Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sports Illustrated Piece on MSU Spartans Basketball

Not considering myself a huge college basketball nor Michigan State fan, I almost didn't read and didn't expect much from the recent story on the Spartans in Sports Illustrated.

Having now finished this piece by Lee Jenkins titled "The Fire Still Burns"... I'm glad I did and found it to be pretty compelling. The story is part profile on head coach Tom Izzo and his longtime ties to the area and University, but more than that, it's a look at how a team, school and championship run connected with a community.

The fact that the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament culminating in the Final Four held in Detroit's Ford Field resulted in a Spartans loss rather than win against North Carolina is almost secondary to the emotions brought out through MSU's improbable advancement to the Final and how it resonated with the city of Detroit.

It's pretty common knowledge that there's been tough economic times there of late and one team's efforts on the court led by some hometown players certainly doesn't change living conditions, but in this case, it seemed to give people something to rally behind and get excited about. At the end of day, that's not a bad thing to be accomplished through sports.


Also from this issue was a mention of NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield and his drug-testing problems with NASCAR as an organization. In short... multiple failed tests for meth, denials from Mayfield, quotes from his stepmother saying he does in fact do meth, rebuttals from Mayfield calling her a whore and saying she murdered his father. All of this combined with other Mayfield quotes about how NASCAR spiked his testing samples and is led by someone with a drug problem.

Good stuff... makes me think of slightly modifying a famous quote and saying "you can take the driver out of the trailer park, but can't take the trailer park out of the driver."