By Bob Brainerd Special to Published Feb 01, 2007 at 11:22 AM

What a shame.

No one will remember the basketball game Tuesday night at Bradley Tech, just the aftermath.

It was a City Conference clash that had overtime, drama and a respectful handshake at the end. Nothing on the floor triggered the mayhem that ensued; no questionable officials call, no trash talking, no taunts by the winning team.

Former Marquette and NBA guard Tony Smith and I called the game for Time Warner Sports, and our courtside table gave us the best seat in the house to watch the thriller between Bay View and Bradley Tech unfold. Unfortunately, we were also sandwiched in the middle of the scene when punches began to fly. I've been asked by dozens of people if I feared for my safety. Not really. I did fear for the safety of others, including the innocent students, faculty members and security personnel trying to restore order. The police were outnumbered, and their well-being was at stake, too.

Upon further review, when I turned to see what the commotion was over my left shoulder, I stopped talking. Not a single word aired once things turned ugly. For one, I didn't know exactly what was going on, and didn't want to speculate. You also can't believe this is happening right in front of you, so you freeze. And then there is the reality that the fisticuffs are multiplying and getting closer to the table. Tony and I looked at each other and, without a single word, removed our headsets and began to exit. Those pictures don't need any play-by-play.

I saw scenes play out that you only hear about. Anger. Panic. Disbelief. Even the exit door wasn't an escape option, because fights broke out in the frigid night air, only to tumble back inside. The initial brawl could have been a 30-second melee and this incident doesn't make the TV news that night. But the first fight triggered head-scratching confrontations elsewhere that made the ugly scene linger. People see violence and react with more. It's an immature reason to unleash some hate and venom, but it only makes the situation worse.

I have the vivid picture of doing a post-game interview with Bradley Tech head coach Gary DePerry once order was restored. There we were, rehashing the heart-stopping finish by the Trojans over Bay View, and just a few feet away, Milwaukee Police Officers were slapping the handcuffs on unruly fans.

The limited ticket policy enforced on the two schools is the correct call, but the athletes will suffer and play before an all but empty cheering section. Most of the students on hand Tuesday night were minding their manner. Even the ones who stormed the floor at games end did so to celebrate. They even filed out of the gym without being told. It's too bad that those involved in the fight couldn't take it outside so the scent of victory filled the gymnasium instead of the stench of violence.

I've wrestled with a solution, and cannot conjure anything up that would prevent what happened from happening again. Playing games in an empty gym solves the problem, but creates a new one. Earlier start times may result in less fannies in the seats...but if the Tuesday night fight was triggered with a verbal exchange, how does an early tip time head that off from a repeat performance? More security? How much is enough? And don't the police have other duties to attend to that are more life-threatening than a high school basketball game?

I'll remember the game. The steal and three-point play by Chris McHenry of Bradley Tech to put the Trojans up by a point in overtime. Then Dwight Buycks hitting his teammate Shane Woods for a wide open shot to win it at the buzzer, only to fall short and send the Redcats to their knees knowing they came inches away from victory. But I'll also remember what happened a few seconds later. It had nothing to do with the game, but now it is forever tangled in the final box score.

What a shame.

Bob Brainerd Special to
Born and raised in Milwaukee, what better outlet for Bob to unleash his rambling bits of trivial information than right here with

Bob currently does play-by-play at Time Warner Cable Sports 32, calling Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games in Appleton as well as the area high school football and basketball scene. During an earlier association with FS Wisconsin, his list of teams and duties have included the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and the WIAA State Championships.

During his life before cable, Bob spent seven seasons as a reporter and producer of "Preps Plus: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel High School Sports Show."

And the joke is, Bob has a golf shirt from all four Milwaukee television stations. Sad, but true: Bob has had sports and news anchor/reporter/producer stints at WTMJ, WISN, WDJT and WITI.

His first duty out of college (UW-Oshkosh) was radio and TV work in Eau Claire. Bob spent nearly a decade at WEAU-TV as a sports director and reporter.

You may have heard Bob's pipes around town as well. He has done play-by-play for the Milwaukee Mustangs, Milwaukee Iron, and UW-Milwaukee men's and women's basketball. Bob was the public address announcer for five seasons for both the Marquette men and women's basketball squads. This season, you can catch the starting lineups of the UW-Milwaukee Panther men's games with Bob behind the mic.

A Brookfield Central graduate, Bob's love and passion for sports began at an early age, when paper football leagues, and Wiffle Ball All Star Games were all the rage in the neighborhood.