Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Even when Sparty wins, he loses

In my story in Michigan Today last week about why the University of Michigan doesn't have a mascot, and past attempts to establish one, one thing I didn't get to address was Michigan State's misguided but lighthearted to create a mascot on Michigan's behalf.

The blue-and-yellow monstrosity, pictured above, was trotted out to the horror of Michigan during halftimes of early 2000s U-M/MSU games. Sparty would tackle the fake wolverine. It didn't take long for everyone to get the joke and, thankfully, this didn't become a regular thing.

As we learned in the visceral and immediate response to U-M athletic director Dave Brandon expressing interest in a mascot, this is an idea Michigan fans aren't the least bit open-minded about. That U-M's lack of a mascot is the exception rather than the rule is a point of pride among Michigan fans, proof of the special something that sets us apart from the pack. It took a certain subtlety for someone in East Lansing to understand and take a poke at that air of superiority.

But even when Sparty tweaks Michigan successfully, Sparty loses in the end. You'll note the jersey the fake wolverine is wearing -- no. 97. You'll also recall that the last time Michigan won the national championship in football, it was after the 1997 season, a season which included a 23-7 spanking of Michigan State, in East Lansing.

Nice try, Sparty. Let's leave the mascot making to the pros.


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