Knox Cameron. Al Montoya. Elise Ray. Bernard Robinson, Abby Crumpton. Jason Coben. Adam Stenavich. Kristi Gannon. Kyle Smith.
Ron Warhurst. Tommy Amaker. Marcia Pankrantz. Red Berenson. Steve Burns. Bev Plocki. Jim Richardson.
Varsity Field. Canham Natatorium. The Big House. The Fish. Yost Ice Arena. Belleville Lake.
The Frozen Four. The Orange Bowl. The Women’s College World Series. Countless NCAA Championship performances in swimming, track, wrestling and gymnastics. Field hockey’s 2001 NCAA championship. The Olympics.
They are some of the student-athletes, coaches, venues and events of Michigan athletics today. There are many more, and they are all important brush strokes on the Wolverine portrait. These men and women, these places and events, are part of my mental image of four years at the University of Michigan and The Michigan Daily.
For four years, I have covered Michigan sports for this newspaper, and for four years, I have observed and participated in numbed awe at the history, the drama and the excellence of the Michigan Wolverines. That was to be expected.
What came as a surprise were the emotions I felt when Michigan and her programs failed to perform in a manner befitting to the Leaders and Best.
See, I came to Michigan with a quixotic attachment to the school’s athletic history – to Jalen Rose and Desmond Howard and Brendan Morrison. I very much expected to buy into the Maize and Blue romance that’s packaged and sold every autumn Saturday. But this Leaders and Best nonsense? Come on. I was, and still am, cynically aware of the realities of collegiate sports, and in my 18-year-old na