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April 04, 1994 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-04

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8 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 4, 1994

SUGIURA
Continued from page 3
kind of person I was." He visited 25
basketball camps, and spoke to over
400,000 people.
"Kids had seen my face on TV,
they associated all the players on the
team with the Fab Five and it was big
in the eyes of these kids," he recalls.
"I saw the opportunity and I wanted to
seize it while I still had that platform,
to be able to reach out and make a
difference in these kids' lives. And
I'm not saying that in a cliched way.
It really meant a lot to me."

Pelinka says he spoke about the
necessity of education, the impor-
tance of family and developing rela-
tionships and his faith as a Christian.
His religious beliefs are the last
thing he mentions, and he does so
only briefly. It is not his style, he says,
to stand up before strangers and speak
his mind.
"Some people might have that gift
and may be able to do that and might
be very effective in doing it," he says.
"I have never felt like that was a gift
of mine."
Ironically,

Pelinka had just come from speaking
before hundreds at a Good Friday rally.
He admitted it had made him somewhat
uncomfortable. He says the same held
true last summer.
"Some of the best times I had were
not speaking in frontof masses of people,
but afterwards," he says, "inviting three
or four kids out to go grab a hamburger
or go grab a pizza, to be able to share on
a personal level with them."
He remembered in particular a
young boy at a camp in California.
Pelinka was relaxing in a park after
speaking when the boy approached
him and thanked him for his message.
It turned out that, unlike Pelinka, little
Michael never had a chance to know
his father, having left him and his
mother soon after his birth.
"The kid just started crying," he
remembers. "He just completely lost
it."
Pelinka draped his arm around
Michael's shoulder and spoke with
him about his struggles, "just being
there for him."
"I ended up saying to the kid, 'I
know you've never had a father to
rebound balls for you, but let's go
back into that gym and I'll show you
some of the moves on the court that
my dad taught me and I'llrebound the
ball for you and try to be there for you
for as long as I can,"' Pelinka says.
For as long as he can did not end
when they left the gym. Pelinka still

corresponds with Michael regularly.
Speaking of the entire experience,
Pelinka says, "It totally changed my
life."
This summer, Pelinka's routine will
return to the more conventional. Like a
flashbulb, the Fab Five's time was blind-
ing but has already quickly been extin-
guished, and with it, so has Pelinka's
moment in the spotlight. The iron, cer-
tainly still warm, is cooling.
And so, it is time to move on, time
to think about the future. He has se-
cured a summer position at the law
firm in downtown Chicago that, coin-
cidentally, employs the father of
Pelinka's former teammate, walk-on
Sean Dobbins.
But as time distances him from the
most fulfilling four months of his
entire life, little Michael, and 400,000
other kids still keep him on a park
bench in California.
"I think before, my focus was on,
'How can I do the most for myself and
how can I get the most fulfillment out
of life?"' he says. "And that's not
what my dream is anymore. My dream
is to put myself into a position where
I can be there for other people that
need me."
GYMNASTICS
Continued from page 1
basis with Rich," Darden said. "He'll
be back. His spirits are great."
The Spartans were led by senior
Mark Gamy, who won the all-around,
scoring a 57.0. Although the Wolver-
ines didn't have anybody to face Gamy,
Darden was impressed with his effort.
"Mark Gamy has done very well all
year," Darden said. "He is the anchor of
their team."
The main problem for the Wolver-
ines atthe Big Ten meet-lack of focus
- was not a problem against Michigan
State.
"The attitude of the team was loose,"
Darden said. "(The guys feltmuch more)
comfortable and confident."
"We were real relaxed (against
Michigan State)," junior Raul Molina
said. "People hit their routines (a lot
better) when they're relaxed."
That must have been the case, as
Michigan had the top gymnast on five
events. Senior Ben Verrall took the
floor exercise with a 9.825 and finished
second on rings with a 9.65.
Mike Mott, also a senior, won on
pommel horse (9.7), tied for second on
vault (9.25) and tied for third on the
high bar (9.45).
"We know that we can compete at
any level," Molina said. "We're real
excited (about regionals)."

0*

MICHELLE GUYIDaily
Tyrone Wheatley has had a solid spring according to Michigan coach Gary
Moeller. Wheatley will play in Saturday's Blue-White intrasquad game.

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FOOT BALL
Continued from page 1
Among the more competitive battles
of the spring has been the one for backup
quarterback. With Jay Riemersmahav-
ing successfully moved to tight end, the
race for the second-string QB job is
between senior Jason Carr and sopho-
mores Scot Loeffler and Brian Griese,
with Moeller seeing no clear favorite
yet. All three are expected to see a great
deal of playing time Saturday in the
annual spring game at Michigan Sta-
dium.
As far as the starting quarterback
is concerned, senior Todd Collins has
had a solid spring according to
Moeller, as has senior tailback Tyrone
Wheatley. Both have worked hard to
erase any memories of last year's
subpar season.
Indeed, Dyson feels the entire team
has a renewed commitment this
spring. While admitting that it is dif-
ficult to stay focused when there is no
opposition to prepare for, Dyson says
practice has been much more intense
than in the past.
"We're focusing a lot more on
improving as a team," Dyson said.
"There's a lot more competition at
each position. Even the coaches have
been more intense. They're not going
to go through a year like (last year).
"I kind of think we have to main-
tain the attitude that we're Michigan,
and we can be one of the best teams in
the country if we work hard and stay

focused."
Another difference from past
springs has been the fact that the
Wolverines have been relatively in-
jury free. Senior guard Joe Marinaro
suffered the only significant injury
thus far, tearing the posterior cruciate
ligament in his right knee early in the
spring.
Due to a condition known as comG
partmental syndrome, which hampers
the blood flow in the knee,
arthroscopic surgery was delayed until
today. Moeller said he will not know
how long Marinaro will be sidelined
until after the surgery.
While some questions will remain
unanswered until summer practice,
Moeller said that this spring has been
a success. With the last of
Schembechler's recruits having de-
parted, there is no mistake that this is
Moeller's team now. He is excited
about correcting last year's mistakes
and continuing Michigan's winning
tradition.
"We just didn't have the nasty
attitude last year that is necessary to
be successful. Attitude is the key to
everything and we're determined to
regain the right attitude." 0
TYRONE, DO YOU HAVE A JERSEY
YOU CAN SPARE?: Prior to the spring
gane, which starts at 1:30 p.m. , the
athletic department will be holding a
garage sale on the Crisler Arena con-
course. Assorted Michigan equipment
and apparel will be on sale, with pro-
ceeds going to the University Library.
The sale begins at 10 a.m.

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READ DAILY SPORTS FOR THE BEST
IN MICHIGAN SPORTS COVERAGE.

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