A Letter to my Younger Brothers

As a former player at Michigan State and part of what I consider the
greatest program in all of college basketball, I have had the chance to
play, talk, laugh and grow with the players from all different
generations and teams. I have spent countless hours telling and
listening to old stories from men who have been here from the beginning.
Guys who laid the first brick at the beginning of the MSU basketball
journey, when nothing about the program was elite. Players who shed
their blood, sweat and tears to put the green and white in the position
it is today and who take tremendous pride in the fact that we laced our
shoes up every day as a SPARTAN and left it all on the court.

That’s what makes this season so difficult for everyone both physically
and emotionally. I must first clarify that I will always have
unwavering support for Coach Izzo and you guys. I know the amount of
work that has gone into the off-season workouts and the countless hours
of practice and film work that you guys and the coaches are continuing
to put in. No one in the country is going to outwork the MSU basketball
program and that has been proven over the years. I feel a sort of
defense mechanism when it comes to the constant criticism that this team
is getting. I feel an overwhelming urge to defend our program and the
players. It’s like listening to someone talk about your little brother,
you want to stand up and fight to defend your family.

At this point I find myself straddling a very difficult fence. On one
side, I am extremely proud alum of Michigan State and our basketball
program. On the other side I’m very disappointed in some of the things
that seem to be happening this year. It appears that, in some sense,
this team has forgotten what kind of program they signed up to play for.
I prided myself as a player who protected the core values that our
program stands for every time I stepped on the court. At this point,
I’m far less concerned with wins and losses and all I can hope is that
we finish the season with the same intensity as Scotty Skiles, with the
swagger of Steve Smith, and the true grit of Antonio Smith and Mateen
Cleaves.

I hope you all realize that you have a group of former players who will
always be there through thick and thin, who have gone through tough
seasons, dealt with the relentless media scrutiny and will never turn
our backs. This program is bigger than any one player and bigger than
any one season. Remember, as this quote says, you are the men in the
arena… just make sure when you feel triumph or failure, you have done
so with your face marred by dust and sweat and blood due to your
unwavering EFFORT.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort
without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the
deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends
himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph
of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails
while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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46 responses to “A Letter to my Younger Brothers

  • Nosh

    Could only have been said so well by you, my friend. Nice work.

  • Mrs. Bograkos

    LOVE… Post and you.

  • Jeff Smith

    Excellent post, Tim.

  • Robyn Liberty

    Well put…love it!

  • John Hill

    It’s an honor to work with you my friend.

  • Kaveh

    I know this group of men are ready and able. Hopefully these words from a battle proven alum push them over their hump. It’s time to grind and do work!

  • Eric Scap

    Great post, Tim. Wish you still had some eligibility.

  • Hutt

    Great write Tim. You have no idea how many times your name has come up in my living room watching our squad this year. “If only we had a couple guys like TB” !!!

  • Kenny

    This is a great letter. Hopefully it will motivate this team to play with more urgency. I just told a coworker the other day that this team needed a player like you.

  • Matt Farnsworth

    Tim,
    Excellent article. This season has been tough but I know this group of guys has the talent to turn it around. Hopefully they read this and it inspires them for the rest of the season.

  • Bil Moore

    I hope the team takes notice of everybody that’s behind them. For every idiot I hear talking in the gym or the grocery store about how Izzo should be fired (did I mention they were idiots?), there are a thousand people that are willing and able to jump to the team’s defense.

    I know fans are frustrated by the uncharacteristically poor win/loss record, but I think they’re even more frustrated by the apparent lack of effort (and I stress apparent). Never having played collegiate sports, I don’t have the experience or pedigree to throw out those allegations… I only hope they’re not true.

    Go State, Go Team, Go Tim!

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  • ep3

    So what’s wrong with the team? I could have come up with words like that. Probably even better. And I’m not a poet.
    How about some actual investigating into team conduct? How about we lift that precious corporate veil that the team and coach hide behind? Instead of heaping praise on the team and school and organization, find out what’s wrong and correct the problem.

  • Blake Dilsworth

    Great message Tim! As a Spartan who attended after Magic left I can certainly relate to where the program has come from. It was also good to be reminded of what is truly important – thank you.

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  • GM

    Love it Tim, hair on my neck stands up and ready to watch the boys bring it every minute of every game until we are back on top.

  • David McGhee

    Bograk-

    Will said, much needed, extremely timely. My best to you and the Spartan program.

    DM

  • John

    Well stated Tim! I hope your message gets through to our guys. It hurts to see our program embarrassed. I attended MSU during your playing days and I appreciate the attitude, effort and shooting touch (big shot at Rupp) you brought to the team.
    Wishing you and Jessica the best
    Go Green!

  • Superfan in the grass skirt

    Great letter, Timmy! Your words show the dedication of a TRUE SPARTAN! It’s been an honor to cheer for you in the past, and to see how Spartans are always and forever Spartans. Our support will never waiver. This team can turn things around! GO STATE!

  • Goergs

    Great letter, Tim. As a fellow former Spartan athlete, it isn’t a good feeling to hear about/see the carefree attitude that seems to have overcome some of the guys.

  • Brian Whitman

    Well said! It’s too bad that somehing had to be said in the first place. This Spartan team needs a Tim Bograkos on the floor. Strangely enough I think someone like Al Anogonye would do good right now as well…

  • GW

    Great post, Tim. Your class with Anderson, Hill and Torbert was the epitome of grit and preserverence in the face of criticism, intense scrutiny and people writing you off.

    That ’05 run remains my favorite of all the MSU Final Fours to this day because of everything you guys endured. I wish this team could channel that spirit and play with an “us against the world” mentality to close out the season.

  • david mittleman

    proud of you…….go green

  • Randy

    Well said Tim!
    You’re a great Spartan.

  • Tim B Wiser

    “Both athletes and fans need to realize that in today’s world of connectivity someone is always going to be listening or watching. It’s very easy for something you type to be misunderstood and not come across the same way as if you said it. You have to be extremely careful with what you put out for the public because a small flame can turn into a wild fire. Before you hit that button make sure you understand the consequences you might face and determine whether or not it’s really that important to share that thought.”

  • Peter Hendrick

    Thanks for taking the time to write and share this letter. As a fan, there is little to be done outside of cheering like crazy for your team. You can’t suit up or offer your wisdom to the coaches; it just isn’t reality. Some fans have great perspective on sports and others (like me) take all of this too seriously on occasion. It’s a great source of pride for MSU alums and causes huge frustration when things are not going well, as is the case this season. I’ve got three young daughters and am trying to teach them how to support a team (or school) through thick and thin. It’s important for me to show them that you can enthusiastically support your team whether they win or lose. Part of this is also about reaching your potential. I’d like to see this team succeed because I believe they have it in them to do so. Personally there are many things ahead of MSU basketball on my priority list (wife, kids, marriage, job, faith) but, whether right or wrong, this is important too. That’s enough from me….thanks again Tim for your letter. I wish the current MSU basketball team nothing but success going forward and I wish the same for you.

    • timbograkos

      Peter- Thanks for the comment, I agree that we can all learn a lot about unwavering support for a team this year. Everyone is frustrated but we have to remain loyal. Good luck with your family and thanks again

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  • Pat

    I have always enjoyed looking back at the time I spent getting my doctorate at MSU.

    I loved the campus, atmosphere, football, hockey, basketball and baseball. I loved walking along the Red Cedar and seeing Sparty. I loved what MSU represented. Oh yeah, I liked the studies too

    I have followed Sparty ever since.

    I loved the way MSU defense in football would come together inside the five yard line to make stop after stop to the roar of the crowd. One of my greatest sports memories is when MSU knocked off OSU in East Lansing by keeping them out of the end zone and knocking them out of number 1 in the country.

    I loved the MSU band coming into the stadium and even just going to the stadium….”Victory to MSU…”

    I loved seeing the Spartans dive and hustle after the loose ball in basketball. I had the honor of attending grad school whilst Magic was there…nuff said.

    Another favorite memory is an on the road loss in hockey to UM, 5-6. Talk about effort. I still remember an overtime caused by an MSU shot with seconds left on the clock.

    Those are part of my MSU experiences and ones I still treasusre. I don’t want to go on other sites and complain about effort and MSU tribulations.

    I have followed this season and have NEVER ever given up on MSU but this is hard to say the least. I really appreciate your words and comments.

    To humble me Izzo has class. Dantonio has worked to bring about a change in the football team and it shows.

    I thought we were getting to elite status in basketball. Many of the games this year to me looked like the effort in a pick up game at the Y.

    THAT is not what being a Spartan is all about.

    I appreciate your openenss, honesty and candor.

    Guys like YOU are what the program was and IS all about.

    Thanks again for writing to your Spartan brothers!!!

    “Spartans, what is your profession?”

  • Anthony

    It’s always great to see former Spartans concerned for their own. Magic and Mateen’s support of their alma mater is well publicized, but seeing the guys who don’t get quite as much limelight stand up for MSU is inspiring. Considering tonight’s performance against Penn State, maybe you had an effect on them. Your own Final Four team and the ’07 hockey team managed to turn tough seasons around, and it’s not too late for this squad either.

    As for the commenter saying Tim’s supposed to find out what’s going on behind the “corporate veil,” what’s he supposed to do? He’s an alum and former athlete, not a private investigator.

  • Geaux Sparty!

    I had the opportunity to attend my first MSU Basketball game this past Saturday night: MSU BEATING Illnois. I had always heard how great, how unbelieveable this venue, this program truly are! But after being there and having the full Sparty experience, I really get it AND get this message shared here! I am SEC born and proud! I was always told there’s no place like Michigan State for Basketball and after Saturday’s night game, they are right about their Green and White! What an awesome message to write, to share, to inspire! I’m a Sparty Believer! GEAUX MSU!!!

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