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February 12, 1982 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Mark Mihanovic

The Michigan Daily-Friday, February 12, 1982-Page 13
One victor among many losers .. .
... dropping all cynical charges

I WANTED BADLY to be cynical in this
final column, to bring to the fore several
injustices which exist in the world of
Michigan athletics and harp on them, plead
for change.
How about sharing just a bit of that $10
million revenue with a struggling sports club,
Don Canham? And what is the holdup on the
ground-breaking ceremonies for that new
women's athletics building which you've
talked about? Let's open up the decision-
making process a little more, Mr. Canham;
that Board in Control is nothing more than a
rubber stamp. And, Bo Schembechler, there
are quite a few alterations which you should
make, as well... And, Bill Frieder...
The fact is, when the topic is the Michigan
Athletic Department, the positives outweigh
the negatives by a wide margin, one that
would make cynicism at this point a forced
It is a marvel, really-an institution that
wins, wins, wins in the middle of a quagmire
of defeat. Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Wings all in-

variably fall short, sometimes by a little,
sometimes by a lot, in the quest for victory.
Nineteen-percent statewide unemployment,
lifeless industry, the butt of both out-of-town
and in-town writers' cracks-losing extends
well beyond the playing field in this part of the
country. Whether competing with the
Japanese or the Yankees, there is a defeatist
resignation among Detroiters which cannot
even be overcome by the occasional rise from
the ashes of a Diana Ross or a Tommy Hear-
They look to Wolverines
Yet there is victory, with its accompanying
fruits and thrills, to be had if they just identify
themselves with the University of Michigan.
Not the University of Michigan, actually,
although the school is fine. Rather, it is the
Michigan Wolverines, the "conquering
heroes," who draw the raves.
The University is forced to constrict and cut
and curtail; the Wolverines roll on. They are

financed, of course, on the strength ofa half-
dozen Saturdays in the fall by all kinds of
alumni and pretend-alumni and soon-to-be
The winning, though, is not in any remote
way limited to the gridiron. Whether the
game be tennis, track, gymnastics, swim-
ming, etc., the overall program is well-
represented. It is easy, as a journalist, to
become inured to it. Write out a headline:
"Michigan gymnasts roll past Hoosiers."
Move on to the next one: "Tracksters shine."
Then, "Blue tankers rip Western." And don't
give it a second thought.
Last weekend, for example, the Michigan
hockey team swept a traditionally strong
Michigan Tech unit at Yost; the Wolverine
swimmers pounded Eastern Michigan; the
men and women gymnasts routed their In-
diana counterparts; the women's basketball
team whipped the University of Detroit; the
men's track team dominated the Michigan
State Relays; and the women's track team
qualified a pair of performers for the national

championships. Even the men's basketball
team won. Only the wrestling squad (now
with an 8-5 record) lost. And it was not an
unusually triumphant weekend, by any
Obviously, not all Michigan teams are suc-
cessful all of the time. "Down" years, like the
last couple for the Wolverine basketballers,
are unavoidable, but they are also the excep-
tions at Michigan. Across the athletic board,
there are not more than a few schools that can
match the Maize and Blue. There are none in
the Midwest.
It doesn't happen often
And that is a source of pride for folks in a
depressed Detroit area. It certainly goes a
long way in explaining the intrigue which this
whole state found in Texas A&M's offer to
Schembechler and the latter's decision. It
was a complete victory for the Midwest over
the Sun Belt. A few weeks after whipping the
West (UCLA) in a bowl game, the coach

spurned the South. Those things don't happen
much anymore; it didn't take Pitt-coach
Jackie Sherrill long to light out in search of
the Lone Star, did it?
There is no single factor that can explain
how one athletic program is able to field
squads competitive with the best in the coun-
try in such a wide variety of sports. There is
certainly more to it than tradition. The state
of Michigan does not possess an overabun-
dance of talented athletes which feed into the
school. Canham's promotional ability has
never scored a point for a Michigan team.
It is, of course, the combination of a slew of
factors which keeps Michigan in the win
column-the greatest is a sense of self-
importance among the participants resulting
from the belief that they are contributing to
something special.
It is a feeling which cannot be taken away
by the cynical opinions of any columnist. And
in this corner, there is not much room for

SGymnasts host Big


Entering today's BigTen Women's
Gymnastics Championships at Crisler
Arena (5:00 p.m.), Michigan State
brings four consecutive titles and the
number one seed into the competition,
but Ohio State and the host Wolverines
should provide more than enough com-
petition for the Spartans.
One thing the third seeded and 10-1
Wolverines have in their favor is a
home court advantage.
"WE'RE SO optimistic about win-
hing," Michigan coach Sheri Hyatt
laid, "I would say we've got the inside
track because we're at home, but
'Michigan State has a big advantage
because they've won it (Big Tens) four
The Spartans are led by veterans
Alice Hagan, Kelly Enright, Colleen
Smith, .and Linda Guhl, all of whom
competed for last year's squad which
coasted to the championship with a
score of 140.3.
But no team in the Big Ten has
reached the 140 mark this season, and
the three highest totals-139.55 (MSU),
139.15 (OSU), and 139.10 (Michigan)-
are bunched so closely that a com-
petitive meet is virtually assured.
SECOND SEEDED Ohio State boasts

a young team deep in talent and the
only team to beat Michigan this season.
"They've got some good depth,"
Hyatt said of the Buckeyes. "They've
got people scoring in the 34's (all-
around) consistently." Comparing the
Buckeyes with Michigan, Hyatt said,
"We've got people who have hit 34's,
like Dayna (Samuelson) and Christy
(Schwartz), but we're not consistent
But though they are young and incon-
sistent, the Wolverines have something
no other team has-Kathy Beckwith.
THIS SEASON, the sophomore from
Richmond Hill, Ontario has emerged as
the best gymnast in the Big Ten,
placing first at every meet. Last year
Beckwith finished fifth in the individual
all-around when the Wolverines placed
third as a team, and she is the key to the
Wolverines' success.
Assessing her team's chances of up-
setting Michigan State and winning its
first title in the team's seven-year
history, Hyatt ┬žaid, "We've got a real
good chance. What it would take is for
us to hit every event and not make any
mistakes. And we need a little luck."
Tomorrow's individual all-around
competition follows today's team com-
petition and starts at 1:00 p.m.

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Sports information roto
ALL-AROUNDER KATHY Beckwith performs on the balance beam at a
recent gymnastics meet. Beckwith, the top gymnast in the Big Ten, will lead
Michigan in the Big Ten Championship meet this weekend at Crisler Arena.




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