Has to be said: March Madness is no excuse for adults to act crazy

It never fails. There’s always one. A voice that rises above the others like a bird ruining a night’s perfectly sweet slumber.

Show me a field, arena or court featuring prep sports and I will show you a “fan” who believes the louder they are, the more reasonable they sound. The sad thing is the worst of these “fans” are not the teenagers in the student section — who have puberty as a perfect excuse to be obnoxious, but choose to be hilariously entertaining instead — but rather the so-called “adults” in the stands who are supposed to be supporting the athletes.

I’ve seen kids have to hold their parents back from trying to fight coaches. I’ve seen refs followed to their cars by people who are supposed to be role models. I’ve been on the field and seen athletes’ heads weighed down by embarrassment.

To the shouters, yellers, complainers and whiners, as someone who is on the court, let me be the first to burst your bubble and inform you that refs can’t understand what you’re saying from up there and coaches ignore your demands. The only ones who hear exactly what you’re saying are the ones who could recognize your voice in a sea of millions: the kids playing.

Perhaps if you weren’t too busy yelling at coaches or referees, you’d notice the players shaking their heads in embarrassment.

Let me save you some time. No, I’m not telling you how to raise your kids. No, I don’t have kids of my own. Yes, I’ve attended prep games featuring people I dearly love. Yes, I’ve seen incorrect calls or suspicious coaching calls. No, I’ve never felt the need to yell from the stands at a referee or coach. I feel bad enough having the job of interviewing high school coaches after a loss.

There’s nothing easier than yelling about something you don’t fully understand. A coach knows his or her team better than you do. Just as you are too far away in the stands for a referee to hear exactly what you said, you are too far away to see what a referee sees.

We tell these kids to have fun and remind them it’s just a game, but then we act as though there is nothing more important?

Either pick up a clipboard or a whistle or sit down and cheer for your team. Then, win or lose, you tell whatever athlete you came to see how well they did.

The life of an athlete is a road of letdowns with the occasional heavenly spotlight. The last thing they need letting them down are relatives in the stands.

While they are on the court, let’s allow the players to be the main attraction.

Rain dampens state tournament for Pipestone Area

As journalists, we are supposed to be neutral.

We are supposed to be unbiased observers.

It can be tough at times.

I’ll admit, in the sports department, we all pull for our teams. But we keep those feelings inside. We don’t let those come through while at the game or while we’re reporting. It’s easy when we’re watching two teams in the coverage area — we experience both winning and losing in one event.

At state events, it’s a different story.

I found myself in this situation last week at state softball. I was covering Pipestone Area — a team I’ve covered numerous times in my four years at the Daily Globe.

In fact, the Arrows were one of the first teams I covered after I began my tenure in Worthington. On one of my first days, then-sports editor Kevin Kyle — who is ironically in the same position in Pipestone — told me they were going to send me to Mankato to cover the Arrows. They went on to win a state title that year in a weekend that will stay with me forever.

Fast forward four years and I’m back at Caswell Park in Mankato. The players are different this time around, but there’s nothing different about the Arrows’ hopes for a state title.

Unfortunately, they never had the chance. After a 3-2 victory in the opening around, PA was facing a tough Park Center team in the semifinals. In fact, the Pirates were the defending state champions and returned most of their team from a year ago.

The Arrows were finally starting to show signs of life late in the game when disaster struck. The skies opened and the lightning and rain started. The game was eventually called, ending PA’s chances for a state title with a 3-1 loss.

Needless to say, it became a hot topic around the park — and Internet.

The response that was posted on Facebook from the Minnesota State High School League was: “It is a regulation game if: (a) five full innings have been played; or the home team at bat has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four or four-and-a-fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns at bat; or (b) play has gone beyond five full innings and is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat … Games called are over if they are regulation, even if less than 7 innings have been completed.

“A suspended game is any game that is ended before it becomes a regulation game or a regulation game that has a tie score when ended. A suspended game shall be continued from the point of suspension at a later time. The line-up and batting order of each team shall be exactly the same as the line-up and batting order at the moment of suspension subject to the rules governing the game. NOTE: The Suspended Game Rule is in effect for all regular season and post-season games (sub-section, section and state).”

Those are the rules, no question about it. The MSHSL followed them to a T. But I still can’t help but feel for the Arrows.

It was a state semifinal game where both teams were still in contention for a state title. Could the Arrows have beaten Park Center? We will never know. I do know the Pirates were good. They showed that when they dismantled Hermantown 6-0 in the state finals.

I also know a few other things.

First, Caswell Park is a top-notch facility. I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite state venues. They have four fields going all the time, so there is never a lack of games to watch.

However, there are two more on the property that are rarely used. PA’s semifinal game was delayed an hour and a half due to prior games taking too long, meaning that by the time the lightning struck at 7:45 p.m., the game — which was scheduled for 5 — should have been over.

Instead, the game wasn’t moved. The games, which were scheduled for later in the day were allowed to be suspended and played the next day. But PA could only sit around and watch as the skies became threatening, when instead, the Arrows could have been playing on the field they were using to warm up.

But the bottom line is the rules are in place for situations like this. As I sat in my hotel feeling sorry for both teams — I’m sure Park Center wasn’t pleased about it, either — I started to think a few months before. I was at the Xcel Energy Center covering the state wrestling tournament. I watched as Jackson County Central was facing Frazee for the championship. JCC was down early and battled back, needing only a decision at heavyweight to tie with Frazee. The Huskies did just that, knotting the score at 28-all.

Because of the tie-breaker criteria — which were actually printed on Page 11 of the state tournament program — the Huskies thought they had won. JCC won nine of the 14 matches, which was No. 4 on the criteria list and the one which would have been used.

Instead, the high school league awarded co-champions. Yes, there was an exception from the normal rules in place for just such events. Why couldn’t there be such a rule for state softball? I understand if it were a consolation game, or a third-place game, but it wasn’t. It was between two teams who were still in contention for a state title. It is obviously too late for the Arrows this season, but I have to give them credit. They came back and gave it everything they had in the third-place game.

I just hope it’s something that gets looked at in the future so the same thing doesn’t happen to another team.

Minnesota West students give back to the community

Jeff Linder thought something strange was going on.

Three of his Minnesota West football players were in his office, asking to borrow jerseys — months before football season begins.

“They all three came to me one day and asked if they could borrow a jersey,” the Minnesota West head football coach said. “I looked at them, and asked, ‘Why?’ I had no clue what they were getting at here, and it’s something you just don’t give out. They said, ‘We would like to clean up your community for you and show that the program is behind the community.’ I’ll be honest with you, I about fell over. You don’t just have kids — kids that have no ties to the community other than the college — want to do something to help the community. I’m sure it was to let the community know that the football program and its players are behind the community. I’m so proud of them.”

Demetrius Nealy, DeCarlos Wood and Sebastian Ordonez spent two hours Saturday morning cleaning up around Lake Okabena.

“We took it upon ourselves to ask coach if we could get our jerseys to show more recognition to let people know that we are really here,” Wood said. “We really want to do something to help the community, and not just to go school and play football. We make a name for ourselves and show what the Bluejays are really about.”

The trio of college students spent from 10 a.m. until noon on a gorgeous Saturday to give back to the community.

“It’s a Saturday. You want to sleep in and chill and relax and stuff like that,” Wood said.

But the three weren’t sleeping. Instead, they were picking up trash.

“We picked up some trash and took sticks out of rocks and stuff,” Wood said. “We kept everything looking smooth and looking like it was new. We saw dead animals and fish and stuff but we didn’t touch those. We let them know and let somebody else come get them. We did a lot of cleaning and stuff.”

The trio didn’t find anything too unusual, but did have their share of dead animals.

“We found a big bass and a dead bird,” Wood said. “Last year, they told me they found a dead beaver, which surprised me. I was like, ‘They have beavers over here?’ It was crazy.”

The three are freshmen on the Bluejay football team. And all three are from Florida.

“I’m so proud of them,” Linder said. “To have young men who want to do something like that just because, to help out a community they are a part of because of college, but have no ties here other than the college. It says a lot about these young men. It’s just exciting to have kids like that. It’s more than just playing football. It’s more than just getting an education. It’s about fitting in and showing people in the community they are now living in, that they do care.”

While the clean-up efforts were taking place all around Lake Okabena, the three MW students were concentrated on the grade.

“It’s funny because they’re not local and using the term grade around Worthington, they kind of looked at me funny,” said Genny Turner, who helped get the volunteers organized. “Eventually I sent a couple more of the lake association volunteers down in that direction, and so what’s really nice is they kind of walked along one side and really kind of went down and cleaned right along the shoreline, even in the water. At one point, I drove by and I had to chuckle because they said, ‘Man, there’s a lot of dead fish.’ I don’t think they really expected they would find that.”

Campus marketer Amber Luinenburg sent an e-mail to everyone in the Worthington campus, planting the idea into the player’s heads.

“The e-mail said that anyone could come, whether it be athletic teams, so me and the rest of the guys were like, ‘We might as well do that, too,’” Wood said. “We could get our names out there and get more fan support during the games next year and let them know that we are involved in the community like they are and try to get some support for next season.”

At home in Florida, Wood had done other community projects.

“Back home, I was in a group leadership club,” he said. “I learned that from back home, and it’s good to have community. It’s better to give than receive. That’s something I’m used to and like doing.”

And their willingness to help and volunteer is just an example of what Minnesota West as a college — and Linder as a coach — try to instill in their student-athletes.

“I’m proud of them. I tell them that every time I’ve seen them in the last two days,” Linder said. “Even when they picked up their jerseys on Saturday morning, I about started to give them hugs. It just says a lot about their character, and that’s the kind of character we try to instill in all of our young men.”

A new face at the Worthington YMCA

Spend a few minutes with Ryan Seykora, and it’s obvious where his passion lies.

Recently taking over as the Worthington Area YMCA’s Health and Fitness director, Seykora has brought excitement and experience into the position.

“I enjoy it here,” he said from inside his office at the YMCA. “I enjoy the fact that what I’m good at doing, I’m doing it on a grander scale. I have all the resources available to do it, from equipment to staff, and also I’m able to interject a lot of variety and a lot of new ideas that I’ve accumulated that haven’t been implemented down here.

“I enjoy helping people. This job, as any job, presents a lot of challenges. People have their own ideas on the way things should be done and the way to do things. But the biggest thing is to understand why I believe the things that I do and the philosophies that I have. That gives me a lot more confidence to do this job.”

So far, Seykora has enjoyed his time in Worthington.

“The best part of this job is having the social environment that I have with the members,” said Seykora, who started in late August. “Talking and hearing everything about what their dog did over the weekend to how their workouts are going.”

It’s been a long journey for Seykora to Worthington.

“I got in this industry from probably my brother, who was into personal training and the health club management side,” he said. “I was always in sports and always wanted to work out. One thing kind of led to another, simple as that.”

When it was time to choose a career path after graduating from Owatonna High School, he decided to follow his passion.

“Then I tried to find what I wanted to do for college. I ended up going into a health and fitness degree, which is basically more along the lines of personal training,” Seykora said. “I really enjoyed that and graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I got involved with personal training at Anytime Fitness, and then health club management at Snap Fitness. This is the next step.”

The new YMCA building helped lure Seykora to Worthington.

“That was the appealing aspect, was the building,” he said. “The reason I came down here was obviously for the job and the potential that is has, but also the facility. With the new facility, we have endless opportunities.”

It is his desire to help people and increase their knowledge, so Seykora will share health and fitness information with our readers. Seykora will write a regular column on the first Monday of each month.

His debut column can be found in the sports section of today’s paper.

Along with his column, Seykora is also writing an online blog, and will explain his concepts in a video each month.

“I want to open up people to a new idea of exercise, and not just the way they’ve always heard it,” he said. “I want to be able to show people all the different possibilities.”

A BCS approach to life

The NFC won’t have a representative in the Super Bowl this year.

Instead, the AFC will play a championship, with the winner taking home both trophies.

Sure, the lowly NFC teams can play for their own trophy. But everyone will know it’s the second tier. It’s not “the real thing.”

Would anyone actually agree to that?

Absolutely not.

But, in the same sense, that’s what college football is doing to Boise St.

For the past two weeks, the Broncos have held the No. 2 spot in both polls.

But, in the only poll that matters — the BCS — they are on the outside looking in.

Here’s the kicker. Boise St. is undefeated.

Apparently, the competition they play isn’t good enough.

What would happen if that philosophy would be applied to other sports?

With Super Bowl favorites like the Vikings, Saints and Cowboys struggling, and the plain debacle that is the NFC West, the NFL playoffs would look a little different than they do now.

Let’s take the top eight teams, regardless of conference, and let them play for the Super Bowl.

After the Giant’s win on Monday night, the NFC has a mere four of the top 12 teams in the league. Well, since that means the NFC has teams with worse records, obviously those teams with four and five wins don’t mean too much.

The AFC has 54 wins this season, including an 0-for from Buffalo. The NFC has 50. By using the BCS formula, the NFC wins aren’t good enough. Sure, some NFC teams have beaten AFC teams, but that doesn’t seem to matter here.

Shoot, Boise St. beat Virginia Tech — which is 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the ACC — even Oregon St. — which defeated Arizona — but those aren’t “good enough” wins.

Let’s look at the baseball playoffs using the BCS formula.

Instead of taking the division winners and the wild card teams, lets handicap the divisions as well.

 Divisions with “better” wins get more playoff teams.

For example, in the American League, the East division averaged 86.2 wins amongst the teams. The Central was at 79.8 and the West at 78.

In the National League, the East averaged 83.2 wins, the West 82 and the Central — thanks to the Pirates — 77.

So, by using the same concept, the NL East gets two teams, the Phillies and Braves. The West gets two teams, the Giants and the Padres.

 The Reds, who actually qualified for the playoffs? Sorry, your 91 wins were comprised of too many victories against the Pirates, Cubs, Astros and Brewers — all teams with losing records.

In the AL, the East gets two, the Rays and Yankees. The Central gets two, the Twins and White Sox.

The West? None. Because you play in a division where only one team is above .500, you’re wins aren’t “good enough” either.

Of course, the Rangers won that division. And look, they are in the World Series.

Interesting concept. The best team plays in one of the worst divisions.

What would actually happen if this was real? Teams would jump ship. They wouldn’t want to play in a division with the Royals, Mariners or Pirates anymore. Instead, they would join “super divisions” made up of only the best teams.

Sound familiar? It should. That’s what’s happening to college football. Boise St. is jumping ship. The Pac 10 and Big 10 are expanding to become even more relevant in the college football landscape. And why not? The BCS forces teams like Boise St. to bigger and better conferences.

We all love an underdog. Who doesn’t love seeing an upset during March Madness, or get a little misty-eyed when watching “Rudy”? College football doesn’t let us root for the underdog.

Boise St. doesn’t deserve to be No. 1. I’ll admit that. But when they were No. 3, and Oklahoma — which previously held the top spot — falls, the Broncos should be No. 2. They shouldn’t have been jumped by Auburn.

Are the Tigers a good team? Yes, no doubt about it. Is Oregon (which lost to Boise St. a year ago) deserving of a No. 1 ranking? Possibly. The Pac 10 isn’t what it used to be, but they are beating up on teams like they don’t belong in the same league.

Sound familiar? It should. Boise St. is doing the same thing.

The Broncos have done everything asked of them in the past few years. They have done nothing but win, and win big. This year, they already have wins against Virginia Tech and Oregon St. A game with ranked Nevada awaits, but if something isn’t corrected soon, a one-loss team — like Alabama — could even overtake Boise.

Bottom line, the system in flawed.

My only hope is they find a long-term solution soon, something that gives every team a chance, just like the NFL or MLB playoffs.

But before that can happen, the Broncos need a chance.

They deserve it.

Final football polls released

Minneapolis (AP) — The Associated Press 2010 season final state high school football polls, first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sports writers:

Class 5A

School Total Points Prv

1. Wayzata (4) (6-0) 49 2

2. Blaine (8-0) 41 3

3. Eden Prairie (7-1) 39 1

4. Rosemount (1) (8-0) 37 4

5. Cretin-Derham Hall (7-1) 33 5

6. Mounds View (7-1) 18 8

7. Rochester Century (8-0) 17 9

(tie) Brainerd (8-0) 17 7

9. Stillwater (7-1) 15 6

10. Shakopee (8-0) 9 10

Others receiving votes: None.

Class 4A

School Total Points Prv

1. St. Thomas Academy (7) (8-0) 79 1

2. Mankato West (1) (8-0) 68 2

3. Rogers (8-0) 58 3

4. South St. Paul (8-0) 54 4

(tie) Totino-Grace (7-1) 54 5

6. Becker (7-1) 37 6

7. St. Paul Central (8-0) 35 T7

8. Mahtomedi (6-2) 16 9

(tie) Bemidji (7-1) 16 10

T10. Delano (7-1) 9 NR

T10. Sartell (6-2) 35 T7

Others receiving votes: Marshall 5.

Class 3A

School Total Points Prv

1. Albany (6) (8-0) 60 1

2. Rochester Lourdes (8-0) 54 2

3. Dassel-Cokato (7-1) 48 3

4. New London-Spicer (7-1) 40 4

5. Holy Family Catholic (8-0) 35 5

6. De La Salle (7-1) 29 6

7. Virginia (8-0) 24 7

8. Pine City (8-0) 20 8

9. Glencoe-Silver Lake (6-2) 12 9

10. Pequot Lakes (7-1) 5 NR

Others receiving votes: Fairmont 2, St. Anthony 1.

Class 2A

School Total Points Prv

1. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (6) (8-0) 60 1

2. Eden Valley-Watkins (8-0) 54 2

3. Moose Lake Willow River (8-0) 45 3

4. Caledonia (8-0) 44 4

 5. Breckenridge (8-0) 35 5

6. Triton (8-0) 31 6

7. Ottertail Central (8-0) 23 7

8. Jackson County Central (7-1) 20 9

9. Pierz (7-1) 9 10

10. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (7-1) 5 NR

Others receiving votes: Luverne 2, Morris 1, Braham 1.

Class A

School Total Points Prv

1. Springfield (3) (8-0) 39 2

2. Barnesville (1) (8-0) 36 1

3. Browerville (8-0) 32 3

4. Mahnomen (8-0) 29 4

5. Dawson-Boyd (7-1) 22 6

6. Minneota (7-1) 21 5

7. New Ulm Cathedral (7-1) 17 7

8. Blooming Prairie (6-2) 10 9

9. East Central (7-1) 9 8

10. Le Center (7-1) 3 NR

Others receiving votes: Barnum 1, Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 1.

Class 9-MAN

School Total Points Prv

1. Nicollet (5) (8-0) 59 1

2. Goodridge Grygla-Gatzke (1) (9-0) 53 2

3. Edgerton Ellsworth (8-0) 50 3

4. McGregor (8-0) 40 4

5. Stephen-Argyle (9-1) 34 5

6. Wheaton (8-0) 32 6

7. Ada-Borup (7-1) 24 7

8. Cook (7-1) 12 9

(tie) Grand Meadow (7-1) 12 8

10. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (7-1) 10 10 O

thers receiving votes: Spring Grove 2, Mountain Iron-Buhl 1, Lanesboro 1.

Football polls released for Oct. 19

Minneapolis (AP) — The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of October 19, first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sports writers:

Class 5A

School Total Points Prv

1. Eden Prairie (7) (7-0) 70 1

2. Wayzata (5-0) 61 2

3. Blaine (7-0) 54 5

4. Rosemount (7-0) 49 4

5. Cretin-Derham Hall (6-1) 35 7

6. Stillwater (6-1) 31 6

7. Brainerd (7-0) 28 8

8. Mounds View (6-1) 22 3

9. Rochester Century (7-0) 20 9

10. Shakopee (7-0) 15 10

Others receiving votes: None

Class 4A

School Total Points Prv

1. St. Thomas Academy (9) (7-0) 99 1

2. Mankato West (1) (7-0) 87 2

3. Rogers (7-0) 76 3

4. South St. Paul (7-0) 67 6

5. Totino-Grace (6-1) 65 5

6. Becker (6-1) 34 9

7. Sartell (6-1) 33 7

(tie) St. Paul Central (7-0) 33 8

9. Mahtomedi (5-2) 25 4

10. Bemidji (6-1) 15 10

Others receiving votes: Northfield 9, Delano 7.

Class 3A

School Total Points Prv

1. Albany (10) (7-0) 100 1

2. Rochester Lourdes (7-0) 90 2

3. Dassel-Cokato (6-1) 73 7

4. New London-Spicer (6-1) 66 5

5. Holy Family Catholic (7-0) 61 6

 6. De La Salle (6-1) 43 8

7. Virginia (7-0) 36 9

8. Pine City (7-0) 32 10

9. Glencoe-Silver Lake (5-2) 21 3

10. Norwood-Young America (6-1) 18 4

Others receiving votes: Pequot Lakes 7, St. Anthony 2, Fairmont 1.

 Class 2A

School Total Points Prv

1. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (8) (7-0) 80 1

2. Eden Valley-Watkins (7-0) 72 2

3. Moose Lake Willow River (7-0) 61 4

4. Caledonia (7-0) 57 5

5. Breckenridge (7-0) 48 6

6. Triton (7-0) 39 7

7. Ottertail Central (7-0) 30 8

8. Luverne (6-1) 22 3

9. Jackson County Central (6-1) 18 9

10. Pierz (6-1) 7 10

Others receiving votes: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 5, Braham 1.

Class A

School Total Points Prv

1. Barnesville (3) (7-0) 57 1

(tie) Springfield (3) (7-0) 57 2

3. Browerville (7-0) 45 3

(tie) Mahnomen (7-0) 45 4

5. Minneota (6-1) 30 5

6. Dawson-Boyd (6-1) 29 8

7. New Ulm Cathedral (6-1) 28 6

8. East Central (6-1) 11 T10

(tie) Blooming Prairie (5-2) 11 T10

10. Cedar Mountain1Comfrey (6-1) 7 NR

Others receiving votes: Le Center 3, Red Lake County 3, Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 2, Barnum 2.

Class 9-MAN

School Total Points Prv

1. Nicollet (5) (7-0) 76 3

2. Goodridge Grygla-Gatzke (2) (8-0) 71 5

3. Edgerton Ellsworth (1) (7-0) 69 4

4. McGregor (7-0) 51 6

5. Stephen-Argyle (7-1) 47 1

6. Wheaton (7-0) 42 7

7. Ada-Borup (6-1) 25 9

8. Grand Meadow (6-1) 23 2

9. Cook (7-1) 8 NR

10. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (6-1) 7 NR

Others receiving votes: Lanesboro 6, Spring Grove 6, Isle 4, Littlefork-Big Falls 3, Hillcrest Lutheran 2.

Introducing new sports reporter Daniel Kerwin

Here I am now in Worthington, stop number seven in the Grand Tour of my life.

It would take the rest of this column to fill you in on my life’s story, so to keep things a little more interesting for you I’ll introduce myself instead by telling you about my greatest sports passion — Australian rules football.

Some background on my life is needed for this to make sense. I was born in Melbourne, Australia, back in 1988, and since then have lived in five other countries — New Zealand, Hong Kong, England, Japan and now here in the U.S. I have been a U.S. citizen my entire life — both my parents are American, and my mom and her side of the family are from Minnesota — but I’ve always considered myself equally an Aussie.

I graduated from Macalester College in May, and since then have been playing for Minnesota’s Australian Football team, the Minnesota Freeze.

I’m sure I can safely assume not many of you reading this are familiar with Australian football. If you were to learn only one thing about it, it would be to never try to compare it to rugby. That’s a mistake that will make any Australian cringe. Besides the shape of the ball, it bears hardly any similarity to rugby.

The ball is moved by kicking the ball from the hands from one player to the next, the same style kick as a punt in American football (it is no surprise that every Australian in the NFL is a punter). Throwing is strictly against the rules, penalized by a free kick against you. There is tackling, but there are strict rules to keep players from getting hurt — there is no padding of any kind. The aim of the game is to kick a goal, which is scored by kicking the ball between the two tallest of a total of four vertical posts on each end of the oval. That’s right; the game is played on an oval-shaped field.

If I kept going I’m sure I might lose you, so instead I’ll suggest you come and talk to me or look on Wikipedia if you want the full run-down.

Another question some of you might have — how the heck did we get an Australian football team in Minnesota?

There is actually an Australian football league in the U.S., with teams in most major cities throughout the country. Our nearest competitors are in Des Moines, Milwaukee and Kansas City. I will be playing for the Freeze in the National Championships in Louisville Oct. 9.

So how then does a description of Australian football and my career playing for the Freeze work as a self introduction?

Playing for the Freeze is pretty much an embodiment of two of my defining characteristics — Australian culture and Minnesota roots. I bring to this new job a wide reach of sporting interests from around the world — from Australian football to English soccer and Japanese baseball — but I’ve always known that Minnesota is home, and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Minnesota sporting culture, particularly in this corner of the state.

Aaron Hagen has been a great sports editor for this publication, and he will be a great person to learn the trade from. I look forward to being under his tutelage and keeping the Daily Globe sports section the best that we can possibly make it.

Where did the summer go?

As I sit here staring at the blank computer screen, I can’t help but have a sense of sadness come over me.

It isn’t because I had a horrible week in Pigskin Pick ‘em (which I did).

It also isn’t because former co-worker Michael Brauer gave me a quartet of shellackings in NCAA football (which he did).
 

But instead, this sadness comes from the Twins.

Of course, they are on a roll. A big series with the White Sox will greatly determine how the rest of the season plays out.

I believe a sweep, or at least a series win, all but seals another American League Central crown.

This sadness comes from Target Field. While I was there in March — when it was freezing outside — to watch the first-ever game, it wasn’t the same.

That day, the Minnesota Gophers were playing baseball, not the Twins.

This year, I have attended a total of nine baseball games.

I went to four in Kansas City on two different occasions, two in Washington, D.C. and three at Wrigley Field.

All four games in KC were against the Twins, so I have seen them live.

But I haven’t seen them at Target Field.

The cold temperatures of fall are starting to creep up, meaning the baseball season is winding down.

With a full prep schedule and a pair of college football games on the horizon, I fear my chances are dwindling.

Minnesota does have 10 home games remaining — not counting the potential playoff games — so all hope is not lost.

As a pure optimist (I have to be as a Cubs fan), I know it’s just a matter of time before I sit with the sun shining down on a warm summer day, enjoying a hot dog and Twins baseball.

It might not be this year, but someday very soon, I will be another paying customer at Target Field.

Golf, a game for any occasion

Golf is an amazing sport.

As I sit and write this blog, I’m still thinking about the game I just completed.

On Monday morning, my dad and I tried to hit the course. The rain delayed our round a couple of hours, but we still played.

As a late Father’s Day present, my dad and I played nine holes in overcast and wet conditions. The last nine was played in sunshine and perfect conditions.

Only two days before, golf was again at the center of my festivities.

It was Saturday morning and we still had a few hours before the big day began.

My friend, who was going to be married a few hours later, decided he would like to play a round on the morning of this monumental event.

He and I have been friends for most of our lives and throughout our friendship, golf is at the center of most of our memories.

It was only fitting a day like this would begin on the course.

Although he wouldn’t admit to it, I think his nerves played a role in his score — which was a little higher than normal. That, of course, led to a rare victory for me. He later used that as an excuse to explain his emotions at the altar.

We had a great foursome that morning: the groom-to-be, the best man, the groom’s father and myself. It proved to be a great start to a truly memorable day.

A few weeks earlier, we were on the same course — the course we grew up on — for his bachelor party. It was one of the few times I’ve played since I moved to Worthington, and it brought back memories.

My friend and I reminisced about the “good ol’ days” when we used to have our parents bring us to the course because we weren’t old enough to drive.

On the long par 5 that led back to the clubhouse, we had a small bet. On the right side of the fairway was an old tree. Whoever hit it to the tree had to buy the round of Mountain Dews at the clubhouse.

Looking back, that tree wasn’t very far at all.

We laugh about it now, but those are memories we’ll have forever.

On Saturday, we made new memories. We’ll forever talk about this day — and the round that preceded it.

And coincidently, whenever he celebrates his anniversary, I’ll be celebrating one of the few times I have ever beaten him.