Stranger in a strange land

When it comes to working out, it seems that women are fans of cardiovascular exercise while men prefer lifting. So this means weight rooms are loaded with men. It’s like a frat party before 11, except they’re all wearing less clothes and the smell is worse.

Despite this, I walked into the weight room at the Intramural Sports Building the other day. As expected, I was the only girl in a sea of about 50 males. But I wanted to pump some iron too, so I stowed my things in a locker, walked to the corner, picked up a couple of 5-pound dumbells and began my workout.

Now, it’s a rule of nature that if there is only one chick in a room of guys, it doesn’t matter if she is hairy and smelly and chunky, she is going to be ogled.

So I’m doing my workout – pretty self-consciously because I am surrounded by mirrors and testosterone – when I get lobbed in the head by a weight bench. Not a shoulder or an individual weight, but a whole weight bench.

Some buff, bald dude had decided he needed more personal space to do bicep curls so he threw the bench over his shoulder and unknowingly ripped me in the head while moving it about five feet from its initial location.

Most of the men who happened to be staring and saw the accident smirked in a way that seemed to say “what a douchebag” – or just laughed. But two actually came up to me and said things like “Are you OK?” “That looked like it hurt,” “You’re all red” and “Do you want me to get some ice?”

I felt really bad because they were trying to be nice, but all I wanted to do was give them the finger and fix my ponytail.

ASHLEA SURLES

Who’s really in charge in A2?

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my kitchen when my housemate brought some garbage outside to the trash cans. A moment later, a blood-curdling scream filled the air, followed by shrieks of “Oh my God, OH MY GOD!”

I rushed to the door to see what was amiss and discovered she had been frightened by two huge squirrels. Apparently they had made a home in our trash barrel.

The other day as I took a bag of garbage, I lifted the lid and saw one of the creatures. It looked at me as if to say “It’s raining, put the damn lid back down!”

I calmly shook my head and lowered the lid. I decided to put my trash in the other bin.

ANNELISE DOLL

Playing farewell

On Jan. 1, the Michigan Marching Band marched in a six-mile parade, performed our pregame and halftime shows and cheered hard for our team. We were more than ready to relax after the Rose Bowl. Instead, we boarded a plane to Grand Rapids. Before returning home to Ann Arbor, there was one more thing that we had to do.

We stood on a cold, windy tarmac in a small block formation next to the enormity of Air Force One. We were participating in the arrival ceremony for former President Gerald Ford. As his casket was carried from the plane, we played “Hail to the Chief,” followed by “Yellow and Blue,” the University’s alma mater, and then the “The Victors.”

When we had finished playing, one of Ford’s sons came over to thank us, saying how much it would have meant “to Dad.” He told us that they were the best songs he had heard all day. That was the moment when the magnitude of our performance really hit home.

These songs, essential to football Saturdays, rang true even at such a solemn occasion because they represent more than just sporting events or people. Playing them again will always recall the quiet decorum of this ceremony, and how these songs represent an institution that has shaped hundreds of thousands of lives, as well as the nation itself.

LYDIA KATSAMBERIS

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