I get to cheer tonight

24 years ago, I sat court-side in the Kingdome as a reporter for The Michigan Daily as my university played Seton Hall for the NCAA Championship. You’d think the most searing memory would be Glen Rice’s perfect jump shot or Rumeal Robinson’s game-winning free throw or Terry Mills celebrating while cutting down the net (great shot by our Michigan Daily staff here), but instead it’s something that happened within the first few minutes of the game.

U of Michigan center Terry Mills after the title-game victory over Seton Hall. (File photo by The Michigan Daily)

U of Michigan center Terry Mills after the title-game victory over Seton Hall. (File photo by The Michigan Daily)

That’s when the student reporter from Seton Hall was kicked off of press row for openly cheering for his school. I know it might surprise some folks, but basic sports journalism, at least the kind I was taught back in the early ’80s prohibited boosterism. I watched this likely 20-year-old kid in disbelief get forcibly removed from his seat and went back to sitting on my hands when I wasn’t taking notes.

It was at that moment that I realized I didn’t want to cover sports for my career. That kid had it right. Your school, your alma mater is in a championship game and you ought to be able to cheer.

Unencumbered now as a news reporter, I will do tonight what I could not do 24 years ago. I will openly cheer for the Wolverines… except I won’t be court-side and I’m guessing my wife will want me to be as quiet as possible so as to not wake up the kids.

Go Blue!