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April 09, 1992 - Image 13

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-04-09

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The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. -April9, 1992- Page 3

Hot dogs & jockwear
Sports saibes skin the edge ofdevoluion

by Ken Sugiura

The first time I entered the Yost Ice
Arena press box as a Daily hockey
writer there was no feeling of
elation, having officially made my
way to one of the better sports beats.
My sentiment that evening was, if
memory serves, "Hey, free Cokes!"
You see, when it comes to sports
journalists, there's no noble search
for truth and justice. It's more a case
of all those ugly stereotypes coming
to the fore - slobs, jock wannabes,
you name it. You'll find no Wood-
ward and Bernsteins up in the box at
Yost, at Crisler, or down at the
football stadium. It's more along the
lines of Doug and Bob MacKenzie..
Hey, pass the ketchup, eh?
While a sports writer's job is to
cover the event, satisfying one's gas-
tronomic needs ranks right up there.
When a writer returns from an op-
posing arena, the debriefing always
begins with two questions. "What
was the press box like? Did they
give you guys food?"
I'm partial to the Yost spread:
free soda and of course, "Death
Dogs." You'd think no one would
eat anything with such a frightful
moniker. And yet, their arrival to the
press box is treated with excitement
usually reserved for lunar landings.
The most remarkable aspect
though, is the rapidity with which
they disappear. I mean, 10 to 11
minutes, and they're history. And,
this isn't some small batch of left-
overs - about 40 hot dogs find their
way into these cretins' digestive
tracts in that time span. Even mafia
hits aren't as swift.
If the quest for sustenance isn't
enough like a caveman experience,
the witty repartee between sports
writers clinches it. On the spectrum
of intellectual stimulation, the press
box lies somewhere between mon-
ster truck pulls and Super Mario
Brothers. The closest we'd ever
come to a debate on the presidential
race would be to lay bets on on who

would prevail in a fist fight.
I would be remiss, of course, if I
neglected to mention the favorite
topic of all sports scribes: the suc-
cesses and failures of their favorite
teams. For instance, my editor Josh
lives and dies for Connecticut, while
I'm a Princeton devotee.
Usually, our conversations go
something like this:
"Guess who's one game closer to
their fourth straight Ivy League title?
Princeton Tigers, baby."
To which Josh would retort, "It
doesn't matter. UConn's going to the
Final Four."
After more clever bantering sim-
ilar to the above, our debate would
subside, only to be reignited after the
next Princeton victory.
The fun never ends, I tell you.
Well, almost never ...
Eventually, and perhaps unfortu-
nately, the time comes each game
when we must actually think about
writing our stories. It is then that the
sports writers separate themselves
from the average armchair quarter-
back. Armed with a powerful grasp
of the English language, these tal-
ented scribes could turn a chess
match into the Battle at Gettysburg
by the time deadline rolls around.
Take for instance, one write
who during a Miami game was in
desperate need of the fabled sports
writer's lexicon. He was looking for
someone to confirm whether the
phrase was "feed a fever, starve a
cold", or vice versa? An animated
argument followed - most likely
the season's cerebral zenith.
If it isn't a writer's poetic style
that has you reaching for your barf
bag, then maybe the wardrobe will.
While some manage to dress
well, some people just can't seem to
avoid what my sister calls
"jockwear." While the Yost denizens
avoid the fashion faux pas of college
sweatshirts, sweatpants and sneak-
ers, this garb is frequently spotted on
opposing school's sports writers
during road trips.

4
-
,f
... a
These folks are the epitome of
the genus "Sportius geekius," a crea-
ture known for reading the sports
page first, memorizing the ESPN
program listings, and actually using
their Sports Illustrated shoe phones.
My sisters would say I'm sitting on
the edge of this devolution, and let
me tell you, I shudder at the thought.
Maybe someday sports writers
will evolve and catch up with the
rest of humanity. Maybe someday
we'll all realize that the reason the
sports page isn't at the back of the
newspaper just to protect it from the
elements. I think we'll have to be
pretty patient until then though. And
eating all those Death Dogs isn't go-
ing to make it come any sooner.

by David Wartowski
T wo University professors have
found their treasure in other
people's garbage.
Trash heaps dating as far back as
the 1st century B.C. harbor pieces of
papyrus, the paper of ancient peoples.
Once protected from the sun under
a pile of garbage, the arid weather in
certain Egyptian and Roman cities
kept the paper from decaying, ex-
plained University Papyrologist
Traianos Gagos.
Gagos and his "papyrolical twin,"
Peter van Minnen, curate the number
one collection in the Western Hemi-
sphere, topped only by others in Cairo,
Vienna, Berlin, and London.
It's no wonder the University's
collection attracts so much attention
from papyrologists world-wide. The
collection, which is protected by a
wired black door for security, is worth
a fortune. Just one piece alone, the
earliest known leaves of the Epistles
of Saint Paul, is worth an estimated $5
million.
The entire collection contains
10,000 pieces of papyrus, including
receipts, bills of sale, tax records,
personal letters, magical texts, liter-
ary fragments, medical recipes, per-
sonal notes, and biblical fragments,
many 3,000 years old.
But the collections' value alone
doesn't determine its worth. van
Minnen said each papyrus piece can
clue a papyrologist into an extraordi-
nary amount of information. "It lets
you into everyday life (of the people
during the time)... each one adds to
our stock of knowledge."
A tax scroll is among the
papyrologists' most prized posses-
sions, estimated to be nearly 100 feet
long - that's longer than both the
Odyssey or Iliad. From this record of
every taxpayer in Karanis, not only
can papyrologists learn a man's pos-
sessions, family relations and social
class, they are able to make signifi-
cant connections with other papyri.

Ancient rubbish is modern-day bonus

Considering all the knowledge re-
ceived through the papyrological pro-
fession, Gagos said
it is amazing how
few people realize
what papyrolgy
even is. "In Kan- .%.;

If you want a more extensive collec-
tion, London is your closest trip.

sas, you'd expect
that people don't
know what
papyrology is, but
not in Ann Arbor,"
he said with a
smile.
Gagos hopes
more people, Clas-
sics scholars and
the rest of us, will
learn more about
the University's
collection.
To actually see
the writings of the
Plato, Socrates and
others you study in
Classic Literature,
look no further than
the 8th floor of the
Graduate Library.

q
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