By Serena Thiede
February 13, 2023. This was the day Michigan State University (MSU) changed forever.
Three lives ended too soon. Five have suffered physically and thousands have been impacted mentally.
At the vigil for the shooting victims and their families, head MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo reflected saying, “I don’t like the place. I don’t love the place. I live the place. Michigan State is my home…I have seen some incredible highs and yes, unfortunately, there have been some devastating lows. But, as a Spartan, we always get through it together. We’re Spartan tough and Spartan strong.”
The terrible shooting that took the lives of Brain Fraser, Arielle Anderson, and Alexandria Verner will not be forgotten. Spartans everywhere mourn their losses while feeling violated that someone could take everything in seconds. With so much fear and uncertainty right now, and for athletes especially, the practices and games must eventually go on. A big question is how this terrible incident will impact the athletes.
Last week, I spoke with freshman rower Sophie Parker who is attending MSU as a Human Biology major. We sat down for a few hours and talked about her experience during the event and how she felt in the days to follow. Although many may have found a darkness to this tragic time, Sophie’s outlook was one that would make the Spartan nation proud.
“This could have happened anywhere. The man that came onto campus had no ties or known motive and whether it was because of his mom passing, mental illness, a target, or all three, what happened has happened… But I see hope. When I was looking at pictures of people taking the shirts off their backs to help the wounded and staying behind to make sure everyone had a safe place is the difference between a community being wounded and a community being strong. Spartans are strong.”
It was clearly evident that while there was so much fear and unknown, there was also so much love and strength for not only the three gone and five injured, but the whole community as well. Something so spectacular about the MSU community is that yes, they may be in its history books for years to come, but not in the history book that people are scared to open. The school is a safe place for these students before and after this event, and the community is making it known that this issue won’t get the best of them.
With athletes already going back to campus, teammates are bunking together for the first few nights to help comfort one another. There is uncertainty connected to visiting teams coming onto campus and the knowledge that there will always be some anxiety. But getting back out to what the athletes do best at their own pace will help not only the teams get back to what will be the new normal, but also show the surrounding student body and schools that with a strong will and the support, anything can be accomplished. Spartans aren’t backing down from this challenge.
February 13th will now be a day of spreading love and support throughout the MSU community. Knowing how strong the Spartan’s will is, MSU will pick itself up and stand tall.
A senior at Forest Hills Central HS in Grand Rapids, Serena Thiede is editor-in-chief of the FHC Sports Report and played two years on the golf team.
Images courtesy of Michigan State University