Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Spartans, Detroit & The Final Four

Although I am a die hard Michigan Wolverine fan, I couldn't helped but be pleased to see the Michigan State Spartans advance to the Final Four once again. Not only is this Coach Tom Izzo's fifth trip to the sacred ground of college basketball, but this year's event happens to be taking place in the once proud, now struggling city of Detroit.

I have commented before on the current realities of Detroit and the state of Michigan so I won't go into all that again. I no longer reside in Michigan, but my heart remains there. So it is good to see something that the state can be proud of and to see it happening in our major city tops it off.

As I already mentioned, my loyalties lie with the Wolverines, but I have the utmost respect for the Michigan State basketball program. They consistently play well-coached, team basketball and can hang with anybody in the country (as evidenced by Sunday's win over my favorite to win the NCAA tourney, Louisville.)

Jemele Hill, a native of Detroit and now a writer for ESPN, has written another superb article on the Motor City. You can read her complete piece here, but here's a highlight:
"The opportunity to play in our state, especially with some of the struggles [the state of Michigan] has gone through this past year, I guess I felt a little bit like hopefully we can be, you know, the sun shining through some pretty cloudy areas," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
"But it seems like a lot of people are happy for Michigan State and Detroit, even if they don't fully understand how important this is. Most people I know aren't Michigan State supporters, yet as soon as the Spartans beat Louisville, my cell phone practically turned into an active heart defibrillator. Text messages flew in from everywhere. I'm starting to think that during Final Four week, Detroit's official license plate slogan should be changed to, "The 4 is in the D!" because I must have received that text message about 263 times."
"We've always stated our team's a blue-collar team ever since I came here -- and there's no better blue-collar city than Detroit and all the things they go through," Izzo said."

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