sports commentary http://michiganradio.org en Remembering a dose of humility from Jeopardy! http://michiganradio.org/post/remembering-dose-humility-jeopardy <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2f6a479e-db73-3e5b-0b1d-5d96f012ef30"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Last night, I tried my luck on the NPR game show, “Ask Me Another.” &nbsp;It brought back memories – traumatic ones – of my disastrous try out for the Jeopardy! game show 24 years ago.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 2; background-color: transparent;">"I'll take 'Humility' for $100 please, Alex."</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2f6a479e-db73-3e5b-0b1d-5d96f012ef30"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">"He was one of fifty people to fail the Jeopardy test on June 21, 1990."</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2f6a479e-db73-3e5b-0b1d-5d96f012ef30"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">"Ah, 'Who was John Bacon?'"</span></span></p><p></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2f6a479e-db73-3e5b-0b1d-5d96f012ef30"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">24 years ago, it seemed like a good idea. &nbsp;There I was, lying on the couch, watching Jeopardy!, and yelling out things like "Millard Fillmore," "The St. Louis Browns" and "Mesopotamia," when they invited anybody who would be in Los Angeles to try out for the show. &nbsp;Turned out I would be, so I figured, Why Not? &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p><p></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2f6a479e-db73-3e5b-0b1d-5d96f012ef30"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Why not? &nbsp;Here’s why: It’s a poor predictor of success on the show, only 3-percent pass it -- &nbsp;oh, and you can’t really study for it. &nbsp;&nbsp;That’s why. &nbsp;</span></span></p><p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 18181 at http://michiganradio.org Remembering a dose of humility from Jeopardy! Advisers aren't doing Michael Sam any favors http://michiganradio.org/post/advisers-arent-doing-michael-sam-any-favors <p></p><div><p>When Michael Sam told his University of Missouri teammates he was gay before last season, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s a safe bet that NFL teams – who know what kind of gum their prospects chew – already knew this, too. But when Sam came out publicly, it changed the equation.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>The NFL has already had gay players, so that’s not new. But publicly declaring you’re gay is new – and so is the onslaught of media attention.</p><p></p> Fri, 23 May 2014 10:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 17715 at http://michiganradio.org Advisers aren't doing Michael Sam any favors A runner's long journey to Boston http://michiganradio.org/post/runners-long-journey-boston <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 1896, the first modern Olympics in Athens staged a marathon. The next year the Boston Athletic Association followed suit. Just 18 men ran that day, with the winner finishing in about three hours – something office workers can beat today.</span></p><p>Most people thought the runners were crazy – if they thought of them at all.</p><p>Marathoners don’t care. After winning the 1952 Olympic marathon, Czechoslovakian Emil Zatopek said, “If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”</p><p>Greg Meyer knows exactly what Zatopek was talking about. Meyer grew up in Grand Rapids, and enrolled at Michigan in 1973. That spring, Michigan got a new cross-country coach, Ron Warhust, a Vietnam vet with two Purple Hearts, and a hard-earned lesson: “The world doesn't stop because you’re scared.”</p><p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:39:14 +0000 John U. Bacon 17359 at http://michiganradio.org A runner's long journey to Boston Write these 2014 sports predictions down. You won't be disappointed. http://michiganradio.org/post/write-these-2014-sports-predictions-down-you-wont-be-disappointed <p>Since I review the year in sports each December, my editor thought, “Hey, why not preview the year in sports in January?!?”</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Why not? Because I have no idea what’s going to happen. Nobody does.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">That’s why we watch sports: We don’t know how it’s going to end. It’s also why we shouldn’t watch pregame shows: everybody is just guessing.&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 13:49:57 +0000 John U. Bacon 16064 at http://michiganradio.org Write these 2014 sports predictions down. You won't be disappointed. The Year in Michigan Sports, John U. Bacon looks back http://michiganradio.org/post/year-michigan-sports-john-u-bacon-looks-back <p>The year in sports started out with the Detroit Lions missing the playoffs, and hockey fans missing the entire National Hockey League season.</p><p>The NHL lockout started the way these things usually do: The players thought the owners made too much money, and the owners thought the players made too much money.&nbsp; And, of course, both sides were dead right. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:09:11 +0000 John U. Bacon 15777 at http://michiganradio.org The Year in Michigan Sports, John U. Bacon looks back Who learned their lesson from Penn State's NCAA sanctions? http://michiganradio.org/post/who-learned-their-lesson-penn-states-ncaa-sanctions <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal; font-family: arial; font-size: small;">In November of 2011, Penn State&rsquo;s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on forty criminal counts, including the sexual assault of eight boys over a fifteen-year period, one of them in the showers of Penn State&rsquo;s football building. Fri, 27 Sep 2013 05:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 14597 at http://michiganradio.org Who learned their lesson from Penn State's NCAA sanctions? A tip for amateur athletes: The pros are way better than you think http://michiganradio.org/post/tip-amateur-athletes-pros-are-way-better-you-think <p>A lot of amateur athletes think they’re not that far from the people who play their sports for a living.&nbsp;</p><p>Well, when Michigan Radio Sports commentator John U. Bacon tried out for Detroit’s minor league hockey team, he found out that just isn’t so – and he found out the hard way.</p><p>A few years ago – okay, a bunch of years ago – I bit on a bet I never should have touched.&nbsp;</p><p>I was writing for the Detroit News, and a top minor league hockey team called the Detroit Vipers played at the Palace.&nbsp;</p><p>So, I got to thinking: just how big is the gap, really, between the pros, and beer league players like me?</p><p>Good question. And even better if I didn’t try to answer it.&nbsp; But, being the hard-hitting investigative journalist that I am, I had to go down to the Palace, and find out. Fri, 01 Mar 2013 06:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 11462 at http://michiganradio.org A tip for amateur athletes: The pros are way better than you think An unqualified success: The story of Eddie Kahn http://michiganradio.org/post/unqualified-success-story-eddie-kahn <p>In the Michigan hockey program’s 90-year history, some 600 players have scored more than 10,000 total goals.&nbsp; But the man who scored the team’s very first goal 90 years ago, might still be the most impressive one of the bunch.&nbsp;</p><p>This is the story of Eddie Kahn. Fri, 22 Feb 2013 06:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 11346 at http://michiganradio.org An unqualified success: The story of Eddie Kahn Big money pushing kids out of the Big House http://michiganradio.org/post/big-money-pushing-kids-out-big-house <p>A 'seat license' is a fee fans pay just to reserve the right to buy the tickets.</p><p>They call it a donation, even though every single one of us apparently decided to donate the exact same amount, or lose our tickets. But that allows us to call it a tax deduction.</p><p>It's hard to call that honest, or cheap.</p><p>In fairness, Michigan was the last of the top 20 programs to adopt a seat license program, in 2005.</p><p>It started gradually, and left endzone fans alone.</p><p>But this week, Michigan pushed the seat license for the best tickets up to $600, and even people in the endzone will have to cough up $150 per ticket, just for the right to buy them.</p><p>In the past decade, the total cost of my two tickets on the ten-yard line has more than tripled, to over $1,700, which makes you wonder just how we got here. Fri, 14 Dec 2012 16:39:52 +0000 John U. Bacon 10373 at http://michiganradio.org Big money pushing kids out of the Big House The Olympics and The Things You Actually Want to Watch http://michiganradio.org/post/olympics-and-things-you-actually-want-watch <p>The London Olympics features 26 summer sports, with 39 disciplines, and 302 separate competitions, in a desperate attempt to get everyone to watch.&nbsp;</p><p>So you&rsquo;ve got the Ancient Sports, or the Events No One Watches Anymore, like horse riding, rifle range, and archery -- also known as, Things You Did in Summer Camp, But Stopped Doing After You Learned How To Drive and Talk To Girls.&nbsp; Why not include making moccasins and key fobs?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:30:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 8527 at http://michiganradio.org The Olympics and The Things You Actually Want to Watch College Football playoff problem solved! http://michiganradio.org/post/college-football-playoff-problem-solved <h1 align="left">A committee of 12 university presidents recently approved a plan to create a four-team playoff for Division I college football &ndash; the last major sport to have one.&nbsp; That has Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon wondering what good will come of it &ndash; if any.&nbsp;</h1><p>Well, it&rsquo;s finally upon us.&nbsp; No, not the apocalypse &ndash; Mayan calendar be damned &ndash; but a bona fide, Division I, college football playoff. Fri, 13 Jul 2012 15:01:03 +0000 John U. Bacon 8256 at http://michiganradio.org College Football playoff problem solved! Remembering Bob Chappuis, WWII hero and 'Mad Magician' http://michiganradio.org/post/remembering-bob-chappuis-wwii-hero-and-mad-magician <p>One of Michigan Football&#39;s most famous players died earlier this month. Bob&nbsp;Chappuis&nbsp;played for the Wolverines in the &#39;40s. He was a College Football Hall of Famer and a World War II hero. But that&rsquo;s not how&nbsp;Chappuis&nbsp;described himself.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'">You can read about Bob Chappuis&rsquo;s heroics as a World War II tailgunner, or as a Michigan Wolverines tailback, just about anywhere -- from his Time magazine cover story in 1947, to his obituary in the New York Times last week.&nbsp; But my favorite stories are the ones he told his granddaughters.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">I met Chappuis in 2000, while writing a story about his famous Michigan football team.&nbsp; But I really got to know him when I coached his grandson Bobby&rsquo;s high school hockey team.When Bobby went to Culver Academies for a post-grad year, I joined the family to see him graduate.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">We all relaxed in a hotel suite, eating and drinking, while Chappuis&rsquo;s teenage granddaughters goaded him to tell stories.&nbsp; He could not refuse them, but he shared stories you couldn&#39;t find in magazines -- like when his father told him he could go to any school he wanted -- except Ohio State. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">Chappuis skipped the part about leaving college to volunteer for the Army, where he served as an aerial gunner on a B-25.&nbsp; But his son interjected to explain how their granddad&rsquo;s plane was shot down over Northern Italy, forcing the crew to parachute behind enemy lines.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">Chappuis waved it off.&nbsp; &ldquo;Everybody says we&rsquo;re heroes.&nbsp; But what kind of idiot wouldn&rsquo;t jump from a burning plane?&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">He told his granddaughters how they hid in a ditch behind some bushes while Italian soldiers marched by. One of his crewmates grabbed a knife, and motioned to attack. Chappuis grabbed his shoulder, pushed him down and whispered, &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve got us outnumbered 30 to 3, and they&rsquo;ve got guns.&nbsp; I think you&rsquo;ve seen too many Hollywood movies.&nbsp; We are staying put.&rdquo;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 30.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px">Smart move.&nbsp; They were rescued by a family, who hid them in their attic.&nbsp; They buried the Americans&rsquo; identifying clothing &ndash; but Chappuis drew the line at his Michigan ring.&nbsp; &ldquo;This stays with me,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 29 Jun 2012 10:30:56 +0000 John U. Bacon 8081 at http://michiganradio.org Remembering Bob Chappuis, WWII hero and 'Mad Magician' Women in sports: Title IX and the "Battle of the Sexes" http://michiganradio.org/post/women-sports-title-ix-and-battle-sexes <p>This week, the University of Michigan celebrated the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Title IX, with a host of speakers and panels discussing the historic legislation and its impact on girls, women and the United States itself.&nbsp;</p><p>Before Title IX, only one in 30 girls played high school sports.&nbsp;</p><p>Today, more than half do.&nbsp;</p><p>After a single paragraph, and an unforgettable tennis match, that changed our nation forever.</p><p>It all started pretty quietly.&nbsp;</p><p>Just a sentence buried in the back of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.&rdquo; Fri, 11 May 2012 13:28:03 +0000 John U. Bacon 7425 at http://michiganradio.org Women in sports: Title IX and the "Battle of the Sexes" Life lessons from South Africa's Makana Football Association http://michiganradio.org/post/life-lessons-south-africas-makana-football-association <p>A few weeks ago, I visited Cape Town, South Africa. It&rsquo;s a famously beautiful city, right on the ocean &ndash; but that&rsquo;s not what I took away from this trip.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 11:00:58 +0000 John U. Bacon 7225 at http://michiganradio.org Life lessons from South Africa's Makana Football Association Going the extra mile to get that interview http://michiganradio.org/post/going-extra-mile-get-interview <p>While I was writing &ldquo;Three and Out,&rdquo; the Michigan football players challenged me to join their workouts in the weight room.</p><p>I did &ndash; and soon discovered it was one of the dumbest decisions of my life &ndash; and one of the best career moves.</p><p>I&rsquo;d heard so much about these modern gladiators and their weight room heroics that I wanted to find out for myself just how much harder it really is compared to what the average weekend warrior puts himself through just to avoid buying &ldquo;relaxed fit&rdquo; jeans.</p><p>The plan was simple: I would work out with these guys three times a week, for six weeks -- &ldquo;if you last that long,&rdquo; said Mike Barwis, Michigan&rsquo;s former strength coach. &nbsp;But there were four signs that I shouldn&rsquo;t be doing this.</p><p>When I asked Barwis if I should prepare by lifting weights, he said, &ldquo;No, it&rsquo;s too late for that!&rdquo;&nbsp; Well, that&rsquo;s one sign. Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:00:45 +0000 John U. Bacon 7121 at http://michiganradio.org Going the extra mile to get that interview Shawn Hunwick's unlikely run at Michigan ends, and new doors open http://michiganradio.org/post/shawn-hunwicks-unlikely-run-michigan-ends-and-new-doors-open <p>One of the most unlikely careers in the history of University of Michigan sports ended last weekend, in overtime.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 19.0px 'Times New Roman'">Two years ago, Michigan&rsquo;s hockey team was in danger of snapping its record 19-straight NCAA tournament bids.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 19.0px 'Times New Roman'">They finished seventh in their league &ndash; unheard of, for Michigan. &nbsp;So, the only way to keep the streak alive was to win six straight league playoff games to get an automatic NCAA bid.</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px Times; min-height: 19.0px">Oh, and they had to do it with a back-up goalie named Shawn Hunwick, a 5-foot-6 walk-on who had never started a college game until that week. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px Times; min-height: 19.0px">It didn&rsquo;t look good. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px Times; min-height: 19.0px">But the kid caught fire.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 30 Mar 2012 11:29:26 +0000 John U. Bacon 6846 at http://michiganradio.org Shawn Hunwick's unlikely run at Michigan ends, and new doors open Madness: Three Big Ten rivals share the title http://michiganradio.org/post/madness-three-big-ten-rivals-share-title <p><b id="internal-source-marker_0.33079826133325696" style="font-weight: normal; "><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The Big Ten basketball experts knew exactly what was going to happen this season before it even started. &nbsp;Michigan State would battle for another title, while Michigan would be stuck in the middle, fighting for a tournament bid. &nbsp;</span></b></p><div style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: normal; "><br /><b id="internal-source-marker_0.33079826133325696" style="font-weight: normal; "><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">And that&rsquo;s exactly how it started. &nbsp;The Spartans jumped out to first place, and had it all to themselves with just two games left. &nbsp;The Wolverines spent most of the season in the middle. &nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The experts looked pretty smart &ndash; until Michigan started mastering head coach John Beilein&rsquo;s unconventional system.</span></b></div><p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 12:29:21 +0000 John U. Bacon 6568 at http://michiganradio.org Madness: Three Big Ten rivals share the title A sad step backward in Michigan football history http://michiganradio.org/post/sad-step-backward-michigan-football-history <p>The University of Michigan can boast highly ranked schools and colleges, dozens of nationally recognized sports teams and countless famous graduates.</p> <p>And on matters of social justice, Michigan has often led the nation, not followed it.</p> <p>But one Saturday, 78 years ago, Michigan took a sad step backward.</p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 12:00:00 +0000 John U. Bacon 6317 at http://michiganradio.org A sad step backward in Michigan football history Hockey from different sides of the rink http://michiganradio.org/post/hockey-different-sides-rink <p>I&rsquo;ve coached high school boy&rsquo;s hockey teams for almost a decade.&nbsp; But a few years ago, I spent two years helping out the Michigan women&rsquo;s hockey team &ndash; and I learned a lot more than they did.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s worth noting that I&rsquo;m comparing only high school boys and college women, based solely on my observations of two hockey teams.&nbsp; Your mileage may vary.&nbsp;</p><p>My education started on day one. Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:00:23 +0000 John U. Bacon 6260 at http://michiganradio.org Hockey from different sides of the rink Reflecting on Super Bowl XLVI http://michiganradio.org/post/reflecting-super-bowl-xlvi <p>It&rsquo;s been five days since the Super Bowl, just enough time to give us a little perspective. Was it a football game? A concert? A competition for the Clio&nbsp;Award? Or some bizarrely American combination of all three?</p><div>Let&rsquo;s start with the least important: The football game.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You might have&nbsp;caught bits of it, squeezed between the ads and the show.&nbsp;Those were the&nbsp;people who ran really fast and wore clothes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the Super Bowl&rsquo;s first 30 years, most of the games were boring&nbsp;blowouts. I suspect even the players can&rsquo;t recall the scores.&nbsp;But the halftime shows and the ads were hard to forget, and often featured&nbsp;a member of the Jackson family having his hair ignited or her wardrobe&nbsp;mysteriously malfunction.</div><p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:36:41 +0000 John U. Bacon 6174 at http://michiganradio.org Reflecting on Super Bowl XLVI