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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 24, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

You can't tell a professional athlete to not try, to lose "on purpose." (PHOTO: David Bernacchi )

Sports talk radio goes in the tank when it comes to the Bucks


The lecture today is about athletic competition and what it means to be a real athlete.

This is occasioned by somebody I heard on the radio Thursday night. I was driving home from an event and made the mistake of tuning into WSSP, one of the sports talk stations in Milwaukee. I have no idea who the guy I was listening to was, but he sure sounded like an authority. Of course all sports talk radio guys sound like experts.

Here's what this guy said: "The Bucks lost to the Indiana Pacers tonight by five points. The worst team in the league almost beat the best team in the league in their home arena. And I was scared. Really frightened. This is a team that is supposed to be tanking. I was really frightened that they would win."

Find the most outrageous dunce cap, put it on this guy and send him to sit in a corner until spring comes.

In all of my years of covering, talking and thinking sports, I have never heard such an idiotic statement.

You know what he's talking about. If the Bucks end up with the worst record in the league they will most likely have the first pick in the draft. Whoever this idiot is obviously belongs to the wacko crew who think the Bucks should purposely lose games so they ensure they will get that pick.

It's time someone took these crazies to task, and I am the guy to do it.

It's obvious that none of these people has ever played competitive sports. They are probably those little guys who sit around in their basement with computers pretending to be play-by-play announcers.

Anyone who has ever played sports understands that the concept of losing on purpose is absolutely foreign to the ethic and joy of playing a game.

The greatest joy in sports comes from winning. The second greatest joy comes from trying hard to win. The third greatest joy comes from playing.

Not on that list, at all, is trying to lose.

If these people would stop and think clearly for just a moment (a task seemingly beyond them) they would realize how ridiculous they sound.

Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the Bucks decided to give in to this school of thought. How do they do it?

Do they tell the players to take it easy on the court? Miss shots on purpose? Commit turnovers? Kick rebounds out of bounds? Never make a free throw? Foul out of games in the first quarter?

Does John Hammond tell Larry Drew to start the five worst players? Does Drew signal to opponents what play the Bucks are going to run?

How about Hammond? Does he decide to hide his best players on the injured list? Does he suspend players for conduct detrimental to the team?

See how absurd this is?

There are no athletes who are going to put up with being told not to try. A big part of the reason they are athletes is they appreciate the skill and hard work that goes into being the best you can be. Go tell an athlete that you want to lose games so you can get a top draft pick and you are liable to get your head handed to you.

Anybody who thinks the Bucks should tank, including that radio imbecile, should be ashamed of themselves.

And I should be ashamed of myself for wasting even one second listening to this guy.


Talkbacks

brewguru | March 7, 2014 at 3:37 p.m. (report)

Dave Begel comes from the Herb Kohl school of athletic achievement. He wants to compete for the 8th seed every year with nothing to show for it. Real Bucks fans, real sports fans, want the Bucks to finish with the worst record in the league so that this horrendous team can actually improve. Of course, with Herb Kohl as owner, the Bucks would probably trade the #1 overall pick for a 32-year old shooting guard.

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loewboom | March 4, 2014 at 1:17 p.m. (report)

You have enough time to get an exact quote, but not to go that extra mile and get the actual name of the radio personality?? Come on, Dave. Emblematic of your writing... to quote Homer, Weak Sauce.

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ldcclique | March 4, 2014 at 12:49 p.m. (report)

This article is laughably bad. Nobody has told the players not to compete. John Hammond has failed to add talent capable of competing in the NBA and the league's worst record is the result. Honestly, I couldn't be happier. Maybe another 35 win season is exciting for the author of this terrible article but the rest of us would prefer actual relevance.

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TheyThink | March 4, 2014 at 9:39 a.m. (report)

Wow. On this one, I agree with 'Ol Dave. A losing mentality is not healthy or smart for the team or its fans no matter who we get in the draft.

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Photodavie | March 4, 2014 at 7:39 a.m. (report)

"In all of my years of covering, talking and thinking sports, I have never heard such an idiotic statement." Oh Dave, just read some of your own articles. You'd be amazed at all the idiotic statements you've made.

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