EAST LANSING — As I stepped onto the Michigan State campus and headed toward Cedar Village, images of grandeur and tear gas filled my head.
I saw myself flipping a car and then explaining to the cops that I was just “reporting” on the riot.
I saw myself convulsing and vomiting as students stepped over my body to flee from the burning wreckage.
You know, I saw myself as a typical Spartan fan.
But none of that happened Monday night following Michigan State’s loss to North Carolina in the National Championship game.
I had decided on Sunday that I had nothing better to do with my Monday night than revel in the agony of Spartan fans. (Face it — they never had a shot of winning.)
Two photographers, a fellow reporter and I left for East Lansing well into the first half. Who cares about the game? I just wanted to riot.
The drive was uneventful until our car, which we had borrowed, sputtered to a stop along I-96.
No gas. Dammit.
After running a mile and a half run down the highway, trekking through a marsh and dousing myself in gasoline, we were back on the move.
Reeking of gas, I now envisioned my night ending engulfed in a fireball sprinting down Grand River Avenue. “Well at least it will make a good story,” I thought.
We got back in the car and sped off to Michigan State. Despite the pleas of my sports editor, whose car we had borrowed for the trip, we parked on the street and hoped it wouldn’t be trampled in the mob.
The game had just finished and Sparty had lost by 17. This was going to be good.
We headed down to Cedar Village, the epicenter of debauchery, and discovered a few thousand students chanting and jumping around.
I quickly zipped up my jacket and covered up my Michigan athletics shirt. “Maybe I should have changed,” I thought to myself. I waited for a while and looked around wondering when the car burning and bottle smashing would begin.
I got a little antsy, so I thought, “These idiots are too dumb to do anything on their own. Maybe they need a little push.”
So I started yelling, “UNC sucks! Lets destroy shit!”
All this got me was some dirty looks from a few of the hundred or so police officers surrounding the mob. Worse yet, the police were nice. Like almost as nice as my mom. Almost.
The American Civil Liberties Union sent volunteers to help stop police brutality. “Let’s see some brutality already,” I thought.
Students were taking their pictures with the cops, flaunting beer cans, smiling and laughing.
In fact, I don’t think I saw a single angry student. I looked around, and they were celebrating. Everyone was smiling and having a good time.
Not exactly a riot.
Rioting is usually just about destroying stuff because you’re mad.
So, judging by their reaction, I figured State fans weren’t really mad. Why should they be? Their team reached the NCAA final when it wasn’t even expected to get out of the Elite Eight.
The students still poured out into the streets though because there was an expectation to riot. After all, that was the precedent.
By not rioting, the student actually did the thing that would most piss off Michigan fans. There’s nothing we love more than watching Michigan State fans destroy their own property and beat each other up. Well, except maybe Ohio State fans destroying their own property and beating each other up.
Despite my best efforts, I didn’t get to flip over any cars, though I did blow off some steam in the mosh pit.
I don’t know why I had high expectations — we are talking about Michigan State after all.