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June 12, 2006 - Image 14

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-12

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 12, 2006

-SPORTS-

W NOTES World Cupworthy
Men's and women's track perform well at NCAA outdoor championshipsCo

Junior Michael Whitehead obliterated his own school record in the triple jump by 13 inches on Saturday at the NCAA outdoor
championships in Sacramento, Calif. He finished in second place with a distance of 53-11 1/4 on his fifth of six jumps.
Whitehead became the first Wolverine in the program's history to earn NCAA All-American honors in the triple jump, and his
second-place finish earned the Wolverines eight points in the team race, which was good enough to tie for 30th place overall.
The Michigan women's track and field team also concluded its season yesterday at the final day of the NCAA track and field
championships. Helped by strong showings from the middle- and long-distance runners, the team managed a total of 19 points,
which resulted in a 13th place overall - the best team finish in program history.
Freshman Geena Gall earned All-American honors in the 800-meter run, finishing in fourth place with a time of 2:04.35.
Sophomore Nicole Edwards also earned All-American honors in her first ever individual finals race. She finished her
1,500-meter race in 4th place.

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of your attention
F or the past four days, practi- though. No, the Americans aren't quite
cally the entire world has huddled knocking on the doorstep of being the
around their TV sets in celebration world's best team yet. But they are one
of the world's biggest sporting event. of the few nations that have continued to
Note the key word in that sentence: grow and show progress as a team over the
world's. past decade.
Even though when Febru- This yearcould be the
ary rolls around and American year where the United States
television stations like to hype finally does breakthrough.
up the Super Bowl as the big- In the 2002 World Cup,it
gest event each year in sports, showed the world it was for
the reality of it is that football's real, making it to the Quar-
national championship can't terfinals and beating peren-
compare to futbol's world nial powerhouses Mexico
championship. and Portugal in the process.
So why hasn't World Cup SCOTT Making a similar run this
fever swept through the United BELL yearscould e even more
States like it has in the rest of impressive, as they'd he
the world? Too doing it without flying unde
Everyone has their own the- Soon the radar, and it would give
ories, but I think it's just another example proof that four years ago was not a fluke.
of American exceptionalism. But before U.S. soccer gets worldwide
And no, that's not a compliment. credibility, it needs at least arespectable
Americans simply think they're above fanbase.I don't expect for the typical subur-
others on pretty much every level, so why ban family to turn magically intoIrish soc-
should they lower themselves to watch a cer hooligans for the next month overnight
sport that the "other" nations love. (though if you want to,you're more than
Now before I get flooded with angry welcome to). Tuning in and cheering on
e-mails that call me a traitor or tell me to your nation would be a good start, though.
move my hippie ass to Mexico if I don't I know my excitement for the World
like our country, let me plead my case. Cup has probably been annoying, but
I'm about as big an American sporting when I hear from one of my non-soccer-
fan as you can find. I sit in front of my tele- watching friends that he's disappointed
vision and root for the red, white and blue because today's game against the Czech
in pretty much any sporting event. Republic is "a stupid soccer game that'
I thrive for international competitions is going to preempt Cold Pizza on
like the Davis Cup or the Ryder Cup. ESPN2," it doesn't exactly make me
I looked on in horror as our basketball proud to be an American.
team deteriorated from the Dream Team Hey, I've got nothing against Cold
to an international laughing stock in the Pizza (besides the factthatJay Crawford
span of just a decade. loves Ohio State), butcome on: This is the
And I'm "that guy" who gets choked World freaking Cup.
up when an American athlete sits atop a There are people in other nations that
podium at the Olympics with the national would fast for weeks just for an opportu-
anthem playing. nity to watch such a festivity.
So don't call me a traitor - I'manything So let's do this together: Everyone just
but. The simple truth is that the hubris of take a deep breath, and we'll meet in the
American sports fans is pretty sickening. middle. Soccer spazzes like myself will
"Soccer's just too boring ... there's no calm down, not start any riots and will
contact in soccer ... there's no scoring" calmly watch today's game against the
Trust me, I've heard it alt. Czech Republic. ButI better not be alone.
But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to And who knows, if we get really good,
see why fans don't embrace soccer. it might turn into another thing that Amer
Americans have never"exceled at the icans can holditheir noses in the air about.
world's most popular sport, and cocky
American fans can't handle not being the - Bell thinks he could be affunctiona
best, so they wash their hands of it. goalkeeperfor Saudi Arabia. He can b
That might not be the case much longer, reachedatscotteb@umich.edu

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Classes start August soti
Enjoy the benefits of a small campus
while earning a University
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