The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
April 21, 2014 -3B
The story I always wanted to tell
S ean swung first, I'm pret- Sean was going to do with his he was thinking about trying
ty sure. We couldn't have life. I loved the kid, but there out for the football team. I
aren't many professions that didn't think it would stick -
been older entail eating and playing video this was, after all, the same
than 10, dig- games. Dave was always the 6-foot-3 kid who wouldn't try
ging holes in one organizing backpacking out for basketball in middle
his backyard trips, the one who was heavily school because it involved too
to "help" : involved in the local YMCA much running - but hey, it
build that and the one who always had couldn't hurt.
pond that his another adventure right around Long story short, Sean
dad had been the corner. The garage was full became a monster of a left
planning for EVERETT of knick-knacks from across tackle. His focus went from his
years. Sean COOK the world, canoes beside a computer screen to obliterating
had been freezer full of Alaskan fish and people, and everything from
my neighbor old, yellowing Playboys hidden his diet to his renewed social
and best friend since the day underneath ancient camping life followed suit. As Sean put
Imoved to California at seven equipment. everything he had into the
years old, but still, we were boys Dave's funeral was held in sport, football took center stage
with energy and tempers. an old theater because a church for the kid missing his director.
Per usual, someone got mad wouldn't be big enough. Even After high school, as I got to
about something, and, next then, the crowd spilled into the Michigan and joined the Daily to
thing I knew, Sean had firmly aisles and out onto the stairs. pursue an avenue to tell stories,
connected his shovel to the back It seemed like nobody Sean turned down scholarship
of my head. I screamed at him, missed him more than Sean. offers from established programs
stormed home and told my mom We still biked to the creek to become a member of Pacific
I'd never hang out with him and had battles with airsoft University's inaugural recruiting COURTESY OF THE COOK FAMILY
again. Two days later, we were guns, but Sean had a habit of class. The small, Division III Everett (left) and Sean (right), longtime friends, both approached sports in college to change and improve their lives.
throwing a baseball around like disappearing for days at a time school hadn't had ateam since public health. their lives, tell their tales and and stress that come with going
nothing had happened. to play online video games. the 1980s, but Sean liked the idea it was all Sean, of course. He let me share their stories. So no to school here. Those guys
It went like this until the While biking home from of building something. deserves every ounce of credit. matter where I am or no matter wanted another four years.
summer before seventh grade, school one day, Sean was telling Their first year, the Boxers At the same time, though, he what I'm doing, stories like I don't think that's the case
when I transitioned from a me about Dave's days as a gave up nearly three times as needed a way to turn his life Sean's are always going to be everywhere. There's something
private elementary school to delivery man, many points around. He needed to throw the ones I want to tell, about this place that's special in
a much larger public middle well before as they scored himself into something. He I've been lucky enough to tell a way I don't think I really even
school. Sean was one of the only his dad rose and lost all needed sports. those stories and others like understand yet.
people I would know there. up the ranks " nine of their At Michigan, I've found a them over the past four years Someday, Itwill revisit and
While on vacation that summer, at UPS. As Stories like games. Sean universality in that concept. Sean at Michigan. I got to cover a rewrite the stories I've been
my mom received a phone call Sean finished, Seansawas getting needed the same thing Shawn Final Four shortly after my 21st fortunate enough to take part
from another neighbor while a FedEx smashed the Hunwick did to overcome doubts birthday, talk to Red Berenson in over the last four years at
we were eating lunch. She truck sped by. always ' same way he about his height. about old-school hockey Michigan. For right now, though,
starting sobbing before hanging There was no al w s ingb used to smash He needed the same thing injuries and write about the last this story, Sean's story, is the one
up. We assumed the call was hesitation - to be the ones cookies. Trey Burke did to overcome a game between Michigan and I've always wanted to tell.
about the old, sick dogwe had at Sean bolted But the previously rocky relationship Notre Dame at the Big House.
the time. after that w ant to tell." next year, with his father. He needed the But at the same time, I'm Cook will be writing this summer
But it was about Dave, Sean's truck like a Pacific won same thing Devin Gardner did leaving Michigan with stories at the Los Angeles Times and can
dad. He woke up in the middle bat out of hell, a game, and to overcome playing in a high left untold, the stories that made be reached at evcook@umich.
of the night and collapsed on his screaming three games school that was so tumultuous me fall in love with this place. edu or on Twitter @everettcook.
way to the bathroom. A couple and cursing the year after it closed two years after he There will be no more To Mom, Dad, Andy and Virginia:
hours later, he was dead. There until he ran out of breath and that. This season, the Boxers graduated. karaoke nights at Circus, no fall Thank you for inspiring me to be
were no signs, no warnings, the swear words were replaced went 7-3 with Sean as captain The stories that have walks to Washtenaw Dairy or the best person I can possibly be
as one of the walls in his heart with tears. and cracked the Top-25. For always drawn me are ones of concerts at Hill. That part of every day. To Zach: Thank you for
essentially disintegrated. We went different ways in the second year in a row, Sean people succeeding when they my life - this weird, beautiful being the best damn Co-Managing
Sean was at a friend's for a high school, me to the private, was named first-team All- shouldn't, of athletes proving university - is over. Sports Editor a kid could ask for.
sleepover. He left his house all-male high school and he to Northwest Conference. Now, everybody wrong, of my best My freshman year, four To Hannah: Thank you for always
with a father. Came back our local public high school. I the same kid who once ordered friend turning his life around random seniors on the CCRB making everything seem within
without one. was worried about him. 75 eggrolls for a birthday when nobody, including me, basketball court told me I was reach. To everyone else, I hope
Even before Dave passed Then, in August before our dinner for six dudes is deciding expected him to. It's crazy to lucky to have four years in Ann your last four years have been
away, I never knew what freshman year, he told me that between graduate schools for me that these people let me into Arbor, regardless of the work as good, and as lucky, as mine.
SPORISMOr OAY COLUMN
And now I must leave home
had forgotten I'd even prescient: Here Itam. Writing driveway (the The Game in News, again, and I listened to how big we can dream. But, you It's funny - you don't
written the letter. It was sports for The Michigan Daily. 2006) and played "The Victors" Red Berenson talk about life, see, for me this always was the remember most of the times. But
one of those assignments At Michigan. on loop until my friend's dad and I played quarters at the Jug dream. you remember the places and you
where the I've discussed this with my begged me to play something and laughed with Bauschelt Now I'm graduating, and I remember the people. Most of all,
teacher mails mom and dad and anyone else - anything - else. ButI didn't until our chests hurt. have to leave this place, and you remember that feeling.
you a note who has known me for long want to play anything else. Have you ever been up to the I'm scared. Now what am I That night as I walked with
written by enough, and no one is really Back then, there was just this tower above the Law Library? supposed to do? Sharon, I felt as I did in my bed
you to your A sure why my infatuation with feeling. I felt it as I listened to Go up there at night, through I know Itwill have other great with the radio down low. I felt
future self. Michigan started. the radio under the blankets, the old tiny hallways, and find, experiences. I know Itwill have as though my heart were too
I must have I grew up in New Jersey. No and I felt it whenever I'd dream at the top, the small window other great accomplishments. I full for my chest, like how you
been in one in my family had gone here. of my life here. I felt pride and lit up in a fire-yellow glow. Go know you will too. But, for the felt when Spike Albrecht scored
eighth grade. I had never been to Ann Arbor. belonging and happiness. and look and first time in 17 in the first half or when
I finally got ZACH I had no earthly reason to love And then the feeling became see the lights my life, I don't Denard Robinson beat Notre
it last year. HELFAND this school, and I didn't even something real. I came here and of campus laid " 're so n know what's Dame or when Trey Burke hit
I wanted to understand why I did, but - wrote for The Michigan Daily. out before you We 5 y'u n next. that shot. I don't know if it's
write about damn it - I loved this school I saw Shawn Hunwick sitting through the -1we're lim ited Sharon and pride and I don't know if it's
sports, I wrote. I wanted to go anyway. I loved it more than and smiling at an NHL locker thick-paned I went for happiness, butI know it, and
to Michigan. anyone could, I thought. in Columbus. I drank to "The glass. Go and only by how big a walk last you know it too.
"You better," it said. "If not, When I was seven, I stayed Gambler" at closing time at a you'll know week on one We'll be back here soon. Theo
please punch me for me. Really up past bedtime to hear Tom bar in Atlanta with Tim and what home w e can dream ." of those warm and Sharon and Bauschelt and
man, you better be going. I can't Brady in the Orange Bowl on Jake. I watched Roy Roundtree feels like. Go nights after everyone else will come back
stress that enough." the radio, turned down low to catch a miracle out of the sky. and you'll feel the weather too. Maybe we won't get to play
If I weren't as funny as avoid detection. When I was I hugged Neal and Everett that feeling had broken. terrible golf like we used to
I thought, at least I was 14, I tailgated The Game in my after we'd beaten The State too. It must have been 2 a.m., and and walk in the Arb and play
After junior year, we stayed we had walked to the Arb and quarters and laugh until our
an extra two weeks after looked toward her old window chests hurt.
classes ended. We'd wake up in Markley and saw South Quad And if that's scary, then it's
at noon and drink beer out of gutted and shuttered up. We OK to be scared. But we've lived
the can and play terrible golf. looked into Michigan Stadium this dream; it's time to dream
T YThe weather was perfect We'd as we stood in silence and alone, bigger now. Along the way,
thcome home to barbecue and We talked about that time when we're lonely or anxious or
sit outside at Charleys in the we danced with Nithin inthe afraid,nwe'll have that feeling to
warm summer air, and Theo dorms and that night out and comfort us. And, I'm learning,
kept saying, over and over, "You that evening in the Law Quad. that feeling never really ends.
know it's not getting better We talked about the same I can't stress that enough.
than this. This is it." memories we always had. But,
And maybe he's right. And she asked me, what about the Helfand can be reached
maybe he's wrong. We're so other memories? Where had at firstname.lastname@example.org and
young - we're limited only by those gone? on Twitter @zhelfand.
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COURTESY OF THE HELFAND FAMILY
Zach Helfand can't explain why exactly why he wanted to come to Michigan, but he fulfilled his lifelong dream.