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June 07, 1999 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-06-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Monday, June 7, 1999 - The Michigan Daily -1
REMY, BUSTER & THE HURT

FORMER MICHIGAN STANDOUTS LEAD FIRST-PLACE ARENA FOOTBALL TEAM
STORY BY DAVID DEN HERDER - ARENA PHOTOS BY DANA LINNANE

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G RAND RAPIDS - Full sensory
atisfaction. It's probably the best
way to describe an evening with
the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena
Football League.
At dusk, after a mass street party in
front of the Van Andel Arena, the crowd
shuffles in and waits for the show to
begin. As the music pumps (loud as any
rock concert), the lights go down and the
Rage dance team roars in on Harley's.
After a couple of funky dance rou-
tines, a spotlight shines on a steel cage in
the endzone. It begins to shake, and sud-
denly, amidst a chaos of fireworks, the
team breaks through a gate and onto the
field.
Over the brain-thumping music, the
public address announcer screams the
team's battle cry:
"It's time to bring the hurt!!"
Yes, it is football. But it's far from the
game played on Saturdays at Michigan
Stadium. The field is condensed to 50
yards, sidelines are replaced with padded
walls, and two 302x32 ft screens over
each endzone keep any kind of kick alive
and in play.
It's faster, its tougher - and two
Michigan grads are living it up.
"I'm avin' a ball," said Rersy
Hamilton, placckicker for Wolverines
from 1993-96. "It's a much different
gane - especially than at Michigan -
much different.
Hamilton has been with the Rampage
since the team began in Grand Rapids
two seasons ago. Last year he led the
league in PAT percentage, hitting 61 of
62 for a .984 mark, and led his tean in
points with 118.
A field goal percentage .373 put him
second in the AFL last season --a stat
that might sound confusing unless you
know the game.
Unlike college and NFL goal posts,
which teasure 18.5 feet across. AFL
goalposts are only nine feet narrow.
Oh, and one more thing. There's no
puntisg. Whenever the first-place
Rampage succumb to fourth-and-long,
Hamilton trots out for a field goal
. The snap, the kick, the score:
Hamilton has adapted to nine-
foot goalposts and playing 'D.'

attempt. On Friday, Remy got the call for
a 61-yarder (Nine foot goalposts!). If the
kick is wide, the opposing team can play
it off the screen and run it back.
"With a minor mistake in this game,
you're missing the kick," says Hamilton,
"whereas in the outdoor game you still
have an opportunity to make it, since the
goalposts are so wide."
It was just one of those "wider goal-
post" shots back in 1994 that made
Hamilton a Michigan hero. With two sec-
onds left and Notre Dame at home lead-
ing Michigan, 24-23, Hamilton hit a 42-
yarder to win the gane for the
Wolverines. Devastation in South Bend
- euphoria in Ann Arbor.
The kick has still not left the collec-
tive consciousness of the maize-and-blue
faithful. Even on Friday, as Hamilton
took the field for another kick, a fan
screamed a nostalgic cheer. "Kick it like
you did at Notre Dame, Remy!"
And most of the time, he does.
"You've got to be always aware,
explains Hamilton, who has adapted well
to the arena game. "Like today, I got
clipped fron behind - you turn auto-
matically into a defensive back," once -
you kick, he said.
Another Michigan alum who's get-
ting the hang of arena ball is Buster
Stanley His first year witth he Rampage
is also his first in the AFL
as ha
HIGHEST QUALITY!
FASTEST SER VICE!U
[ 1002 PONTIAC TR. U

The former Michigan defensive line-
man, who played with Hamilton in Ann
Arbor, was a co-captain and named team
MVP in 1993.
"I'mn really enjoying myself" said
Stanley, after taking 20 minutes to sign
autographs. "But there's more passing,
and you've got to play offense."
Offense?
"Oh yeah," beams Stanley. "We're
playing both ways - you've got to learn
to kick step and learn offensive plays."
In a May 28 game against Buffalo,
Stanley led the team with eight tackles
including three sacks for 15 yards. But
just like Hamilton, he can't deny his
roots, and says he keeps in touch with
many forner Wolverines.
Hamilton still has the Blue connec-
tion, too. "Aaron Sha was even coming
up to this garne - I've talked to a bunch
of the guvs, he said.
For Harnilton, the future is as wide as
NFL goalposts. "I'm going to play this,
God bless, for another five or ten years.
The NFL has an interest in this -- so if
anything comes of that, there will be
more msoney and publicity. But until then,

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FILE PHOTO
The kick that made him a hero: Remy
Hamilton converts to beat Notre Dame.
I've got a good job in the offseason"
Hamilton said.
And is Stanley looking toward the
NFL? "Well, I think I'm too old forthat,
he says with a chuckle. "I'm down here
with a couple of friends from the World
League and from school - and I'm just
having fun."

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