Both my parents went to Illinois for college, and they have some how have remained die-hard Illini fans, despite their teams being pretty atrocious pretty much all of the time. I vaguely remember their basketball team was good when I was little, but that's about it. (Don't even get started on football!)
Every year when football and basketball schedules come out, the first thing we check is whether MSU will be hosting Illinois. Sadly we haven't hosted them in football since my freshman year of college (and Eager Feet Dad was already on a trip that weekend!), but we've had better luck with basketball. This year we got super lucky with MSU hosting Illinois on a Saturday afternoon.
East Lansing is only about an hour and a half from me, so I didn't even have to get up super early! I ended up meeting my parents at a Meijer parking lot and leaving my car there, so we only had to pay to park one car. (Shh, don't tell!)
I hadn't been back to campus since the football game at the end of August, so it was fun to be back. I had tried to think of a way to fit a run in on my favorite campus route, but there's no showers accessible anywhere without a student ID. I even thought about running after the game, but I didn't know where I'd put my stuff after changing.
The lots near the Breslin were all full an hour before game time, so we ended up parking by the football stadium. My parents are relatively familiar with campus, but mostly with the roads, whereas I'm almost useless in the car but can get us anywhere on foot.
While the drive from the Breslin to the stadium lot was long, the walk was short. My parents didn't realize this at first and kept insisting we hustle to the stadium as fast as possible, even though we had 45 minutes until tip. I didn't understand but went along with it, but it was funny when we got there, and they were like, hey, how'd that happen so fast? Spartan magic, my friends. Then my dad asked me who the statue out front was, and a piece of my soul died. (Hint: it's Magic Johnson.)
My parents bought the tickets on Stub Hub and must have splurged, because we got seats in the upper bowl with real backs! Normally we purposely buy tickets for the top row of the upper bowl (which is bleachers) so that we can lean against the wall. Man, my weekend recaps are just dropping life hacks left and right!
|Empty arena before game time. Sadly, lots of seats remained unfilled even after tip off.|
The warm-up music definitely caters to the players, so it features a lot of heavy rap. I think it wore on my mom a bit, and she was glad when it was over. My favorite part of the pre-game is the MSU video beforehand. They update it every year, but keep the same song and a few of the same iconic clips. It's pretty easy to make me tear up, and this video always gets me, as lame as that sounds. Honestly, my favorite part of sports seasons as a student was seeing the preview video at the first game.
I'll spare you the gory details, but MSU looked pretty sad. We missed lots of easy shots, but we went into the final minute, down two, with three free throws and possession (from a technical), and we still managed to lose by five. I wasn't even sad - if you can't win with those circumstances, you don't deserve to win at all. Even my parents were in shock. I'm only a little worried now since some projections show us out of March Madness. Inconceivable!
|Here's a happy picture from halftime.|
After the horror was over, food was our first priority. We ended up going to Grand Traverse Pie Co, and I got their french dip. I'm not a big salad person, but my dad's cherry chicken salad actually looked amazing. I'll have to try it next time.
We then made a quick pit stop to try to find Spartan kleenex for my mom's boss. Yes, you can get just about anything collegiately branded! Even the campus bookstore didn't have any - they must only make them at going back to school time. I'm shocked, I figure that's a branded item that must print money.
Following that failure was my favorite stop of the day - the Dairy Store! MSU has it's own herd of cows and manufactures its own dairy products on campus, including ice cream in tons of different flavors. It is pretty much the best ever. I'm glad I didn't discover how good their milkshakes were until the summer before my senior year, or I'd be 1200 pounds.
|Vanilla is the only way to go.|
I then I had to laugh when we went to use the bathroom before going back to my car. Apparently the one person bathroom in the dairy building randomly has tons of lockers! I'm totally keeping this in mind for future campus visits when I want to run. I easily could have changed there and locked my other stuff up while I ran. So random.
I'm glad I was able to make it to a basketball game this year, and it was really fun to catch up with my parents. When I went back in August for the football game, it was so very bittersweet knowing my time as a student was over, but the ache is easing a lot now. I see a few more Dairy Store visits in my future!
Did you like watching sports as a kid?
What's your favorite brand of ice cream?