Posted tagged ‘Michigan State’

Wrestling with Spartan Loyalty

January 28, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             January 28, 2018

                                 

It’s been a tough week in Spartan Land! The Larry Nassar horror had been going on for a while. I wanted to believe that he was more connected to USA Gymnastics than Michigan State University.

You see, that’s a big part of my problem, and struggle. I don’t want to believe that anything can go wrong in Spartan Country.

Sports Information Director at the Air Force Academy, Troy Garnhart, told me of the Academy’s football game at Michigan State a couple of years ago. He was impressed by everything- the people, the facilities, but, most of all, the hospitality and genuineness of the coaches and players. That’s what I want to hear! It’s difficult to hear that the coin actually has another side to it.

I want to believe that about the other university about an hour southeast down the road. Anything that makes Jim Harbaugh want to puke…like a blocked punt on the final play of a football game…brings a smile to my face!

But this is Spartan Land, and I wouldn’t even want such a debacle to happen in Ann Arbor. One of sexual assault victims of Larry Nassar is the daughter of a man who was a part of the youth group I led back in the early eighties in Lansing. Her testimony personalized a story that became so immense that there was a danger of seeing so many victims- more than one hundred and fifty, but forgetting that each one of them endured pain and suffering.

As happens in our culture, the indiscretions of one becomes the fault of the many. We’re teetering on the edge of a moral ledge where things that have been kept hidden are raising their ugly heads. In recent months, more than usual, an incision into the heart of our society has revealed the darkness of how we live. In our talent for avoidance we usually shrug off the rumors, but, in this situation, the reality has tsunami’ed us. The Nassar crimes are like when you look at a wall and see a crack in the paint, but when you more closely investigate it you notice that the crack extends in all directions.

I want to still live in Spartan Land but the “Green and White” has become grey-ish! I want my heroes to stay standing on pedestals, but I’m afraid that the possibility of falling off is increasing daily.

And how far does the failure of responsibility ripple out? A university president and the athletic director have already retired/resigned. The entire board of USA Gymnastics joined the list of resignations. How many more will be found to have ignored the elephant in the room?

I’ll always root for the Spartans, but when I wear my Michigan State hoodie nowadays I’m reminded more of the damage that has been done to a multitude of lives than I am of Spartan victories.

A school that has been known for “Magic” has entered a new chapter that is entitled  “Tragic”!

Red-Green Color Blind on St. Patrick’s Day

March 18, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          March 18, 2017

                            

I needed Carol…but she had departed the house early for a day of being a para-professional with middle school students who have special needs.

Unfortunately, I had a special need also! It was St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t know what to wear. Being color blind I couldn’t figure out what I could wear that had green in it. I was scheduled for an interview that morning at a school, so I couldn’t wear one of my Michigan State tee shirts. They were the only shirts I owned that I was sure had green because the Spartan’s colors are green and white.

I faced a closet full of mixed-up hues and vague hints of color schemes. They looked like a color calculus problem with no clear solution.

People don’t quite understand the effects of color blindness. They ask me what is it I see? I see what I see, but am often confused by what it is. As I approach a stoplight on a foggy morning I have to slow down to see which of the three lights is shining. If it is the bottom one I know I can go.

I remember when I was first diagnosed as color blind when I was in fourth grade. I was given a group of circles, each filled with dots, and asked to say the number that was inside the circle. A couple of the numbers were as clear as day, but a few of the others…in my view!…had no number in the middle. In fact, I thought it was some cheap school prank made to make me look silly!

I drive a white car! I can figure out white usually! But white is not green, and my granddaughter has informed me that people will pinch me if I don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. She had a smile on her face as she said it, like she was choosing the body part to grab hold of.

I settled on a new Roundtree & York shirt that looked like it could possibly have some green in the crossing pattern of lines and designs. There had to be some green in it! If I would have thought about it a little more I could have taken a selfie picture and sent it to Carol. Hopefully she would have a moment to view it before I headed out into a world obsessed with greenness.

At Starbucks I got looks! I checked my zipper! I was okay. My dense brain figured the looks were because of my favorite Starbucks cup, which is starting to look a little weathered in its whiteness.

Or maybe it was because I was a good-looking 62 year old man!

I thought I noticed one elderly lady looking at me and positioning two of her fingers into a tight position. I wondered if she was having a stroke! She wasn’t! I remembered my granddaughter’s words. This lady was ready to pounce…or, pinch my arm! I scurried to my white car!

But I had my new Roundtree & York green, brown, red, and blue shirt on! Perhaps this lady had a distorted kind of color blindness, like a color blind psycho…seeing things that aren’t there and not seeing things that are there!

St. Patrick’s Day is torturous!

After my interview, in which I got concerned looks at my color attire, I stopped at Carol’s school to check on something else with the athletic office secretary.

“You’re not wearing green today!”

“I’m not!”

“No!”

I flinched like she was about to pinch me. “This shirt isn’t green?”

She laughed deeply at my tainted tintness! I scurried home to the safety of my vacated residence…and changed shirts!