I missed another Michigan State men’s basketball game Saturday evening — a 62-34 whupping of Nebraska, it turned out — but for a reason anyone living in Spartan Nation should find acceptable. Last night was SpartyBall in the Windy City, the annual scholarship fundraising event staged by the MSU Alumni Club of Metro Chicago.
This SpartyBall, held at the beautiful River East Arts Center near Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, was the seventh annual. It also was my first, though I just missed being in town for last year’s because I was unable to extend a visit from Washington, D.C., where I lived at the time.
The attendance of more than 300 people set a new SpartyBall record. Most were from Chicago and its environs, natch, but we had Spartans come in from away, not only the great contingent that came down from East Lansing, but from places at far-flung as Denver, DC, Connecticut and Houston.
I had a great time and it looked to me like everyone else did too, thank largely to the great game plan devised by SpartyBall co-chairs Eric Bolf and Courtney Cawley, under the leadership of local board president Vic Maurer. And even more importantly, those ticket sales and proceeds from the silent auction of dozens of donated items will benefit the good cause of helping send a Chicago-area student to Michigan State University, a place we’re proud to call alma mater.
As those of you who know me well already know, I made a point of getting involved with the Chicago Spartans club immediately after we moved here last July. I was pleased to receive an invitation to fill a vacancy on the board not long after, and volunteered to be a member of the SpartyBall planning committee.
I was a mere role player in the effort. My main contributions were storing the silent auction items in our apartment and doing nearly daily Facebook posts demanding, “HAVE YOU BOUGHT YOUR SPARTYBALL TICKET YET?”
Nonetheless, whenever you participate in a team project that meets all your hopes and expectations, I think you’re entitled to take a little pride. It was great to just step back last night, take in the whole scene, and think how awesome it is that the whole thing came together as well as it did.
So, a hat tip to the people who, in the past or present, have worked so hard to make SpartyBall such a popular and valuable feature of MSU life in Chicago.
To the folks from around town who bought tickets and attended the event, let me say on behalf of the board that we love you. And a special virtual hug to those of you who came long distance to share a night of Chicago winter with us.
To my friends and colleagues with the Chicago Spartans club who have welcomed me so warmly and permitted me to be so involved so soon, thank you.
To Michigan State alums and friends of MSU who were not able to make it this year, there will be a SpartyBall next year, and we hope you can make it.
And to my social media friends who do not happen to share my deep devotion to Michigan State University and cringed every time I did one of my SpartyBall ticket pleas, it’s safe to read my Facebook feed again for a while.
It’s over. For now.