Monday, February 2, 2009

Pershing's Super Bowl Sunday ShoutOut

Did you notice it?

Larry Foote, the former Michigan Wolverine, gave his prep alma mater some serious holla' when the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense introduced themselves in the first quarter of their 27-23 triumph over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. The overwhelming majority of players who introduce themselves -- 44 offensive and defensive starters in all -- make mention of the college or university they played football for.

Not Foote. When the heavy hitter's face emerged, his quote was simple: "Larry Foote....Detroit Pershing...Doughboy."

Of course, most of us in metropolitan Detroit know the Public School League (PSL) players from Detroit who populate the rosters in the NBA and NFL are fiercely loyal to their Detroit upbringing. Many of these players mention the PSL like it's a badge of honor on their athletic resume. It's one of the reasons I cringe when I hear suburbanites say things like, "They should just bulldoze Detroit and start over."

Try saying that to the community at Seven Mile and Ryan in Detroit. To anyone who thinks high schools in the city don't have a spirit or energy comparable with the schools in the 'burbs, I point to schools in the city like Pershing. In New York City, the word Pershing is commonly associated with Park and 42nd Street -- Grand Central Station and that intersection's name -- Pershing Square.

In Detroit, Pershing is synonymous with a football and basketball tradition swathed in royal blue and gold.

CHARLIE'S NOT SORRY: That's two championship rings for former Detroit Lion and standout Eastern Michigan University quarterback Charlie Batch. Of course, Batch is a local legend in the Pittsburgh area, where he grew up, but Batch was also one of the outstanding football players to ever toss the pigskin in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

MAC DADDY: Did anyone else take notice that three of Pittsburgh's four quarterbacks are Mid-American Conference products?Ben Roethlisberger played at Miami University andByron Leftwich was a member of Marshall's MAC championship teams. Batch makes the Mid-American hat trick possible.

There are, in fact, 22 players on the Steeler roster (active, injured/reserve or practice) from colleges in the Great Lakes, including two from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

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