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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Sports, Moderation and Perspective Are Key

Jim Cryns on Sports

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Everything in moderation. The way we eat, drink, and even consume sports.It’s critical to how we live our lives, to our ultimate happiness. Going out to dinner with friends and enjoying a bottle of wine. That’s great. Keeping it all in perspective. Going to a ball game, spewing venom at opposing teams and others while swilling and spilling copious amounts of beer upon everyone and everything is probably a little askew. If you find yourself in the latter situation, it may be a good time to take a step back, look at the totality of things, and regain perspective, assess your priorities in life.

Sports is a figurative arena where we can regularly lose ourselves, retreat from the rigors and stresses of the day. Some grease up in the Packers’ green and gold colors, shiver in freezing temperatures clad in skimpy yellow bikinis and stand in long lines for a beer that costs as much as your average lunch at McDonald’s.

NBA fans are treated to a non-stop barrage of music, dancing cheerleaders, food vendors and an occasional backdrop of a basketball game, in case you need a diversion from the rest. The Milwaukee Bucks and Harley-Davidson recently announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement for home games at the BradleyCenter.The deal features a ‘Rev Up’ segment where a Hog will be ridden onto the court, presumably during a time-out—a display of energy and horsepower rarely provided by the actual basketball team.

The preponderance of Milwaukee sports fans anticipate opening day at MillerPark more than their own wedding or the birth of their first child. The NFL draft keeps more people glued to the television than reruns of Gilligan’s Island.

And that’s all fine and well, as long as it’s kept in perspective.We’ve got college teams in Marquette, UWM and Wisconsin, all worth your time. If you want semi-pro hockey, The Admirals are at your beckon call.If Australian Rules Football is your thing, check out the Milwaukee Bombers and drop a few ‘shrimp on the barbie.’ Should you feel compelled to watch a grouping of self-important windbags, check out the Dennis Krause roundtable on Time Warner sports.

There’s no shortage of pontificators, prognosticators, bandwagon jumpers and fanatics. A Packers fan would give up a kidney to spend the day at Lambeau Field.Again, that’s just fine, as long as we keep it in perspective.Keep in mind, when you’re team loses, gets blown-out, gets a series swept from them in late September, the guys on the field are going home to a multi-million dollar estate, and you, with your stomach falling out after a Packers loss, are still trying to make the nut on this month’s mortgage.

The three student bodies who wore next to nothing during the Packers’ subzero loss to the Giants at Lambeau field, are still enjoying the warmth of fame. They’ve been making the rounds of sports radio talk shows, even a lackluster television appearance in Green Bay.The rumor mill has them posing for Maxim magazine, but the girls adamantly refuse to lose any more clothing for the photo shoot.

In the National League, you’ve got to be thrilled with the young prospects brought along by the Brewers. Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, among others. These kids are maturing and playing well together. The future looks bright for a team which finally escaped the dingy shroud that was the Selig regime. Yes, I know Bud is the man who brought baseball back to Milwaukee, but he was also responsible for some of the ugliest uniforms in Major League history.

The influx of new blood is overseen by general manager Doug Melvin.On a recent trip to Milwaukee, former Brewer Jeff Cirillo met with the Brewers in hopes of being brought back in some capacity. Unfortunately for Jeff, there is no room at the inn.

The UW-Milwaukee Panthers, once a doormat at an unknown university, have emerged as a solid and respected team.That is no small feat, and former chancellor Nancy Zimpher was as responsible for the rise of the school’s sports program as much as anyone else.Marquette, while not winning a championship since the Carter administration, has consistently put a contending and respectful team on the court.

That too is good for Milwaukee and Wisconsin, as long as it’s kept in perspective.

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