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October 22, 2007 - Image 10

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-22

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DAILY SPORTS BREAKS DOWN THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

2B - Monday, October 22, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SAID AND HEARD

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

"I've been coaching college football
since 1980, and I've never seen
a guy go through what he went
through for his team. He's the
ultimate warrior in my mind."
- Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson
on senior Chad Henne's performance at Illinois

KELLY FITZPATRICK
The sophomore forward
notched a goal with just
1:40 left in regulation play
against Northwestern to
clinch the regular season
Big Ten Championship for
the Michigan field hockey
team.

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Why no night games for Blue?

Curious how
men's and
women's tennis
did? How about
volleyball and
rowing?
Go to
michigandaily.
com

CHAMPAIGN -
Jt was a scene unfamiliar to
Ann Arborites. There were
American flags being waved
around, fire-
works explod-
ing to cheers
from onlookers
and a general;
excitement in a j
nighttime set-
ting.
No, this SCOTT
wasn't a Fourth BELL
of July celebra- --
tion, though I
guess Ann Arbor could look into
getting one of those, too.
This was a football game, and
an environment Michigan football
fans definitely miss out on for
games at the Big House.
Early Saturday night, Memorial
Stadium was rocking. A unified
group of fans supplied deafening
roars and there was an immeasur-
able excitement throughout the
crowd before the opening kickoff
even took place.
What was the difference? Is
Memorial Stadium set up better

than Michigan Stadium? Hardly.
The Big House holds 40,000 more
fans, and Memorial Stadium had
even fewer people than its capac-
ity because of ongoing renova-
tions.
Did their fans have more to
cheer for than Michigan would
have if it was at Michigan Sta-
dium? No. The game was equally
important to both teams, consid-
ering a loss for either would put
a huge damper on their Big Ten
Championship hopes.
The biggest difference had
nothing to do with physical struc-
tures or how much the fans cared
(though it was refreshing to see a
crowd wearing one unified color
instead of the grab bag of colors
I've seen in the Big House all six
home games this season).
It was nighttime.
Night game. Remember those?
For seniors like myself, contests
like the Michigan State game our
freshman year may ring a bell. Are
you a junior? How about the Penn
State game? Neither of those were
true night games, but they ended
well afterthe sun went away and

the drama unfolded under the
lights. Remember that feeling?
Now multiply that by three.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
may hate night games, and at least
some of the higher ups in the Ath-
letic Department feel the same
way. But it's impossible to ignore
the excitement that night games
bring to a campus.
Students are generally more
excited for the nighttime match-
ups. It makes the anticipation
even greater for games, and
primetime television certainly
is great exposure for programs
(especially ones trying to erase
recent embarrassing losses from
people's memories). Potential
recruits are much more likely
to watch a game available all
over the nation than something
that's nearly impossible to locate
(cough, Big Ten Network).
Sure, there are downsides to
night games. Temporary lights
need to be brought in, and that
costs money. Players also have to
adjust to playing at unfamiliar
times and sitting around all day
to wait and play. Then there's the

alcohol issue. Students are much
more likely to show up wasted
at a game that kicks off at night
instead of noon. But why can't
compromises be made? In Wis-
consin's primetime night-game
earlier this season, students were
randomly breathalyzed at the
games.
Now I'm not going to say tar-
geting lots of drunk kids is a good
idea, but maybe there are some
sacrifices that could make the
Michigan Stadium experience
both more enjoyable for fans and
more intimidating for visiting
teams.
This won't happen overnight
- it's certainly tough to change
long-standing traditions when
people in power do things
"Because that's how we've always.
done it."
But for a program whose sta-
dium and fanbase isconsistently
called out for being incredibly
overrated, maybe it's a step worth
taking.
- Bell can be reached at
scotteb@umich.edu.

Not a vet?
Not a
problem
By CHARLES CLINTON
For the Daily
It's interesting that rugby is
the most played full contact sport
in the world, but it's relegated to
club sports at the college level,
which leads to a lot of inexperi-
enced players on the teams.
The Michigan women's club
rugby team doesn't have any
players with previous experience
according to their coach Herb
Birch. Fortunately for the team,
this is not a problem.
"The first rugby game most
people play is the one thatthey're
in," Birch said.
With that problem, the line
between coaching and teaching
is blurred.
"It's hard to separate both
teaching and coaching," Birch
said. "But due to the lack of expe-
rienced players on the team, it
becomes more of a teachingexpe-
See RUGBY, Page 3B

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