by Troy Sparks
This is the end of the year that everything on local sports didn’t go as planned in 2012. It just didn’t. So what happened? I wished I knew. I was looking forward to going back to the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, but the team didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. It was fun going down to Arlington, TX to cover the Packers and watch them win in Super Bowl XLV.
Based on their 15-1 regular season record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs last season, which included a first round bye and second round home game, it looked like a slam dunk for the Pack to make the short trip to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.
It just wasn’t meant to be for the Packers. So maybe they will have a new sense of urgency and play with a chip on their shoulders in running the tables in the playoffs this time. According to NFL media, if the Packers make it to the Big Dance in New Orleans, then I go. If not, oh well.
When I saw what the Milwaukee Brewers did in 2011, it was special, especially when they made it to the National League Championship Series. I got to see three games at Miller Park and the playoff atmosphere it created.
With Major League Baseball adding an extra wild card team for the playoffs, it gave the Brewers a shot at grabbing one of two spots with their late surge. And they came awfully close, but they ran out of time.
If the Crew plays with confidence and with a modest team payroll, they can be special. The club realized that no matter how many high-paid players you have on your team, it doesn’t always translate into a postseason contender. Let’s hope that they can make progress with the players they have and acquired for less money.
Before passing judgment on the Milwaukee Bucks’ chance to make the playoffs this season, let’s go back to why they didn’t make it the last two years. Last season’s shortened schedule after the NBA lockout ended did no justice for them. The team completely fell apart in 2011 after setting a goal of winning 50 or more games. That momentum was supposed to carry over from their playoff appearance the year before.
So either the Bucks will make the playoffs or someone will get fired. That’s my wish for the team that they make the postseason. The time to make that push is now because half the team won’t be there next season.
The Marquette men’s basketball team won’t be in the Big East Conference in a couple of years. They recently agreed to form a new conference with other non-football schools. On top of that, don’t expect the Golden Eagles to play UWM, Wisconsin or UW-Green Bay in the future, which is a shame because all the state Div. I colleges should play non-conference games for bragging rights. I’m wishing for another Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
My wish is for the Commissioner of MPS athletics, Bill Molbeck, to do away with the strict rule of barring ticket sales at the door at MPS high school gyms for basketball games. I understand the no cell phone use in the gym, but come on. Working people can’t get off work around lunchtime to buy a ticket at an MPS school to watch that game later on. Why not start selling tickets at the door again? They sell tickets at the door if playoff games are at MPS gyms because the WIAA requires that they do.
You don’t have to deal with that kind of policy at suburban schools. Most people are well-behaved at high school athletic events. Not everybody who attend athletic events at MPS facilities are a threat. Milwaukee police are there at every basketball event in MPS, so what’s the issue?
Speaking of MPS athletics, this is addressed to the football programs in the City Conference. Aren’t you tired of the city schools beating up on each other then get the crappola beat out of them in the playoffs by the suburban teams?
When the 20 or so youth football programs choose to run independent operations instead of hooking up with the high schools to build a bond and maintain a steady flow of eager youths well-trained and well-skilled to contribute at the high school level, then we’ll see some progress and a city team play in the state title game in Madison.
Another thing that might be hurting football in the city is the talent that slips away to these suburban schools due to open enrollment and school choice. City Conference is losing out to good football talent and that’s a shame.
My wish is that somebody needs to talk about starting feeder programs with the MPS high schools that still have football programs. That could increase numbers on those teams. I have about 100 other wishes but not enough space to list them. Those were the main areas that stood out as the old year is ushered out to bring in the New Year. But the question that will stick to me is why the Bucks or the Brewers or the Golden Eagles can’t play in the championship game in their respective sport again? It’s been a long time since that happened.
All I can do is sit back and see what the 2013 will bring for our local sports teams. Maybe some luck will fall our way for a change. Then we can claim a championship for our city and state.