MSU offers mixed welcome
Sarah Barrett | Monday, September 20, 2004
As students gathered on North Quad to eat free burgers and hot dogs and watch Saturday’s game together, many fellow Domers trekked the two and a half hour car ride to Michigan State to sport their green shirts and support the football team in person.
And as students and alumna geared up for the game, many prepared themselves for an out-of-Notre-Dame experience and dealing with jeers from the opponent.
Notre Dame senior Gina Fenice traveled to East Lansing, Mich. with a large group of her friends after winning tickets through the student union.
Fenice said although she had fun, it was no place like home.
“Notre Dame’s tailgates are more family-friendly,” Fenice said. “I felt like we were harassed quite a bit – although not unexpected – for wearing our green shirts.”
Notre Dame senior Chrissy Rochel said she felt the State fans were not as reserved in their harassment as Notre Dame fans usually are.
“I still enjoyed numerous tailgates and the really cute frat guys,” Rochel said, adding that the men were “much better looking than the guys at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame freshman Kristen Buzzitta said while the experience was different than her home football game experience, she thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the day.
“It was a different experience [to watch a game off campus] than it is here at Notre Dame, but everyone bonded and cheered together,” Buzzitta said. “Complete strangers would see our Notre Dame T-shirts and invite us to join their tailgates.”
As the hamburger line dwindled on campus, the slightly smaller but ever noticeable sea of green stood out in the crowd of white-clothed State fans.
While fans at the stadium enjoyed themselves, cheering on the team, Rochel and her friends watched the game from a local bar and were not treated as warmly.
“When we scored people would throw ice at us,” she said. “Everyone was yelling at each other. There were some people that would be nice and come up to tell us that we went to a great school, and that they were Notre Dame fans as well, which is always nice. It was by far a better experience than the horror stories I heard from my friends who attended the Michigan game last year.”
The Notre Dame turnout at Michigan State was large – large enough to cheer the team onto victory.
And for most students who ventured north, it was a positive experience.
“Overall, it was a positive experience and was really interesting to see a game from another campus,” Rochel said.
Fenice believes with another check in the win category, nothing else really matters.
“We came out with the victory,” she said. “[The MSU fans] didn’t have a lot to say after the game – the score said it all.”