At the end of their Thursday practice the Michigan State Spartans football team had an unexpected visitor: a 7-foot alligator. Not your standard December visitor in Michigan.
Head coach Mark Dantonio had arranged for the team to watch the alligator get wrestled by a man in MSU football gear only to see his stunt have unintended results. The alligator, apparently unhappy about being some guy grabbing it and such grabbed hold of its handler’s leg and bit down.
“We always build a theme around the football season a little bit,” Dantonio said. “One of our themes has been listening to Muhammad Ali videos, when he talks about getting ready to fight George Foreman or whatever. In the video, he talks about doing new things, he’s been chopping down trees, he’s been tussling with the whale, he’s done wrestled an alligator.”
Dantonio’s plan was to ask his team whether any of the players had been doing those things, then prompt one of the captains to prove it by wrestling the real alligator. At that point the alligator’s handler, disguised as a real MSU player ran off to wrassle the gator.
Except he tripped when he was near, leading to the alligator’s revenge.
“We’re trying to make life moments down here,” Dantonio said. “We wanted to do something they’ll remember the rest of their life. I think they’ll remember that one.”
Fortunately, the handler was not seriously hurt and the players got to pose with (and pet) the contained reptile.