Coach Harbaugh judges annual Mock Rock charity event

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 11:13pm

Coach Jim Harbaugh traded in his headset for a microphone Tuesday night to judge the annual Mock Rock charity talent show at the University of Michigan Power Center for the Performing Arts, where more than 200 students and community members came to watch student athletes help raise money for the local mental health organization Fresh Start Clubhouse.

Mock Rock is an annual fundraising event organized and led by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Ginsberg Center where each year, the organizations determine a local beneficiary to donate the funds the show raises to a place they feel aligns with the students’ passions.

Various varsity student-athlete teams came together to create original talent acts to perform in front of their peers to help fundraise money.

Last year, the organizations chose to donate all proceeds to Athletes Connected, an initiative to support student-athlete mental health in memory of Garrick Roemer, a University student-athlete who committed suicide in 2014.

In an effort to reach out to the greater Ann Arbor community and continue encouraging their support for treating mental illness, the organizations choose Fresh Start Clubhouse, a local organization that helps adults in the Ann Arbor Community with mental illness by emphasizing employment, education, housing and wellness programs as their 2017 beneficiary.

In previous years, the event has relied solely on the audience to judge the performances; however, this year, Harbaugh was joined by his wife, Sarah Harbaugh, and University alum Summer Berman, director of Fresh Start Clubhouse, behind the judges table. 

In the middle of the show, current members and employees of Fresh Start Clubhouse took center stage to be recognized and gave a performance to share their message that no one is ever alone. One of the organization’s current members shared his personal story and history with depression and how, with the help of Fresh Start Clubhouse, he was able to improve his quality of life.

In response to the performance by Fresh Start and the story of overcoming depression, the Harbaughs offered to match every donation made. The organization received a standing ovation.

Co-host Drake Johnson, a fifth-year senior running back, shared how important he felt the issue of mental health for student-athletes and the fervor he has to be a part of a community that supports it.

“As an athlete, it’s very critical that we recognize how important our mental health is,” Johnson said. “Not even in just our performance but as people. I’m proud to be a part of this place because you’re not going to find this support everywhere.”

To continue the theme of mental health awareness, the women’s field hockey team dedicated its performance to “those who felt they didn’t have a message.” The team lined the stages with signs of the lyrics to Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” as a member of the team sang the song.

Afterward, Harbaugh expressed his admiration for the team’s performance.

“Talent, presentation and a compelling message,” Harbaugh said. “Women’s field hockey is in it to win it.”

Other teams went with more conventional talent show acts such as lip-syncing and choreographed dances. The men’s gymnastics team did a hip-hop dance routine, which was well received by Harbaugh.

“I thought it was dope,” Harbaugh said.

After the judges delegated, first-place went to a tie between the University’s dance team and Fresh Start Clubhouse.

Cheer team member Bailey Hedman, an LSA sophomore, came out to help fundraise for mental health after finding out about the event from her team.

“I know one of our captains is a really big supporter of this,” Hedman said. “So, the whole cheer team is here to support.”