Part of what makes Michigan State Football so special is all the tradition. From year to year there are timeless aspects of this great institution that call to mind great games of the past, treasured relationships and just being part of something big and special. These traditions include the players walk from the Kellogg Center to the Stadium before every game, the marching band performing the fight song as they pass by the treasured statue, The Spartan, and so many more. Tradition. I'm talking about tail-gating along the Red Cedar, a kiss from your sweetheart by Beaumont Tower, a wave from Sparty as he passes by on a golf cart and the cheer of the crowd when the Michigan Wolverines score is announced - and they're losing! Time-honored Spartan Traditions. Well, there is another big one that needs to be added to the list. Zeke the Wonder Dog.
Zeke is a fast-flying, four-legged, Frisbee catching football-field frolicking phenomenon. Anyone who's ever been to a Spartan Football game has seen Zeke come out at half-time and thrill the crowd with his mad Frisbee-catching skills. I always love it when he'd jump up and catch one, right around the goal line, and you could pretend he was out there with Andre Rison, Charles Rogers, Herb Heygood, BJ Cunningham and a host of other classic Spartan wide-receivers, catching a long game-winning touchdown bomb. Because having Zeke the Wonder Dog at Spartan Football games is such a well-loved, deeply-engrained tradition, it has been going on for a long time. Because of that, there has been a few Zeke's over the years, three in fact. Well it is this bloggers sad duty to inform you that the 2nd of those three Zeke's passed away this past Saturday. At 16-years-old Zeke IIpassed away of old age. The Black Lab/Pointer mix Dexter (Zeke is the stage-name, you see) thrilled fans in Spartan Stadium from 2001 to 2007 where he picked up where Zeke I left off, carrying on a tradition that was originally started in 1977. The current Zeke (Zeke III) is a golden retriever and is already getting game-ready for Spartan Football in autumn 2012. the great tradition continues.
So this blog is a nod to Spartan tradition, and with that goes a big nod to a faithful and loyal Spartan, Zeke II. Even when my sons were too young to really get the most out of seeing a Spartan Football game live, they always loved seeing you. May dog-heaven be full of flying Frisbees, Brats off the grill, cheering crowds and the Spartan fight song. Thanks Zeke II, you will be missed.