Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio thought he’d play a bit of a prank on his team following their Thursday afternoon practice as they get ready to participate in the 2012 Outback Bowl by having a live, 7-foot-long alligator brought to the practice field, and to complete the gag, Dantonio had one the gator’s handlers dress up as a Spartans player and attempt to wrestle the beast.
Needless to say, as with most pranks involving live animals with a snout full of razor sharp teeth, things did not go well. No, they most certainly did not.
As the disguised handler ran to the gator to tussle with it, he slipped, and in a flash the animal’s instincts took over as he clamped down on the fallen handler’s leg. Pretty sure that’s exactly the opposite of how coach Dantonio had the scene scripted, proving once again that kids and animals are the most difficult of actors to work with.
From the Detroit Free Press…
At the end of practice, Dantonio said he was going ask Trenton Robinson, one of the senior captains, about claiming to wrestle an alligator and then point to the real one walking around.
“They saw the alligator walking,” Dantonio said. “Our plant, the handler of the alligator took off running to wrestle it.”
The handler was dressed up like an MSU player, reportedly wearing the number of long snapper Steve Moore, and slipped. Dantonio said the handler didn’t panic and was OK afterward.
Good on the handler for not panicking. I’m fairly certain that like 99% of us would be in total freakout mode with a gator hanging off our leg, arm or otherwise. I’m sure coach Dantonio’s intentions were good, and he had the utmost faith in the alligator handlers, but a two-second search of YouTube and you will find around 300 alligator attack videos (like this particularily frightening one). Maybe he should do a tad bit more research the next time he considers bringing a wild animal to football practice.
Unless it’s a Bengal tiger or something like that—I hear those things are just overgrown pussy cats really.