The Michigan Doily - Wednesday, February 15, 1989 - Page 11
Superfan 'Brow' to bring
Yost crowd to life Saturday
The voice was quiet, unlike at the stadium, as it came out the earpiece
on my phone. "Mike, how have you been?"
It was the first time we spoke since the Tigers final game of the
I explained to Joe Diroff, 66, that I understood he received a letter from
a Michigan hockey player inviting him to cheer at this Saturday's
Michigan-Michigan State battle at Yost Ice Arena.
"Oh, it's a hockey game," Diroff responded. "I thought it was a
Typical Brow. And typical of why Detroit is turning an eccentric
retired school teacher, known to fans simply as the Brow because of his
never ending eyebrow, into a well known local celebrity.
You know him - the elderly, thin man with a hat, a tie, white shirt
and gray pants that is at all the Red Wing, Piston, and Tiger games
sporting all types of exuberance.
MAYBE WHILE Brow cheered in the aisle someone next to you
yelled for the old guy to sit down before he plopped over. Brow probably
turned to the guy and said, "Pump up, we gotta get this team to go go
That's the Brow. He's coming to Ann Arbor. One night only. A sold
out Yost Ice Arena.
"Hey, who are we rooting for anyway," Diroff pondered.
Since I'm not much for activism in journalism, I told him that I would
be a non-partisan watcher of the action as a reporter, but that I thought it
would be best for him to root for the Wolverines.
"When I get to a game I can blank out every other team," Diroff
explained of his developing conviction for Michigan hockey. "I can go
100 percent and develop a real liking for them - and continue full speed."
I asked of his game plan to bring the Wolverines a win, and the
Michigan fans to life.
"I GOT something new I'd like to use with the crowd, that I
developed a couple years ago. The Morse Code Cheer. First, we'll spell
out Wolverines. No - that's too long. We'll spell out, 'Go Blue,' Then
we'll spell it out in the Morse code."
"He's good for the sport," Wolverine hockey player Don Stone said.
"He get's the crowd into the game when I've seen him. He should make it
interesting. State brings so many fans - maybe he'll liven our fans up."
Added defenseman Alex Roberts: "We need someone to get our fans go-
ing. They only cheer for a goal or a big hit. It'll be nice between whistles
to get cheering. This guy could really help get the crowd in the game."
The idea to bring the Brow to Michigan for this game started in a
conversation in December. I told winger Kent Brothers of how I invited
the Brow to cheer for the softball team I coached in the summer.
DIROFF AND HIS
trademark homemade signsshowed
up at our championship game,
making a team of 10 to 12-year-
olds burst with excitement. During
the game, his dentures popped out
9 . while leading the traditional
"Strawberry Shortcake" cheer. After
we won, he showed us how his
1971 Pontiac Ventura could peel
out of the parking lot by flooring
the gas pedal. Remember, this man
receives Social Security.
After Brothers wrote the letter,
Diroff gave the commitment, and
assistant coach Mel Pearson secured
D i fa ticket, Brow's appearance became
... leading the cheers a reality.
That's what this story was going to be about. The Brow coming to
cheer Michigan hockey. The spirited old man, so giving of his time, was
coming to Yost.
But right now, Brow is going through a tough time.
Leaving a Red Wings game, Brow received a broken nose when his car
struck a metal post and turned him into "a bloody mess."
THAT WAS the least of his problems. His wife, Bernadette, is
ailing. She is suffering from a blocked artery to the heart and Diroff has to
cope with the problems and worries such trouble brings. It might mean
moving out of his long time Detroit home and into a single story
residence, for she must sit after climbing only three stairs. Someone needs
to stay with her.
"She has great morale," Diroff said. "If she was told to take 3,042 pills
at 3:47 in the morning, she'd do it. You can tell a woman's getting
better. One, she starts to go shopping. Two, the husband starts getting
ornery. I'm not applying both to her, but that shopping bit..."
Diroff warned that his wife's situation could prevent him from
attending the game, but added, "I'll find a way to be there."
So when you see Brow amidst the cheers at Yost Saturday - follow
along - if not for the team, for him. Wish him well during a tough
time. And remember one thing - a lesson Brow teaches in words and in
actions: give time to help others.
This weekend, he's helping the Wolverines, while putting his personal
problems on the backburner.
Continued from Page 1
win last week against Iowa. With
time running down in the second
overtime, Calip caught the inbounds
pass and fell down while
maintaining his dribble, before
passing to Sean Higgins to set up
the winning shot.
"That was the winning play,"
Frieder said. "He did a great job
breaking the press and is the only
guy on our team who could make
that play in that situation."
Calip added he was uneasy before
entering the game, not having played
a pressure role in an important game
since his senior year in high school.
"I was feeling nervous as I kept
seeing our guards foul out. I told
myself I would have to meet the
challenge of playing, and I figured
Coach would have to come to me,"
AGAINST Iowa, Calip replaced
Taylor after he fouled out. Now he is
replacing Taylor for the season,
which will be a challenge for Calip
as the two lived together last year.
"Kirk and I are just like brothers,
he's like a family member to me.
We're probably the two closest
people on the team," Calip said.
"We have both gone through a lot
together and shared our experiences.
Each of us have gone through hard
times - him not playing much last
year and me being academically
"He just wished me luck, and
now I feel like it's my turn to go
SITTING on the bench has been
frustrating for Calip, but now he
feels his "turn has come," and he
intends to make the most of this
"Each day, I go out and practice
well. I look at practice as being my
game experience," Calip said.
"Sitting on the bench was
frustrating, but no matter what
anybody thinks, I can contribute to
Calip does not feel intimidated
playing against some Big Ten
players who are more well known
than he. Upcoming games will
match Calip up against Purdue's
Tony Jones and Indiana's sophomore
sensations - Jay Edwards and
"Those guys all have more at
stake than I do. I'm not coming in
as a big name and I have more to
gain," Calip said.
Calip should receive playing time
WHILE CALIP is expected to
contribute with defense and ball
handling skills, Pelinka is a
designated shooter. He has a three-
point shooting contest with Glen
Rice, who is the Big Ten's leading
scorer, before each practice. So far,
Rice leads the series, 39-35.
"Pelinka is a shooting guard, but
he really lacks quickness which will
hurt us defensively," Frieder said.
Rice concurred, saying, "Rob is a
really good shooter. He works hard
on offense and defense, and I've got
confidence in him playing for us."
While Pelinka sees his lack of
mates feel Pelinka has proven
himself in practice, and has shown
he deserves a shot to replace Taylor
in the eight-player rotation.
"Pelinka is just getting better and
better. He's a great practice player,"
J.P. Oosterbaan, who practices
with Pelinka on the second team,
"Rob has had some unbelievable
days in practice. He just kills the
guys ahead of him. Consistency gets
you playing time, and the key to
consistency is playing smart."
BUT Frieder is still unsure as to
how Pelinka, who he describes as "a
quiet kid who likes to get
emotionally involved in a game,"
will play with a game on the line.
"I really don't know how he'll do.
He hasn't really played in a game.
We'll have to wait and see what he
can do," Frieder said. "But he won't
take a bad shot without working his
Oosterbaan added the mental
aspect of the game is toughest for a
player coming off the bench.
"The hardest thing is knowing
you don't have much experience
under pressure, and now all of the
sudden being thrown in there,"
Oosterbaan said. "A lot of times
people react best under pressure."
Frieder's Michigan teams have
been hit with adversity before, but
he refuses to second-guess his de-
cision not to getcCalip and Pelinka
more playing time.
"I'm not second guessing what I
did. You have to do what you want
to do at the time. I recruit kids who
are winners, and can handle
NIKE is sponsoring basketball
cards featuring the Michigan
basketball team. The cards will be
given away free of charge at the Feb.
25 game against Wisconsin.
...needs to handle the ball
whenever Robinson needs a breather,
and when the Wolverines need an
additional body to guard the
opposing team's best guard,
according to Frieder.
Frieder sees no reason why his
sophomore can't handle this role.
"If Rumeal is not in, we have to
go with Calip. He has really hung in
there considering he hasn't played
much," Frieder said. "If Demetrius
wasn't ready to play, I wouldn't have
put him in for the last two minutes
of the Iowa game. Calip was really
instrumental in us winning that ball
...receives rare chance
experience as being a major
drawback, he says he always
expected to receive playing time this
"I'm just a freshman and I'm not
perfect, but I keep working hard,"
Pelinka said. "I came here knowing I
was good enough to play Big Ten
basketball, if I was liven the chance.
The biggest thing is gaining
confidence and feeling like you can
do the job.
"Inside I feel good enough to be
FRIEDER and Pelinka's team-
1. Michigan State (28-5-1) %
2. Lake Superior (20-8-6) $
3. Illinois Chicago (19-10-4) #
4. MICHIGAN (19-11-4) #
5. Bowling Green (20-13-3) #
6. Ferris State (12-16-6) #
7. Western Michigan (10-19-6)
8. Ohio State (9-21-4)
9. Miami (9-25-0)
% denotes clinched first plce
$ denotes clinched horne ice
Soccer club finishes
5th in tournament
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Michigan men's soccer club placed fifth out of 16 teams in the
Northwestern Indoor Soccer Tournament last weekend in Evanston, causing
coach Mike Rudy to push for an upgrade in his team's status.
"Since September, we have now played all of the Big Ten varsity teams
competitively," Rudy said. "I feel Michigan is ready to join the Big Ten as a
varsity team immediately."
In their first game, the Wolverines rallied from a 1-0 first half deficit
against Eastern Illinois University. They scored five unanswered goals to
earn a 5-2 victory.
However, Michigan was not so lucky in its second match, against
Northeastern Missouri University. Plagued by defensive lapses, Michigan
In the final qualifying-round game, Michigan faced defending NCAA
Champion Indiana, who eventually won the tournament. The Wolverines
put on a strong performance, playing to a 2-2 tie. "I feel it is quite an
accomplishment to tie the defending national champions," Rudy said.
In the playoffs, the Wolverines battled Wisconsin, but lost 1-0 in a
strong defensive game.
# denotes clinched CCHA playoff spot
MICHIGAN at Michigan State
Western Michigan at LSSU
Bawling Green at UIC
Miami at Ohio State
Air Force at Ferris State
Michigan State at MICHIGAN
Western Michigan at LSSU"
Bowling Green at UIC
Air Force at Ferris State
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
Ohio State at Miami
Western Michigan at Notre Dame
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