Sparty and Johnny Spirit

 

As a red blooded, meat eating, party loving, American college student, there are few things that I enjoy more than clichés and the start of the college football season.  I love everything about college football.  The atmosphere, the games, the pageantry, and the tailgates (which I like to refer to as "tailgreats").  It's the only time I enjoy waking up at six am...which of course is followed by drinking in the shower and descending on one of the best morning party scenes in the entire world. 

 

I also love the characters. We at MSU are fortunate enough to have the best mascot in the nation: Sparty.

 

We all know and love the ridiculously ripped, squared jawed, Grecian warrior.  I'd watch that muscular miracle run a 10.7 second 50yd and bust out a few one handed push-ups like he was Jack Lalanne every day if I could.

 

Sparty is undoubtedly the face of this great university's average-above-average football program.  Hell, he gets more face time on ESPN during our games than Plaxico Burress does after a night of clubbing in his sweats.

 

While Sparty is our image, there is another character that is undeniably our heart and school.  

 

Here at MSU, we are lucky enough to have two mascots.  While Sparty has made an indelible mark on both the collegiate athletic landscape and the emerging plushy and furry community, our own Johnny Spirit has raised the bar for near marital dedication, body art, and world class cycling.  Let's see Lance Armstrong navigate our broad, sprawling campus when it's filled with golf shirt-clad, drunken alumni (that I cannot wait to join in two to seven years).  Spirit, whose real name is probably Awesome McCoolGuy, never misses a game, always gets the crowd pumped up, and never fails to entertain.  

 

That man has been at it since 1993, which is when most of us were still learning to tie our shoes and wipe our own asses. If we're being honest, that means that Johnny Spirit has seen some extremely sub-par Spartan football teams.  He's survived the reigns of horror of both Bobby Williams and John L. Smith and the unfortunate rise and fall of Jeff Smoker.  He's seen T.J. Duckett beat Michigan in the last second and Amp Campbell make one of the biggest comebacks in football history.  He's seen it all, and I sincerely doubt that he'd go anywhere else.

 

I sometimes pondered the amount of joy that that crazy painted man would bring to the Spartan nation each and every game.  Then my head would explode.  Every single week.  His commitment, love, and enthusiasm for this program and University are just that great.

 

Over the summer, Spirit placed 13th in an ESPN online list of the "20 Greatest Fans in College Football".  I think I speak for everyone when I say that our boy got screwed. 

 

So the next time you stumble through the gates of Spartan Stadium, remember that we have Johnny Spirit.  And a huge dude in a muscle suit that doesn't change facial expressions.  And they're both the best at what they do.  Go Green.

 

 
 
 
 
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