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April 14, 1994 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-14

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 14, 1994

After four years in the press box,
a changed fan returns to the crowd


Miller's Crossing

N ocheering in the press box.
That, as most everyone knows,
is the first rule of
sports writing. Literally, it means don't
sing The Victors from the free seats.
Figuratively, it means sports writers
are supposed to cover teams with a
neutral, maybe even critical, eye.
Not only is the no-cheering
mandate "rule number one" in terms
of priority, but as Mike Littwin, a
20-year columnist for The Baltimore
Sun observed in his retirement
column (published in a recent
anthology of sports writing), also
the most difficult to follow.
Yes, this is also one of those
columns, a "farewell in yarn."
As a young boy, I was raised on
mom, country, and the
Schembechler Way. Autumn
Saturdays at 1 p.m. meant one
thing: Michigan madness (for all
you history buffs, home games once
began at 1 p.m. all the time).
I probably had a Pavlovian

reaction to "Laaadies and Gentle-
men! Presenting ..." bred into.me,
and I think I listed maize and blue
as my favorite colors when asked in
elementary school.
So in 1990, when I decided to come
to the Daily and cover sports, I was
unprepared for the approach I had to
take. Don't be positive about the
Wolverines all the time? Report what
the other team does? Be critical?
It was a big switch, especially
for someone who, at one point,
hung emotionally on every win and
loss. But, gradually, I made it.
I learned to detach myself
(somewhat), to watch with a factual
eye and to provide a balanced
account of what happened to the
paper's readers.
I gained perspective on athletics
these past four years.
True, I admired the sentiments
in Littwin's column, "A Fan Again
After All These Years," where he
talked of how much he "missed

being a fan" and couldn't wait to
get back. But I can't say I'll be the
same "fan" I was in over-devoted
proportions now that I'm no longer
a sports writer. The perspective
lessons remains.
As some of you know, much of
my perspective comes from outside
the sports world. I won't dwell on
this too much, but it's safe to say
that it's impossible to go through
the University as a student with
disabilities and not pick up a certain
perspective (there's that word
again) that you didn't have before.
For instance, after the football
team lost to Minnesota in the Little
Brown Jug in 1986,I couldn't take it.
A shot at the national title gone to
Minnesota? What could be worse?
When the team went down to
Notre Dame last September, once
again losing a chance at the
championship, I didn't have the
same reaction.
Yes, much of my "new view"

comes from life. But my experi-
ences as a sports writer count for a
lot, as well.
When you're a beat writer for a
losing team, you must be able to write
accurately about the defeats (Michi-
gan doesn't always lose from bad
luck, folks). You have to question the
Michigan players without starting
each interview with, "That was a
tough loss, don't you think?"
You have to be ready to cover the
next game, knowing that the team
will probably lose that one, too.
And you have to be able to write
"the column." The one that says the
team isn't very good this year.
Eventually, all of this gets easier.
Honestly. I learned how to handle it
along the way, and I hope you found
me to have been a fair writer, and not
too much of a cynic or (worse yet for
a sports writer) a "homer."
Not that it was always easy. The
last few minutes of the Michigan-
North Carolina game at the Rain-
bow Classic, culminating in Jalen
Rose's putback at the buzzer, made
me want to jump from my seat with
a huge, "Hail!"
And November's shutout of
Ohio State to clinch the Hall of

Fame Bowl? I admit I remained in
the press box to see the band
perform its postgame show and to
catch the victory party.
So yes, there's still a fan in me, and
I've enjoyed cheering with the crowd
again the past few months. But I'm not
the maniac of my youth anymore, nor
do I think I can ever be again.
Now - you knew I was getting
to this -- I think this way is better.
I'm still a huge Michigan fan, as
anyone who has seen the decorating
scheme of my apartment can attest,
and still a huge Bo Schembechler
fan (though for reasons far beyond
his success on the gridiron) but
maybe, to use the clichd, an "older,
wiser" fan.
A fan with perspective.
The wins and losses are important,
just not life and death. The world
doesn't end when Michigan loses,
and maybe it's not horrible if we
don't win the national title each year.
Sports are still important, but as
I look back at what I've learned
these four years, I can honestly say
that it usually is ...
Just a game.
Thanks for reading, and I'll

and VanPelt
win awards
Senior athletes Molly McClimon
and Toby Van Pelt were both recently
awarded the 1994 Big Ten Confer-
ence Medal of Honor.
The Medal of Honor is presented*
annually to a graduating male and
female student-athlete who has at-
tained the greatest proficiency in both
scholarship and athletics at each con-
ference member institution.
McClimon was a member of the'
women's cross country and track and
field teams. A communications major,
she earned Academic All-Big Ten
honors three times each in both cross-
country and track and field.
McClimon was the 1993 Big Ten
Cross Country Championships indi-
vidual medalist, and led the Wolver-
ines to consecutive conference titles
in 1992 and 1993.

Tracing Jewish Heritage in Poland
July 6- August 10, 1994
Sponsored jointly by
Boston University and
The Center for Jewish History and Culture
in Krakow


Van Pelt completes his academic'
career holding both a bachelor's and
master's degree in aerospace engi-
neering, completing the two degreesh
in five years while being a member of,
the Wolverine men's track and field=
team. He is a four-time Academic
All-Big Ten honoree.
Van Pelt is also a four-time All=
Big Ten indoor and outdoor track and
field honoree.
A Rare Performance of
Brought to the West
By 74J. Qurdieff
Saturday, April 16th - 7:00 p.m.
Cobblestone Farm
2781 Packard Road
Ann Arbor, MI
313-697-6651 $3.00 Donation *
Presented by the New American Wing
A Fourth Way School

* Coursework examines the rich history of the Jewish population
in Poland from its earliest known settlements to the present.
* Presentations by experts in the field, archivists, elders, survivors
and resuers.
* Site visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Tarnow Rzezow
" Students earn eight semester-hour undergraduate credits.


'?t !.! J : 4I 1 I#. N141 11011101 jII IF~PF 5 its f11 ish{ 1 1f1W I 0 lilt i l; EI fIIitiIti11 v

International Programs
An equal opportunity,-af-m-iave action institution.

For complete program In fonuwilon, ple,
write or coil:
Boston University International Pmgrams
232 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 2215
(617) 353.9888
Application Deadline: May 1. 1994
Applications will be considered on
a space availabe basis after deadline.


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