4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 29, 2001
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So, another NFL season is in the books
MIKE SPAHN PRAY FOR RAIN
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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U nfortunately, I'm
writing this column
without the benefit
of knowing who won this
year's Super Bowl. But to
me, it doesn't really matter.
I long for the days ofGreen
Bay Packer triumphs in the
big game, but those days
are gone for now. Even the
days of consistent playoff births are gone, so
who am I to talk about winning the big one?
This game, this biggest of all games in fact,
has deteriorated, in my mind. More people tune
in for the commercials than anything else and
each year the game gets a little more boring.
Aerosmith and 'N Sync at half time? You've
got to be kidding. No Bud Bowl? Please, that
was the best partr of the early '90s.
Sure there have been a few good matchups
- last year was a good game, I guess, but who
really cared about the teams. The Rams and the
transported Titans? Two teams in new cities
with no history. I certainly had no reason to
watch. And now we've even got the Ravens in
the game. The Ravens? I mean really, a team
that moved from Cleveland and then proceeded
to name itself after an Edgar Allen Poe poem?
That's ridiculous. And on top of that, what
about the fans? In both Cleveland and Houston,
the fans must be steaming. Their team leaves,
much to their dismay and then less than to years
later, it's Super Bowl time. That must be terri-
ble. Money wins out over loyalty and the entire
professional sports arena is indicted. And now
those fans must not only watch a Super Bowl
contender, but also replacement teams that
surely stink and will continue to stink for quite
Don't get me wrong; I was not always so
cynical. I used to look forward to football
games like they were weekly Christmas morn-
ings. I wore my John Elway jersey in the face
of criticism each season, only to see dynasties
like the '49ers and the Cowboys rip my heart
out. I prayed for Jim Kelly to get even one ring,
only to see wide-right kill my hopes.
But in the end, I stayed the course and even-
tually got what I wanted - the Packers, my
team, won the big one. And I was in high
school trying to win the big one myself. For me
the big one was just that - one. Any one.
See, my school didn't have the best team.
Check that - we stunk. For years. Seven
years, to be exact.
Entering my senior year, we hadn't won a
game in 63 tries. That's a drought if I've ever
heard of one. But, just as I would have hoped,
we turned the streak around. Headlines in the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the day after our
first game of my, senior season read, "The
streak is over." We shut out an inferior squad
14-0 one August night and like that, we were
heroes. It was as if we'd won the Super Bowl,
as fans stormed the field and TV cameras
searched for the captains and our coach. And
all this for a seemingly insignificant feat - we
won one game.
We didn't have huge goals, huge TV con-
tracts or even huge stakes in the game. We just
loved to play and our fans tumed out to see us
play. Win or lose - and it was usually lose -
we had an enthusiastic crowd of supporters
willing to go to the mat for us. And when we
won the big one - our first game in more than
five years, our fans were there supporting us.
Now that's what sports are all about. A
corporatized synergy of sport and advertising
will never compare to the raw, base emotion
of winning a high school game that so many
people care about. Even the 1997 Packers
Super Bowl win cannot compare to the joy
that beset the Shorewood Greyhounds and
their fans that warm August night when the
And never will the NFL be able to capture
that emotion if it keeps.catering to corporate
sponsors and other big-money clients, rather
than to the fans. I'm going to watch the Super
Bowl and I'll even enjoy it. The commercials
should be funny and I guarantee I'll be sick of
Survivor promos by the end. But I'll have a
good time, I'm sure. However, never will the
emotion of the Super Bowl compare to the sim-
ple joy of a Friday night under the lights, where
football - and sports in general - is pure. The
point of sports is to.unite and entertain and
unfortunately professional sports lost that along
the way. With money guiding decision-making,.
we'll never be able to truly enjoy the games as
we did in high school.
Just remember, 0-63, and the fans still
came. Would that happen in the NFL? Or
would the team be off to Las Vegas with a
name change and a new logo? It just doesui't
seem worth it.
Mike Spahn really isn't that cynical, but ifou
have a good high school sports story, he'dive
to hear it and maybe even write about it.
His column runs every other Monday. E-mail
him at email@example.com.
1I want to say to him 'please stay."
-.Religion and English Prof. Ralph Williams on the possibility of
University President Lee Bollinger leaving the University if
Harvard University offers him its top position.
TO THE DAILY:
It seems necessary to reply to Rob Shere-
da's letter ("MSA was 'petty and political,' not
empowering" 1/25/01) not only because it rep-
resents a totally misinformed viewpoint, but
also because it seems that Shereda gets a kick
out of tearing down those who are actually out
there trying to make a difference and someone
needs to call him on that one. The aim of the
"Vagina Monologues" as part of the 2001 Col-
lege Initiative is to raise awareness about and
to try to bring an end to violence against
women. However, domestic violence is not the
only kind of violence against women.
To say that SAFEhouse is the only organi-
zation that supports women who are victims of
violence is to be exceedingly ignorant. What
Shereda seems to be missing, however, is that
there is no argument here. We all agree that
SAFEhouse is an amazing organization and
that is why it will receive half of the proceeds
from the "Vagina Monologues." We have cho-
sen to donate to Planned Parenthood because it
is anything but a "faceless" organization.
If you want to see the faces of Planned
Parenthood simply look at the women of this
university. If you think Planned Parenthood
hasn't touched the life of a woman you know,
then you're fooling yourself.
As for the statement that Planned Parent-
hood forces "women to fork over large sums
of cash" (Rob, did you happen to know that
Planned Parenthood provides free medical
services to women?) Yes, Planned Parent-
hood does provide abortions but it also pro-
vides contraceptives, HIV testing, sexually
transmitted disease testing, pelvic exams
pre-natal care, vasectomies, infertility care
and tubal sterilizations (try visiting
www.plannedparenthood.com to attempt to
sound more intelligent next time).
The decision has been made to donate
money to the "Ann Arbor women who real-
ly need it" - all the women who need it,
not just those affected by domestic violence.
Shereda may have' called the Michigan Stu-
dent, Assembly "petty and political," but I
see his letter as far more political than the
actions of such MSA members as Commu-
nications Chair Matt Nolan, who was able to
look past politics to see the greater issue.
Nolan has my greatest respect for stand-
ing up and supporting women while people
like Sherada choose to mock him rather than
display the same strength of character.
The letter writer is the director of the
FOX PROUDLY PRESENTS
A GROUP OF MEN PUT IN
A TROPICAL PARIDISE
WHERE THEY WILL BE
TEMPTED TO CHEAT ON
ISN'T THAT WHERE WE
WENT LAST YEAR FOR
Ann Arbor life imitates bad TV
Daily mislead readers
TO THE DAILY:
As director of the Office of Student Con-
flict Resolution, I would like to respond to
the Daily's editorial ("Fight the Code,"
Reasonable people may disagree about
whether there should be a Code of Student
However, given that there is a code in
place that University students agreed to abide
by, it's important for all within our commu-
nity to have factually correct information
about it. Some of the facts in the Daily's edi-
torial are incorrect.
First, the conflict resolution procedures
are readily available from OSCR; they may
be found in the University Policies Hand-
book for Students, and are accessible via the
Internet at http://www.umich.edu/-oscr/.
We invited the Daily to send representa-
tives to our resolution board training session
held on Jan. 13, a forum where its staff could
ask questions about code procedures. I'm
sorry that no one from the Daily staff chose
The editorial states that students "... are
denied legal consultation for the Conflict
In fact, students charged under the Code
are permitted to consult with an attorney at
any point during the conflict resolution
process, including the disciplinary hearing.
You write "... the Code of Student Con-
duct considers itself competent in determin-
ing guilt and innocence in legal matters." The
Code is an educational tool designed to
respond to specifically identified behavior
that is inconsistent with the values of the
University community. It is not designed to,
nor does it, determine whether someone is
innocent or guilty of violating civil or crimi-
The Daily also states that students are "...
required to keep (themselves) free from
rumors, speculations and contact with law
enforcement officials ..." The Code process is
triggered only by a written complaint by a
student, a member of the faculty or a staff
The Code was developed with student
input. The amendment proposals submitted
by the Michigan Student Assembly have
been undergoing a careful review by the Stu-
dent Relations Advisory Committee and Uni-
versity President Lee Bollinger.
We anticipate implementing any changes
accepted by the president' in the 2001-2002
I encourage debate about the Code; how-
ever, it's very important that the debate be
based on accurate facts.
Elkin is the director of the University's Ofice
of Student Conflict Resolution.
Palestinians on verge of missing peace opportunity
The conflict is intense. The propaganda
runs wild. All the reports are biased. As an
American college student, I face the diffi-
cult task of sorting through this mess of
opposing images and propaganda to find
some element of truth. Recently, it has
become increasingly clear that Israel wants
and is prepared to make huge sacrifices for
peace. Unfortunately, the same cannot be
said about the Palestinians.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba
the United Nations Partition Plan of 1948,
which called for two separate independent
states in British mandatory Palestine.
Instead of working with Israel to ensure
peaceful coexistence, six Arab dountries
invaded the new state with the goal of "dri-
ving Israel into the sea."
This hatred of Israel did not stop in
1948. It seems as though this was just a
starting point for a hatred that would grow
so intense that one questions whether or
not future generations of Palestinians
would be able to abide by a peace agree-
ment; or, whether this hatred is simply a
and not "martyrdom."
The latest missed opportunity occurred
just months ago at Camp David, when PLO
Chairman Yassir Arafat maintained his "all
or nothing" stance on several key issues.
The only solution to the current conflict is
some sort of a peace agreement.
Yet, it is impossible to negotiate for
peace without compromise..Israel has con-
tinually ;demonstrated its willingness to
make sweeping and painful compromises,
even on the holy city of Jerusalem.
The Palestinians have not. Right now,
as negotiations are underway in Taba,