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April 21, 1998 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-21

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 21, 1998 - 21

Wen Ifr gets a little
hairy, lose yoursefinsz
Michigan hockey

I

it's done. It's over with. It was
tough --- almost painful, even -
but I did it. After all, I had no
choice.
I rinsed off the cold razor, washed
my face and lathered it up. And
what was left after I finished? A
year's worth of my life, it seemed,
everything I had gone through,
everything I had experienced - all
it anounted to was clippings of hair
ck to the bottom of my filthy
sink.
I shaved my Nrilue

I

goatee.
But as diffi-
cult as it was to
cut away what
had been part of
mie for so long,
I didn't really
regret it. In fact,
4nnjoyed it. I
relished it.
After all,
imagine the
repercussions
had I not been

FARAH
Farah's
Faucet

forced to shave
it off. A whole
team of
,Wolverines, a
,'holc group of
peful hockey
ayers -g
freshmen with After NCAA
wide eyes, championship
sqniors trying to
leave a legacy
- would've been disappointed.
More than disappointed, they
would've been crushed. Their sea-
son {would've been practically
ruined, for heaven's sake.
h, don't get me wrong. They
idn't really care whether I shaved
or not. But they did care about the
NCAA championship. And if the
Wolverines hadn't won, I wouldn't
have shaved.
Iknow, I'm the media.
Technically, I'm not supposed to
care if the Wolverines win or lose.
But let's be honest - if you're a
sports fan, whether you're writing
a paper or not, you're going to
re who wins. I've always been a
Michigan fan, ever since I was born
in Ann Arbor 21 years ago, and
there was no way I couldn't want
the Wolverines to win. I had to. It's
in my blood.
Which is why, before the champi-
onship game between Michigan and
iBoston College, I did something
>im made a deal.

The Wolverines win, and I shave
the goatee. Plain and simple.
In what was one of the most
thrilling games I've ever seen - of
any sport, hockey or otherwise -
Michigan beat the Eagles, 3-2, in
overtime. And that was that.
The Wolverines won, and I had to
shave.
And I couldn't have been happier.
Because as much as I've always
been a Michigan fan, as much as
I've always cheered for the maize
and blue, this hockey championship
meant even more to me.
I'm not your average, generic
"~sports guy." I love sports, of
course. But I'm not one of those
guys who can rattle off Jim
Harbaugh's pass-completion per-
centage when he played for
Michigan, or Steve Shields' goals-
against average when he was a
Wolverine. I've never made an
effort to memorize sports trivia, and
I've never called in to a sports talk-
radio show.
I just love the games. I love the
stories of the athletes who play in
them. I love all the cliches - the
never-say-die attitude, the ability to
sacrifice it all for your team, to rise
above being human for a fraction of
a second and almost become divine.
I love the intangibles. The purity of
sports.
And this hockey team, more than
any team I've ever followed, brought
that out for me in a lot of different
ways.
It could have been Marty Turco
making the most impossible glove-
save you've ever seen, just when
New Hampshire looked like it was
going to make a rally in the NCAA
semifinals.
Or maybe it was Mark Kosick, the
college freshman who looks like he
could almost be a high school fresh-
man, scoring two goals to send the
national championship game into
overtime.
Or Bubba Berenzweig, scoring
and holding up the defense while
playing more than seemed humanly
possible.
Whether it was Turco, Kosick,
Berenzweig or any of the other
Wolverines, there was something
special about this team.
I actually had a hard time decid-
ing to cover hockey before the
school year started. All of last year,
I wrote about the Michigan women's
track team, and I enjoyed that
immensely. I liked the people I

On Sale today
in the Fishbowl!
The Daily's
commemorative book
of the Michigan
football team's run to
the national
championshi is still
available, in fill color
and black-and-white
editions. But if you
can't make it to Mason
Hall today between 10
a.m. and 5 p.m., just
call the Student
Publications Building
at 76-DAILY to place
your order.

Production. design. writing
and photography done
entirely l students.
Don't miss out
on history!
Get your copy of
"WE'RE NO. 1"
while supplies last!

wrote about, I liked the sport and I
liked giving good coverage to a
team that usually didn't get the
recognition it deserved,
Why would I want to write hock-
ey when I was so happy with track?
I didn't care if hockey was a "big-
ger" sport than track, or if more
people read about it. I liked what I
was doing, so why would I want to
change?
Somehow or another, I decided to
go with hockey. And it was probably
one of the best decisions I've ever
made.
Hockey manages to maintain the
excitement of a "big" sport with a
lot of fanfare, while keeping the
intimate, more personal feel of a
smaller sport.
The practices are open to anyone
who wants to watch them. The play-
ers are more accessible - to fans
and media - and they're genuinely
friendly people. Coach Red
Berenson comes off as tough and
hard-nosed, but he'll surprise you
with a joke or wide grin when you
least expect it.
Maybe those qualities meant as
much to me as the sport itself.
Maybe that's why the Michigan
hockey team attracts such ardent,
loyal fans.
Somehow, the Wolverines make
you feel like you're part of the team.
Whether they're signing autographs,
giving interviews or skating around
the ice and thanking their fans after
winning the NCAA championship
- the Wolverines bring you into the
game.
You feel like you're on the ice
with them. With every flubbed shot
or missed pass, I always flinched.
With every goal that Turco gave up,
I shook my head. But with every
victory, every perfect pass or amaz-
ing save, I always cheered - at

least on the inside.
I've never been very good at play-
ing sports. But the Michigan hockey
team could make me feel like a win-
ner. The Wolverines could make all
their fans feel like winners. After
all, Michigan wasn't supposed to be
that great this year. The Wolverines
definitely weren't supposed to win a
championship. But they did win.
They won the whole thing.
Think about that for a second.
How often does anyone really win it
all? Sure, we see that kind of stuff
in the movies all the time. Whether
it's karate, hockey, baseball or what-
ever, the little guy always wins.
Dreams always come true in the
movies.
But how often do dreams come
true in real life?
When we're little kids, we want to
be astronauts or rock stars, then
somehow we wind up selling our
souls to be accountants or advertis-
ing executives.
But the Michigan hockey team
did reach its dream. The Wolverines
outdid the movies - they won in
real life. Somehow that makes me
- that makes all of us - feel like
we can win in real life, too.
Maybe that's why I had to shave.
Maybe I had to do something con-
crete to feel like I was really a part
of the championship. Like I had a
stake in the amazing heroics and the
purity of the sport.
Somehow this hockey team
brought us all closer to the game, to
the action, to the winning.
I don't exactly know how the
Wolverines did it. But I do know,
for some reason, I won't be growing
back my goatee for a long, long
time.
- This is Chris Farah's last column
as a Sports editor. E-mail him at
cjfarah( i umich.edu.

G2ARY LARSON
opens up a whote new
can of worms...

MALLORY SE. FLOYD/Daily
Watching Marty Turco and the rest of the Wolverines play incredible hockey to win
the NCAA championship made Michigan's fans feel like winners, too.

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