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Summer time, and the livin' is easy.

But not if you have children. Nowadays, you have to drive your kid to soccer camp and band camp, to this lesson and that clinic, to make sure they never have a single un-programmed minute of summer to themselves.

Yes, something is gained from all this -- like structure and safety -- but something is lost, too. You see a basket in every driveway, but no one playing on them. Without their own games, kids never learn how to settle their own arguments. Does any ten-year-old know what a "do-over" is?

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I first met Mike Lapprich when I was an assistant hockey coach at Ann Arbor Huron High School, and he was just a ninth grader.  He was a big kid with a baby face, a shy guy with an easy smile – an oversized puppy. 

I came back five years later as the head coach, when Lapper, as we all called him, had just finished his first year as an assistant coach, at age 18.

When I met the returning captain that summer, he brought a list of talking points.  The first: “You have no idea what you’re getting into.”  The second: “Lapper’s our man.  He’s the guy we trust.  Keep him, and treat him right.” 

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings and city officials have announced a $650 million plan for a new arena for the NHL team in Detroit's downtown entertainment and sports district.

Plans for the 18,000-seat arena were announced Wednesday at a meeting of economic development officials to approve the deal. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has long said he wanted a replacement for the 32-year-old Joe Louis Arena.

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Bring the X-Games for 2014 to Detroit.

That's what an impassioned pair of Detroit boosters is saying to ESPN.

They've launched an all-out campaign to get the sports network to choose the Motor City over three other contenders for the summer 2014 X-Games, which are ESPN's extreme sports answer to the Olympics.

Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler are the ones responsible for this bid to win over ESPN.

The two joined us in the studio to talk about their campaign.

Listen to the full interview above.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University president Gordon Gee’s ability to put money in the bank was equaled only by his ability to put his foot in his mouth.  Well, this week he was finally fired – er, retired, entirely voluntarily, of course, not pushed at all.  Nooo.    

Gee has delivered a seemingly endless stream of gaffes, slanders and just plain stupid comments, which culminated in his unexpected departure.  In politics, they say, when a man is shooting himself in the foot, don’t grab the gun.  In that spirit, I’ll let the man’s words speak for themselves.

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Brooms up! This weekend in Genesee County there will be a big exhibition match of quidditch. Yes, that's the sport played by the witches and wizards of the Harry Potter novels.

Since true witches and wizards are in fairly short supply around these parts, this will be Muggle Quidditch, “muggle” being the name applied to all of us non-magical types.

College players from the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern, Miami of Ohio and more will be playing the game at the Deer Run Soccer Complex in Linden Township.

Krystina Packard, a former quidditch player with Michigan State, joined us in the studio to tell us how a game that was created in the imaginative mind of author J.K. Rowling has become a surprisingly serious sport for these muggles.

Listen to the full interview above.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has been named as among those who could be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.

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Wednesday night the Detroit Red Wings lost their final playoff game of the season to the Chicago Blackhawks, breaking the hearts of hockey fans across Michigan.  But according to Michigan Radio Sports Commentator John U. Bacon, it was still a series to savor.

Most sports fans are happy just to see their team make the playoffs. But Detroit Red Wings fans have been able to take that for granted for a record 22 straight seasons.  The last time the Red Wings didn’t make the playoffs, 1990, not one current NHL player was in the league.  Some of the current Red Wings weren’t born.  Nine current franchises weren’t yet created.  

But the record seemed doomed to be broken this season.

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Tomorrow night will bring Game Four in the Western Conference semifinals between the Detroit Red Wings and archrivals Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wings handed the Blackhawks a pair of stinging losses in Games Two and Three, so tomorrow night’s game at the Joe finds the Wings up two games to one.

John Keating covers the Red Wings for Fox Sports Detroit, and he has done so for many years, so he’s seen this team through its ups and downs. He joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

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“This year, by far, will be the largest security force that we’ve had for a 5th/3rd River Bank run to date,” Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk told city commissioners Tuesday.

21,000 runners are registered for the race.

He’s coordinating security with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and five police forces from neighboring communities.

Belk says Michigan State Police will fly helicopters overhead and use bomb-sniffing canine units

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We have seen droughts in sports in this state, that is for sure.

The last time the Lions won the NFL championship, for example, was 1957. Well, there’s been a similar drought in the world of bowling leagues, but that might be about to end.

Mel Shannon’s been bowling with the Knights of Columbus Men’s League in Ann Arbor for about as long as anyone can remember.

Last time Mel won the championship was 46 years ago - 1967.

But, Mel is on the verge of winning the championship again tonight.

Mel is a Word II veteran who is 87 years young and he stopped by the studio along with John Kennard - who is also part of the K of C men's bowling league.

Listen to the full interview above.

Pistons at the Palace of Aubrun Hills
Kevin Ward

Marc Stein of ESPN was the first to report the news:

The Detroit Pistons, as widely expected, fired coach Lawrence Frank on Thursday.

The dismissal of Frank has been expected for some time, after the young Pistons lost 27 of 36 games in the second half of the season before winning four of their final five.

Frank guided the Pistons to a 29-53 mark this season and was 54-94 overall in two campaigns.

Stein reports Frank "went to the playoffs three times in six seasons coaching the New Jersey Nets before his dismissal in 2009, then worked as an assistant in Boston under Doc Rivers."

A group of runners in Kalamazoo will honor victims of the Boston marathon bombing by running together tonight.

“Runners who were nowhere near Boston just feel like a piece of their heart has been ripped out,” said Tonya Durlach. She did not run the Boston marathon, but members of her E.P.I.C. running group and Kalamazoo Area Runners did.

“We’re trying to make sense of what happened but we can’t. We can’t understand why someone would do something so horrible. But the only thing we can do right now is think of them and pray for them,” Durlach said.

TimeFramePhoto.com

The two thousand runners expected to take part in this Sunday’s Lansing marathon can expect to see tight security along the 26-mile course.

The added security is in response to Monday’s deadly bombing at the finish of the Boston Marathon.

Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski says people attending the Lansing marathon will be protected.

“We’ll certainly have additional patrols….we’ll have extra officers working the event. We’ll take precautionary measures…such as bomb sweeps and those types of things we do for these events,” says Szymanski.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Michigan Wolverines are losing a key player on their men’s basketball team.

Sophomore guard Trey Burke led the team to the NCAA championship this month.   Along the way, Burke picked up multiple awards, including the Associated Press college player of the year.    So it’s not really a surprise that he will forego his final years of college eligibility to possibly a big pay day in the NBA. 

Burke considered going pro a year ago, but decided to come back for his sophomore season. He led Michigan to the NCAA title game, where the Wolverines lost to Louisville.

NCAA

It wasn’t that long ago that Michigan’s basketball program was not merely unsuccessful, but the shame of the athletic department.

Bo Schembechler fired basketball coach Bill Frieder on the eve of the 1989 NCAA tournament, famously barking, “A Michigan Man will coach Michigan.”

Assistant Coach Steve Fisher filled in, and the team “shocked the world” by winning Michigan’s first-ever national title in basketball.

But on the eve of Fisher’s ninth season, he too was fired in disgrace, because some players had been paid by a booster.

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An impressive run through the NCAA tournament came up short for the Michigan Wolverines last night in Atlanta. 

After running up a double digit lead in the first half, the Wolverines succumbed to Louisville’s pressure defense.   The Cardinals kept up their hot shooting on offense and did just enough to put away Michigan down the stretch.

The final score: Louisville 82-Michigan 76. 

The Wolverines did have some standout performances.

AP player of the year Guard Trey Burke had 24 points for Michigan (31-8).  Little-used freshman Spike Albrecht added 17 points.

Michigan Basketball / Facebook

Wolverines across the country will be watching the NCAA championship game tonight, but what's happening with the team when their off-screen?

There's no doubt that this team has some extraordinary players. What are they doing that works so well?

Is it the combination of a veteran coach and a young team?

Michigan Radio's Sports Commentator John U. Bacon gave us insight into what has made this team bring the University of Michigan to the championship for the first time since 1989. 

Well, whatever it is, they've got fans buying new gear. Wolverines are sporting apparel with new slogans like, "We on," and "Rise to the occasion." 

They aren't the only ones happy about the championship. Sports apparel shops in Ann Arbor are experiencing a very healthy surge in sales. 

Todd Goetz is the manager of the Ulrich's Bookstore in Ann Arbor, which also sells Wolverine merchandise.

To listen to the audio, click the link above. 

Michigan Basketball / Facebook

The Michigan Wolverines will play tonight for what would be the Ann Arbor school’s first NCAA men’s basketball title since 1989.

It’s been 20 years since the Wolverines last played in a national championship game.  They lost that game to North Carolina. The year before the team lost to Duke.

In the two decades since, U of M has made quick exits from the March Madness tournament.

The Louisville Cardinals have been more successful lately in the tournament, but their last national title was in 1986.

Tip off for tonight’s game will be after 9.

Professional hockey is coming to Ann Arbor after all.

The National Hockey League announced today that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings will play next year at Michigan Stadium.

The NHL's Winter Classic was scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor this past January.  But the game was canceled due to a contract dispute between team owners and the players.

When this year's event was canceled, the league had said it would schedule the next Winter Classic at the stadium, which holds more than 100,000 people.

Denise Ilitch/Facebook page

Michigan is headed to Monday’s NCAA men’s basketball national championship.

The Michigan Wolverines survived a late surge by the Syracuse Orange to win Saturday night’s national semi-final .   The final score was 61 to 56. 

The Michigan Wolverines are just one game away from playing for the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. But first, they must play the Syracuse Orange in tonight’s national semi-final in Atlanta.

The Wolverines will have to solve the mystery of Syracuse's zone defense, which has perplexed all their opponents so far in the March Madness tournament.

“You can’t simulate it in practice,” U of M coach John Beilein told reporters earlier this week, “It’s a thing we have to work at and we’ll be as ready as we can be.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 8-3 at their home opener Friday.

More than 45,000 fans jammed Comerica Park to see the game—an opening day record.

But tens of thousands more came to downtown Detroit just to enjoy the festival atmosphere, in what has become a semi-official holiday in southeast Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will be at Saturday night’s Michigan-Syracuse basketball game in Atlanta.

He will be rooting against the Wolverines.

Dave Bing is a Syracuse graduate.  In fact he played on the same basketball team as current Orange coach Jim Boeheim.

“At the beginning of March Madness, I thought Louisville was the best team. But both Michigan and Syracuse have played much better than I anticipated. They deserve to be there,” Mayor Bing said in a written statement,  “If Syracuse wins, it’s not going to be an easy win for them.”

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If you're going to the Tigers' opening day, one thing you won't be seeing this year is the traditional flyover from Selfridge Air Force Base. 

Tammy Stables Battaglia writes in the Detroit Free Press that it's a "result of 2013’s federal budget sequestration."

Selfridge Air National Guard Base Technical Sgt. Dan Heaton said the grounding of the 127th Wing’s 18 A-10 Thunderbolt II single-pilot fighter jets' goodwill flights is a result of 2013’s federal budget sequestration.

“The Air Force has decided flyovers have been cancelled as a result of budgetary considerations,” Heaton said. “So we’re not participating in any flyovers or participating in any air shows in fiscal year 2013.”

H. W. Sands Corp

The University of Michigan’s allotment of tickets to this weekend’s Final Four basketball games is going quickly.

The last of the more than three thousand tickets might be scooped up by season ticket holders and students by the end of today.

Wolverine fans are not only scrambling for tickets.  They are also looking for places to stay in Atlanta for Saturday’s semi-final game against Syracuse and hopefully Monday’s national championship game.

www.mgoblue.com

Yesterday, Ann Arbor was buzzing with maize and blue fans as Michigan made its way to the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five era.

Now, we all want to know what will happen next.

Will Trey Burke win the College Player of the Year award? What will Michigan need to do as they face Syracuse?

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Cynthia Canty to relive yesterday's greatest moments and talk about what we should expect from the Wolverines.

To listen to the full audio, click the link above.

MGOBLUE.COM

There will be one Michigan team playing in the Final Four in next weekend’s NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament. 

The Michigan Wolverines jumped to a double digit lead early in their Elite Eight game against the Florida Gators on Sunday. And they never relinquished their lead. The final score was 79 to 59. 

Michigan is the only Big Ten team to reach the Final Four. Michigan State and Ohio State both lost tournament games over the weekend.

U of M will play the Syracuse Orangemen in one of next Saturday’s national semi-finals in Atlanta.  

Scott Galvin / UM Photo Services

Sports columnist Rick Reilly once wrote that weekend golfers invariably claim, “I’m a good golfer.  I’m just not consistent.”

Well, he said, if you’re not consistent, you’re not a good golfer.  

Americans are great at building things, and rotten at maintaining them. 

We admire winners and celebrities, but we overlook the loyal spouse or the honest accountant or the people who maintain our bridges – that’s why they’re falling apart. 

So, let this be a salute to consistency – that most unheralded virtue. 

In 1984, Red Berenson took over Michigan’s moribund hockey program, which had not been to the NCAA tournament in seven years.  Berenson thought it would be easy, but it took seven more years to get Michigan hockey back to the big dance in 1991. 

Once they got into the tournament, they made it a point to stay there.  Year after year, they kept coming back. 

Finally, in 1996, they won Michigan’s first national title in 32 years – and they did it again in 1998.   They’ve come close a few times since, but they have yet to win another. 

This bothers Berenson, one of the most competitive men I’ve ever met.  When he visited my class, I listed his many accomplishments on the board.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The public radio production Radio Diaries was recognized today with a George Foster Peabody Award for its production 'Teen Contender.'

The first-person diary followed Flint boxer Claressa Shields as she prepared for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The 2012 games were the first to allow women's boxing.

Shields won gold, by the way. Here is her Mom reacting to her win:

And here's a trailer for the radio diary that won the Peabody award:

And here's the diary itself:

The diary aired on NPR's All Things Considered in February 2012.

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