I've been doing NCAA Midwest Regional fan-related stories the past couple of days so I've spent a fair amount of time seeking out fans from Northern Iowa, Tennessee, Ohio State and Michigan State.
As a whole I'd say the fans are polite, respectful and just enjoying their time here but I'm going to break it down a little further.
1) First, I should tell you I worked in Knoxville for seven years and during that time Tennessee Volunteer fans got on my nerves a bit. They are obviously, very spirited but I almost forgot how friendly they were. They are all over the place downtown in their big orange gear. Huge smiles and not one person I've gone up to has seemed put off by being stopped by me. They've all agreed to fun interviews and are just so proud to be in St. Louis supporting their team.
2) The Northern Iowa fans I talked to are polite AND funny. They are almost giddy. They almost seem to not believe this is happening and they all admitted to me they never thought they'd beat Kansas. I appreciate fan honesty. Anyone who says they knew this team would be Kansas (outside the Panthers themselves) is full of it.
For some reason I haven't seen near as many people from the Big 10 schools Ohio State and Michigan State. I'm sure they're around here, but just not where I've been walking and driving around.
3) The Ohio State people I've talked to were nice, but didn't seem to want to spend anymore time visiting with me than they felt they needed to to give me what I needed for my story. Sometimes after a quick 30 second soundbite it's fun to talk to people about where they're from and what they think of our city. These folks weren't real interested in that.
4) Finally, Michigan State. I know this guy is not representative of all Michigan State fans, but people should know when you are a fan dressed in your school's gear you are an ambassador for your school. I went up to this guy just like every other fan from every other school introducing myself as a member of the local media and before I could tell him what I wanted to ask him, he said, "Not interested," and kept on walking. That was my only interaction with a Spartan fan the past two days. That's a shame as that is what I will remember about Michigan State fans.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV. He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com