This one's for the state
Imagine being in your mid 20’s as an all-out sports fanatic for your state, having seen a good handful of chances to secure a championship but having to settle for a handful of disappointment.
If you’re a reader outside of Michigan, then you must first understand that there are A LOT of good things happening in the state’s sports world outside of the major marketed professional teams.
There have been a number of teams to put on for the state of Michigan in a number of sports like Grand Valley State University football, who won their fourth NCAA Division II championship in five seasons. There’s also the Grand Rapids Griffins who recently won their second American Hockey League Calder Cup championship last season with their first championship coming back in 2013 and I can’t leave out the state’s beloved Class A Minor League baseball team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, who won their latest Midwest League Championship Series back in 2015, making it their fourth in 11 seasons, totaling them to six total.
Now while all that is a bit much to digest, those are just the side dishes to the major marketed professional and college sport teams the state has to offer.
The last major Michigan team to bring a championship home, were the heavily storied 2007 – ‘08 Detroit Redwings. The Wings had won their 11th Stanley Cup and their fourth in 11 seasons and last appeared in the NHL Stanley Cup series in 2009. Before that, were the iconic ’04 Pistons who are now thankfully on an upward trend after cashing in on Blake Griffin.
Now before some of you outsiders call me and other Michigander sports fanatics spoiled, I’ll be the first to say it hasn’t necessarily been rough (unless solely looking the Lions) but it’s been an ugly true test of patience and belief. There were the 2006 and 2012 Detroit Tigers who went a combined World Series finish at 1-8, the Wings for the first time since 1989 – ’90 missed the Stanley Cup playoffs last season but in their defense, have a young team to groom and work with for the future, the Lions tend to make splashes and headline news but end up being the different story, same result type team (although this season may be one to get a little excited about under new head coach, Matt Patricia (still not a fan)), the Tigers have dismantled and pulled the plug on a team that seemed unbreakable and lastly, the ‘Stons, who aren’t too attractive right now but show signs of being a hotspot for upcoming free agents looking to shine in an up for grabs backcourt.
While I just gave you all an eyeful to take in and digest, the message at hand is simple, tonight, solely tonight is a night to put all hopes and optimism of any franchise on the backburner as the University of Michigan men’s basketball team has a golden opportunity to secure a National Championship against one seeded Villanova, bringing home the state’s first major sports title in ten years.
While Sparty Nation is still up and running off at the mouth (wasn’t it supposed to be their season?), as a Michigan born and bred journalist and lover of Michigan sports, I say to you all in East Lansing that tonight is a time to put your pride aside and hate of U of M sports, and support the Wolverines as it’s bigger than the city of Ann Arbor, as a win tonight down in San Antonio, would be for the state of Michigan as well, as we have all awaited the hoisting of a major championship trophy.