Mockrock

Ann Arbor News, Jan. 12, 2005 


    Petway's knack for rap the hit of Mock Rock
    Basketball player wins title at annual Mott Hospital fund-raiser   
    By ROB HOFFMAN
    News Sports Reporter

       
Who'd thunk it?
        Brent Petway can bring a crowd to its feet with his rapping almost as well as he can with one of his rim-rattling dunks at Crisler Arena.
        Former Saline High School soccer standout Cam Cameron can move his feet, even when he doesn't have a ball on his toes.
        And the University of Michigan hockey team? Well, you can always count on the unexpected from a bunch of guys who make their living on a sheet of ice.
        At least when it comes to Mock Rock, that is.
        Before more than 1,000 people sitting, standing and shouting words of encouragement at the near-capacity Michigan Theater on Tuesday night, nearly 200 athletes from 16 of Michigan's 24 varsity teams lip-synched, danced and otherwise showed their artistic sides during a two-hour competition that included everything from a "Sound of Music" performance to an elaborately choreographed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight. The sixth annual show, a benefit for Mott Children's Hospital, was called the most successful ever by event organizers, raising upward of $9,000 for the U-M facility.
        In some cases, as with Cameron and Petway, the event allowed athletes to showcase their previously hidden talents.
        In other cases - how can we put this delicately? - their talents ought to have remained hidden.
        "This is a chance for Michigan athletes to put their talents, humility and possibly their morals on the line," said WTKA personality Steve Clarke, the night's master of ceremonies.
        The night's biggest surprise was Petway, a 6-foot-8-inch sophomore otherwise known as the leading shot blocker on Michigan's basketball team. Originally set to perform as a duo with teammate Dion Harris as the hoops team's first entry in the history of Mock Rock, Petway instead became the night's lone solo artist when Harris got hit by some last-minute stage fright.
        But Petway refused to let the lack of a supporting cast affect him.
        "I grew up in front of crowds like this," said Petway, who used to sing at his Georgia church. "It's not a big thing for me."
        Performing his own version of the rap song "White Tee" by Dem Franchize Boyz called "Tall Tee," Petway didn't act like someone who had never rapped in public before. He breathlessly let loose a trail of rhymes without missing a beat, went out among the wildly applauding audience and finished his performance with some old school breakdancing to "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa.
        "I got a new respect for rappers," said Petway, who nonetheless said his sport is tougher than rapping. "It's not that bad. I wasn't tired afterward. I was just out of breath."
        Petway's performance drew straight 10s from a panel of U-M celebrity judges that included six-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, gymnast Elise Ray and football team members Steve Breaston, Michael Hart and Pierre Woods. Those scores were good enough for Petway to be crowned the winner of Mock Rock.
        Getting almost as much adulation as Petway was another U-M athlete making his Mock Rock debut. Cameron, a freshman forward who missed all of this season because of a leg injury, finally got a chance to put his feet to good use with a moondance and other slippery yet smooth moves that imitated pop star Usher to perfection. That performance - which led Breaston to exclaim "You got soul!" during judging - helped the soccer team tie with the tightly choreographed U-M band for third place.
       "It was a lot of fun," said Cameron, who departs Saturday for a two-year Mormon mission.
        For their runner-up performance, the ice hockey team went with something old and something new. The new was two performances from past hit movies: "I've Had the Time of My Life" from the movie "Dirty Dancing" (complete with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey imitators that drew hoots and hollers from the crowd) and a "Yeah baby" Austin Powers dance routine to "Soul Bossanova," the movie's chirpy theme song.
        The old came after Clarke reminded one of the hockey players that the team had won a few years ago with their rendition of "Riverdance." That was the cue for the entire team to render an encore, running onto stage en masse to collectively clog their way through a routine that included solos by that night's faux Michael Flatley, Milan Gajic. The senior forward had been picked for the same part three years ago as a freshman after teammates learned that his mother was a folk dancer.
        "There was a lot of people asking for it," said Gajic, whose team rehearsed the routine once for two hours in the Yost Ice Arena dressing room on Sunday. "It was a lot of fun. I loved it."

    Rob Hoffman can be reached at rhoffman@annarbornews.com or (734) 994-6814.