No matter what you think of sports journalists – online, print or broadcast – we all got into this business because we started as fans, and we love sports.
I'm fortunate to say that I haven't lost that feeling completely, and I can recognize something cool when I see it when it comes to fans and the teams they love.
The Milwaukee Bucks are doing just that through the Bucks Summer Experience Sweepstakes.
The team is offering fans unique opportunities to get up close and personal with members of the organization throughout the summer, and the first two experiences are so good that I have to highlight them.
The first is this Wednesday at Summerfest, where you can hang out with Brandon Jennings at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse to watch rapper Lupe Fiasco.
In my short time covering the Bucks, Jennings seems like an interesting guy and Fiasco is without question of the best rappers out there. It should be a great show.
The other summer experience worth getting in on is happening during the week of the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler. One fan will be able to join Jon Leuer inside the ropes on Monday, July 2.
The fan will be able to be a part of the Wisconsin Sports Shootout, a five-hole challenge pairing LPGA players with Leuer, Packers fullback John Kuhn and legend Mark Tauscher, and former Wisconsin Badgers legend and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.
I'll give the players credit on this one. These guys rarely have time to themselves, and they're opening up some of that time to their fans when they easily could say no.
Good move by the Bucks, Jennings and Leuer. It's an instance where even the distanced sports journalist can say "yeah, that's cool."
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.