I am a fan of sports, not of sports teams

USP NCAA BASKETBALL: IOWA AT MICHIGAN STATE S BKC USA MII walked among the walking dead Sunday in downtown Detroit.

I took my son Brandon to Little Caesars Arena where he cheered on his beloved Michigan State Spartans against Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But the only Detroiters that walked out of that building with smiles on their faces were former Mayor Dave Bing and NBA great Derrick Coleman, who both played for the Orange.

I got to hear the grumbles among the walking dead on Woodward as we walked to the car.

“Why couldn’t they make their shots today?”

“Is the program falling apart?”

“Why were they so flat?”

The loss was so stunning that I even saw a couple Michigan fans who felt sympathy for their little Spartans brothers.

My silent son wore a bright green MSU sweatshirt and a Spartan beanie. He did not utter a word until I asked if he still had a good time despite the unexpected outcome. He assured me that he did and for me the great thing about the day is dad and son got to spend some fun time out of the house and away from mom.

I knew now was not the time to make jokes or crack a smile because he was struggling with the loss.

I never get to experience the feeling of remorse or jubilation following games. I do not root for or against team. I am a sports fan but I am not a fan of any team, which makes meĀ  an odd bean, created by decades of being a sports writer.

No cheering in the press box. It is stamped across the sports world and it is something we abide by. Our views cannot be clouded by fandom because if it were we could never give the public a clear view of what is wrong or right with a team.

I was not among the walking dead after the Spartans loss. I simply walked. I felt bad because I knew my son and Spartan wife wanted to see them advance to the Sweet 16. When I got home there were pillows thrown all around the family room. My wife Abs became so frustrated with MSU’s poor shooting that she spilled water all over the pillows before shutting the television off.

She did not see the end and asked if the game ended in a miracle Jordan Poole hail Mary shot for the Spartans as it did for Michigan against Houston. I told her it did not and I saw the last glimmer of hope leave her eyes.

Now that Michigan State is eliminated she won’t watch the rest of the tournament or the Big Ten network. Basketball no longer a sport for her.

Two days before the game I wore a Spartan beanie. I wore it because I think the hat looks cool and it keeps my bald head warm, not because I am a Spartan fan. I talked to a Spartan fan and before we parted she yelled “Go Green” and paused waiting for me to say “Go White.”

I told her I do not do that. She was disappointed as we parted ways.

I do not do chest bumps or high fives during games. You will never see me put grease paint on my face. I am a fan of sports but I am not a sports fan.







Sticker shock at the LCA

LittleCaesarsArena_Exterior_Thumb.0Sticker shock hits you at the new Little Caesars Arena way before you step inside.

Parking signs dot Cass Avenue promoting parking that cost between $35 and $40. Of course that is less than the ridiculous $50 parking across the street from Ford Field on Lions game days.

It is a sin to pay that much to park a car for three or four hours.

I enjoyed my first evening at Little Caesars Arena and found it to be a lovely place. But the prices are out of control and do not match what we see on the ice and the basketball court.

They also do not reflect what many fans can afford. Or can justify. Can you pay $35 in parking and survive? Many of us can but it puts a serious dent in the pocket book and you have nothing to show for it.

My guess is many people have said “I will stay home on my comfy couch and watch television.” Is an $11 beer worth my while?

The gift store is fantastic, but once again I was met with sticker shock. I saw a Red Wings sweat shirt I’ve debated purchasing in the store for $60. It was $100 at the LCA and that is where it shall remain.

The best place is the market place where you can get burgers, sausages, salads, sandwiches and cold brews. It is a place I could hang for three or four hours whether there is a game or concert. It looks like a lot of fun for us adults.

The Kid Rock restaurant is a bright spot also.

Let me tell you the next crisis that will hit the arena. When the product gets better and people actually begin filling the place, they are going to complain about crowded corridors. I thought they fixed that.

The press accommodations are fantastic. The press lounge in the basement is huge, accommodating and has the longest food buffet I’ve ever seen. It includes salads and grilled fish for guy like me who are watching their figures and pizza, chicken strips, tater tots and cookies for those who are not.

The press box is spacious and dark. I don’t know why but I have a thing for dark press boxes. It helps me concentrate better when writing a story.

The real winners in the stadium are the elevator operators, the help staff and the regular folks that work there. The Blackhawks game was my first of the season and they practically held my hand to help me navigate the place.

I already feel like a LCA expert after only one trip.


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