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ou sleep late when the football
team is on the road - espe-
cially your first year, when the
social scene is new and frat parties are
cool. You wake up in time for the pre-
game show, red-eyed and creaky from
staying out late, and watch Michigan
on national television.
Two years ago, I sat in the third-floor
lounge in South Quad's Taylor House. I
shuffled down the hall in sweatpants
and a T-shirt, dragging my beanbag
chair behind me. To my surprise, about
50 people had beaten me to the TV.
Michigan was playing Notre Dame.
It was the biggest football game of the
young season, and I couldn't find a
seat on the floor.
Everyone from Taylor House was
there, and more were piling in.
Nobody really knew anyone yet, and
though everyone was dressed like they
had just rolled out of bed, they were
carefully groomed. They wanted to
' k like they had just woken up, but
still wanted to look good.
We all watched the game and min-
gled, scrunched up against each other to
make room. Some guy from Baltimore
and I started arguing over the quarter-
back situation. We ordered pizza. We
laughed. We started to make friends.
As the game went on, we realized
how good it was. Michigan would
score, and we would sing "The Vic-
tors." Notre Dame would get a first
n, and we would boo.
Then came the finale. Remy Hamil-
ton, Michigan's All-American, had a
chance to kick a field goal for the win.
The kick went up. It was good.
We all stood around each other. The
guys stopped hitting on the girls, I
stopped arguing about the quarterback,
and the pizza got cold.
The room cleared out. Somehow we
#jI knew where we were supposed to
*South U. I grabbed my shoes, tried
to pull them on as I ran, and a dorm
full of frenzied freshmen emptied.
South U was a small riot. The presi-
dent of the University was on some-
one's shoulders. Lamplights had silly
sophomores hanging from them. The
police cheered with the delinquents,
and everyone sang the fight song.
And, standing among hundreds of
new faces, wearing the same rags I
e to bed, I finally realized what
W going on - I was in college.
The reality finally hit, and I was as
happy as I have ever been.
That is what sports at this University
can do to you. You don't have to play
to get something out of athletics at
Michigan. Football, basketball, hockey
and all the rest - they unite the student
body. They bring together alumni, oth-
ers who wish they were, and still others
don't even know there is a school
Mind the minor-league football team.
The Wolverines sell merchandise
from Malibu to Miami to Maine, and it
certainly isn't the math department that
is arousing that spirit.
Buy why? Why do people care so
much? Why is it such a big deal?
It's memories, experiences, friends.
When you're screaming "sieve" at
Yost Ice Arena with your buddies or
c nanting "Go Blue!" at Crisler Arena,
forget your exams. The "C" you
got in Chem 230 isn't so bad. Maurice
Taylor just dunked, Scott Driesbach
just threw a touchdown pass, Brendan
Morrison just scored a goal, and every-
thing is right with the world.
The wild nights, the tailgate parties,
the championship celebrations. They
are as important to college as blue-
books and term papers.
When you look back at your years at
Whigan, you won't mull over that
"B3" that could have been an "A."
You'll remember the goof-offs you
went with to the game. You'll laugh
about the road trip to Duke you took
even though you had an exam Monday.
Vn'11 huv seasnn fnthall tickets. and
By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
After years of failure and frustration, anger and anguish, the
puck finally bounced the right way for Michigan. Brendan Mor
rison finally hit the back of the net instead of the goal post. Red
Berenson's team finally became the national champions.
There were tears this time, too, but for the 1995-96 Wolver
ines, moist eyes dripped only joy.
"I'm so glad I came (to Michigan)," said forward Bill
Muckalt after the game, fighting back sobs. "I'm so proud to
be a part of this program, with these guys, with this coach. It's
just so special."
Michigan defeated Colorado Col-
lege, 3-2, in overtime, before 13,330
fans at Cincinnati's Riverfront Colise-
um on March 30 to win the Wolver-
ines' record eighth NCAA title - but
the school's first since 1964.
And the parties and the celebrations
began. South University Avenue was
flooded with fans minutes after Mom-
son scored. A sign said simply, "We
Won!" A pep rally at Cliff Keen Arena
a week later attracted hundreds of ban- Morrison
ner-waving Michigan faithful.
But the biggest honor of all came
May 6. Vice President Al Gore invited the team to the White
House for a special commendation. Gore, who played hockey
himself in prep school, praised the spirit of the Wolverines in the
Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building.
"It's not how big or talented you are, it's how you compete,"
Gore said. "This year, no one competed better than Michigan."
For many years, however, the Wolverines competed well
but watched another team shake hands in Washington. Their
win in 1996 was richly ironic.
Michigan was bounced from the NCAA tournament in over-
time the past three years. The Wolverines lost to Maine in 1993,
Lake Superior in 1994 and Maine again in 1995. The breaks
never went their way, and the goal they needed never came.
"Something about this year
was different," said senior
Kevin Hilton. "I can't really
say what, but something was
The biggest change might
have been Morrison's luck. In
the second overtime of last
year's semifinal thriller with
the Black Bears, Morrison had
Michigan's best opportunity to
win the game and the title.
He hit the post.
The memory stayed with
him, ringing in his head the
- Al Gore
whole season. On March 30, the puck squirted right to Morrison
off a rebound. He put it between the pipes to score the winning
goal, and he earned a ring that will stay with him for the rest of
"When you look back on this, it's incredible," said Morri-
son, who was so focused on Michigan's title run, he played
with a broken hand for nearly two months. "It seemed like it
took forever to go in the net, but it did. It's incredible.
Many players said it wasn't as incredible as it seemed. They
had a sign above the door in their locker room that read,
"Something to Prove." All the talk of ghosts and jinxes moti-
vated Michigan to silence the cynics and the critics.
"I'm sick of hearing the rumors that we can't win the big
game," Muckalt said. "I think we proved them wrong."
"The ghosts are gone," goaltender Marty Turco said.
No one is more satisfied than Berenson. As long as it took
for the puck to go in for Morrison, it took much longer for
Berenson to achieve his dream.
Berenson didn't win a title in his three years as a Michigan
player. After his professional career, he came back to his alma
mater to rescue a floundering program. The title win was his
300th victory and the culmination of more than a decade of
rebuilding the Wolverines.
When Berenson took the Michigan job in 1984, the Wolver-
ines finished ninth in the CCHA. Now, 12 years since his start,
Michigan finished the season No. I in the nation.
And Berenson, a proud, stoic former Stanley Cup champi-
"There is no comparison (to this)," Berenson said. "I've
played on teams that have won big series, but this is much,
much better. There is nothing close to it.
"I have a momento that sits on my desk that says, 'Our day
will come.' We've worked for that day, and we've earned that
day, and our day has come."
Biakabutuka leaves Wolverines for Panthers
By Ryan White
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