S Wednesday, April 6, 2011 // The Statement
A HARMONICA'S TOUCH
W H Y M USIC S HOVULDTN'T B E
L E FT TO T HE P R OFES SIO NA LS
with it the slow onset of bliss replac-
es whatever the hell I was thinking
about before. As I've done thousands
of times before, I had forgotten the
time. Four o'clock in the afternoon:
the hour of the Harmonica Man.
I take another step.
The standard blues progres-
sion is I-IV-V, which is to say
from the root to the subdom-
inant then the dominant and back to
the root. The root chord is a place
of harmony where all notes resolve
back to their original mode. It's the
"Doe" in the "doe, a deer, a female
deer..." song some of us were taught
,in elementary school. The sound
of the root is one of tranquility and
serenity. There's nothing hinting at
darkness in the distance or horror
on the horizon.
That is the subdominant's job
as it arrives with all the disorder
and lack of control that the name
implies. This is where I find myself
on a cold April morning, startled
awake as the clock radio gets its 9
a.m. cue to sputter some smooth
'sax a la John Coltrane from 88.3 FM
student radio. Eating enough eggs
From Page 5B
ey in British Columbia, where he
realized he inherited the natural-
born instincts of knowing where
to be on the ice at precisely the
Like a movie director that
pieces together frame after frame
to complete a motion picture,
Morrison slowed down the game
to where it felt that he was the
only one in control, eventually
pressing the fast forward button
to make an impossible play look
"His hockey IQ was off the
charts," Muckalt said.
Yet, just having superb vision
on the ice wasn't going to amount
to much without something more,
the X-factor that some only dream
of sincerely possessing.
While some kids faked it, Mor-
rison lived it.
But according to former Lake
to feel full and drinking coffee until
the jitters arrive should be enough
to get one up and at it, but the Fuku-
shima disaster, the global economic
slump and the stress of endless pro-
crastination of essay writing have
me trapped in the IV. It's the "Fa"
and "a long, long wayto run" is right.
And so the school day goes on
as planned. My homework, under
the guise of bedtime reading, is dis-
cussed in classes with more on the
way for tomorrow, new essays get
assigned, new lectures need to be
reviewed and all the while those
aforementioned papers are nowhere
closer to completion. I begin to enter
the V, the "So," the chord with the
biggest pull back to root, to home, to
the guitar I have no time to play and
the bed destined to remain napless
... for now. I must get to the library.
Superior State coach and current
Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff
Jackson, without the will to com-
pete, Morrison would have just
been a good Division-I player.
Instead, Jackson called Mor-
rison great - "as good q college
player" he has seen during his 25
years behind the bench.
"There's a lot of kids out there
who are pretty skilled, but he had
the competitiveness and competi-
tive drive to dominate a game,"
And no one could testify more
to that statement than Wiseman,
who could look across the Michi-
gan hockey locker room and know
that Morrison was there "for all
the right reasons."
The fear had been instilled in
Morrison long before his arrival
The fear of letting down his
teammates, coachingstaff or Uni-
versity. The fear of performing at.
Now the Harmonica Man is a
mysterious brew. Is he a professor
on the Diag. Point toward UGLi. Any with a heart of gold? A hobo under
thesis sounding good? No. All too the guise of mystery? Maybe a jani-
convoluted. Take a step. Head spins. tor who cares just a little too much.
What about history? Fifty pages of No one knows for sure, yet regard-
reading await. Take a step. Gotta less of his rank, hidalgo, caballero or
review biochem. Time for dinner? peon, he makes his presence known
from his concrete
"He creates an aura around him sloop (or in the
winter, a harmoni-
of untouchable upliftedness." ca igloo) in front of
The man is sim-
Forgot about Personal Statement. ply my hero - the Ol' Dirty Bastard
Take another step. No dinner. Inter- (R.I.P.) of the jamboree, slurring
nal frown. Coffee wearing off ... harmonic verses together with
slowing down ... I'm a week behind unpredictable and unimaginable
on phys..io..logy... lecture... precision. He creates an aura around
And then I hear it. him of untouchable upliftedness. As
Schhrrrat-tat-ta-tat. A wailing I take another step I just can't put
washboard begins to greet my ears. my finger on what exactly the magic
A few steps later and the harmonica is, yet I can't help feeling like Butch
kicks in. Almost like Ihad rehearsed Cassidy on a bicycle when the man is
it, my stride begins to soften and tooting off his improvised versions
of campfire classics.
Surrounded by all this stone and
brick I associate with stress and
deadlines, Harmonica Man's small,
understated place between the
pages of budget cuts, Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly elections and crime
notes seems to be the perfect meta-
phor for his place on a piece of con-
crete in the Diag, with worlds being
created and shattered all around
him; a handful of letters dictating
the tragicomedy in which we find
Take a step. Then another.
He's a lecturer of a public class
without grades where there is
always a steady number of students
to hook with his fifth, So, or V. As
they return to a peaceful place, their
root, for just a moment, I hope they
appreciate the rattling of a wash-
board they hear from a tiny space in
the cold, feeling their facial muscles
stretch upward from ear to ear.
The door closes behind me to
the sounds of the UGLi. What was
I suppos - oh yeah, my personal
response. Back to the IV. Repeat.
D.C. al Coda. Fin.
-Tyler Hellner is an LSA junior
'98 national title season following
the graduations of Morrison and
There was Botterill, the big
power forward who could finish
from in close and whose physi-
cal presence and leadership were
integral pieces to the most domi-
nant line during the Berenson
And finally, Morrison, the cen-
terpiece of the line, the player
who seemed to have eyes in the
back of his head.
No, actually he did.
Muckalt, who played with
Morrison for the better part of
three years as a Wolverine, knew
"I've never had the opportu-
nity to play with somebody who
knew where you were at without
even looking," Muckalt said. "We
didn't even have to call for the
puck. He always knew where the
open ice was, and then as a player
playing with him, you just had to
,gtso those areas to get the puck."
any level other than his best. The
fear of failing.
To do so would be unaccept-
able in the eyes of Morrison. He
cherished the opportunity to con-
tribute to the success of the team,
to help in any way possible.
Killing late penalties, scoring
game-winning goals - you name
it - Brendan Morrison was the
"ultimate team player" in the eyes
16, 9 AND 19
The chase was on to celebrate
the '96 championship.
The only question that
remained was who was going to
catch Morrison first.
As Morrison rounded the net to
greet his teammates, he collided
with teammate Harold Schock,
sending him in a whirlwind to the
A few seconds later, Morrison
was pounced on by two familiar
faces. following the biggest goal
of his illustrious collegiate career.
Take a closer look at that pic-
ture - No. 19 Jason Botterill and
No. 16 Bill Muckalt sandwiched
on top of Morrison - and the
season behind it: 88 goals and 99
assists totaled among them. The
following year, they outdid them-
selves, tallying 94 lamplighters
and 119 assists.
"At that time, they might have
been the best line in college hock-
ey," Jackson said. "They were that
Sitting at his office back in
New Mexico last week, Muckalt
would still put that line during
his sophomore and junior seasons
up against any line in the country.
They were impressive, scary
"They made it look so easy,"
Berenson said. "You couldn't stop
It had the sniper in Muckalt,
the player who eventually put the
Wolverines onhis back during the