That. Was. AWESOME.
The last time I was at the Final Four in 2005, our hopes were dashed by North Carolina. It was sad. THIS time was different.
First of all, Ford Field was about 85% Michigan State fans. Green and white as far as the eye could see....it was beautiful. The energy was incredible. People were happy, smiling, excited...everyone was friends (and really, seeing people they knew every which way...or maybe that was just me and Leah).
Our section was interesting. It was a mix of Michigan State fans (of course) and random people who didn't seem to care one way or the other. Leah and I checked out our surroundings....
MSU fans in front of us...Check.
MSU fans next to Leah....Check.
MSU fans behind us...half a check.
People who didn't care but claimed they were cheering for MSU next to me and behind me...Check, check.
Random Villanova guys two rows down who were cheering for MSU...check.
No small children within earshot in case I swore...CHECK.
Then I had to give all the people around me the disclaimer...I'm VERY loud, I get VERY into and you may be sorry you got stuck next to me. SO, if at any point I'm too much, just let me know I need to dial it back. And it's at that point that whoever it is (usually a male) smiles and says something to the effect of "Oh don't worry honey. You just go ahead and cheer your little heart out." Whichever one of my girlfriends is with me usually leans over and says, "Um, no really. You have no idea what is about to happen." And then they laugh and smile indulgently at the cute young girls who like basketball. Then about two minutes into the game, they realize what they're in for.
There is nothing "cute" about the way I cheer. I am loud. I jump up and down. I yell at officials. I scream words of encouragement as if the players can actually hear me (which of course, THEY CAN). I know what a charge looks like, I can tell when someone travels. I get angry if the refs call ticky-tack fouls. There is never an excuse for missing a free throw. I know the players on the court, not just on my team, but on the other team as well. I know who the coach is. I can list their starters and their top 3-4 bench players (if they go that deep). I know their stats, the record, etc. Here's a newsflash: JUST BECAUSE I AM FEMALE, IT DOESN'T MEAN I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE GAME. Maybe it's because the majority of my female friends and the women I work with are like me (if not about college bball, but about some other sport), but it still blows my mind that people are surprised when women know sports. I don't think it's THAT uncommon.
But I digress. At this point, the guys behind us have decided I am HILARIOUS because I'm angry at the fact that UConn is pushing MSU around and not getting called for fouls but MSU is getting called for touch fouls left, right and center. My mother is texting me random thoughts about how she and my father are jumping around the family room and how the UConn mascot annoys her. I tell her I need to watch the game and cannot keep up a stream of texts. It was a physical game and Michigan State stayed in control the whole time. It was beautiful. Kalin Lucas taking people off the dribble, Raymar Morgan having the game of his life....sigh. And best of all? Michigan State running Connecticut right out of the gym.
Which is funny, because all tournament long all the analysts made comments about how Michigan State "can't run" which left Michigan State fans (and Coach Izzo) dumbfounded. Have you WATCHED them play? This is where I need to give props to Mike DeCourcy, Senior Writer of the Sporting News. I spoke with him after the Louisville game and he expressed his outrage at the number of media personnel that claimed MSU can't run. "I don't know who they're watching," he said, "But Chris Allen and Durrell Summers could run with the U.S. track team." DAMN RIGHT!
The game was terrific...too close for comfort at some points, but interesting and it ended in my favor, so what's to complain about?
Oh, right.....now we have to deal with Carolina.....