Now I know this might be a little tl;dr, and I'm normally one of the last people to praise the MSU football team, especially Dantonio, but they've done something pretty amazing this year for members of my extended family.
Earlier this year, my 11 year old cousin was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an agressive type of brain cancer. She began an agressive series of chemotherapy treatments, that will likely continue until July of next year. Before she began the treatments, she was a very active person, playing on a travel soccer team and various other sports. After she started treatments, her teammtes began making bracelets with her name on them similar to Livestrong bracelets, and now most of her league, friends, and family are wearing them.
So now cut to the first week of the season, when my brother, another cousin, and me are catching MSU's season opener on TV, and we notice a bunch of the MSU players and coaches wearing her bracelets on the sideline and in the game. A few minutes later, they run a bit about the Spartan player who was playing for the first time since surviving cancer, and they cut to a shot before the game of him talking to some people, lo and behold it's my 11 year old cousin with her brothers and parents. Then her parents email out to the family a bit later with the details. Both of them are MSU alumni, and she has been visiting practices and meeting with the coaches and players, who have been giving her advice and support. Here's an excerpt from the email, with names edited out for her privacy:
"Today she visited the MSU football players in their closed practice. The players and coaches were absolutely amazing with [her]. Tomorrow the conditioning coach, Coach Mannie, who is taking her under his wing, is making copies of a biography that we gave them on [her]. He told the team that each of them will have the bio of [her] in their lockers tomorrow (copy of the bio attached). In addition, he told the team that [she] was there to give them her bracelets. He told them that she is watching them play on TV and watching for the bracelets. Thus, he expected all of the team to be wearing their bracelets at this Saturday's game vs Ohio State. At the end of the practice Kurt Cousins lead the team in prayer and prayed first for our family and [her] and of course the team. He is a really amazing guy! Coach Mannie then gave [her] a beautiful necklace and bracelet that his wife picked out for her and a card signed by all the players. He told [her] that he will make sure that she is on the field before every game this season that she is able to attend. When he took [her] in the HUGE weight room where he works with the team, he gave [her] some of the cherry juice that the football players drink for her to try (we have been trying to get her to drink cherry juice and when we went in the weight room there was a sign on the coolers saying "cherry juice is only for the football players"....wow sometimes God just puts those signs in the right places) and he told her when she is done with treatment, he will personally work with her on conditioning. Last but not least he emailed us a bunch of pictures from today before we even made it all the way home. It was yet another special day with the MSU football team for [her]."
Now despite the homerism in my aunt's description, I was blown away by how the team is treating my little cousin, and I guarantee it's helping her (she's normally very shy and reserved, but her doctors have been remarking on her energy and dedication, I imagine meeting with these guys has to help that somewhat). All I know is that this year, aside from October 15, I'm going to be cheering for the Spartans.