA tickets, even though his Williams Fund contributions would allow him others, because he feels the only way to watch a KU home basketball game is to stand the whole time! I'm not sure what it portends as the subject of the new seating plan came up as he told me to rollover on my left side and I heard the sound of snapping latex….

Okay. I kid you naught. Time comes to change clothes, and what do I hear, (not the hooves of tiny reindeer) but the thump/swoosh of a window washer. That's right, some guy is sitting on a two by four outside my window, washing it. I've cut the timing rather close, feeling confident in our routine, and this guy proceeds to soap up the four windows in my office. No OGAC for now! He finally sinks below my widow horizon, and I begin the frantic change from mild mannered (but always zealous) working guy to Wine and Cheeser, fan extraordinaire!

Rush out the door. To the car. Know it will run fast because I washed it. To Mrs. Cheeser's building. Waiting. Waiting. She's a bit late. Turns out to be a good thing as I hear a traffic report of an accident right in our way. Divert to a new route. Good time on K10. We're in Lawrence by 5:30. Paradise Café for dinner. Good food, surly server. Odd ambiance.

We walked up and down Mass for a while before heading to the Fieldhouse. Buy a new KU coat that would have really come in handy at the last two football games. Prepared for next year! Off to the Fieldhouse.

To our seats just as the band starts playing. We don't sit. Don't want to. Just seems wrong tonight for some reason. Student and GA seats already packed. The band is in fine shape tonight. They have a great night. The "screech" trumpeter is back. One gauge of the noise in Allen was that we often couldn't hear the band. In addition to being a great bunch of players, the band is probably the best, largest, single group of fans in the building.

While we waited for the team to come out for the pre-game drills, we were treated to some outstanding shooting by the "Ball Crew," you know, the kids who hand out the balls and handle the "sweat duties" during the game. They received appropriate cheers for their efforts. My guess is we'll see a lot more of that given the reception they received.

No pre-game antics of note -- which I saw anyway. The team seemed very focused. Odd that only Padgett took off his warm-ups. Reminded me of my High School football coach who would never let us take our helmets off from the moment we left the building, until we returned to the building. All business.

Shannon was decked out in basic black, top to bottom. Black sweater, black leather skirt, and black shoes. Again, very no-nonsense. Heck, Bill Self was wearing a dark suit – first time this season.

National Anthem given a solid, workman-like performance. Just fine, thank you very much. All business, again.

I've decided the Cheerleaders are my heroes. No coach. The same outfits game in, game out. They're just doing their best, the best way they know how. What they lack in cohesion, they make up in heart and desire. Way to go guys!

The Dance Team f/k/a the Crimson Girls debuted another new outfit tonight. The skirt looked a lot like another from their wardrobe – blue with a crimson waistband. But the tops were quite different. Basic blue with a "KU" on the right side with what I would call the "gladiator look" – only one sleeve. A red one on the right arm. Nice. They had a great game. Came out to perform during half time, but weren't able to because the "Nick ceremony" ran long. (MSU had to wait in the tunnel, too!).

Well, Nick dresses better now that he's a millionaire! Nice, dark suit that fit well. I still remember the Nick-n-Kirk khaki suit disaster on last year's media guide. He gave a nice speech. He's a much better speaker now, too. Interestingly, the only coach he named was his father. Don't know where he sat during the game. It wasn't with Chenowith, George Brett and Tony Gonzales.

The main event, in terms of the "other stuff" was in the stands.

The Fieldhouse was…. No. The crowd was…. No. We were an entity. Struggling with the polite formalities before the main event we all knew was going to take place. We tried to pretend we didn't know what we were about to do. But we knew. You could see it in our faces. You could hear it in the strained conversations. "Blah, blah this." "Blah, blah, that." We all know what we're here for; let's get to it! Even before it was really suppose to start, the frenzied passion erupted! Yes! There! Let's do it! Now!

Back and forth we went. Never really letting go. Building. Building. What a stroke! Here. No, there. Up and down. Up and down. A moan. A roar. Building. Ovation! Ovation!

Are we done? Not by a long shot. Quiet at times, but the throbbing never stops. A quick shove here. A friendly slap there. Then, almost without warning: Ovation! Ovation! It surrounds us. We become it. Slower now. Always rhythmic. It's different than we've known before. Through the Phog, the passion, we try to turn our conscious minds to what is going on in front of us. Is this what it means to play with our Self? Then bam! Ovation! Can there be more? Have we ever done it this well? This long? Can we keep it up? Yes. Oh yeah, yes.

We know its over. It's just about the best we've ever had. Not willing to let it go, to acknowledge we're done, we cuddle up with the experience, a song in our hearts (Rooooock Chaaaaaalk. Jaaaaaaayhaaaaaawk. Kaaaaaaaay Uuuuuuuuuu).

Whew. It was really good for me. I'm old; I'm glad I have a few days to recover before doing it all again.


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