The Sports Exchange - weekdays from 4-5pm
There has been a lot of coverage lately on the Sochi Olympics. As of yesterday we announced that we will be putting warships on standby in case our people need to be evacuated in a hurry.
Throughout the history of the Olympics tensions between different countries has been high. It usually leads to nothing more than a country boycotting the games and withdrawing its athletes from competition. On the other hand, some of the most memorable moments in the history of the Olympics has been when an athlete from an inferior country proves the world wrong by winning a gold medal.
Some of the most popular moments were in 1936 when Adolf Hitler was using the Olympics to prove the "master race" was the best. The problem with that was a man named Jesse Owens, and four gold medals later, Hitler was eating crow.
In 1948, after World War II, Germany and Japan were not invited to participate because of their roles in the war. The USSR was invited, but boycot the Olympics for 40 years.
Cold War tensions started showing up in 1952, as the USSR made its first Olympics in those 40 years. In 1956, the USSR and Hungary were playing a semifinal game in water polo when a fight broke out and the game had to be called.
In 1972, the games were supposed to represent peace, but instead it left 19 athletes dead during the Munich Massacre. In Moscow in 1980, over 60 nations boycotted the Olympics in protest of the USSR occupying Afghanistan.
Maybe one of the greatest Olympic performances from this country was the 1980 winter Olympics when the US hockey team filled with college kids played the Russians. At the time, we were down on ourselves and questioning where we really stood in the world - the USSR was looked at as powerhouse, not just in the Olympics but politically, as well.
That win, known as Miracle, by that group of kids was arguably the most important win of a sporting event by any team in the history of this country. It renewed faith in ourselves, and it showed the rest of the world that we might look like we are down but, when push comes to shove, we will always be there.
This year's edition of the Olympics is different than years before. Political tensions are very high between several countries, though nobody seems to be boycotting these games in protest. Russia is looking to show the world how far it has come in rebuilding their powerful country, and we are still involved in the longest war in this country's history.
This year's Olympics are seriously lacking big names and, here we are, just 17 days away from the opening ceremony. I don't know if there is anything that can be proven from this year's Olympic games or anything to gain politically from them but, in just over two weeks, let's hope the only thing there is to worry about is winning that gold medal and not getting our people evacuated on warships as soon as possible.
There has been a little "underground" talk lately about bringing an NHL team to Milwaukee and to me as a hockey fan it would make perfect sense. I can't really see a good reason that an NHL team wouldn't be a great idea for Wisconsin. If you look where Milwaukee is located there would be several geographical rivalries already set in place. Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis to name a few of them. I understand that the NHL is the least popular of the 4 major pro sports but attendance to an NHL game is very comparable to the attendance of an NBA game.
If you look at the recent history of the Milwaukee Bucks it is a rotating door when it comes to players. As soon as the Bucks draft a good player they can't wait to get out of there and the Bucks get little to nothing in return, when a player says he will play "anywhere" he means anywhere but Milwaukee. Just recently Herb Kohl has been talking about looking for local investors to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. I don't know if something will change and it will be reasonable for the Bucks to stay in Milwaukee or not, I know when they are winning people love them. The problem is it is hard to win when nobody wants to play for you. OJ Mayo is their current "superstar" and while he is pretty good and his supporting staff isn't horrible they are far from being a contender, and when it comes to attendance there are only 3 teams in the NBA that average a lower number.
The NHL obviously has never happened in Milwaukee but if you go by the teams that would neighbor them you would see nothing but success. The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings are contenders every season, the St. Louis Blues are usually a competitive franchise, and the only team that got more free agent superstars than the Minnesota Wild a couple years ago was the Miami Heat. The difference between the NBA and the NHL is that while the Timberwolves and the Bucks can't keep a superstar around, teams like the Wild, Red Wings, and Blackhawks have players wanting to play for them. But then again who wouldn't want to play in "hockeytown", or "The State of Hockey" if you are a hockey player.
There is no way to tell if an NHL franchise in Milwaukee would be more successful than the Bucks, but why not hockey and basketball? There are many other cities that have both, if Herb Kohl is looking for investors, maybe instead of NBA investors he should be looking at NHL investors?
All games start at 7pm Friday night, 10-25.
#6 La Crosse Central @ Ft. Atkinson
#7 Waunakee @ #2 Holman
#7 Onalaska @ #2 Reedsburg Area
#6 Evansville @ #3 La Crosse Logan (No time set yet)
#8 West Salem @ #1 Lodi
#5 Black River Falls @ #4 G-E-T
#8 Durand @ #1 Arcadia
#7 Westby @ #2 Mondovi
#8 Melrose-Mindoro @ #1 Darlington
#4 Whitehall @ #5 Cuba City
#8 Independence @ #1 Cochrane-Fountain City
#5 Bangor @ #4 Pittsville
#6 Hillsboro @ #3 Loyal
#7 Blair-Taylor @ #2 New Lisbon
You can find the brackets here:
With my schedule at WKTY it is usually hit and miss when I am out covering a game. Whenever I go to a sporting event I am always asked if I am "working" or if I am just there to watch a game. I would say more times than not when I am at a game I am "working", my 3 kids aren't old enough yet that I would be covering a sporting event that they are participating in.
On Friday night I covered a game at Onalaska when they were playing against Aquinas. Sometimes when I am covering a football game I sit up in the press box with the rest of the media, that for sure has it's advantages. Not only do you get a perfect view of the game, it is also fairly quiet it makes it much easier to pay attention to the game and the sound quality on the air is probably better too. Up until last Friday night every game that I was covering this season I was sitting in the press box, either at UW-L or at Logan, most stadiums outside of LaCrosse though I end up sitting in the bleachers or standing somewhere along the sidelines.
On Friday night when I was in Onalaska I was sitting in the bleachers, shortly before the game started I saw a familiar face. My old high school football coach from Westby Neil Hoven was at the Onalaska/Aquinas game, he had another man with him that I had never met before it was legendary Aquinas coach Jack Nockles. Coach Hoven greeted me as he always does, with a smile from ear to ear and telling me a joke. As we were sitting there talking about the glory days, Neil started telling me about coach Nockles and how they coached in an all star game together. Coach Hoven had picked him up from the nursing home so he could go and watch his old football team. Coach Nockles had a stroke and no longer talks, but his actions and the expression on his face did all of the speaking for him. It seemed everyone that was wearing Aquinas blue that walked near him he waved to and they all waved back, he knew everyone in the crowd and everyone knew him. His former players came up to him and would shake his hand, there was a man that brought his son up to him so that he could meet "his old football coach". The smile on coach Nockles face is probably still there today, he was so happy to see everyone, and everyone seemed very happy to see him too.
Friday night the game went into 4 overtimes and it ended with a field goal, as far as a high school football game goes and "not having a horse in the race" it doesn't get much better than that. There were rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns, interception for a touchdown, and game winning field goals. That night though the memory that I will always have is about my old football coach getting one of his old coaching acquaintances out of a nursing home so he could be happy and watch his old team play football. I know this week I am going to be sitting in another press box, but I look forward to the next time that I am part of the crowd while I am "working" at a football game.