Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017


Van Clemens

 

Murray's Restaurant

 


Reporting on a Funny (I hope) Weekend

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September 24, 2017

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After being warned more than once that I’m not funny, I’m writing this dispatch to make you laugh.

At least smile?

Grin?

Not cringe?

I stayed close to home this weekend despite an array of attractions to cover including prep football, the Vikings, Lynx and Gophers volleyball. I passed, too, on the first-ever football game at Target Field where St. Thomas and Saint John’s set a Division III attendance record of 37,355.

The turnout at Target Field came close to the 38,686 attendance for a 2015 Division I game at Fenway Park between host Boston College and Notre Dame. Well, the Tommies and Johnnies showed those Eastern folks—never mind that BC stinks in football.

My friend and local emcee Dick Jonckowski might wonder if I spent the weekend hunting waterfowl. Jonckowski told a luncheon crowd earlier this month about an alleged encounter I had with a game warden who caught me shooting loons. After scolding and fining me, the curious law enforcement officer asked what loon tastes like.

“Somewhere in between a trumpeter swan and bald eagle,” I replied.

The Lynx play the Sparks in game one of the WNBA Finals this afternoon. The Minnesota franchise made a favorable impression with me years ago when I went down to the locker room after a game. Players were celebrating somebody’s birthday and invited me to have cake with them.

Hmm. I can’t recall that happening after a Vikings game. Must have forgot.

ESPN reported Saturday former Badgers coach Bret Bielema, struggling in his fifth season at Arkansas, will receive a $15 million buyout if the Razorbacks terminate him.

Why didn’t I go into coaching?

The Twins swept a four-game series from the Tigers and will qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Too many Minnesota fans, though, think the “Boys of Summer” will flop right away in the fall postseason.

Boo!

Never doubt a team with a starting pitcher named “Big Sexy,” a “Mighty Mouse” slugger in Eduardo Escobar and a hometown manager trying to save his job.

I did find time recently to revive my golf game. My swing, put in “mothballs” in August, was pretty consistent on Friday. Best advice to hackers for lowering your score: skip the 18th hole and head for “No. 19.”

Even better advice—this is no joke—is heed the words of Hale Irwin, the Hall of Famer who was in town this summer for the 3M Championship. He said two of the most common faults made by weekend golfers is they don’t use enough club for most shots and they rush their backswings.

Tennis got my attention last spring and summer. I took to the courts a few times including a couple of outings with best friend Myron who lives in Michigan but was in town for a visit. We have been tennis pals forever and historically there is a trophy awarded to the winner of our annual series. Long ago, though, Myron started winning with such frequency he stopped bringing the Turnbull Cup to Minnesota.

The epitome of arrogance!

But we now have a travelling golf trophy. Proud to say it rests in a place of honor in my home and not on Michigan soil. (Full disclosure: Myron hardly ever plays golf, except with me. By contrast, some weeks I spend hours at the driving range and watch golf videos on YouTube until bleary-eyed).

During the weekend I contemplated renewing my subscription to the Star Tribune. I am a fan of the sports section but not so much the news and editorial pages that have a definite “agenda.” Let’s put it this way, if a global catastrophe were about to happen, the Strib headline might be: “World to End, Homeless, First Offenders & Radicals to Suffer the Most.”

At my suburban Minneapolis library the St. Paul newspaper has shelf space labeled “Minnesota Pioneer Press.” On this side of the river we’re apparently not clear about the names of the Twin Cities daily newspapers. Is it the Star Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, or “Newspaper of the Twin Cities”? At least one employee has referenced his newspaper as the Star Trombone.”

On my nightstand is a book called Conversations with God. It was published in the 1990s and pretty much explains everything about everything, and forever. Author Neal Donald Walsch talked extensively with God who patiently answered his questions.

I will let you know if I arrange a similar interview. Definitely worth a column—perhaps two or three dispatches.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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