By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 02, 2008 at 8:29 AM

I admit that my first instinct as a sports columnist is to look for a problem somewhere and then write about it.

The negative is what makes the world of sports journalism go around. Still, there are many things about sports that I really love. And that's a good thing. Otherwise, I'd probably be a food or drama critic.

So, here are some things in sports that I really, really, really like.

High school basketball -- It can be boys or girls games, but there is nothing like watching a bunch of kids, some who can play and some who can't, dash up and down the court while trying their hardest to mimic LeBron James. They pat each other on the back for good plays, and pat even harder with encouragement for bad plays.

The PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament -- Talk about cut-throat pressure. In this one, a single mistake can mean the end to your year. Watching the grim faces as they grind away is high drama. Watching the joy when a player makes it is great fun.

Bud Selig's sense of humor -- You don't know about this unless you know the guy. But if you catch Selig having lunch at Gilles, you'll see his funny, sarcastic sense of humor. His daughter has an identical sense of humor, which proves that thing about apples falling from trees.

Bango -- Did you ever watch Bango shake hands or tickle a 3- or 4-year-old kid? It's a precious moment. Bango may be a tough guy, but he's got a heart of gold.

Palermo's pizza at the Bradley Center -- Good Lord, can I apologize any more? It's delicious.

Bob Harlan and Herb Kohl -- Never have two sports bosses been more normal guys. Harlan has lunch at Kroll's West. Kohl eats dinner at Solly's. Both men are unfailingly gracious when somebody interrupts their dinner or lunch to say hello. There is no big-time air about either one.

Barry Alvarez -- I really miss this guy. He told you what he was going to do and then he did it. He's as close to Lombardi as this state has ever seen. No BS.

Mee-Kwon Park Golf Course -- An Ozaukee County operation. Unfailingly friendly people. A real nice course. A good price. Can't ask for much more than that. Other municipal courses could take a lesson from this operation.

Brown Deer Park Golf Course -- It's hard to believe that we have a regular chance to play a course the pros play. Pro Scott Evans has somehow made the bureaucrats at the county understand that running a golf operation should be left to the pros. This might be one of the top golf values in the country.

Tennis matches at McKinley Courts -- Great courts along the lakefront. Walk by and watch the leagues where men and women compete like it's Wimbledon. Alterra Coffee, competitive sports and a wonderful view. Doesn't get much better than that.

Little kids playing soccer -- I'm one of those rare birds who like to watch soccer. And watching little kids swarm to the ball and see every one of them try to kick it is good for laughs and a warming of the heart.

Red Arrow Park in winter -- This one is unbelievable. The Parks Department got it right. You've got people who can barely stand up on skates next to people who think they are Dick Button or Nancy Kwan. Nary a Tonya Harding in sight.

Bob Wanek -- Nobody knows this guy. But he has been a member of the Milwaukee Bucks stats crew from their very first year. That's 40 years of saying hello to a guy and not much else. Talk about dedication.

Talkbackers who make it personal -- This week, one guy called me fat. So what? Does anyone think that has anything to do with my opinion on deer hunting? Talkbackers usually have good things to say. But when they get personal, their credibility disappears. I love those guys, though, for the gift of laughter.

Craig Counsell -- This guy should teach a course called "How to be a professional athlete." He is not the greatest player in the world. But he defines the word "pro."

The Admirals -- Talk about pluck. Very few people go to their games. You'd be hard pressed to name a single player. The newspaper barely covers them at all. But they keep on playing hockey and putting on a show. This is the very definition of sticking to it.

Figure Skating -- I know it's not very manly, but the other day I watched two hours of skaters on the ice with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I never moved off the couch.

I now have the nice Dave Begel taken care of for another year. Next week, it's back to the world of Mr. Angry.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.