Introduction by Daniel Truckey
I'll never forget when I first heard that chant. It was at the 1982 Class D State Championship Basketball game between Covert and Ewen-Trout Creek in Ann Arbor. As the Panthers tried to come back against great odds against that powerful team from the southern Lower Peninsula, fans from throughout the U.P. in attendance started to yell, "U.P. Power!" I heartedly began chanting along, full of a pride in not only the place I came from but in being part of something greater than myself.
You see, I was a Wakefield Cardinal, and had felt the pain of watching our team lose to the powerful E-TC Panthers on too many occasions. While our arch rivals were the Bessemer Speedboys, we held a special hatred (but grudging respect) for the E-TC basketball team. But there in Crisler Arena, those town rivalries and longstanding resentments had disappeared. The Panthers were now representing the entire U.P.
I think this is one of the things that is so special about high school sports in the U.P. Even with all of our rivalries, when a team "goes downstate" to play in a tournament, we are all rooting for them. It is for this reason that we've named this exhibit "U.P. Power!" To me, it not only represents the region's great sports history, but also reaffirms our identity as "Yoopers!' High school sports in the U.P. aren't only a fun extracurricular activity, they are a source of pride on both the community and regional level. This exhibit will feature some of the teams, players and coaches who have made the U.P. proud.