April 9, 2012
University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.
There has been a considerable change in the complexion of the intrasquad spring football weekends throughout the years, and next Saturday's annual Mott Spring Game presented by PNC Bank featuring the University of Michigan football team scrimmage in Ann Arbor will see a new twist.
When fans arrive at Michigan Stadium, they will be able to enjoy the Alumni Game with more than 100 former U-M football players returning to the gridiron, Team 133's first public appearance as a full unit, and then a Michigan men's lacrosse game against Ohio (State) -- the Battle at the Big House -- in the first varsity meeting of these two teams.
Putting the two varsity games together in a doubleheader format will give our fans a chance to watch football and an opportunity to see one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation.
In some ways, the sports of football and lacrosse are similar. Both appeal to those who enjoy speed and hard hitting, rugged gamesmanship. They are body contact sports. The ability to give and take hits is important.
Like football, the game of lacrosse has long runs and a passing game creating the most exciting game action.
Football players have also found a home on the lacrosse field throughout the years. The legendary Jim Brown not only was All-American in football at Syracuse but he also doubled up as an All-American in lacrosse. In fact, here at Michigan, both Steve Morrison and Gannon Dudlar played for Michigan's club lacrosse team in their senior year.
But the tie-in to the football spring game is not just about two hard-hitting sports. It is more about creating a "wow" event. The Athletic Department team is striving to create events that attract and entertain more fans, add community involvement and showcase our varsity sports.
The spring game has helped with funding for the U-M and community charities. The sponsorship of PNC Bank and the involvement of many former athletes and generous fans will once again allow us to help generate donations back to U-M's Mott Children's Hospital.
The event is free and donations are voluntary. And for the third consecutive year, the Beam Family of Brighton, Mich., has graciously offered to match dollar-for-dollar every donation that is made at the gates. Last year, more than $350,000 was raised for the new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
As for the game of lacrosse and our other varsity sports, our 850-plus student-athletes provide our community with an entertainment value second to none. When you watch the Michigan lacrosse team take on the Buckeyes, you will immediately notice the skill, the speed, skill, stamina and desire you see on the gridiron is not just limited to the football team. Each of our 29 sports has skill sets that make its sport exciting.
Spring weekends are special. Those of us in the Midwest are ready to trade in our winter clothes and take part in outdoor events.
"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything," said William Shakespeare.
Next Saturday, our student-athletes will prove Shakespeare right.
If you are in Ann Arbor next weekend, check out our home schedule and support one or more of our Wolverine teams.
Saturday, April 14
Women's Rowing vs. Oregon State, Oklahoma and Tennessee (Belleville Lake), 9 a.m.
Men's Tennis vs. Nebraska (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Football Mott Spring Game presented by PNC Bank (Michigan Stadium), Noon
Men's Lacrosse vs. Ohio State (Michigan Stadium), 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 15
Men's Tennis vs. Iowa (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Softball vs. Michigan State (doubleheader) (Wilpon Complex), 1 p.m.