Football is Cancelled and I'm Sad
I want to make one thing perfectly clear. One can simultaneously care about student athletes, and be upset about losing our Saturdays in the fall. I love college football, I have ever since I can remember. I love college football and I know I’m not alone, I also know that if you don’t share my quirky, borderline unhealthy passion for this game the rest of this article is going to sound very strange.
Yesterday’s announcement may have been coming for a long time, it was clear for weeks if not months for most of America. Shit, for my best friends who told me every day “Kevin give it up man it’s not happening” “don’t waste your energy football isn’t gonna happen”. The warning signs have been obvious, right in front of my face, screaming at me to pay attention and be realistic. Yet my love for this sport kept me turning a blind eye, allowed me to march on like a soldier on the front lines believing in something bigger than himself. I truly believed until the moment I saw the word “official” that there was still hope, that there was a sliver of a chance that maybe, just maybe we could pull this thing off. Unfortunately that’s not how life works sometimes.
Again I want to clarify a very important point: it’s possible to care about people and be upset about missing out on college football. I want student athletes to be safe, I want them to be protected at all costs by the universities who profit off of their talents, I want them to fulfill their wildest childhood dreams of playing infront of a hundred thousand screaming fans, and go onto the NFL and get paid real money for the game they grew up loving, but most of all I want them to be healthy. At the end of the day this was probably the right call. I maintain that anybody without a PHD who has/had a strong belief in one side or the other probably needs an ego check. This was a situation riddled with nuance, a situation with a whole lot of grey area, and a situation that 0.0% of the population knows how to handle effectively. I’ve seen logical arguments for canceling and I’ve seen logical arguments for playing, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about what we’re missing.
College football is the greatest sport on the planet. In no other arena do you have the passion, the energy, the will, nor the heart of 70 college football players on a given sideline, on a given Saturday. In no other sport do you have the sense of finality of football, and specifically in the college game. Charles Rodgers was the best college football player I’ve ever seen in the Green and White. 2 years. Julian Peterson shattered MSU record books. 2 years. Connor Cook is the most accomplished quarterback in school history, with a laundry list of team championships and personal accolades. 3 years. The lifespan of a college football player is incredibly short, and in both a literal and figurative meaning, we move on quickly. Greg Jones was replaced by Max Bullough, who was replaced by his younger brother Riley, who was replaced by Joe Bachie. The train keeps moving. 2020 was going to be a weird year, Mel Tucker was hired exactly 6 months before last night’s announcement. A lot can happen in 6 months. Suddenly the seniors he inherits are faced with difficult decisions, the underclassmen don’t have the opportunity to make their name known, and we're left not knowing which of our Spartans we’ve seen at Spartan Stadium for the last time. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be frustrated, annoyed. sad, angry, or all the above. College football is more than a game for many of us, it’s part of our identity, it’s part of our yearly ritual. It’s waking up at 5 AM to get your tailgate spot, it’s staying up until 2 AM watching a meaningless Hawaii vs Nevada game, it’s the years and years of memories built up going to see your favorite team play. I’ve been in Spartan Stadium for some amazing moments, Little Giants, Larry Caper, Oregon, -48. I’ve traveled to Indy twice, I’ve traveled to Dallas for a college football playoff game, I’ve been to bowl games, and I can honestly say MSU football is a huge part of my life that I will be sorely missing this fall.
I don’t know what happens next, I don’t know if we get football in the spring, I don’t know what that looks like. I can’t imagine what’s going through the mind of Mel Tucker, his coaching staff, and most importantly his players. The lifespan for a college football player goes by like the snap of your fingers, and for some of these players it may have just gotten shorter. I hope the NCAA, the Big Ten, and Michigan State do the right thing when it comes to safety, eligibility, etc. and I hope to see these guy in East Lansing again.
I don’t know what the purpose of this rambling was, maybe just to put my thoughts on paper is therapeutic, maybe in some selfish way I’m looking for sympathy, maybe I’m somehow still hanging onto hope that we’ll see college football is some way, shape, or form. Either way I know I’m not alone in this feeling, I hope to see you all healthy, tailgating for MSU football come September 2021 if not before.