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It is days away before the season takes the turn to March and the countdown to the spectacle of madness starts proverbially separating the men from the boys.

Coined March Madness but carrying well into April it would be astounding to discover just how much work time is wasted, delayed or forgotten once speculation begins about just how the NCAA Championships shake out.

He smarter of employers just embraces the competition – Why fight it they theorize.

How can even the no-sports fan not get caught up in the story lines that during the season mostly remaining in the locker room but with journalists hovering becomes headlines as the games begin

When Montana defeated Nevada in the first round in Salk Lake City, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, who I have become slightly familiar with because of the National Sportscasters-Sports Broadcasters Association yearly meeting, clung to head coach Larry Krystowiak discovering early on that Krysko was different than most head coaches and usually rolled out a noteworthy quote.

Some tournament idiosyncrasies abound and while the event’s organizers do an amazing job some of it is over the top.

Remembering prior to the first-round practice in Salt Lake, I was not allowed to enter through the team door after departing the bus because of had the wrong color pass.

That sent me around the corner of the building – equipment intact now – and up about 20 long concrete steps just to get to the main level, only to enter and then co me all the way down the stairs to the floor.

I discovered early on to befriend security or ushers near our broadcast spot since the governor could hardly reach me for a halftime interview at one facility as the usher – I know just doing his job-refused to raise the red rope necessitating handing the headphones over to where he could stand.

The one-hour practice session preceding the first round is closed, manning I even had to sneak in but when I watched a New York Times reporter being sent up the tunnel lacking the proper credential, I had to intervene.

Running him down up the tunnel he said he wanted to interview Mike Chavez as the only Native American player in the tournament.

Such an opportunity rarely arrives and I quickly put the two together to necessitate getting that in a prominent spot in the Nation’s paper of record.

Such opportunities are rare but I still cherish this time of year.    

 





Too Little Time

By MICK HOLIEN

Woe is me. It just seems no matter how I try I can’t seem to stay off the radar and again find myself heading up and down the road with a bevy of activities.

And even though I have threatened to learn how to say that two-letter word NO, I continue to opt for the three-letter variety of confirmation.

But after all isn’t that why I moved here?

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They're here kind of

By MICK   HOLIEN

When you live in what could be accurately described as a tourist town or a destination for some, there are certain rites of either spring or winter whatever your fancy.

I initially noticed it here in Polson four or five days ago on a Friday afternoon but it can also be signaled by the gridiron while college teams hold practices to be culminated by the annual scrimmage or in the case of the pros they are in the middle of OTA (organized team activities), a “volunteer” scenario where signed players vie for playing time by their performance.

I’m told about 95 percent of NFL players participate and in the case of the Grizzlies Butte’s historic Eso Naranche Stadium is the host for this year’s fall practice sessions.

But Polson Hill, for me coming from the south opening up with that almost indescribable view of Flathead Lake shadowed by the Mission Mountains, is my barometer.

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A Bit More MS

By MICK HOLIEN

Just to continue on some thoughts from yesterday you probably know several friends who have MS. I have really been surprised that either someone told me or shared they knew someone with the disease.

They tell me at my age that there is no real treatment for the disease but since there really isn’t an expert in the state and I haven’t ventured yet to the closest in Spokane I have chosen to take their word for it.

Now don’t think this is meant to be a poor me scenario – far from it.

I can assure you and others agree that you don’t die from MS.

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Early Examination of My MS

By MICK HOLIEN

You probably know by now that I was diagnosed with multi sclerosis about a year and a half ago and coupled with several other sometimes unexplained maladies I have to admit it has slowed me down a taste.

And while I have hesitated to share this with you something just hit me as I sat in front of the computer that it was time to do.

And so I will.

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The Sandy Award

By MICK HOLIEN

I had already put pen to paper to compose this Monday program thinking I would be a day ahead of time and not need to brainstorm a story idea over the weekend.

But as I have told several people who asked if I haven’t written the next day’s program and I am talking to you well there’s a good chance you are tomorrow’s program.

And that was the case Friday night when I went to a good bye party for a very special Polson person who certainly will be missed till we convince her to come back home.

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Computer Classes

By MICK HOLIEN

There’s just so much to do – even during the week and with questionable dress-for-all-seasons weather.

And while I can’t stay awake half the time, I have been taking advantage of some class opportunities with more to come.

Tuesday afternoon there’s yet another free computer class at the Polson library.

There are sessions at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.and if you can’t bring your own computer just let them know and they’ll have one all set up for you.

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Re-fi

I’m not sure what prompted me to answer one of those solicitations - I can’t even remember where I saw it – but I inquired about a refinancing on my house.

Now that is really not that unusual for me since I probably examine the prospect about every four years and I was told surprisingly that most people do the same.

II have never been much of a fan of someone else possessing my equity on anything and usually try to finds a way to access such funds although I have to admit it is getting tougher.

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I don't golf

By Mick Holien

Here it is past mid-week already and the Masters for some is stored away in our memory bank.

And everybody had a player they were rooting for.

Maybe it was 2015 winner Jordan Spieth, who seems to always be sniffing at a tournament lead sitting just a couple of birds back.

There are plenty of young turks to choose from with a variety of games, from long drivers to precision putters.

Sunday the young stars were all hovering and of course Phil with a monster round also could have been in the mix but while distracted a bit with Matt Kuchar’s ace on the course’s last par three, you could feel as the fairways began to fade away oh-fer, as is the Spaniard Sergio Garcia, was playing his way into the crowd’s favor.

Indeed that has not always been the case with the crowd as Garcia previously has criticized American galleries for their raucous language and rude behavior.

Some of his criticism is no doubt warranted but let’s face it he doesn’t exactly carry himself amicably.

Even though Garcia squandered a back-nine two shot lead on Sunday he battled through to find himself left a single putt for the W but his shot trailed badly and after 72 holes it was back to the 18th for a winner-take-all playoff with 20-tournament winner Justin Rose..

With a well-placed drive now left two putts to claim the green jacket, Sergio used most of the cup before the ball dropped home and jubilation ensued.

The hard arm pump toward the gallery and Sergio’s displayed deep emotion told one story but the scenario I was most impressed with was more about the support each player passed to his fellow competitor, good friend and former Ryder Cup teammate.

Not only was it evident on the greens and walking down the fairways but in victory lane Garcia even stopped to pay pleasantries to Rose’s even extended family.

It certainly was fitting especially considering the rich tradition that surrounds the Augusta course and the Masters tournament.

Not just a deep sense of respect but the two competitors almost kibitzing on the last three or four holes was extremely refreshing especially considering they both were vying for their first Masters crown.

For a non-golfer there’s just something about the PGA where each player demonstrates either by manner or dress a different personality and game approach.

I guess I’m hooked.

Just sayin’

    

    


It is Pure Brilliant

By MICK HOLIEN

From the smoke-filled reservation barrooms first entertaining with his grandpa Vic as a 5-year-old on the way to a successful Nashville collaborative and single song writing career in Tennessee back to sporadic summer Montana appearances sometimes joining the Mission Mountain Wood Band, it’s been quite a journey for Tim Ryan Rouillier.

But his lifetime trip is about to reach a pinnacle in gigantic proportion this summer in Missoula.

Rouillier, who recently collaborated with Phil Vassar on the No. 1“Last Day of My Life,” looks to culminate one career by inaugurating if you will a second day of his.

Play My Montana, A Symphony Memoir, was described recently by Tim as the project he’s always wanted to do.

And bringing the inaugural presentation to the Dennison Theater stage June 17 to be accompanied by the Missoula Symphony Orchestra presents a perfect scenario.

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Another Arnie's Army

By MICK HOLIEN

There is just not anything like Sunday at Augusta … the usual packed gallery …the pomp and circumstance on a beautiful Georgia day,

But a huge part of the Masters tradition was lacking this year because of the first-time absence of one of the sport’s mainstays.

With no deference to Gary Player, who joined ageless Jack Nicklaus for the traditional tee-off but it marks the first time since 1955 that Arnold Palmer and his congenial smile was noticeably not present.

Player hit his tee shot a little shorter than the 77-year-old Golden Bear who tipped his hat to the skies in recognition of his old friend who died last year at the age of 87.

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Swallow That Whistle

By MICK HOLIEN

I guess it was just too much to ask for? Everyone in anticipation of an NCAA Championship game that lived up to its hype.

Kudos to North Carolina and the venerable Roy Williams, who still has fire in his belly after a long career. Did you catch when he slammed the floor with his palm after a timeout to implore his team to get a defensive stop.

So why not a better game?

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My Cup of Tea

By MICK HOLIEN

I am not a huge fan of all sports and in fact take a bit of a break from boob-tube watching after the NCAA Championship game.

I do confess to being an impassioned Mariners fan and have spent many an early morning clinging to hope as Seattle has recently seemed to find a way to lose in the late innings.

But there are several spectacles I can’t resist.

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Aber Day Revisited

By Mick Holien

It’s a reunion of sorts but entirely new and it’s comin right here to the banks of the Flathead River at the Regatta Shoreline Amphitheater.

The Mission Mountain Wood Band is coming back to Polson for the first time in a decade in the midst of the summer Aug 12 to rekindle your memories of Aber Day.

I couldn’t be more excited especially with the history surrounding Aber Day.

During the seventies the concert featured a bevy of high-end acts like Jimmie Buffet and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

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My Zags

Yes 19 is just right not “few” short!

And in Mark as in Few’s case 19 will always be more than the number of consecutive times he has taken his Zags to the NCAA Championships

It instead will mark the noteworthy season when the country now ought to know how to pronounce the Spokane school, as in Gone Zag aaah. Yes the just once-beaten Bulldogs are in the chipper tonight in Arizona.

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What me Negative?

By Mick Holien

Are you one of those folks who are influenced by the weather – Not so much with participation like rain and snow but what many describe as the gloomy skies that sometimes hover over the valley and an abundant portion of western Montana?

I have often told you about my 105-year-old friend Emma who I talk to frequently – at the minimum a weekly call of 20 minutes – on a wide variety of subjects.

Last night she inquired as to whether it was as overcast in the Mission as it had been in Missoula.

Since I was completely bushed after the Billings trip only to return and drive back to Missoula for the Tanya Tucker concert, I had to confess in mid afternoon I was still in a bathrobe and quite frankly hadn’t even looked out the window across the field to Flathead Lake to gauge either the temperature or the sky.

Although she walks without assistance for good reason she is concerned with falling so in the last six months or so she hasn’t gone outside settling instead on her great view from the third floor to the east part of the city and Mt. Sentinel.

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Just Tanya

By Mick Holien

Delta Dawn sprung a 13-year-old Tanya Tucker on the country more than four decades ago and it was those sweet tones the so described outlaw country sweetheart chose to close her Missoula concert this week.

Recorded initially by Tucker instead of the Happiest Girl in the Whole Wide World, the country stalwart reached No. six on the country charts in 1972, the first of many top 10 hits most of which she offered to a sold-out crowd at the Wilma.

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Warp Speed

By Mick Holien

The weekend’s activities at the Montana Football Hall of Fame induction left just a single question remaining for me – Why did it take this long to begin honoring the finest of the state’s gridiron.

Close to 300 were on hand for Saturday’s banquet but the whole affair began with a Friday night social where the stories of vintage to current players flowed like water through full gates at Fort Peck.

Not all inductees could make it in Friday night but I could have stayed at the side of three-sport star and 50-year Canadian Football League mainstay Bob O’Billovich and Griz and pro star Mike Tilleman.

While some of the stories will flow here you can sit in interviews with most of the inductees at montana-football-hall-of-fame.com.

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Hall of Fame

By Mick Holien

Headed to Billings today to be a part of the induction of the second class of the Montana Football Hall of Fame.

There’s a social tonight for the some three dozen volunteers that have been recruited to put wheels on this affair which will attract more than 400 people to the Red Lion.

And there’s press availability for the eight inductees who will attend prior to the Saturday night banquet.

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Here for the Remainder Really

By Mick Holien

Can you believe how rumors get started and all from the most innocent of observations.

Now I suppose since you have seen many stories about some of the sports stuff that I have liquidated.

I always planned to do it that way and acquired things like the rest of you collect salt and pepper shakers or maybe stamps or coins.

And then I added fuel to the fire

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Some Kind of Tournament

By MICK HOLIEN

From a field of 68, the top NCAA teams have been winnowed to the Sweet 16 and with the upset defeat of Villanova there will be no repeat champion this season.

Brackets were blown up early and I think even before the field was down to 32 I heard somewhere – probably in a tweet – that just 100 ballots in a huge contest remained perfect.

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