“True Blue”, a team made up of MSUPD officers and staff, enjoys playing basketball and forging personal bonds with the university community.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – When people think of who normally participates in intramural sports, usually students are the first to come to mind. But there are more than Michigan State students taking to the Intramural basketball courts.
Think Blue, as in Michigan State University Police blue. The “True Blue” basketball team was formed by the MSUPD, to participate in the graduate and faculty intramural league.
“This is our second year,” said Officer Nicholas Spyke, who started the reboot of the team this school year. “How it kind of started is, I had a police booth set up in Wells Hall next to the Intramural booth and I started talking with one of the kids that was there, and he told me there was a faculty league for basketball.”
Before Spyke started up True Blue for the second time, Officer Dave Isabell was the team’s originator.
“True Blue was originally formed in 2007 and ended in about 2015 due to officers getting older and no longer being interested in playing,” said Isabell. “Then we started getting younger officers come in, so they decided to start it back up again and they adopted our old name.”
Spyke has already seen an impact the team has made on the department and the MSU community.
“It’s been really positive for the department,” said Spyke. “I think it not only makes us bond more as a department and officers but also the interactions with the MSU community and hopefully we’re seen in a different light.”
Isabell had some of the same thoughts when he originally started True Blue in 2007.
“In law enforcement, you have individuals who are naturally competitive,” said Isabell. “We try to stay in good shape, so this community is great for us to challenge ourselves because the community is younger than us.”
Although connecting with the community wasn’t the sole reason for the department joining the intramural basketball league, the impact still shows.
“We’ve gotten numerous people we play with years later come up to us and recognize that we’d shoot around with them,” said Spyke. “It’s a good way to interact with the students and just show them that we are approachable.”
However, connecting with the community isn’t the primary goal being achieved by True Blue.
“I think there is always more that we can do to connect to the community, but for True Blue, this was more so being done for the department unity wise and to stay fit and active,” said Isabell. “During the season you can see the connection between the team translate into the office. You also see those who aren’t playing drawn into it too because they are always interested in seeing if we won and how we played.”
MSUPD wants to connect with the community as much as possible, but True Blue also is something that can also help them with their staff comradery.
“We started to bring in members who aren’t apart of the police department, which is another piece of the puzzle to help us connect more with community and have more community involvement,” said Isabell.
Even while they are on duty, they are able to see the impact that True Blue has made on the community.
“We played a practice game against five students and a little over a year later, I stopped a young student on Shaw Lane, and he said that he recognized me from playing basketball with him. As soon as he said that I recognized him, and we got talking for a little bit,” said Spyke.
True Blue doesn’t seem like they are putting a stop to the team anytime soon with Spyke taking the lead.
“Nick is very enthused about the team and it’s good to see someone else come in and take the lead on this,” said Isabell.