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November 27, 2007

University of Michigan Football: A Guide to Illumination

One of the more illuminating phrases (can this be considered a poem? or a poam at least?) that I have come across at my time here at the University is a quote that come from the former football coach Bo Schembechler. The quote is 'Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.'


I didn't know much about this phrase before watching a recent HBO Documentary on the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry. I knew who had said it, and that it was intended for the football team, but didn't know the context in which it was applied. One of the first things that Coach Schembechler did when he was hired as the head football coach was to put up the phrase 'Those Who Stay Will Be Champions' in the locker room. When football practice started, and the workouts were intense players started to quit, he referred to the quote he had put up in the locker room. If you know anymore about Coach Schembechler's first year as head coach, he lead the Michigan team to a huge upset victory over Ohio State, fulfilling the phrase that 'Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.' A nice write up about the phrase with an attached picture can be found here.

Lasting Meaning

So how can something that was introduced 40 years ago to a football team still carry meaning today? Anytime I get on AIM or Facebook, its hard not to find someone from Michigan that has this quote in their profile or on their Facebook page. Although the quote was originally intended for the football team, it carries for so many people here at the school. It is probably the most widely used and recognized quote that I find that students can relate to at the University. For me, it also holds special meaning. When I came to the University, I really didn't know what to expect. I thought I had attended an above average high school, I knew that I was going to have to work and wasn't completely sure what to expect but was pretty sure that nothing was going to beyond my abilities. After my first round of exams, I had one of the rudest awakenings of my life. All the work that I had put into my classes to study hadn't been focused on the right things, or to the depth to which I needed to understand. By the end of the first semester, not much had changed, I had tried to change my study habits with little positive result. At the end of the first semester I was seriously considering transferring schools. When I was able to go home for Christmas break I was able to talk with my parents, with my dad giving me the strongest advice. He reminded me of what I had accomplished in high school, and how I had achieved those things. He helped me to look at the bigger picture, and helped me understand that instead of looking at my first semester as a huge setback, I should look at it as a stepping stone. He gave me his perspective on my situation, but left my decision up to me. I could transfer schools if I wanted, but I was accepted here for a reason. I obviously decided to stay and used that first semester as a challenge to myself, and to what I believed in and am now on the verge of graduating from one of the best Engineering schools in the country, with numerous job opportunities. The phrase 'Those Who Stay Will Be Champions' has certainly held a lot of weight with me, and held true for me as well. I feel like it is something that I will keep with me the rest of my life, and something that I will use to fall back on in times of conflict, whether it be with a job or whatever. This phrase carried me through my time here at school which up to this point, has been one of the biggest challenges that I've had to overcome. This is way I look at this as one of the most influential 'illuminations' for me.

Posted by ndjames at November 27, 2007 12:00 PM


The death of Bo Schembechler right at the time that decisions about what to name Ann Arbor's newly built hight school scheduled to open for ninth grade next year lead to a campaign to name the new school "Schembechler High," something that didn't happen (the school's name is "Skyline High" instead; read a response to the decision here: http://arborupdate.com/article/1445/skyline-high).

However, given the resonance (multiple tethers in which activity causes them to vibrate) of this quote, perhaps it is unfortunate that, at this time, there is no "Schembechler High" in Ann Arbor.

Posted by: thyliasm at December 22, 2007 03:45 AM

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