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April 13, 1998 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-13

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 13, 1998 - 3B

personal invitation isn't enough for
Woodson to meet President Clinton

JOHN
LEROI
Out of Bounds

PAlan Goldenbach
y Sports Writer
,WASHINGTON -I didn't receive an
ation, nor was anyone begging for
u1e to drop by. But since I knew that I
duld get this newspaper to cover my trip
to the nation's capital, to watch President
"1iTon greet the Michigan and
Nebraska co-national-champion football
teams, I went along for the ride.
I was in the White House. The White
e, man. Not at the White House,
ng around the outside gate on x
(sylvania Avenue, but in the White
Vie, walking around, poking my head
,nt; rooms in which who knows what
nt on, and just feeling all superior and
stuff. This is the =' 's
tball home of the most %s',Y
powerful person in y } !
til7mentary the world. It's the
-------- building that's on
e back of the $20 bill. It's, it's ... heck
e White House.
Remember, no offer came my way to ...
t this magnificent edifice. I had to
.KR all these people and tell them that
ni some great writer for some leg
endary publication. I had to be searched,
scanned, checked for any terrorist ten
dencies. I had to Ii; my ass off to get into
the White House.
But I pulled it off, and let me tell you,
-tanding about 30 feet away from '
*eident Clinton was one of the most
hri lling moments of my life. Heck,
atehing the President talk to people
that I've spoken with about football,
ade me do a double-take. Eric Mayes,
The weather was wet and dreary and House to me
hatcaused some of the potential of the
perience go unfulfilled. I couldn't go to inflate his
Sirde to the Rose Garden, where most college sport
ofthe championship teams go when they past decade.
make these visits. I couldn't see many of big.
the areas of the building that make it so He's not b
stately because security was so con- athlete is. N
&emed with keeping everyone together you liken a
.in the East Room where the teums met non, mainta
t e President. more impo
Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, touchdowns.
whatever. Regardless of political back- But appa
ground, you know this is the big time. and thinks
dorts and the White House raredly cross President. H
paths, so when they do, it must be huge. glaring abse
With that in mind, has there been a visit to the:.
larger figure on the Michigan campus in Woodson we
the past year than Charles Woodson? but The Det
orget the interception at Michigan was in Augm
'Itate, forget the touchdown catch at nament takin
Penn State, forget the punt return against Clinton g
Ohio State, forget the interception team's seas
against Washington State that turned respective
around the Rose Bowl. Forget the made partice
Heisman. Forget all of his exploits on the on the M
field and consider how Woodson has Nebraska, ft
used his swagger, his smirk and his strut Lloyd Carr,
*Turco (Canadi
DETROIT (AP) - A goalie never wants to see
someone breaking in alone on hirn once, let alone
three times.
But that's what faced Trevor Prior, and the goalie
from Miami (Ohio) was equal to the task to help a
team of senior players from American colleges
defeat Canada, 3-1, Friday night in the North
American University Hockey Championship at Joe
Louis Arena.
* "Certainly the key to the game was Trevor's goal-,
tending in the first period," American coach Shawn
Walsh of Maine said. "In the first period they had,
three breakaways, and he came up huge."
The game matched senior players from American
and Canadian colleges. The American roster had 11
Canadians. Michigan's Bill Muckalt, although
scheduled to play, did not compete.
"We expected more out of ourselves and didn't

Jon Jansen and the rest of the national champion Wolverines - or most of them, anyway - were at the White
eet President Clinton. Charles Woodson was not in Washington.

Even for an old Satn
it's hrd to say goody
used to hate the University of Michigan.
When I was a child, Ann Arbor was Hell on Earth. I would rather have
lost my TV privileges than go there. I vowed that if somebody blew the
place up, I'd skip Christmas.
I grew up in a college town, and it just happened to be East Lansing. The
world was so simple back then. The Wolverines were the bad guys and the
Spartans ... well, they were my heroes. My father was a chemistry professor
at Michigan State, and my mother went to school there. I lived 10 minutes
away. We had season tickets to everything. I bled Green from an early age.
A very early age.
The only thing better than seeing Michigan State win on a cool, crisp
football Saturday would be if Michigan lost that day, too. To call the two
schools rivals would be an understatement. To me, they were bitter enemies;
and I was fighting the good fight. It was a Cold War, and to tell you the
truth, I would rather have yielded to the Soviets than the Wolverines any
day.
It made so much sense then, and it makes so little now. Now, I am a
Michigan man - and proud to be one. This school and this city are a bigger
part of me than anything else in my life, and I can't imagine that ever
changing. That's what I like about the University of Michigan: It can turn a
10-year-old Spartan into a 22-year-old Wolverine faster than Michigan can
win two NCAA hockey championships.
So now, while I let the ink dry on the last story I will ever write for The
Michigan Daily, I can't help but stand in awe of the finest institution I will
ever be associated with - the place that gave me the best four years of my
life. The greatest place on Earth.
I have to admit, it was difficult to adjust - for the first few months of
college, I still rooted for Michigan State. And I have to admit, when I
stepped into Yost Ice Arena for the first time in my life, to write a story
about Michigan captain Steven Halko during my sophomore year, I could
only name a handful of players. But by the end of the year, I knew them all;
And when Brendan Morrison scored an overtime goal that gave the
Wolverines the 1996 NCAA championship, I have to admit that I jumped
out of my seat, even though I was a member of the media.
I became a Michigan fan somewhere in the middle of that season, but at
that moment - when Morrison was high-stepping like Desmond Howard
behind the net and Red Berenson was weeping at center ice - I knew I
loved Michigan more than I ever hated it.
There's just something about Michigan athletics that gets into your bloodt
It can take over your body on autumn Saturdays and make you buy bumper
stickers, shot glasses and T-shirts that are ridiculously tacky. But you still
flaunt them with pride. There's something special about Michigan athletics,
and even the 10-year-old boys growing up in Spartan Country realize it -
and that's why they hate the Wolverines so much.
There is something special about watching somebody pull that winged
helmet over his head. These athletes run back punts for touchdowns against
Ohio State, obliterate Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium and score game-
winning goals in overtime. And because Michigan is so special, they do it a
lot.
Thanks to The Michigan Daily and Michigan's athletic success, I have
seen things and gone places that I never would have ... Big Ten titles,
national championships, Iowa and the Rose Bowl.
I have met people that I would never have met ... All-Americans,
Heisman Trophy winners, The President of The United States and my best
friends.
Maybe I could've had some of these experiences somewhere else. Maybe
if I'd gone to Duke or Northwestern, I would be able to look back on my
college years as fondly as I will be able to now.
But I doubt it. I love this place more than anything. Thank you so much
for having me.
- This is John Leroisfinal column. He can be reached at
jrleroi@umich.edu.

image to be as mammoth a
ts figure as we've seen in the
Suffice it to say, Woodson is
igger than the President. No
No matter how many times
quarterback's arm to a can-
ining world peace is a tad
rtant than scoring a few
rently, Woodson disagrees
he is bigger than the
[ow else do you explain his
ence from the Wolverines'
White House last Thursday?
as unavailable for comment,
roit News reported that he
sta, Ga., for a little golf tour-
ng place during the weekend.
ave a short speech on each
on before introducing their
coaches and captains. He
ular mention of three people
ichigan team (none on
or the record): Head coach
quarterback and Rose Bowl

MVP Brian Griese, and Woodson. The
President of the United States mentioned
Woodson's name because he was one of
the outstanding members of the team as
well as noting his amazing achievem'ent
as the first primarily defensive player to
win the Heisman.
And he wasn't even there to thank
Clinton. The rest of the Wolverines stood
there knowing that one of the key com-
ponents of their success ditched them,
because he thought he was bigger than
Clinton and his ex-teammates.
Going to the White House is not part
of the deal of winning the national cham-
pionship, or any athletic accomplish-
ment, for that matter. It's an invitation
extended by the President to come to his
home, so that he can congratulate you on
a job well done. It's an honor that few
people get to enjoy.
Best of all, no athlete has to do what I
did to get into the White House. No
lying, no mooching company funds,
nothing artificial like that.
Three times in the 1990s, the national

championship in college football was
split. This was the first instance in which
the President doubled the guest list and
invited both teams.
The word around town that day was
that Woodson was taking in the opening
round of The Masters. I'm not going to
pass judgment on the importance of the
most prestigious tournament in the sport,
but I think we all know the weight it car-
ries in relation to being congratulated by
the President.
"You don't get a chance to (go to the
White House) many times," Carr said.
"Maybe once in a lifetime if you're very,
very fortunate."
Woodson's talent may make him even
more fortunate than that. He has a wealth
of talent that could give him a lengthy,
and perhaps, stellar, professional football
career. And he might just win a Super
Bowl and earn another invitation to the
White House.
Hopefully, by that time, he comes
back to Earth and recognizes just how
fortunate he is.

ian) plays for Americans

deliver," Canadian coach Muylaert of Guelph said.
"Give Trevor Prior a lot of credit. He stood in there
and made the saves he had to."
Walsh played three goalies for the American's -
including Michigan netminder Marty Turco - one
period each.
Turco had eight saves in the third period and
allowed Canada's lone goal on a deflection by J.P.
Davis.
St. Cloud State's Brian Leitza stopped five shots in
the second period. But Prior was certainly the most
impressive and earned his year's player of the game
award
"You just have to be ready for what you get," said
Prior. "I thought I positioned myself good and was
able to make the saves."
Lake Superior forward Terry Marchant assisted on
a second-period goal by Brett Colborne and again on

a short-handed goal by Adam Copeland in the third.
Buddy Wallace scored in the first period.
Wallace, from Clarkson, scored the lone goal of
the first period at the end of a 3-on-I break.
Colorado College's Calvin Elfring drew the lone
Canadian defenseman back to him at the right circle
and slipped a perfect pass in front to Wallace, who
easily beat goalie Belanger at 18:19.
Ferris State's Colborne, gave the U.S. team a 2-0
lead 15:26 into the second period when he took a
draw from Marchant and blasted it past Belanger.
The paid attendance was announced as 6,283, but
the actual crowd was probably closer to 3,000.
"You've got to walk before you run," Walsh said.
"The Great Lakes Invitational didn't draw 19,000
people when it started, either.
"Hopefully this can turn into a two-game home-
and-home series."

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