updated 10/7/2010 1:50:22 PM ET 2010-10-07T17:50:22

A devout Michigan State football fan called timeout before doctors could install a pacemaker in his chest Thursday, deferring the procedure until after the school's football game this weekend against rival Michigan.

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Major Hester said he's willing to risk death so that he can watch Saturday's game in Ann Arbor on television. The Spartans are ranked 17th in the country and the Wolverines are ranked 18th.

The 69-year-old retired office supply clerk said he put off the procedure until next week because he can't risk something going wrong on the operating table that would prevent him from watching the game.

"You never know," Hester told The Detroit News as he paced back and forth in his living room. "It's like going into combat. You may come home alive or you may come home dead."

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Hester said he's aware of the risk he's taking but is willing to take the chance.

"Whatever happens, I want to see the game," he said.

His friends took Hester's decision in stride.

They say Hester gives himself pep talks to try to "keep it calm" during games, turns down the television volume to keep from getting too excited, and smacks the coffee table, screams at coaches and curses out the referees from his couch. He's even been banished to his bedroom like a scolded child and forced to watch games alone.

"I want to run the ball with them," said Hester, who suffers from cardiomyopathy. "I want to catch the pass."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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