Jan. 7, 2015
I’ll admit it. I was not being a good Spartan. As everyone knows, the football team was down by 20 points in the fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1—and I had pretty much given up. I said to my husband, “Ugh. We are certainly not going to win this game. Oh well, we still had a good year. Baylor is a really good team.”
Then he reminded me what being a true Spartan is all about. He said, “Hold up, don’t count them out yet. Don’t give up.” He proceeded to lay out all sorts of plays and scenarios that seemed unlikely but would take the Spartans to victory. It was clear that the team—those young student-athletes on the field and a national stage—were not giving up. Even after making mistakes, they dusted off and displayed grit and determination. In true Spartan fashion, they never gave up.
A blocked field goal, touchdowns, a couple of sacks and an interception and all of a sudden the Spartans were celebrating victory. In an exciting and unlikely comeback MSU had won the game.
Suddenly, every sportscaster around the country was talking about the grit, determination, heart and never-give-up attitude of the Spartans. It might have taken a football game to spotlight that to some people, but I’ve known that all along. I’m guessing if you’re a Spartan, you know that too.
Whether on the football field, in the classroom, in the laboratory, or any number of far-flung places around the world, Spartans are tenacious. Phrases like “you can’t” and “it won’t work” are ignored and instead we keep plugging away. Spartans hold nothing back. They put everything they have into the goal they’re reaching for. They will never give up looking for cures, finding answers, improving the environment, saving lives and trying to make the world a better place. That’s just what Spartans do.
Shannon Manning is one of those Spartans. She’s an AgBioResearch microbiologist and molecular geneticist who is working to reduce the number of people affected by bacterial infections like E. coli. She refuses to give up until she solves the mysteries of deadly pathogens. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Decoding deadly E. coli, to learn more about her important work that could save lives.
Jose Zamora-Sifuentes grew up in Mexico City, a long way from East Lansing. But he never gave up his dream of becoming a Spartan and going to medical school. He met every challenge he came upon, finished his bachelor’s degree at MSU and now is in his second year in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and president of the Class of 2017. Read his STUDENT VIEW: At home in East Lansing, to learn more about this determined young man.
At some points in my life, I’ve been called stubborn or competitive because I refuse to give up—I just call myself a Spartan. As I think about the start of 2015, I hope that I can display Spartan fortitude and grit no matter what I’m doing. I challenge you to do the same. Never give up. Spartans don’t.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner