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November 06, 1997 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-06

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 6, 1997


'No superstars' on this crew

By Peter Romer-Friedman
For the Daily
There's no 'I' in team.
Coaches spit out this cliche as fast as a crew team runs
over smooth waters. But the women of the Michigan
crew team do not need to be reminded of this cliche.
Crew requires certain elements as a sport: Eight row-
ers, a coxswain, a boat and fiberglass boat and eight
oars, all integral parts of the team. Rhythm, balance,
strength and teamwork characterize the sport.
"Everybody knows in rowing that everyone is not out
there for themselves," Michigan rower Alison Hickey
said. "There are no individuals. In order to make a boat
move quickly and win races, everyone has to work
together. There are no superstars in crew.
"If the boat doesn't have a good practice, it's the
whole boat's fault. The coach won't single out one play-
er and say 'you didn't try hard enough."'
The Wolverines will put their teamwork to use at the
Princeton Chase Regatta in Princeton, N.J., this Sunday.
Before the season began, there were eight individu-
als. Now there is one team. At each race the team learns
and improves as a unit. Even the freshmen feel includ-
Alison Hickey is one of the three freshman rowers on
the Varsity open-8 boat, the best squad the Wolverines
Kate Johnson and Melanie Duncan, both freshmen,
knew they would race in the varsity-8 boat since
September, but Hickey rowed her way onto the boat dur-
ing mid-season.

"I was really surprised because I came in here not
expecting to be in the Varsity-8," Hickey said. "The
girls have been really great, accepting freshmen into the
first boat."
Michigan has enjoyed great success in its second year
as a varsity sport.
The Wolverines finished second to open the season at
the Head of the Ohio, 13th in the Head of the Charles
- the largest two-day regatta in the world - and
recently defeated Ohio State in the inaugural Wolverine
This weekend the Wolverines will dock their boats on
the nearby shores of Princeton University, in their last
event of the fall season, the Princeton Chase.
It is a three-mile head race, in which teams start at
different times.
"I think this is our last time to prove ourselves for the
fall," Duncan said. "Everyone will have a good attitude
going into it. We should have the best row of the sea-
The women of the crew team have endured 5 a.m.
practices, team bus drivers who have been arrested and
racing in sub-freezing temperatures without gloves.
They've been to the edge and back, and quite possibly
they'll be first to the finish line this Sunday.
"As a team, technically we've improved," Duncan
"We've learned a lot and have come together. We
have more rhythm and row more the same with each
other. That will help us out this weekend."

Continued from Page IIA
his Air Force father around the
world, made it hard for Nelson to be
anything but shy. lie lived every-
where from California to England,
though his parents were both from
Pennsylvania, and settled in enough
at his high school to become a prep
Playing at Penn State, known as
"Linebacker U," was his dream, but
he never thought he'd end up like he
has. Saturday, barring injury, will
mark his 33rd consecutive start at
outside linebacker.
"He's earned everyone's respect,"
Penn State wide receiver Joe
Jurevicius said. "A person that dedi-
cated, it's no wonder. He's really a
well-liked guy."
This season, Nelson leads the
Lions in tackles with 60, which is 23
more than the Lions' next best,
Aaron Collins. His biggest perfor-
mance came in his biggest game
thus far, against a previously
unbeated Ohio State team Oct. 11,
when he made 11 tackles and helped
limit the Buckeyes to 106 yards
But even more impressive to
Johnson has been Nelson's new-
found willingness to take risks, as a

player and a person. Nelson still is
an introvert, living alone. and said "I
pretty much stay in my room if '1m
not in class or
playing foot-
ball." But his
only class this
semester is ball-
w room dancing,
and he never
would have
taken that a cou-
pie of years ago.
Here is this
Nelson big, hulking line-
backer ... waltz-
ing across the floor? In public? "I
make fun of him all the time, like
'Do these guys whose heads you're
knocking off know you're a
dancer?"' Johnson laughed.
"My girlfriend is in the class, and
I didn't have a girlfriend two years
ago," Johnson explained. "I don't
know if I've opened up or anything.
I just know that I've tried to take
more of a leadership role (on the
team). When you play and have
played for awhile, you earn the right
to speak and the responsibility (to
lead). I've just tried to be myself."
And with that - talk of being true
to oneself- we come back to Dhani
Jones. No one does it better. No one
does it more. Jones is no ordinary
Jones. If you need proof, just call
him when he's not home. His
answering machine greeting will
give you a sense of the man behind
"Don't have a closed mind when
you leave a message for Dhani
Jones," it says. "Remember what
Morgan Freeman said (in the film
'The Shawshank Redemption'):
'Some birds aren't meant to be
caged; their feathers are just too
A closed mind won't get you far
with Jones, nor will dullness. Jones
is a student in the Residential
College, a haven for the eccentric on
an already eclectic campus. He is the
only football player in the program,
just as he is the only football player
to paint his fingernails blue, wear a
puffy afro-like hairdo and admit a
love for abstract expressionism.
"Hey, Dhani," Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr often chides him. "What
color are your nails going to be this
week? Why don't we get a hair cut?"
Undeterred by the same criticism
and joking he's endured most of his
life, Jones thought about being an
artist for a living. But he said since
"artists only make money when they
die, I thought I'd find a way to be
creative and make money while I'm
alive." So he's hoping to be a pedi-
atric plastic neurosurgeon and prac-
tices working with children, signing

autographs after a recent game in
ostentatious lohn I.ennon sunglasses
and a mai e-and-blue Snoopy tie.
"oach ('arr and my teamma@
joke with me sometimes. but I know
who I am and they respect me for
that," JIones said. "l''.e never been
one to limit mysel I' to one group or
one thinl, anyway. Thats why I like
East Quad so much. It's diverse. You
can talk to anyone about anything,
and everybody's different.
"As far as my teammates, I do m1y
job on the field, and they appreci
and support me."
It's not as though Jones is a
Dennis Rodman, eccentric for the
sake of it and a glutton for attention.
In fact, Jones has sat quietly by
while excelling, watching corner-
back Charles Woodson - and line-
backer Sam Sword, to a lesser extent
-- handle the press. "I don't want to
be a distraction," he said.
lie hardly has distracted from any-
thing but opponents' glory, rack*
up 57 tackles. good for second on the
team despite his limited starting sta-
tus. And all this has come a year
after he was stuck on special teams
and two years after he was lucky to
be playing football at all.
On Aug. 28 of his senior high
school season, he had back surgery
to repair a herniated disk. The injury
was caused by pressure applied over
time, not a sudden shock. "I
doing too much," he said.
Jones's athletic interests are as
varied as his intellectual ones; he let-
tered in wrestling and track in high
school as well as football, and he
loves to snowboard and race moun-
tain bikes. He even worked in a bike
shop over the summer.
But the determination he gained
from playing all those sports helped
in rehab, and he was back in act
Oct. 28. "It was nothing short oa
miracle," said Jones, who played that
season's final seven games and.still
wound up with 106 tackles.
"That was the toughest thing 1\e
ever had to go through - that and
this semester," said Jones, whose
parents both attended Michigan.
"I've got four tough classes (eco-
nomics, chemistry, Spanish and
women's studies) and the pressur f
-being a starter, and now we hav a
huge game Saturday.
"Now it's all about focus and cut-
ting out everything but football.
That's my inspiration."
And if he's able to seize the day
this weekend along with the rest of
the Wolverines, that inspiration may
become a line jotted down in some
future meeting, tucked away some-
where on the binding of his playb k
or between X's and O's - an ode
the Rose Bowl, a poem of Pasadena.

Dhani Jones's emergence as one of Michigan's top linebackers hasn't prevented
him from keeping up with his poetry or his artwork - as the only football player
in the University's Residential College.
Fife to be a Hoosier

The Associated Press
Clarkston High School standout
Dane Fife will be playing basketball
at Indiana, the two-sport athlete
announced yesterday.
Fife, who averaged 26.8 points,
8.5 rebounds and four steals a game
last season, turned down bids from
other schools, including Michigan
and Michigan State, to attend
"Calling them and telling them
this morning that I wasn't going to
come to their college was probably
the toughest thing I've ever done,"
Fife tnld renorters.

Fife may also play football for
Indiana, when he's not playing bas-
ketball for coach Bobby Knight,
Fife's father, Dan, is coach at the
high school and had talked with
Michigan Athletic Director Tom
Goss about succeeding Steve Fisher
as the Wolverines' basketball co@.
Dan Fife was a Michigan assistant
coach in the early 1970s
But, Goss named assistant Brian
Ellerbe as interim coach last month

to a one-year term.
Goss has said he
candidates again at

will interview
the end of the





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