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In Sports Commentary

He's tried plenty, but Dave Begel can't get into hockey.

Thinning the sports world's herd


Between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers and my worries about the Milwaukee Bucks, my sports cup pretty much runneth over.

The thing is I've got only so much time. My attention span is only so long. My passions run only so deep. I just haven't got room for everything in the world of sports.

So I've decided to compile a list of sports that I can well live without.

Mixed Martial Arts – Big surprise, huh? It's a sport in only the most loose sense of the word. It's a gathering of dunces putting on a show for another gathering of dunces. There is nothing about this that is appealing to anyone with even a modicum of common sense or passion for real sports. Plus, for such a bunch of brave and courageous guys, it's funny that they chickened out when I was scheduled to interview one of the fighters. They said they knew how I felt so they were backing out. Chicken!

Hockey – God knows I've tried. And I've got unbridled admiration for the people who keep plugging away with the Milwaukee Admirals. But I just don't get it. Hockey is almost impossible for me to like, because of two simple reasons. Fighting is one. The other is that I can't see the damn puck. In person or on television it is virtually impossible to tell when someone scores unless a light goes on in the goal. What good is a sport where you can't see the score?

Cycling – From the Tour de France to the Tour de Downer Avenue this sport is the very definition of a bore. By comparison, chess is rampant excitement. Biking is a recreational activity and should be left there. Odd looking people with odd looking helmets and odd looking clothes on odd looking bikes come by every 15 or 20 minutes or so and nobody really knows who is in the lead. There are packs and pallodromes and sprinters and liars. There is also Lance Armstrong. Wait, I already said that. In this one I also include motocross and BMX racing.

Speedskating – Believe it or not I was a member of the Whitefish Bay Speed Skating Club back in the day. My event was the 500. In those days we all lined up at the starting line and off we went, elbows flying, skates flashing and the first one across the finish line was the winner. Now we have this interminable one-on-one racing that doesn't even pit skaters against each other. Just the clock. This is a big deal in Milwaukee, what with the Pettit Ice Center, which is a pretty cool place to have a kid's birthday party. When they start speedskating for real, all at once, maybe I'll come back.

Women's professional basketball – This is kind of a funny one for me. I like girls high school and college basketball. I have a daughter who upset the best junior varsity city conference team with a 25-footer at the buzzer. I think Terry Mitchell at Marquette is one of the best coaches in the state. But when they move on to the pros, it's as if someone put mittens on their hands and shoes two sizes too big on their feet. They can't run, jump or shoot. And if you can't do those three things, it's not basketball. When was the last time you saw a good jump shot in the WNBA? The answer is, never! I think the WNBA season either just ended or is just starting. For the sake of all of us, let's hope it's the last.

Boxing – I used to love boxing. The greatest sports event I ever covered was the fight between Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. Rocky Marciano and George Foreman (pre-grill days) and Joe Frazier. Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay. Boxing used to be a great sport. Now it's a grab bag of people who make Mafia dons look like Mother Theresa and Florence Nightingale. Get rid of all four divisions. Have a ranking system that makes sense and everyone agrees with. Then put fights on TV every Friday night. Friday Night Fights, get it?

Minor League Football – In our fair city we have a team called the Milwaukee Mustangs. Which is not to be confused with the Milwaukee Mustangs we used to have or the Bonecrushers or the Iron or the Whatever. The Mustangs (the current ones) had almost nobody come to their games. The Mustangs (the old ones) stiffed creditors. I've watched minor league football. I've also watched curling. It's a close call as to which I like less, but the I'll take the stone, or rock, or whatever.

Bobsled and Luge – Call me cranky. But these two sports seem to be more about engineering than anything else. And those big muscled men laying down on each other with those skin tight suits just gives me the creeps. It's good for laughs, except when someone gets killed.

Bowling – Any sport where you can sit down during a break, drink a beer and smoke a cigarette leaves something to be desired on my sports calendar. Plus, bowlers dress like golfers who are on a cheapskate's budget. And if it weren't for lady bowlers, the people who make kulottes would have gone out of business years ago.

Mixed Martial Arts – I know it was number one on my list. But it's such a sham that I have to mention it again. Listening to the people who defend the thing makes me think of Michelle Bachman. You know. Out of touch with reality. Blind and stupid adherence to that wacky Tea Party. A laughingstock in the rest of the world.

Talkbacks

Captool73 | Aug. 10, 2011 at 7:16 a.m. (report)

You can include one of der begel's favorites--the Milwaukee Bucks. In the next few years, they will be either contracted by the NBA or relocated. Called culling the herd, Dave!!

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jfredmuggs | Aug. 9, 2011 at 4:02 p.m. (report)

I think MMA could have made it to the list a couple more times. I went to one of their things and a hockey game broke out.

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buck | Aug. 9, 2011 at 3:53 p.m. (report)

I love how this supposed sports writer has zero awareness of short-track speed skating. Guess what, Begel, they do exactly what you stated you wish they did. Get a clue.

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Broner | Aug. 9, 2011 at 2:57 p.m. (report)

@kpop, pay no attention to 'Ol Dave this week. He writes these inane columns when no one has been commenting for a few weeks. With zero comments the past two weeks, it seems as though Dave is being thinned from the herd of sports columnists.

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jpoplawski | Aug. 9, 2011 at 1:48 p.m. (report)

Hate on MMA? I'm assuming that's because it's taking over your beloved boxing. Or is it because someone backed out on an interview? How come there's no hate on the NFL for the CBA nonsense. I re-read both of your points on MMA and there really isn't any argument against it. I think it's an excellent outlet for up and coming fighters, karate, kick boxing, boxing, jujitsu and judo practitioners. How many kids (and adults) take karate and tae kwon do? Check it out Sunday (Bradley Center) and give it an *honest* assessment. I've been to plenty of Packer/Brewer games where there are "dunces" watching "dunces". Opening Day at Miller Park? If anything, be humbled/proud/thankful that the UFC is bringing an event to Milwaukee. Bringing in fighters and fans that bring money to the area. One of the area's largest employers/recognizable brands "Harley Davidson" is a huge sponsor. Apparently they disagree with you as well.

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