Today is my birthday.
I don’t mention this so that people run out and buy me gifts, but it’s funny how things come full circle. It was 22 years ago today that I was born at University Hospital.
Seriously. I’ve been a Wolverine since the day I was born. I doubt too many people on campus can make the exact same claim.
Today is also the culmination of my career at The Michigan Daily. Just as my life began today in 1983, a huge part of it is ending today in 2005.
Naturally, I’ve been a lifelong fan of Michigan sports. Going to a sporting event is one thing, but the experiences I’ve had from covering sporting events over the past four years make those same sporting events that much more incredible.
Hockey is my favorite sport by far, and the chance to cover the hockey team was the main reason I joined the Daily. People gave me crap over the years for not saying I wanted to cover football, but it’s just not the truth.
I’ve seen some great games at Yost Ice Arena over the years, but nothing compares to the view from the press box. Seeing legendary coach Red Berenson sitting behind the bench is a thrill, but actually talking to him on daily basis last season was something I never thought possible.
Another thing that I never anticipated was the friends I’ve made over the past four years as well. I doubt that sitting in the press box would be as interesting without your beatmates to discuss the flow of the game or to argue about who is a better player. Instead of being a blast, road trips would be nightmares without some good company. Even when not covering an event for the Daily, road trips with sports staffers are never dull.
Therefore I decided to put together a top-10 list of my favorite memories over the last four years that involve either road trips with fellow staffers or actual game coverage. The last time I ranked something in a column it turned out pretty well, so I figured it was worth reviving one last time. So, from the home office in Colfax, Ind., here are the Schick Happens top-10 Daily memories:
10. Women’s tennis
This was my first beat, and it was a great place to start. The players were great to me and were actually glad to answer my stupid questions about tennis, since I knew next to nothing. I still go back every year, and they still say “hi” to me. You should check out their final home match of the season this Saturday; I’ll be there.
9. Facing the music
Not necessarily a positive memory, but something I’d have to do at some point. I wrote a pretty scathing commentary about former women’s basketball coach Sue Guevara and had to go down to practice the next day and confront her. The first thing she said to me was, “Oh, you’re the guy trying to get me fired!” Ouch.
8. Big Ten champs!
Despite covering hundreds of games, I only got to write one Big Ten championship story in my four years. Field hockey won the regular season title in 2002 after going 6-0 in league play.
7. The G.R.
As a big fan of the hockey team, I had to go to Grand Rapids for the NCAA regional, and, therefore, attend all four tournaments in my four years. It was great fun to cheer (I couldn’t while covering the team last season) with the likes of Bob Hunt, Ellen McGarrity, Eric Ambinder and Chris Burke. Then, against her better judgment, Ellen let us crash at her house .
6. Women’s Big Ten Tournament
Four words: “Big Ten, Big Times.” For an explanation, you’ll just have to ask Gennaro Filice, Dan Bremmer or Josh Holman.
5. My kind of town
Chicago was the site for this year’s Big Ten basketball tournament, and also where the basketball beat butchered Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” at a karaoke bar after Michigan’s loss to Northwestern. Let’s just say it was a trip that knocked your socks off, among other things.
4. Hawkeye country
After risking our lives to drive through a blizzard to Iowa City in January for the Big Ten basketball opener, we arrived safely — but most of the Iowa fans didn’t. They missed perhaps the most exciting game of the season, thanks to Daniel Horton’s return from an injury.
3. Manchester, N.H.
The town itself wasn’t anything special, but the journey sure was. Driving across the plains of Ontario and somehow getting lost around Niagara Falls while looking for a McDonalds were just some of the highlights. Michigan hockey also played an amazing overtime game against Boston College in the NCAA regional final.
2. Granddaddy of them all
I think everyone will tell you that the 2005 Rose Bowl was one of the best games ever played, and the best I saw in person. But the game was just part of a great week in Southern California that contained several surreal experiences, most notably the bright orange rental car.
1. The Last Frontier
I was lucky enough to convince my editor to let me fly to Fairbanks, Alaska, last year for Michigan’s hockey series against Alaska-Fairbanks. It was like visiting a foreign country without needing a passport — some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. I also encountered dog mushing for the first time and saw a community that might care more about its hockey team than Ann Arbor does. In addition, it brought me closer to Berenson, as he couldn’t stop asking about my trip once I got back.
If I left off certain people who accompanied me on these trips, it’s because I chose to highlight the outgoing class of editors, and I apologize for the omissions. You know that I think the world of all of you (even if I seemed not to show it at times), and it’s been both a pleasure and an honor to have worked with everyone throughout my career at the Daily.
Brian Schick really didn’t think he would write such a sappy column, but it couldn’t be helped. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.