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December 04, 1989 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-04

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Page 6 - The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - December 4, 1989


Continued from page 1
of mercy until the end of the match.
My thought pattern went
something like this: "Shaking
hands? Hey, what a nice guy!
BOOM! Wow does that hurt! Oh,
what a lovely shade of fluorescent on
those ceiling lights."
A pin of the opponent under
normal circumstances signifies the
end of the match. In most of
matches, I was pinned on the average
four or five times.
My most memorable experiel_..
during the week was a match I had
with Sam Amine. Amine, it should
be explained, is ranked twelfth in the
country in the 158 pound weight
I haven't seen the latest rankings,
but I think I'm slightly lower than
"You're going with me," Sam
For example, the grueling
afternoon workouts are not over for
two minutes before the lines form at
the chin-up bars. The coaches are not
there to force anyone to do this, but
these guys are doing it for
Forever etched in my memory is
the image of Larry Gotcher, riding a
stationary bike inside Crisler before
the morning workout. This is the
same guy who stays long after
workouts to lift weights and work
out more. Gotcher doesn't have to do
this to be good. He already is that,
without any help. It's those extra
hours, though, that made him the
Big Ten Champion last year.
All of these events were racing
through my mind when I regained
consciousness in the UGLi. How do
these guys actually pass their
classes, I wondered.
I knew what I was in for the
week before, so I could work ahead
and then make up for lost time the
following week. After all, this was
only five days for me, but for the
wrestlers, it was a way of life.
I asked Jeff McCollum, who is
studying business, when he found
time for everything.
"Well, the truth is my grade
point's kind of fallen," he
complained. "I used to have a 3.7,

but I'm only getting a 3.5 now."
That's rough, I thought. I'd be so
disappointed with a 3.5. McCollum,
known by his teammates as Bird for
his resemblance to the basketball
legend, then described to me his
daily schedule, which allowed him to
sleep between 2:00. and 6:00 a.m.
I knew that I could never
regularly keep such a schedule, but
for one week, I did. Never again will
I complain about getting up for an
8:00 lecture. It will probably feel
like I slept in.
I tried to think about
what type of heinous
sin I committed in my
past that would cause
me to deserve such a
I tried to think about what type
of heinous sin I committed in my
past that would cause me to deserve
such a fate.
"Okay," I gulped, "let's go."
This match took place on the
second afternoon, so by now I had
learned some techniques. I figured I'd
use some of these moves on Sam.
Wouldn't it be funny, I thought, if I
could take him down, right here with
all the coaches watching?
Those thoughts were quickly
dispelled, as I soon discovered that a
prerequisite to all the moves I

learned is strength. Strength cannot
be taught by even the best coach,
and the sad fact was that I didn't have
Instead of hearing Bahr say,
"Hey, way to go, Matt!" I heard him
yell, "C'mon, Matt, you can get
At one point in the match,
Amine was on top of me, doing
something which caused excruciating
pain in my arm. Just when I was
convinced that he was firmly intent
on killing me, Sam asked, "How
often did you say I was going to be
in the paper? Every day? Is that what
you said?"
"Sure, Sam," I gasped. "Whatever
you want."
So, in February, when you're
reading your third Sam Amine
feature of the week, you'll know
Needless to say, I fell short of
victory. More to the point, I just
fell. Many times. I came away with
a real idea of what kind of shape
collegiate wrestlers have to be in.
One of the amazing things to me
was the dedication of this group of
individuals, despite their lack of not
only attention, but also of financial
Bahr told me after practice one
day that of the forty wrestlers
involved in Michigan's program,
only about a third are on any kind of
scholarship, and few of those are full
rides. Yet these guys are there
everyday, pushing themselves to
work harder than their counterparts at
other schools.

Daily sports writer Jeff Sheran displays a look of considerable pain as Michigan wrestler John Fisher puts him
into a cradle, Fisher's favorite technique. Sheran participated in a week of wrestling practices to get an inside
look at the sport.
SH ER AN.At the end of practice, Bahr stood could not move, and practice seeme
Sin the middle of the room and out of the question. I began to hav
Continued from page 1 everyone gathered into a circle. evil thoughts - excuses I would te
paired up and sparred at full strength When he blew the whistle, everyone Bahr for whyI missed practice. 4
for about half an hour with minimal ran in place as fast as they could "I had a power failure, coach. M
breaks. I wouldn't really know, until he blew the next whistle fifteen alarm clock never went off."
though, because in my lightheaded seconds later. Each weight class Realizing that he probabl
state, I staggered downstairs to the would move inside the rest of the wouldn't buy-any shallow alibis,
lockerroom, where, after dry-heaving circle to lead the team, and the first got up. But I didn't actually wake ul
a few times, I laid down until weight class Bahr called was "the until I stepped outside. My feet froz
practice ended. guys from the Daily." the second they hit the ground
Tuesday morning the running Amine was the fastest. He must causing me to wonder how in hell
went smoothly. I participated in all have hit the mat a hundred times in was going to run amid all the ice am
of the sprints until assistant coach those fifteen seconds, something snow.gah
Joe Wells directed us to sprint to the which might exhaust someone else. Bahr addressed his stretchi
tree and return carrying someone on But when the heavyweights had team. I figured he was going to e
our backs. I carried Aaron, who concluded the last interval, and the us run indoors or better yet, canc
easily weighs 185 pounds. That music was blasting in the mat room, running all together. yI
ended my morning's worth of it was Sam who initiated his "Watch your footing out there."
sprints. formidable dancing. Man, that guy I was crushed.
In the mat room, the coaches can move. Along the way, however, Ph
illustrated techniques which, at least Tuesday night is the best night of Tomek made the running bearable.
to me, were fascinating, the week, because there is no knew I should have gone 1
That afternoon, armed with my wrestling practice Wednesday. I took truckdriving school," he bemoane
newly acquired wrestling knowledge advantage of the free time by eliciting laughter from everyone
and a rejuvenated physical demeanor, popping open a few beers and earshot.
I squared off against Matt, the third watching Letterman. But the rest of The cold weather actuall
scribe. The sparring periods lasted the team didn't; they had to get some benefitted me, because it mad
three minutes, then two minutes, schoolwork done. Normal studying breathinyeaier.Inprformed al1



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then another two, no doubt be
exaggerated by deceitful coaches du
trying to get the wrestlers to work a tr
bit longer. a
During the scrimmage, I sampled kn
a few of the techniques I had learned F
that morning, and much to my
delight, they actually worked. As I W
lay sprawled across Matt, both of us f
face down, trying to last until the m;
next whistle, I realized how p
scientific the sport really is.


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ecomes a near impossible task
luring the season, and the team often
avels on weekends. I could shoulder
side my work for a week, since I
new this draining routine would end
riday, but they could not.
The problem ' with having
lednesday off was that I could not
all asleep early that night. And that
nade getting up the next morning
articularly hellish.
When the alarm clock sounded, I
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the sprints, however slowly I may
have run, and I felt accomplished for
doing so. Heading back into the
lockerroom, I told Justin Spewock
about how I had to battle with my
alarm clock to make it to practi
this morning.
"Yeah, the power failure excuse
is a pretty common one," Justin
commiserated. "Eventually you just
have to lie to yourself to get
yourself out of bed, but you
Later that afternoon, I arrived at
practice with intensity. The team had
to travel the next day, so it was the
final afternoon session. I sparrg
with Zac Pease.
"Zac, how's your knee?" I asked,
referring to the arthroscopic surgery
he underwent on his knee last year.
"Feels great," he replied. "Never
better. Thanks."
Pleased that I had asked, Zac
promptly slammed me to the mat.
Then Matt entered the room. He
had missed running that morning,
citing the fact that he was puking
night long as an excuse. I was sorry
I hadn't thought of that.
Practice ended in usual fashion,
but then Bahr made an
announcement. "Let's see what you
guys have learned," he said to Matt
and me. He then proceeded to hand
Wells a watch and told him to keep
time. Bahr would keep score.
He motioned for us to take cent
mat, and explained to everyone tha
the final match between Matt and
Jeff would now take place.
As we wrestled, I was beaming.
The fact that Bahr showcased us, and
that the rest of the team actually
cared enough to stick around and
watch said a lot about this team. At
the end of practice that day, I really
viewed that team as clas.
Incidentally, I beat Matt, 11-6
Bahr let us keep the uniforms he had
loaned us on Monday. But I got
more than a shirt and a pair of shorts
from that team.


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