It’s taken quite some time but the state of Michigan finally got some good news. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Sunday afternoon the Michigan State Spartans knocked off Louisville to win the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region and head to the Final Four in Detroit. In the process, the Spartans made the tournament’s top-seeded team look terrible while cruising to a 64-52 win.
As college basketball’s four finalists head to Detroit, it’s kind of cool that there will be a hometown favorite this time around. When we think about it, it’s hard not to pull for the Spartans now, because, trust us, the city and state need something good to happen. Anything.
Over the past few years Detroit has been crippled by economic and social collapses not seen in a great American city in decades. Regardless of current stereotypes of what the city is like, Motown was once one of the shining beacons of American culture, innovation and national pride. Now, it’s crumbling from within.
Detroit’s public schools are so far behind the national curve that many are being forced to simply close down. The Detroit Public School system recently announced that it is seeking an $168 million loan just to meet it’s payroll and budget demands.
Over the past 20 years Detroit’s automakers have continuously laid-off employees to compensate for revenues lost to the gains of foreign car companies. Tens of thousands of workers have been let go since 2001. In August of last year, 19,000 workers signed up for GM’s last round of buyouts – that equaled 25 percent of the company’s American workforce – and that trend doesn’t appear to be anywhere near ending.
Another disturbing trend for Detroit and the state of Michigan is the rapid rate at which people are leaving the area. A report last week claimed the town of Flint is currently second among American cities in population decline, while Detroit ranked fourth and Lansing is ninth. Those are troubling numbers for a state desperately searching for revenue.
And while it might be trivial by comparison, we probably don’t need to remind you that the Detriot Lions set a new NFL record for futility in 2008.
So we say good for Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo. And good for Michigan, Detroit, Lansing and the surrounding areas. The Spartans play smart, hard-nosed basketball that’s a pleasure to watch. And they win through toughness and guts. Those two things are exactly what it will take to bring Michigan out of it’s current situation. Luckily we all know the state’s residents have both in ample supply.