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October 01, 1998 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-01

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 1, 1998 - 11A

' The
Grind
Mark Snyder
Sectade ofdemolition
erb excftes al ki'zd&
ere's nothing like the crunch of chrome on chrome. The spinning of the
wheels, the spitting of the dirt, the crashing of the cars - oh, I can remem-
ber the scene like it was yesterday.
fter all, who forgets a car accident?
On a spectacular day in late August, my relatively pristine ride and I traveled from
Ann Arbor, and its haughty air of sparkling automobiles, to Monroe County, Mich.,
ir the county fair.
: As one might expect, the lineup to enter the fairgrounds stretched as far as the eye
Gould see. The quasi-parking lot lay rows deep with pickup trucks, sedans and sport-
$tility vehicles, but mostly it was swarming with ordinary people.
For a young child, a fair of this magnitude, with rides, games and animals, is like
an offensive lineman at Old Country Buffet. There are just too many options.
ut my sheltered suburban existence drew me away from the tilt-a-whirl, cotton
nd blue ribbons for the fattest pig. My ears dragged me to the roar of the
gines and the cranking of carbeurators.
I was going to watch a demolition derby.
Entering the event, I was determined to keep an open mind. Sports are sports and,
after all, aren't events like this keeping the hallowed Silverdome on life support?
The track itself was nothing special. A large expanse of dirt sat awaiting its next
moment of glory. But the grandstands surrounding the event were enormous.
Thousands packed the wooden benches, shoulder-to-shoulder in anticipation.
Not a single witness went home unfulfilled.
The goal of the event? To bust up everyone else's car until yours is the only one
running, regardless of its condition.
Talk about road rage ... this was encouraged fury. And the fans loved it.
Whe derby began with the monster car introduction.
"Welcome to the Monroe County Fair for this evening's demolition derby!" bel-
lowed'the announcer from his rinkside perch.
The crowd roared its approval. One by one, the first heat of damaged, refurbished,
generally old-and-shitty quasi-automobiles lined up side-by-side facing the covered
gtandstand. And as the engines fired on the 1.5 cylinders that remained after they
had been stripped of nearly all'dignity, another thunderous roar emanated from the
masses. But because this was a family event, safety became an issue.
So the fair organizers established some rules - purportedly for the drivers' safe-
ty, but more for the fans' reassurance. The rules were:
1.Make sure your doors are welded shut.
.Get out of the car when it catches fire.
Now tell me that's not a conflict of interest.
.But, judging from the clientele, personal safety was secondary to the little copper
trophy awarded to the winner. The image of a new spitoon was enough to motivate
niany of the drivers.
Once the game began it was war. Backward, forward, sideways, it didn't matter.
Cars crunched, fans ooohed and aahed and pieces of bodies (car bodies, not people
bodies) launched in all directions.
Each car that fell casualty to a dead engine or an inability to move - like it was
stif or the cinderblocks at home - was stripped of its white flag and eliminated
fron the competition.
is continued through seven or eight heats, before the top two finishers from
ca h.outing advanced to the championship round.
As I strode around the grandstand, the comments varied from excitement to cau-
tion to anticipation. One distinguished gentleman, after eating a faceful of mud from
a spinning wheel, began screaming eloquently back at the now-immobile cars.
"Dammit! I gots sprayed!"
The devastated cars, whose owners used the Dukes of Hazzard method to exit
their vehicles, received the royal treatment. Bulldozers entered the track from one
end zone, picked up three cars at a time and promptly deposited them into the
world's largest trash compactor.
You think Superman had it rough in Superman II? These cars got squashed like
jaws of life in reverse. It was chrome sandwiches for all.
The sad part of all this is the time and effort each driver displayed. While it may
not take extreme effort to crash into other cars - I have friends who could teach
thse drivers a thing or two - painstaking preparation occurred in the design phase.
Each car - before it was squashed like the New York Mets' playoff hopes - was
See SNYDER, Page 12A

mot Freshmen get chance
i. k tto shine at Western

By Nick Feizn
For the Daffy
Michigan men's tennis coach Brian
Eisner feels very confident about this
year's squad.
Eisner recruited a promising crop of
freshman players, including a steal from
Florida in Danny McCain. As a high
school senior, McCain was too old to
participate in the Florida 18-and-under
division. Left with no alternative, he
competed in the men's division, where
he finished ranked second in the state.
Ben Cox and Henry Beam, both of
whom hail from Michigan, also had
impressive results in their junior league
showings. The other two freshmen,
Jeronie Barnes and Chris Schultz, are
competing hard to make the team.
This weekend, McCain, Cox and
Beam will compete at Western
Michigan, where they will battle players
from Michigan State and Depaul. This
tournament, however, will not count in
the team's record, because fewer than

four players are competing. Eisner-
plans to use the tournament to help the
freshmen "jumpstart" the season.
Eisner said this young and enthusias-
tic team has great potential. The team
lost some of the firepower it had last
year, in captain and No. I singles play-
er David Paradzik, but the Wolverines
still have a strong nucleus of upper-
classmen to guide the younger players.
"The team's goals are to finish
ranked in the top 25 nationally and to
make the NCAA tournament," Eisner
said.
This season's tournament will field
64 teams, rather than 16 as it has in
years past. Eisner said a solid start is
vital in order to reach these goals.
To attain success this season, the
Wolverines must dispose of this year's
strongest Big Ten teams - Illinois,
Purdue and Minnesota. The toughest
nonconference matches are against
Notre Dame, Boise State, Louisville,
Virginia and Virginia Tech.

LgUIdsRdsWN/.aily
The Michigan men's tennis team sends four freshmen to Kalamazoo.

G offers to host invite
with 10 Big Ten teams

By David Alfred
Daily Sports Writer
There is no place like home for the
Michigan women's golf team, which is
playing its first and only home match this
upcoming weekend. This Saturday and
Sunday, the Wolverines will host the
annual Wolverine Invitational at the
Michigan golf course.
In just the third match of this early sea-
son, the team is already looking to make
a turnaround. Last weekend in West
Lafayette, at the Lady Northern
Intercollegiate, the Wolverines placed
10th in a 14-team field.
Senior captain Sharon Park was the
ladies' top finisher in the competition,
tying for 31st, with a final score of 247.
"We need strong performances from
our upperclassmen," Michigan coach
Kathy Teichert said. "Our experienced
golfers will need to really step it up,
adding a sense of strong leadership"
There is still a lot of choosing to be
done. Currently, the women are in a mid-
week qualification process. In the days
leading up to the invitational, each golfer
competes against all others for the right
to participate as one of six starters in this
weekend's match.
Surprisingly enough, it is the newcom-
ers who are stealing the spotlight.
Finishing close behind Park were
freshman Bess Bowers and Misia
Lemanski. Bowers finished in a tie for
35th, with a three-round score of 249.
While Lemanski finished one shot shy of
Bowers and tied for 40th, it was another
freshman standout, Stephanie Bezilla,
who shot a final score of 268, tying her
for 69th place.
"Our putting is gradually improving as

we progress in the season," Teichert said.
"The entire team is improving on their
course management skills. Exactly
where to place the ball is a very essential
skill to possess as a golfer."
Michigan State, which won last week-
end's Lady Northern Intercollegiate, is
expected to attend, as are 10 of I1 Big
Ten teams.
The Spartans dominated the
Wolverines, defeating them by a total of
56 shots. Fortunately for Michigan,
Indiana, last weekend's second-place fin-
isher, will not be competing at the
Wolverine Invitational. The Wolverines
are beginning to foresee this weekend as
a possible grudge match.
The Wolverine are very optimistic
about their chances for this weekend.
"I feel that our team can have a major
impact on the outcome of the invitation-
al,' Teichert said. "Obviously we would
like to win, but I would like for each
member to seize any opportunity for
improvement".
This year's invitational begins with
two rounds of golf on Saturday. The tour-
nament will conclude with a final round
Sunday, with tee times for both days
scheduled at 9 a.m.
Last year the par 73, 5,960-yard course
seemed to help the Wolverines, who fin-
ished 6th overall.

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Come to the OIP's annualStudyAbroadFair on
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