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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.

With my dad at my very first Michigan State basketball game on March 1, 2014, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

With my dad at my very first Michigan State basketball game on March 1, 2014, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

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.

Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub in East Lansing, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub in East Lansing, Mich.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

Inside Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub on March 1, 2014. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Inside Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub on March 1, 2014.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

The hummus is served with pita bread slices and fresh tomato. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

The hummus is served with pita bread slices and fresh tomato.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

The Michigan Salad is apples, candied walnuts, cherries, smoked gouda cheese and a house-made blueberry dressing over Romaine lettuce. It's so filling! (Photo by Erin Klema.)

The Michigan Salad is apples, candied walnuts, cherries, smoked gouda cheese and a house-made blueberry dressing over Romaine lettuce. It’s so filling!
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

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.

Cheerleaders pump up the crowd as the Michigan State Spartans' starters are introduced on March 1, 2014. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Cheerleaders pump up the crowd as the Michigan State Spartans’ starters are introduced on March 1, 2014.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

The energy inside the Breslin Center is electric — and that’s mostly due to the Izzone.

As the Illinois starting lineup is announced, the Izzone says, "Who cares?"

As the Illinois starting lineup is announced, the Izzone says, “Who cares?”

The Breslin Center fills up before tip off on March 1, 2014.

The Breslin Center fills up before tip off on March 1, 2014.

Tip off and the game begins! (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Tip off and the game begins!
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen is in the house! (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen is in the house!
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

The Michigan State cheerleaders perform during a break in the action. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

The Michigan State cheerleaders perform during a break in the action.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

Hopefully adding another one of these banners soon! (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Hopefully adding another one of these banners soon!
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

Isn't Sparty the coolest? (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Isn’t Sparty the coolest?
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

My peach smoothie even had a green umbrella to sport a little Spartan pride. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

My peach smoothie even had a green umbrella to sport a little Spartan pride.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

The MSU Dance Team performs a high-energy routine at center court. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

The MSU Dance Team performs a high-energy routine at center court.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

We had an excellent vantage point for the game. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

We had an excellent vantage point for the game.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

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.

Delicious shrimp scampi at Mitchell's Fish Market capped off a really fun day in East Lansing with my dad. (Photo by Erin Klema.)

Delicious shrimp scampi at Mitchell’s Fish Market capped off a really fun day in East Lansing with my dad.
(Photo by Erin Klema.)

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,

Erin

 

 

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