My first Michigan State basketball game
I’m the daughter of a Spartan. And, a Wolverine.
Like any split-rivalry household, things got a bit awkward when the two in-state Big Ten rivals squared off on the gridiron.
Honestly, I never wanted to pick a side. It felt disloyal to one parent to choose the other’s alma mater. How could I support one and not the other? Choose Ann Arbor over East Lansing? Well, actually, that I’m confident calling in AA’s favor. Sorry, EL, but I’m a sucker for a huge summer art fair and really good pizza. (Here’s looking at you, Pizza House and Cottage Inn.)
But, despite my wishy-washy fandom of either team during football season, when basketball reason rolls around, I am 100 percent green and white. Dad wins. I’m his Spartan daughter from October through March, especially during the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
On March 1, my dad took me to my first Michigan State basketball game. Even though the Spartans lost to Illinois, it was one of the best fan experiences I’ve had.
To start our daddy-daughter day, my dad and I met for lunch in East Lansing. A friend who is a Spartan alumnus recommended Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub, where Dad and I drank wheat beers, munched on pita bread with hummus and ate salads. My dad had a walk through memory lane as he realized Harper’s was a bar called Dooley’s when he was a student in the 1970s.
After lunch, we went to park my dad’s car in an on-campus lot (since he had a parking pass along with the tickets) only to find out the 2 p.m. game had been rescheduled for 4 p.m. So, we had some time to kill and ended up driving over to the outdoor mall, Eastwood Towne Center. We shopped a bit, which basically means Dad bought me some clothes at The Gap. Then we drank more beer at Claddagh Irish Pub and made our dinner reservations at Mitchell’s Fish Market before driving back to the Breslin Center for game time.
The energy inside the Breslin Center is electric — and that’s mostly due to the Izzone.
After the game ended, we walked outside the Breslin Center to find it was snowing. While the parking lot for game-goers with parking passes is conveniently located across the street from the arena, it took a long time to get out of the lot. Also, traffic was forced to head left when the most direct route back to Grand River was to turn right. So, it might actually be more convenient to park in the city’s garages just off of Grand River and then walk to the game.
We totally missed our 6:30 p.m. reservation, but luckily, the restaurant still seated us immediately once we arrived at Mitchell’s Fish Market around 7:30. I noticed a lot of other patrons sporting green and white, so your casual Spartan gear is acceptable attire on game day. The service was great, and our waitress very friendly. I ordered the shrimp scampi, which was delicious and paired nicely with my glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
I’ll be cheering for the Spartans tonight as they take on the Virginia Cavaliers in the Sweet Sixteen round of March Madness. Go Green! Go White! And, Sparty On!
Wish you were here,