Michigan State reaction to loss against Middle Tennessee shows great character

Mar 18, 2016, 5:59 PM
The Michigan State bench watches during the final moments of a first-round men's college basketball...

The Michigan State bench watches during the final moments of a first-round men's college basketball game against Middle Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis. Middle Tennessee won 90-81. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

So here we are, wrapping up round one of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

If you were like the 62 percent of online brackets that had Michigan State going all the way, well, your bracket is now busted.

I’m not talking trash here: I was one of the unlucky majority that placed my bracket in the hands of the Spartans.

But my day was far from ruined.

(Warning: Proud dad moment, comin’ in hot!)

I had the opportunity to cut out of the office and watch my son receive an award at school. The award was called Character Counts — so proud of that kid.

I returned to the office just in time to watch the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent sports history.

Keep in mind, I was still beaming from my kid receiving an award for character, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the team’s reaction to the win caught my attention.

By all rights, Middle Tennessee State should have been storming the court and cutting down the nets. This is as big it will most likely get for this team.

But they didn’t.

There was relatively mild celebration after the buzzer but the kid — yes, these are still kids — quickly composed themselves, formed a line and shook the hands of the Spartans.

The Michigan State players could have stomped off of the court or thrown a fit.

But they didn’t.

They weren’t happy by any stretch of the imagination, but they knew they were out-played and out-hustled by a team they had no business losing to. So, they too kept with tradition and congratulated the victors.

My faith in the character of our youth has been restored.

I guess this means I should start congratulating everyone that didn’t have Michigan State going all the way and are now beating me in the bracket challenge.

Well, if the kids can do it, I should start acting like a big boy and show a little character myself.

Michael Russell

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Michigan State reaction to loss against Middle Tennessee shows great character