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Why I'm a Fan of MACtion: Intimacy

The journey of a photographer from just following MACtion to actually liking it.

You can get some unprecedented access to your favorite MAC team.
You can get some unprecedented access to your favorite MAC team.
Kenneth Bailey

My journey to MACtion probably follows the same path that many fans follow.  Namely, I went to and graduated from one of the schools that plays in the MAC.  The year was 1987 and I was a freshman at Eastern Michigan University.  Prior to becoming a student at Eastern Michigan, I'd never heard of Eastern Michigan.  And I definitely never heard of the MAC.  Growing up, I was a Michigan fan.  It's kind of hard not to be.  I ended getting season tickets and what a season it was.  Eastern Michigan went to its first bowl game in forever.  Not only did they go to that bowl game, they won that bowl game.  As it turns out, that would be the only bowl game they would go to but hopefully that will change.

After I graduated, I would go to a few Eastern Michigan football games and then in 1996, I started to go to a few basketball games.  That was a magical season for that team.  But after that season, I stopped following Eastern Michigan sports closely.  I did go to a couple of the games where they played either Michigan or Michigan State and those were fun.

Alex Gillet Passes Against Central Michigan Kenneth Bailey

Alex Gillet Passes Against Central Michigan

It wasn't until 2010 that I started to follow Eastern Michigan closely again.  I had started a photography blog and was looking for something to photographs.  Eastern Michigan provided that opportunity for me.  The games were cheap and seats were plentiful.  If I used the visitors side, I could pretty much follow the action without much harassment.

Carlos Medlock Setting Up the Play Kenneth Bailey

Carlos Medlock Setting Up the Play

And then I decided to start going to basketball games.  Eastern Michigan basketball was starting to show some promise again and looked like they might start contending for MAC championship.

I didn't really get hooked until I started to photograph for the Eagle Totem.  This gave me the opportunity to get closer to the action than I've every been before.  It gave me a closeness to the teams that I didn't have since I was student at Eastern Michigan.  At first I was kind of lukewarm but then I started to like the team.  Granted, there hasn't been much to cheer for but still.

Except when Eastern Michigan pulls the upset against Central

Except when Eastern Michigan pulls the upset against Central

Except when Eastern Michigan pulls the upset against Central

Except when Eastern Michigan pulls the upset against Central

I can't think of too many other places where I can get the ups and downs of the MAC.  Even though Eastern Michigan hasn't given me much to cheer about, it seems like occasionally they can compete with the best of the MAC.  Who knows, maybe they'll win this year.

A moment after a game.

I'm actually looking forward to this season.  It seems like the third year is the make or break year for a new football coach.  Even though the record didn't show it, I like the direction that Creighton is taking the team.  With a new defensive coordinator, maybe they will be able to stop some points from getting on the board.  The basketball team is keeping many of the good players from last season, so I'm hoping to see an experienced bunch there.  And I think that will make the difference.

So why MACtion?  Why not.  It's easy to support the big school down the road that always seems to win.  It's much harder to support the team down the street that doesn't seem to win.  But at least they make it fun.