There is such a thing as Final Four addiction. When your team is Michigan St, who has reached six Final Fours in the last 12 seasons under Tom Izzo, you begin to feel as if going to a Final Four is an annual occurrence.
For two friends, that is exactly what they do – attend Final Fours every year. Michigan St. alums Jen Shearer (class of 1996) and Ben Wang (class of 1995) are not only huge Spartan fans, but also Final Four junkies.
Jen went to her first Final Four in 1997 in Indianapolis, the year Arizona took the title. Ben, on the other hand, attended his first Final Four in 1999 in St. Petersburg. Even though the Spartans lost in the semifinals that year, Ben had so much fun that he convinced some friends to attend the very next year – the year Michigan St. ended up winning the national championship, beating Florida.
Jen hasn’t missed a Final Four in over a decade. Her favorite venue is Indianapolis because everything is centrally located and the arena is downtown, where there are blocks of restaurants and bars lined up.
As for Ben, he missed two Final Fours in 2008 and 2009 because he had moved to Hong Kong by then for work. He was actually supposed to go to Egypt for this past Final Four, but after the Spartans won their Elite Eight game against Tennessee, Ben immediately got on the computer and booked a ticket.
“The pyramids will always be there and the Red Sea isn’t going anywhere, but the chance to see the Spartans win another national championship may not come around again anytime soon,” he said.
He agreed with Jen that Indianapolis is one of the best host cities. However, he disliked New Orleans because the stadium was too far away from Bourbon St. In contrast, Jen said, “Although the stadium was far away, the excitement of Bourboun St. was incredible.” Who can argue with a non-stop party?
The two friends must be crazy to meet year after year no matter where the tournament is held, but Jen said, “I’ve enjoyed the Final Fours more than any other sporting event! The excitement of the college fans is amazing. I love talking about the Final Four!”
While they live on opposite sides of the world – Jen in Detroit and Ben in Hong Kong – there is almost nothing that can keep them from meeting annually in April. Crazy fans? You bet.