Think about things that have been constant in your life since the year you were born. Try to make a list. I bet it’s a short one. If you are anything like me, there are only a couple. As you get older, the number becomes less and less. Being with my family at Spartan Stadium in the fall is one of the few constants I’ve had for 43 years. Our family has had season tickets for over 40 years, including this one. With everything that has changed in our lives, being at Spartan Stadium in the fall never really has.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve never shied away from a good cry. It could happen when I’m happy, sad, proud, or just caught in the moment. Things that are full of traditions, constants, and tied to family? Add those up and you can almost guarantee I will cry.
When you put those two things together, you will get me crying today at Spartan Stadium around 6:50 pm. Most of that reason is what happens when I look at constant vs. changing things in my life.
Where I’ve lived has changed. Lake Odessa, Hillsdale, Comstock Park, Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Hudsonville. Plenty of change. But each of those years, I was in East Lansing, in Spartan Stadium, with my family. As a teenager, everything changes. Where I wanted to go to college changed daily. Being in that stadium each year just didn’t seem to go away. My parents got divorced earlier in my life. That changed our family’s makeup forever, but family members and I kept going to MSU football games. I got married, had kids, all type of changes. I started coaching basketball, stopped coaching, and now started a basketball training business. Lots of change, but not my attendance in East Lansing. My jobs have changed. K teacher, 3rd-grade, AP at one school, Principal at another, and then another. Plenty of changes. Not me being in Spartan Stadium.
But maybe more relevant than anything else, people in my life have changed. Especially those who go to games with me. My Grandpa took me to games. When I went with him, my uncles and cousins were normally with us. My Mom and Dad took me to LOTS of games. I may have attended more games with my brother than anyone. He and his wife make a trip out at least once a year. My Grandpa and Dad are no longer alive. They are the first thing I think of when I walk into Spartan Stadium. I’d give just about anything to sit with them for one more game in that stadium. Now, I have the biggest constant in my life, my wife, by my side. I have my two kids who love being there with me. People have changed, but me being in Spartan Stadium didn’t. The moment just as pregame ends during the first game of the year when the team runs on the field and the band plays the fight song gets me every time. It’s when I stop and remember all of those people and all of those times in Spartan Stadium. I grab the hand or shoulder of my wife, Ally, and Myles. I smile and cry at the same time. I’m so grateful for this constant in my life, which is now passed on to my kids. I can’t wait for that cry in a few hours.