The Michigan Daly-Sports Monday- September 30, 1991 -Page 3
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The former President speaks of
his days playing
Gerald Ford served as the
president of the United States from
1974-1976. Born in Grand Rapids,
Mr. Ford attended Michigan in the
early 1930's and played on the
football team. IHe captained the
1934 squad, which is the only
Michigan football team to have a
Daily: First of all, you may
know that today's Michigan fan is
likely to 'tailgate' before a big
game, or until recently, engage in
'marshmallow wars' in the stands.
Looking back on your playing days
in the 30's, I'm wondering what
rituals of football Saturday come to
Mr. Ford: Frankly, I was so
preoccupied on the playing field
that I didn't notice nor have I any
recollection of any such activities.
When you're preparing for and
participating in a game, your
concentration's on the game and
what happens in the stands is
something you really don't notice.
D: Well, people nowadays hear
about things like bonfires and pep
rallies; was anything like that part
of your football experience back
F: We used to have pep rallies
and we used to have bonfire
activities, usually the night before
the ballgame. That was more or less
a total campus activity and it didn't
relate to anything out at the
D: Players of the two eras,
your's and today's, differ a great
deal. As well versed as some people
are about your political life, many
people do not know what you sold
your own blood to make ends meet
while in school. Today's players,
Continued from page 1
Fiodorov is facing, and because
Berenson has yet to see Fiodorov on
the ice this year, the coach is
uncertain as to the impact Fiodorov
might have on the Wolverines. Next
Monday's official starting date for
practice should help Berenson gauge
Fiodorov's comparative level of
"I really don't know what he can
do until we get on the ice,"
Berenson said. "It is very difficult
to judge him.
"In general terms, he has the
skills to be much better than an
average Division I player," he added.
"But whether that takes a week, a
month, a year, or longer I don't
know. He has to adjust to new
teammates, new coaches, new rinks,
and new experiences. That's a lot of
transition that will affect his
While Berenson is unsure about
Fiodorov's abilities, Tom Wilkins
is very high on Fiodorov's talents.
"He's very smart and strong on
the puck," Tom said. "He's a good
passer; not like (Wayne) Gretzky,
but the type of player that he is, the
passer, the smart player."
Berenson thinks Fiodorov can
play any of the three forward
positions, but Fiodorov has a
"I like center best," he said. "I
;like a clever game. I like to pass.
"Russian players are a little bit
cleverer because we play a different
style," Fiodorov added, "In
America, it is a strong game first.
Boom! Boom! In Russia, you have to
think, 'Why do I have to go to this
corner.' All the time our coach tells
us, 'Keep your head up."'
Fiodorov also followed this
advice during the coup in the Soviet
Union during late August. Fiodorov
spent these trying times deciphering
American news and trying to phone
his parents. However, it took him 10
days before he could finally reach
"Those were very difficult days
because I didn't know exactly what
though, are given full rides to play
ball quite often. Can they be getting
as much from the sport as you did?
F: I believe they do. The
circumstances today are far
different from 1931 to 1935 when I
was at the University. We had no
athletic scholarships whatsoever.
My head coach, Harry Kipke, got me
a job over at the University
Hospital where I waited on tables
at the interns' dining room and
cleaned up at lunch after the nurses
had their luncheon in the cafeteria. I
got paid, as I recall, $.40 an hour and
worked three or four hours a day,
which was enough to pay for my
own board. There was no
scholarship as such as they have
today, and no training table. So I ate
in the community, and my freshman
year I lived in a rooming house
where I had a roommate and each of
us paid $4 a week for our
accommodations. Then I moved into
my fraternity (Delta Kappa
Epsilon) my sophomore year. But,
yes, in order to generate cash, about
every two or three months I donated
blood at the University Hospital. I
think for each such donation we got
$25 and $25 in the 1930's was pretty
D: And you were able to balance
playing ball and school and the
work all together?
F: Well, I had to! I mean if you
wanted to stay in school you had to
work, and when I was in the
fraternity I washed dishes the first
two years and my senior year I was
the house manager at the Deke house.
All of that, plus the money I earned
in the summer, carried me through
my four years with some limited
help from my parents, who were
having a very tough time during the
D: Yeah, it's amazing what
happens in just the course of fifty
years - that's a big change.
Relating that, then, to today's
situation with football, what do
you feel about claims that sports
scholarships for these athletes are
wrongly putting academics in
F: I wholly support athletic
scholarships, providing the student
athlete meets the proper academic
qualifications. They should be
treated like any other student, but
the fact that they spend an abnormal
amount of time preparing for a
football career, a basketball career,
justifies in my judgement a proper
athletic scholarship program.
D: Well let me move then back a
few years to when you played. The
intensity before a game seems to
have been a little bit lower due to
preparation. Preparation now is very
involved. Like you said, there's the
F: Of course, you also have to
point out that tuition for each
semester was $50. So the costs were
less, but when you balance it out,
the money to go to the university
was tough to come by.
D: What was an average week's
preparation for you for a particular
F: We usually started practice
3:15 or 3:30 in the afternoon and
went to 5:00 or 5:30. We would
have squad meetings maybe two
nights a week. The team as a whole,
the squad would go to the
Washtenaw Country Club the night
before the game where we had
dinner and stayed overnight and
were isolated from all of the
alumni. About thirty players that
would expect to play were housed
out there and fed out there the night
before the game.
D: Then after your college
career, you had your own
opportunity to make a living a
football, and in fact I believe the
Lions were one of your pursuers.
Why did you opt for law over the
glamour of a professional football
F: I had two opportunities, or
two offers, to play in the NFL. I got
an offer from Potse Clark who was
the head coach of Detroit Lions, and
an equal offer from Curly Lambeau
who was the coach of the Green Bay
Packers. They offered me $200 a
game for, I think it was fourteen
D: Quite a lot of money from
back then, I imagine.
F: You're darn right; for
somebody who was broke when they
graduated. But I also had an
opportunity through the help of
Harry Kipke, my coach, to be
assistant coach at Yale University,
which I took a lesser figure, $2400.
But it gave me, eventually the
opportunity to go to Yale Law
School. I was assistant line coach
and then later made head junior
varsity coach, and by the time I
finished the five years there, I was
making $3600 a year and going to
law school full time, so it worked
out very well.
Students show nation
their middle fingers
Michigan's crack at the nation's No. 1 football team Saturday made
Ann Arbor the nation's No. 1 focus of attention. Along with the hordes
of media that descended upon the University community came a bright
spotlight that projected an image of Michigan to the entire country.
I wonder how we, the students of the University of Michigan, looked.
Reputed as an elitist institution, Michigan showed America its stu-
dents have more than brains - they also have middle fingers. In an om-
nipresent drone during Florida State's 51-31 victory, students accompa-
nied their gestures of disrespect with their own interpretation of the op-
posing school's chant: "F--- the Seminoles, f--- the Seminoles."
By itself, this spirited slur didn't mar the University's image. In ac-
tuality, it was pretty funny. And though not the most traditional greet-
ing for an opponent, the cheer's vulgarity was mitigated by its repetition.
However, the Wolverines' constant media appeal has illuminated
much more of the University than Saturday's antics. It seems as if every
weekend, Michigan is planted firmly at the center of the country's atten-
Two weeks ago, when Notre Dame stormed into Ann Arbor, the spot-
light shone: ABC televised the matchup. Sports Illustrated wrote its
cover story about the game. What did CNN do? It broadcast the South
Nobody outside the University community cares how the riot
started; people simply associate the incident with similar sports-related
uprisings, like the 1989 basketball championship riot, or even worse, the
destructive hysteria that spread throughout East Lansing after Michigan
State lost to the Wolverines two years ago.
The Michigan/Michigan State contest often elicits poor publicity.
After the Spartans edged top-ranked Michigan last season, 28-27,
Wolverine coach Gary Moeller had to face a deluge of questions about
the controversial defeat.
Because the major polls ranked Michigan No. 1 prior to the game, the
attention given to the game was overwhelming. And in front of millions
of viewers, Moeller ranted about the referee's non-call on the last-
minute two-point conversion attempt.
"Don't throw it, don't throw it, don't throw it," he bellowed about
the official's attitude toward penalty flags.
Moeller had a legitimate complaint. In fact, the official later apolo-
gized for contributing to Michigan's demise. But Moeller, at that point
Michigan's most prominent representative, projected a lowly image of
It's not that our behavior is worse than students' at other schools.
However, Michigan attracts a perpetual eye, and if that eye sees negative
images, limelight becomes scrutiny.
Students generally covet the hype surrounding the Wolverines. But
we often fail to realize that we, just like the athletes we root for, con-
tribute to our university's national perception.
was happening," Fiodorov said.
"Some people tell it this way, other
people that way. Then I went to the
Slavic Department and listened to
Russian news from Russia, but
sometimes it was not true. It was
very difficult days for me. I was
afraid for my family and friends.
Nobody knows; nobody knows
what will happen..."
Fiodorov's voice trailed off, his
thoughts seemingly drifting back to
the Soviet Union. But his spirits
seemed to rise as he talked about a
brighter future for his country.
"Now is good, I think," he said.
"Maybe this coup is good because
the time goes faster. Without the
coup, maybe time goes slow, but
now that there is no Communist
party, a lot of Communist
newspapers close. That makes time
Fiodorov also hopes time will
move faster here, anxiously
awaiting the official start of hockey
"I can't wait to get on the ice
again," Fiodorov said. "I want to
see how I am against the other guys.
You can't tell how good someone is
until you see him on the ice."
But compared to practices in
Leningrad, Michigan practices will
seem like a relief for Fiodorov.
Since joining the Red Army team,
Fiodorov has started each hockey
season in early July with three-a-day
practices throughout the summer.
At the age of 14, Fiodorov
achieved his "dream," surviving a
100-person tryout for the Leningrad
squad of the Junior Red Army team.j
Since then, he has traveled
throughout the Soviet Union,
playing a full schedule of games.
Fiodorov started playing hockey
when he was eight years old, but he
had already been an avid follower of
the sport for five years.
"When I was three, I knew
(about) every player in Russia,"
Fiodorov said. "Hockey has always
been my favorite. My mother, my
father and my grandmother all love
hockey. I learned the game from
childhood playing hockey, these few
months of idle time foreshadowed
Fiodorov's future life without '
"Hockey is a great game. I love
it, it is my life. I can't live without
hockey," Fiodorov said.
"Sometimes when I think about my
future when I'm 30 or 40 years old,
I realize I will not be able to play
hockey anymore," he said. "Oh my
gosh! That will be difficult. For
some people it is literature or soccer
or American football, but for me,
hockey is my life."
Fiodorov is hoping to extend his
hockey life past his stay at
Michigan. He dreams of one day
"Probably all hockey players
who can skate a little bit hope they
will play in a professional league,"
Fiodoro" said. "So of course I
Fiodorov wants to follow the
path of his fellow Soviet players
who have played professional
hockey in North America.
"I probably would want to play
here," he said. "The NHL is the best
professional league, but I am not
good enough yet. I hope. I hope. "
Fiodorov also has dreams for
this year's Michigan squad. During
his February visit, Fiodorov saw
Michigan defeat Michigan State, 6-
5, at Joe Louis Arena and is
optimistic about this year's team.
"I hope that it is a very good
team," he said. "Last year, they were
(ranked) fourth (in the country),
now we hope we will be first. It's a
very strong team with Denny
Felsner, Roberts, Wiseman, the big
guy Tamer, and Ward.
"We work hard, and sometimes
it will be difficult," he added. "But
if everybody works hard - this is
very important now, because if we
are not strong, we cannot play the
Fiodorov has realized several of
his dreams so far - the end of
communism in the Soviet Union,
and coming to Michigan. But he
looks forward to more - a
championship season and a chance to
play in the NHL.
And he will always keep his head
up, whether looking for an open
teammate on the ice or reaching for
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Wolverine fans had a unique way of rooting for Michigan Saturday.
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Entries Close: Tomorrow Tuesday October 1, 1991