Saturday’s football against Grand Valley showed what is great about Ferris State

As my now 10-week-old puppy, Horton, and I walked around the parking lot in the hours before the football game, the atmosphere was different than games past.

The lanes were crowded with people and activity. Students and alums played games, grilled out, played music and generally enjoyed the company of one another. GVSU fans were interspersed around the crowd, sharing in the pre-game festivities as well. In the distance, the music of Big Daddy Fox and the Krewe performing at the Blues and BBQ competition created a dull but discernible roar between the thuds of bean bags on homemade plywood boxes.

This was not the cacophony of a school already resigned to defeat by the Lakers. These were students, staff, faculty and alumni excitedly waiting to watch live college football action. They were ready to argue the controversial calls of the official and praise the heroes of the gridiron. This was how I’d like to see Ferris State before every major sporting event; carefully styled in crimson and gold and eager to jeer those in the opposing hues.

I can only hope the vibe outside the stadium served as a catalyst for the football team’s performance that night as they made Grand Valley earn each yard. Grand Valley out-ranks us in statistics too great to mention. Nationally ranked and extremely well funded, the Lakers were expected by many to dominate the Bulldogs on their home turf. While the prediction of a loss came to fruition, it was not the win Grand Valley may have expected.

And in the defeat, though bitter as our proximity to victory was, the Bulldogs, fans and football players alike held their heads at an angle appropriate to a winner.

That is the Ferris State that I cheer for. That is the Ferris State that makes me proud to be a Bulldog.