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April 15, 2008 - Image 23

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 7B

'M' spirit survives disappointment

My fellow graduating seniors: It's
been a rough, not-so-successful four
years for Michigan sports.
No football wins against Ohio
State.
No BCS bowl
victories.
No NCAA
tourney bids in
hoops.
No national
championship
game appear- SCOTT
ances in hockey. BELL
No national - -
titles for any ofthe school's26 teams
over the past three seasons.
It's a laundry list of disappoint-
ments, making it seem pretty foolish
to argue the positives. But what the
hell - I'll give it a try. Things haven't
been that bad, have they?
We've seen great games: three
Michigan-Michigan State football
thrillers, two Michigan-Penn State
nail-biters, two back-and-forth
bowl games book-ending our col-
lege years and many, many more
memorable gridiron contests.
We've seen great athletes: Bray-
lon Edwards, Mike Hart, Jake Long,
Kevin Porter and, yes, even Michael
Phelps - who I think 95 percent of

..i_ i_

Fighting Irish
end title dreams

the freshman girls I knew in 2004
were infatuated with, while 92 per-
cent were planning some form of
stalking, molesting or a combination
of both for him.
We've been around for some of
the biggest stories in recent decades:
Bo's death, Lloyd's retirement, Rich
Rod's hiring, Tommy's firing and
Gerald Ford's passing all happened
in just the past two years.
Things may not have always gone
our way in the big games, but we've
seen some classics. And there's been
some successes along the way, too
- just not in the form of national
championships.
OK, screw it.
This still sucks. No wins against
Ohio State? I don't care how cool
the Capital One Bowl win was - it
doesn't erase a giant 0-fer againstthe
Buckeyes. The gap in hoops has only
extended in our four years here.
And yes, our favored hockey
team just gave away a great shot at
a national championship this past
weekend.
I'm done trying to sound like a
reality-blind, Kool-Aid drinking
homer. The last four years have been
rough. Real rough.
But guess what? We're still Mich-

igan.
No, this isn't an elitist rant. This
isn't intended to piss off other so-
called inferior Big Ten schools. This
is a reminder what the school we've
rooted for during its ups and downs
stands for.
This is a reminder why all gradu-
ating seniors should mean every
word of "It's great to be a Michigan
Wolverine" the first time we chant
it as alumni.
Let's flash back to the most recent
scene of incredible disappointment
for Michigan sports: the Frozen
Four. (Props to the students who
made it out to Denver on the last
weekend before the end of classes,
by the way.)
Every one of the 18,000-plus fans
not wearing Maize and Blue basked
in every goal the underdog Fighting
Irish scored Thursday night. Sure,
Boston College fans yearned for an
easier opponent in the finals and
North Dakota fans wanted another
upset to take the attention off them,
but what about all the other ran-
dom fans? They all cheered against
Michigan. Everyone. It was insane.
It took a couple days for that
scene to sink in since I was still kind
of in disbelief over losing to Notre

Dame, but that very scene essential-
ly defines why I'm so proud to be a
Michigan Wolverine.
Everyone hates us. Michigan
State, Ohio State, Penn State, Illi-
nois and Notre Dame all consider us
their No.l rival. Other schools prob-
ably have us as their No. 2 enemy,
trailing just a geographical foe.
Why all the hate? People envy
success.
When they look at Michigan, they
see the all-time winningest football
program. They see the nation's larg-
est alumni base. They see the most
recognizable helmet in sports and
hear the most recognizable fight
song blasting away in the back-
ground. They see Michigan. And
they get jealous.
So let the haters bask in their
glory while they can. Accept the
Appalachian State chants and the
jeers from Ohio State fans. They
won on the field; they're allowed to
have bragging rights.
But you can damn well bet we'll
all remember these struggles of
the past four years when we're still
bleeding Maize and Blue 20 years
from now.
It's Great to be a Michigan Wol-
verine.

April 11, 2008 - DENVER
- None of the Michigan hockey
team's opponents this season have
produced as many heart attack-
inducing moments as Notre Dame.
Two games against the Fight-
ing Irish - last night's 5-4 overtime
loss in the NCAA semifinals and a
Jan. 18 3-2 thriller - were among
the year's most exciting.
One legitimized the young,
inexperienced Wolverines'
improbable midseason run to the
top of the national rankings.
The other ended Michigan's
season one game early.
"It's devastating," freshman
Matt Rust said. "Just to see one
shot end your season. I feel bad,
but I feel worse for seniors like
Chad (Kolarik) and (Kevin) Por-
ter. They've given it their all, and
their one goal in college hockey
was to win a National Champion-
ship. It just sucks."
The January game was the Wol-
verines' first true test of the sea-
son. Six head-scratching minutes
in, Michigan (33-6-4) was down

2-0 and seemed dead on arrival.
But the Wolverines clawed back
into the contest, capping off the
comeback win in the final minute.
After a 22-second span in last
night's first period, Michigan was
in an eerily familiar two-goal hole.
Notching its second goal of the
night before the announcer could
call the first, Notre Dame went up
2-0 less than six minutes into the
game. The Wolverines saw their
stock crumble from the favorite
to win the Frozen Four to a team
that looked wholly unprepared for
college hockey's biggest stage.
A year removed from giving up
seven goals in an NCAA Regional
game at the Pepsi Center, junior
goaltender Billy Sauer entered the
same building last night hoping to
prove his mettle in big games.
Nine shots on goal, six saves
and three goals later, the net-
minder went into the locker room
for the first intermission without
acknowledgment from a fellow
Wolverine.
- ANDYREID

In four years, only one Home run clinches
national title for 'M' Regional for baseball

June 13, 2005 - OKLAHOMA
CITY - After 1,299 days since
Michigan's last championship,
three more innings couldn't hurt.
The top-ranked Michigan soft-
ball team put together its sec-
ond comeback victory in as many
nights, defeating No. 7 UCLA 4-1 in
10 innings to win the 2005 College
World Series.
The national championship is
the first title that any of the 26 var-
sity teams from Michigan has won
since the field hockey team won its
national title in 2001.
"This is obviously agreat moment
for Michigan and for Michigan
softball and all the alums in the Big
Ten Conference," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said. "I'm mostly so
proud of these kids because they are
incredible and have been all week."

After several failed attempts by
both teams to break the 1-1 tie in
the 10th, it was freshman Saman-
tha Findlay who sealed the deal.
Stepping up to the plate with
runners on first and second and
two outs, Findlay took a 1-1 fast-
ball from UCLA pitcher Anjelica
Seldon deep over the leftfield
wall.
She was met by a swarm of elat-
ed teammates at the plate as she,
along with teammates Tiffany
Haas and Alessandra Giampaolo,
crossed the plate to give Michigan
a 4-1 lead.
"I tried to keep my head down
on the ball because I had been
pulling it out earlier," Findlay said.
"I kept my head in and then looked
up and saw it go out."
- SCOTT BELL

Coach vows to shave
head for first regional
win since 1984
June 5, 2007 - NASHVILLE,
Tenn. - Michigan baseball coach
Rich Maloney just got a new hair-
cut - and there isn't much hair
left.
That's because of a promise he
made to the Wolverines before
their improbable 4-3 upset of
No. 1 Vanderbilt to win their first
NCAA Regional since 1984.
Maloney told his team that if
it pulled off its second win over
the Commodores in three days,
he would completely shave his
head.
And after the Wolverines

exhilarating win over the top-
ranked team in the country Mon-
day, he's done just that.
Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin
pulled out all the stops in his
team's comeback effort after the
Commodores rallied from down
3-1 to tie the game. In the bottom
of the eighth, NCAA Player of the
Year and probable No. 1 overall
pick of the upcoming MLB Draft,
David Price came out of the bull-
pen.
Enter freshman Alan Oaks
and his .188 batting average and
just nine hits all year.
Oaks would go on to change
the course of Michigan baseball
history with one swing of the bat
against the best pitcher in the
nation.
- ANDY REID

Blue topples Spartans

Jan. 26, 2006 - The electricity
at Crisler Arena last night could
have been summed up by many
different words.
Words like amazing, breath-
taking and thrilling were thrown
around the sold-out crowd fol-
lowing what was arguably Mich-
igan's biggest win of the Amaker
era.
But the most fitting word to
describe last night's action was
undoubtedly foul.
Foul was how Michigan played
during most of the first half.

The foul was what got Michi-
gan back into the game.
And foul was the mood Michi-
gan State coach Tom Izzo was in
after the officiating in his team's
first loss to Michigan in three
years.
Michigan's 21-point advantage
at the free throw line helped spur
it to a 72-67 win over No. 11 Mich-
igan State.
"It feels good to finally get
one," senior Daniel Horton said.
"We've always believed."
- SCOTT BELL

I U UM -w

AIOI17t5 5 N A
17Kv htOMO INTVVW!
-

The second annual Recent Grad
Reunion will welcome back
the undergraduate classes of
2003-2008 on September 26-28,
2008. Come celebrate with fellow
U-M alumni!

* Go Maize Tailgate - Experience
"The Victors" in a brand-new way.
" Michigan vs. Wisconsin football
game - Time to show the Badgers
what the Wolverines can do!
Join the festivities, win prizes and have fun!
www.reunions.umich.edu

j A

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