As a Michigan Wolverines fan, it pains me to say that Michigan’s football team lost to their rivals of Michigan State recently in a heartbreaking fashion. The football game by itself doesn’t tell the entire story of this year’s matchup. It’s well known among sports fans that the rivalry is heated especially between the students of the schools and the fans. The week of the game, fans play a part in the rivalry. This year, a few Michigan fans vandalized the statue of Magic Johnson, the great basketball alum of Michigan State, adding some extra spice to the rivalry. The Michigan vandals spray painted the face of Magic Johnson’s statue maize (Michigan’s own school color). Also, Michigan students spray-painted a block “M” on the MSU jersey with the phrase “BEAT STATE” below it. This isn’t the first time in this rivalry that vandalism has taken place. The Michigan State Spartan statue was painted in Michigan colors, as well. After this vandalism took place, Michigan State fans watched guard to protect their territory. “First, I’ve gotta say, that this is rivalry week and you’re not supposed to like your opponent. There’s a lot of great Michigan kids, but there’s some idiots,” Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo said. “There’s some idiots on our side, too, that do crazy things. Messing with Sparty is a bad thing, like messing with their ‘M’ is a bad thing.” Obviously, this is vandalism and it’s illegal. But the funny thing is that even though the vandalism itself can be considered art, the objects that Michigan students vandalized in the first place is also art. This artwork (MSU’s statue) serves the role of the easel, ironically, for the Michigan fans to express their disdain. The aim of these vandalizing attacks is to exhibit dominance even before the game has started. I find this is done so simply through the use of colors. One may feel that adding colors has no aesthetic value and that it diminishes the complexity of the original artwork. However, the added maize contributes a whole new meaning to the statue, bringing the piece of work into the fray of the rivalry. In this situation, I feel like less is more. The words “BEAT STATE” were not even needed, maybe even detracting from the effect of the vandalism, in my opinion. Something so simple like colors have so much effect – even without words – because of the emotions they symbolize. The outside image of the actions was seen as barbaric. One contributing factor, in my mind, was because of the writing. I believe the way in which it was written is closer to a sloppy grade school student’s handwriting, appearing to detract from the beauty of the image. However, simply adding color conveys a more clean, cunning, and calculated approach, while getting all of the meaning across. In a way, adding color strikes the first punch like a sneaky chess move of attack. In artworks, colors are often selected to make the viewer feel a certain way or convey a certain emotion. Colors tell you everything thing you need to know involving sports teams. Colors are the unifying force that represents a school, team, or nation. They are so intertwined with the objects that they represent to the point that they are inseparable. Fans are tied to their school’s colors. A school’s colors are sometimes even trademarked. When one sports fan thinks of maize and blue, they think of Michigan. When someone thinks of crimson red they think of Alabama. The addition of Michigan’s maize to the statue masks all of the glory of Magic Johnson that the statue originally seeks to project. Moreover, the color maize embodies Michigan and by spray-painting this color on the face of Magic Johnson, the Michigan fans are undermining Michigan State in favor of their own school’s prominence. In sports, one team comes out on top and another loses. In effect, the color on top is maize, while those things that which represent Michigan State are placed under in a secondary position. Michigan in effect has established momentum before the game has started. I feel as though the colors of maize and blue for Michigan mean everything that the color blue means for the Crips or red means for the Bloods. The bond between colors and the institutions that they represent are so strong that a Michigan State fan could splatter some green paint on the ground on the campus of Michigan and it is understood that this is a diss. The overall conclusion from this form of vandalism is the rightfully implied understanding that the criminal is saying, “We own you.” Colors are sometimes the most efficient and effective way of doing this.

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