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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’



New Words

By Mick Holien

I knew that you would be pleased to know that the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a few inches wider thanks to the addition of 250 new words and definitions.

Powers that be tell us that corresponds to the growth of our language, but I reserve that judgement for you.

Some are just silly while others I think need little explanation since their use is so common.

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Football History

By Mick Holien

I guess I don’t remember when I became attracted to the history of sport.

It probably occurred in the mid 90’s when I decided to research my first book “Odyssey to a National Championship,” co-published by University of Montana Sports Information Director Dave Guffey in 1998.

The soft cover 181-page, table-sized edition is an illustrated 100-year history of University of Montana football which took me approximately five years to research, write and publish.

In those days there was little self-publishing and required jobbing out the work to find someone to bring the exhaustive project to print which never would have occurred had it not been for legend Missoula publisher Stan Cohen at Pictorial Histories.

A good KGVO pal Bob Townsley masterfully did all the photo work and somehow, with his strong encouragement, we published as I remember 3,000 copies.

It just was a labor of love because I had little money and ne o way to get financial assistance, but Bob was the driving force convincing me if I did not document the history there would be no future record.

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I'm All For the Sun

By Mick Holien

The days are getting longer, making one realize it is light just a bit later; The Dow is inching up and threatening a closing 26,000; football counts just the Pigskin Final Four while basketball launches into the keeper Conference games; Winter television series mirror world events and turn for season’s completion and it just won’t be long before Churchill Downs will burst with activity, Indy will roar, Wimbledon will burst to life and yes one almost can visualize the greenery of Augusta.Oh I know it is wishful thinking just past the Idea of January but I can dream can’t I.

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Good Bye Willie

By Mick Holien

The major spokesman for human rights of our time is celebrated today on the third Monday of January and here living in the midst of a govern nation aside from the occasional notice and the presence of a three-day weekend, has the significance of Martin Luther King Day slipped to oblivion.

  1. As generations past – what is it that they say about remembering or duplicating our history.

The birthday of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated in 1968, has been long recognized, as a time to pause and recognize what Dr. King represented as the chief spokesman for non violence to protest racial discrimination.

But the move to declare the day as a national holiday did not come without controversy as in 1979 the bill fell five votes short as opponents argued against the cost of a holiday and precedent set by honoring a private citizen,

Although pres Reagan originally opposed the measure he signed the bill in 1983 although it was not celebrated till 86.

But it wasn’t until 2000 when Utah became the last state to designate a Martin Luther King Jr.

And in May, 2000 South Carolina became the last state to designate it as a paid holiday.

But it is not observed nationwide although in 2007, 33 percent of the country recognized the day, a 2 percent increase over the prior year.

I sure we all have experienced subtle discrimination but in junior college I felt the direct blunt.

My roommate was willie, a brother from Mississippi, who was a heck of a quarterback and a run-pass threat.

Since my job was to squat and put the ball through my legs to the signal caller we became quite well acquainted to say the least.

I was engaged to a young lady from a what I decided not tom identify European country and was excited for her family tom meet my good friend.

But upon going to their residence, this was in Washington state, I quickly learned the deep seated hatred and prejudice from my girl’s father.

After we left he forbid her to see me again because I had been so bold to bring an African American to his house,.

The rest I guess was history. As I think back I guess I am lucky I discovered the possibilities I faced and I think of what happened when this day of fighting discrimination yearly passes

My Town or Yours

By Mick Holien

You know how I love lists and I was thinking the other day when after the prompting by a Kansas City radio station the town of Ismay briefly changed its name to “Joe.”

Ismay is the smallest incorporated town in the state although its population has doubled since that 1993 effort. At last count there was a counted population of 14.

While documenting some of Montana’s odd names which maybe we can do in a later list for submission I thought maybe a listing of the weirdest named towns might prove interesting.

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Bobby's in Charge

By Mick Holien

Truth be told dear listeners: I count Head football coach Bobby Hauck and the Hauck family as good friends.

Now that is not to say I am journalistically challenged when it comes to asking any question in an interview session.

Actually it probably gives me an edge and you can be the judge of that when you listen to some of what I glean from the new head man in a session this afternoon.

But here’s your chance to take part.

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Hawaii More than a Tourist Destination

By Mick Holien

The true freshman, who shook off the disappointment of an overtime sack, grew up on the next play connecting on a pocket beauty as Alabama colored the National Championship Crimson once again.

And while Tua Tagovailoa told reporters he couldn’t figure out how Nick Saban found him in the Islands, a glance at the lineage of quarterbacks in general and St Louis high School in particular quickly makes his discovery abundantly clear.

College football’s handsome young poster boy follows in some huge shoes not only including his protégé Oregon grad Marcus Mariotta but one the Grizzlies are well aware of.

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Dickie in Elite Company

By Mick Holien

It has been 22 years since Montana’s Legend of the Fall was recognized by football’s elite in New York City.

After engineering a final drive that propelled Montana over heavily favored Marshall to claim the 1995 Championship in 1995 Dave Dickenson became the only Montana player to ever win the Walter Payton Award as the Nation’s top offensive player which was presented in New York City..

Adding to his unprecedented list of laurels he now becomes one of nine players and three coaches selected by the National Football Foundation to this year’s class of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Only the second such Montana player so selected, he was the only FCS players chosen from a list of 98 division players.

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Good Monday Morning Albeit a Bit Late

By Mick Holien

Well it finally happened. I sharply awakened several hours pre-dawn to the realization that turning my desk light out a few precious hours before I never gave a thought to writing In my Opinion.

Now to say I must have lost it, to space out my daily dribbling, would some would say imply I once proverbially had it, which sometimes I jokingly asked myself whether that is true.

And it wasn’t as if I didn’t have anything to say or had perused a back log of ideas and discarded them to the wind; I just was so pre-occupied with a myriad of televised football and basketball - some of which I predictably dozed through – that yep I prioritized the obligation to the point of oblivion and Heaven forbid went to sleep.

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By Mick Holien

It seems at the dawn of a new calendar there are those folks who feel compelled to rate everything they can think of on lists.

Oh I guess it makes for fodder for radio hosts to fill time with their compilations except that most of the results are predictable especially now with the ease of finding statistics which is the founding of the majority of the material.

So on this warming Friday with the Lady Griz breaking a 30-game road losing streak by prevailing through the Fargo chill and the men running over the Century mark for the first time past a Division-1 opponent in almost two decades, I picked out a few things on a couple of surprising I think … you got it … lists.

Oh yes and by the way both teams remain unscathed after three league games and share the circuit lead and the Grizzlies were a bucket shy of tying the school’s all-time single game scoring mark..

My first list has to do with the worst cities in the Nation to drive in.

Now while you could pretty well fill out the list yourself with Miami ranking at the top of the 25.

Fill in your blanks, then call up and see how close you got.

But in the middle of the pack, standing amazingly as the 16th worst driving city is Spokane and east to the valley.

Now I admit I feel like I have extra knowledge since I drove to and from the city every work and school day from 1970-80, but yes I know it’s likely changed considerably.

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Don't Look at Me That Way

By Mick Holien

I am just plain disappointed and I am really surprised it didn’t hit me sooner.

And I am sure there are friends who will say we’ve been telling you that for months. So Ok I relent I am a slow learner.

So what has prompted my epiphany when imo rolls toward the weekend?

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It is Just Time for Jerry

By Mick Holien

I have long known that I shared a distant commonality with iconic offensive guard Jerry Kramer who long has been credited with the block on Dallas defensive tackle Jethro Pugh that opened the crease allowing Packer quarterback Bart Starr to score 50 years ago propelling Green Bay forward where the next time out they won Super Bowl II.

The “Ice Bowl” victory, played at kickoff temperatures of minus 13, allowing Green Bay’s to capture a third straight NFL Championship in what proved to be legendary coach Vince Lombardi’s final game.

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Elvis was in the Building

By Mick Holien

The last time I was in Elvis’ building, I got married so I’ll let you gauge my anticipation or excitement in advance of joining an admiring crowd to spend New Year’s Eve in his presence.

Now let me qualify I am not a huge Elvis guy although I do like some of his music but I can say if the proof is in the pudding this edition, running by the name Jeffrey Elvis, does an awesome job with his voice but even more entertaining energetically engaging the crowd, especially the ladies.

And graciously spending 30 minutes for an interview after a near three-hour performance ranks above and beyond the call.

Three hours in advance of the bewitching hour Kwa Taq Nuk in Polson was the host for a free Elvis get-together and 2018 kickoff.

Jeffrey Elvis, a former long-haul truck driver, developed the Elvis persona singing to himself on cross-country stints from his home in Lynden, Wash.

And realizing the road life away from his wife of 30 years and three teenagers wasn’t in his or their best interest, he had a bit of an epiphany assuring the Lord that he’d carry His message if given the opportunity.

“I believe it was a gift from God,” he said in reference to his voice’s development which he then paired with costumes and Elvis’ physical antics. “He gave me something to say.”

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Just A Good Man Was Lars Olsen

By Mick Holien

Here as we turn our thoughts to an incoming storm of Pineapple Express proportion and although we are putting the finishing touches on the 12th and final month of 2017 my thoughts leap forward to another year 2018.

But alas to stall for just a solemn moment to remember those who didn’t stay around for the passing to another year.

The latest, earlier this week, epitomizes all others and attending Lars Olsen’s memorial service Thursday in Deer Lodge the trip gave me pause to consider how we were brought together and how I treasured our long distance friendship.

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The Longs Are Quite A Family

By Mick Holien

The Long family, part-time residents of the Finley Point area east of Polson, has long been known for its philanthropy .. No let me put that another way – Howie, the NFL Hall of Famer, and his wife Diane, have long been philanthropic without being recognized for their contributions.

And while the Longs have been a perennially strong supporter of the Mission Valley’s Boys and Girls Club, son Chris, a 10-year NFL veteran now playing for Philadelphia, received his recent share of notoriety initially for sharing a teammate’s protest of unjust treatment of minorities by police then for his financial contributions to non-profits.


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Here Goes Hoop

By Mick Holien

A fan’s glance at a college basketball schedule could mistakenly lead one to believe the break in game action and classes over the holidays is for rest and recuperation and an opportunity to kick back and watch your gridiron brothers, if they are so fortunate anyway, to toil their wares for the final time of the 2017 season in some kind of Bowl activity.

But for some there is posting of the grades that could well throw a wrench in the team’s makeup. I vividly remember landing in Colorado for Montana’s final non-conference game against the University of Denver only to be told by the coaching staff that one of our starting guards hadn’t made the muster and would be required to sit until he was able to get himself eligible and that wasn’t the only such time.

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Drug Companies

By Mick Holien

It certainly was challenging to watch a National news story this week about the pricing of prescription drugs proceeding by a 60 Minutes program focusing on the unconscionable salaries and bonus received by major drug company execs even while being calling on the carpet for delivering an inordinate amount of painkillers like OxyContin and Fentanyl.

Major drug companies have been accused of providing enough opiate-type drugs to devastate every resident of several small towns all the while earning volumes of money because of increased production.

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Just Some Kin Folk

By Mick Holien

When you have been hanging around sports teams as long as I have it is certainly bound to happen.

Team rosters begin to fill with familiar names of the kin whose fathers or even mothers in some cases played on teams for whom I broadcast games.

And of course when you watch a pair of stellar athletes saddle up to each other in college the first thing that comes to my mind – after that they of course live a happy life – is I wonder if their offspring might possess a similar athletic skill set.

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One Fat Guy

By Mick Holien

I used to think Americans were a nation of people who unnecessarily obsessed about their weight, but I have since come to the conclusion that while we are an overweight nation quite frankly we don’t seem to be all that concerned about it.

I have to admit – when I was a big no fat guy I hated it but I didn’t hate myself.

I weighed north of 320 pounds in 2001 and when I look at a picture of Gurns and me and see what I looked like, I just find it hard to believe.

I tried a lot of different weight loss programs and I can say that Weight Watchers probably was best with Nutri System a close runner-up.

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In Memoriam

By Mick Holien

The Grizzlies weren’t all that sure what they had when Stew Morrill and his staff recruited Delvon Anderson from San Francisco City College in 1990.

While the 6 foot 4 inch junior college transfer with whom I share a birthday averaged a double-double and made better than half of his shots it was his toughness that brought his recruitment to UM where Morrill was in his final season before taking the Colorado State job.

Del joined a class with All-leaguer Kevin Kearney, Eric Jordan, Keith Crawford, Nate Achison, and a pair of Montans sharp shooter Roger Fasting from Glendive and the big fellah from Geraldine Daren Engellant. Current Griz coach Travis DeGuire was a transfer sophomore while the underclassmen included Nate Covill, Gary Kane, Josh Lacheur, Jeremy Lake and Matt Kempfert.

You can find those names on a lot of historical Grizzly ledgers as that team went 23-8, won a Big Sky Conference title for the first time since 1975 and made the first of consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

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