So I know I told you a while back that The Gospel was going to feature four segments of Should I Stay or Should I Go? However, I’ve decided that I’m going to go all Carlos Boozer on you and throw in a fifth segment. But only because the Tom Izzo saga was such a popular story in the sports world.
And fear not my good fellows; we’re going to mix it up just a tad today. Izzo was faced with this decision: Cavaliers or Spartans? Spartans or Cavaliers? And while we all know the conclusion to this story, I want to take you through the decision making of the NCAA Hall of Fame coach. Everyone knows what he has built at Michigan State, we can all find “better” reasons for the coach to lead the way for our Wine & Gold warriors.
But when it was all over, this is the real reason Izzo chose the Spartans:
If you’re a history buff – or you’ve seen the movie 300 – you probably already have a pretty solid idea of how deadly the Spartan Warriors can be. Spartans weren’t gardeners or potters; they were bred to fight. And they were bred to kill.
They were trained from infancy to become soldiers and were expected to be perfect in every aspect of war. “Weaklings” perished shortly after birth while the strongest youth were trained by thieving and terrorizing the slave class. Even music and dance are there only to help keep step when marching and obeying orders. The result: A man who thinks nothing of danger, expects to win, and creates a sense of dread in his opponents.
They were able to fight long distances using javelins but they were most dangerous up close. Spartan warriors made use of spears, short swords and impenetrable shields. However predictable, Spartan warriors were extremely difficult to kill.
Even if you are a history buff, there’s a good chance you don’t know what a Cavalier is. When you think Cavalier, you probably think of something resembling a knight. Which isn’t entirely inaccurate. That’s one way to think of it.
But I prefer to use the definition of “a gallant or chivalrous man” – or a gentleman, as we say in today’s day and age. (Also known as Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, etc.). They’re not fierce warriors. And they’re certainly not men bred for the simple fact of slaughtering opponents. They’re the good guys.
Now I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be a good guy – but good guys don’t win championships. Warriors win championships. Tom Izzo and his band of Spartans at Michigan State are proven warriors; the Cleveland Cavaliers have yet to prove to me or anyone else that they have what it takes to get over that final hump. And that is why they lost out on an excellent coach in Tom Izzo.