KERR AM750bnr

By Mick Holien

The first year I made the trip to North Carolina for the state awards of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association being a newbee winner I had no expectations and really no idea what I was in for.

But it didn’t take long to figure out that not only the top of their craft were in attendance but also a long list of Hall of Famers in many sports rubbed shoulders during the three-day yearly affair.

And qualifying to attend was always a treat whether I made the trip or just was invited.

While folks like Joe Garagiolo, Jim Nance and Marty Brennaman were in attendance one other man drew my interest for most of the entire time.

But first of all who are these other folks.

Jim Nance of course is an several Emmy winner who anchors the PGA for CBS Sports and is the venerable voice of the Masters and other major events.

Since 1974 Brennaman has been the no-holds bared radio voice of the Cincinnati Reds and after a less than spectacular major league career Garagiola was been a longtime announcer and television host.

But while I’ll get around to talking about those folks, it is Bob Wolff that I counted my lucky stars who took me under his wing that first year. I think it was 1988.

He was sitting in the lobby of an old Holiday Inn in Salisbury with his wife Jane when he looked at my name tag and asked if it was my first convention and awards dinner.

I replied I was new to the electronic side and really was especially a novice to women’s basketball play-by-play.

For three days I sat with him during meals, including one in the luxury lounge at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and workshops and in the days prior to electronic info gathering had no idea I was talking to one of the most prominent men in the business.

Wolff, who died last summer at the age of 96, started his career in 1939 and broadcast a broad variety of sports in parts of eight decades.

But his manner left no impression of how famous he was – or that he broadcast Don Larson’s perfect game in 1956-or when he couldn’t get to the game he was known to improvise like describing what he saw on television.

One would have never known he was on the staff of Madison Square Garden for more than 50 years and count the NFL championship game between the Giants and the Colts as a pinnacle of his career.

His obit was featured on the front page of the New York Times and I count my conversations with Bob Wolff as one of the most prominent and enjoyable of my career.

During the convention time that I spent with him a reporter’s handbook was always in hand as he constantly scribbled notes to his assignment of the day, maybe to be slightly interrupted by the social side of the business.

But like with most old timers who often traveled with teams they were assigned to, the unprinted stories were often the most intriguing of the conversation.

Since I have come to know Larson and written about him several times, I was particularly interested in the World Series perfecto and his impressions of that fateful day.

When he was in Baltimore Larson roomed with one of my bowling buddies – Jim Dyck – who made the last out for the old St. Louis Browns, but oh that’s right that’s another story about Mr. Perfect and how he hates to be called that.

Just say’ n

        





Fogerty was quite a trip

By Mick Holien

I have waited several years to hear John Fogerty.

And earlier this week, the rocker who said he played with the Grateful Dead at Woodstock, sure didn’t disappoint and did everything to enhance the experience.

I shared the stage with Fogerty at Sturgis as his sound check followed that of the Mission Mountain Wood Band that I was introducing.

As I listened to an intro of the music on his song list it didn’t take long to realize I knew the words to just about every vocal and found myself singly softly along – that is before the storm came over the mountain sending us all scrambling including Gene Simmons and Kiss.

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Finally Justice

By Mick Holien

If you have often shared this corner with me you have probably heard me talk about how much sports mirrors life and in fact I have offered it can easily be seen as a kaleidoscope.

And I remain convinced all levels of seemingly every sport share such implications.

And in sharing that observation I refer to the dark side of athletics as well of course as the positive side.

There seems to be an increased frequency of negative situations but certainly none more concerning than the situation at Michigan State University.

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Just a Look

By Mick Holien

Anytime one has an idea and then plays out the particulars of that idea in the public eye on radio and in print, one either receives instant or delayed gratification or even in some cases sharp criticism.

It is certainly not my first rodeo and prepared for both I set out to find out if anyone was indeed interested in my opinion.

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A Li ttle Late But..

I’m thinking maybe I have been around the Big Sky Conference too long since the move to Spokane for the pre-football season session seems like full circle.

When I first started covering the Griz when it was but 20 years old in 1983 ,writers and broadcasters went to Sun Valley, Idaho in August, which was about as challenging to attend as when they moved the affair to Park City.

The moves, mandated by the league, were reportedly made to increase media attendance by making the location easier to travel to.

The circuit also eliminated the usual golf tournament which I think that was a mistake and I am not a golfer.

It gave an opportunity not only to as a media member get further acquainted with the coaches and players who attended but also for the coaches to get familiar with each other.

The Big Sky Conference is one of the more stable FCS leagues in the FCS having been established in 1963 with charter members Montana, Montana State, Weber State, Idaho, Idaho State and Gonzaga which stopped playing football in the thirties and departed the league in 1979.

Since 1949 the Grizzlies formerly played in the Skyline Conference which preceded their involvement in the Pacific Coast Conference.

With the move to Spokane schools are asked to bring a top player from both sides of the football for electronic and print interviews.

And sometimes that in itself was entertaining because at times the student-athlete had never been cornered by a horde, hungry to anything different or controversial.

Griz nemesis Idaho returns to the league as a full-time member and I forecast it will not take the Vandals, previously recognized as Quarterback U for the number of signal callers who went to the NFL.

Idaho also had a reputation of beating Montana in a late season game often preventing the Grizzlies from advancing to the post season.

One of my real disappointments was in ’95 when the Griz fell way back only to see Dave Dickenson get it going after the intermission but falling in Moscow in a shootout 55-43.

But claiming the league title there in 1993 as part of a nine-game win streak 54-34 sure made the trip back to Missoula darn fun even though I did almost run out of gas coming down Fourth of July but that’s for another time.

So how was Josh Buss, off a team picked to finish seventh by the coaches, picked as league Defensive player of the Year.

That’s coming up tomorrow along with some John Fogerty highlights.

Suffice it to say they both are the real deal.

Just sayin’

 

 


Be Ready

By Mick Holien

Anytime one has an idea and then plays out the particulars of that idea in the public eye on radio and in print, one either receives instant or delayed gratification or even in some cases sharp criticism.

It is certainly not my first rodeo and prepared for both I set out to find out if anyone was indeed interested in my opinion.

And while I’m sure it is challenging to attempt to catch my radio broadcast (after 9a.m. news and weather) (after the 5 p.m. news and weather), most broadcasts and virtually all written copy is available on the company website (www.750Kerr.com).

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A Grand Party it was

By Mick Holien

Gather a couple of your friends and neighbors on the Rocky Point shores of Flathead Lake Sunday night romping to the sounds of the Highway 93 Band served as a lynchpin for the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Polson and Ronan to share their mission while encouraging attendees to join in their endeavor.

The festive affair marked culmination of a lengthy and extended Fourth of July week that saw music and extended outdoor activities abound.

The three-plus hour affair, which included a construction update video on the Ronan and Polson clubs, but more importantly sparked conversation between and around potential donors and donations continued to push the Ronan club towards its $2.5 million goal of being up and running by the end of the summer and to jump start the Polson effort.

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No Enemy of People Here

By Mick Holien

I have written a couple of stories since I wrote about Friday’s attack on a newspaper office in Maryland.

There were a couple of reasons that now deserve explanation because after all what is an opinion if you don’t tell anyone what it is.

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Be Careful for your dog

By Mick Holien

Those of you who hopefully are listeners and readers of this corner are no doubt aware that I had to euthanize my Yellow Lab, Skyy, sending her across the Rainbow Bridge where she’ll be looking to romp in the tall flowers among seemingly endless fields.

She just loved to be the first aboard the unique design of the Vox vessel and would swim at her spot in the Flathead River fetching a stick or whatever.

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In A Newsroom

By Mick Holien

It was bound to happen.

As I was writing this diatribe in the background are preliminary reports of the shooting inside a newsroom in the Baltimore area.

As the information begins to come forward we learn the shooter is in custody but there are five people dead and several badly wounded.

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The Big Sky

By Mick Holien

Here we are sneaking past the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and already headed into the last week of June with the weather Gods teasing us as usual with a variety of conditions.

I made it through the majority of last week wearing shorts but no worry I only went as far as the Vox driveway which is lengthy – actually a slight curve – to keep that spectacle from being seen by drivers on the dirt road out front

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Pomp & Circumstance

By Mick Holien Here we are sneaking past the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and already headed into the last week of June with the weather Gods teasing us as usual with a variety of conditions. I made it through the majority of last week wearing shorts but no worry I only went as far as the Vox driveway which is lengthy – actually a slight curve – to keep that spectacle from being seen by drivers on the dirt road out front. We have had as couple of recent military funerals of my neighbors that caused me pause. The pomp and circumstance involved in a military funeral allow of course time for pause and reflection and as a veteran myself I am always amazed at no just the spit and polish and coordination but also how squared away they looked in their Dress uniforms. Mine doesn’t fit quite that well. And there is just something about bagpipes being added to a service, as usual excellently performed by my friends Dick Bratton and Sandy Farrell, and for those who don’t realize it, the Martine Corps Hymn is quite difficult to play on the pipes and they pulled it off. And does anything give you a chill more than the playing of Amazing Grace fading out of the service to oblivion where it is distantly heard. But the point that caused me the most reflection was a notice in the paper advertising a huge estate sale next door to me next weekend. No matter how a life was lived, in one way or another, when you’re gone your life comes down to a bunch of people rummaging through things you acquired. Makes me recall an old statement of millionaire Malcolm Forbes that maybe rings true: “The one that dies with the most toys wins.” And certainly ever respectful in the death of Bill and Ed.


Spring Flavors

By Mick Holien Seeing the Shadow glide across Polson Bay, the late-night crowd “slamming” the area’s fast food spots well after closing time, a rodeo packing area’s roads with stock trailers, and the beat of a several music choices all not by any subtle means indicators that despite varying weather cabin fever time is marching to a different beat. And even with a strong north east wind suddenly sweeping whitecaps to the shore and chasing a couple of boats quickly for the nearest cover, the patio dance floor outside Kwa Taq Nuk was packed by a majority of grey hairs rocking to the stellar far ranging voice of Kelly Sinclair and the Gladys Friday band. BREAK As is the usual this time at the end of June a pleasant early evening with even tepid temps but in a whisper blustery bursts blew lyrics from band stands and sent some folks either scurrying for cover or at least back to their vehicle for a jacket, reminding attendees why snow still tops mostly southern Mission Mountain peaks. Some three months of mostly outside entertainment is the area’s staple and while after the first of the year most music venues quiet, just as quickly the avowed need now but to follow the beat to locate the music of their choice. There are plenty of the usual recognizable groups, mixtures of several bands combining talents to form new groups and others who have just surfaced. Just circle Polson with a 50-mile loop and you’ll find your returning favorites, a new venue or two and enough foot taping, or stomping if you prefer, to make thoughts of a few friendly feet of snow dissipate. Street sales is one other signal that the extra blanket can return to the shelf and while estate sales and auctions are as per usual next weekend is the annual Amish quilt auction in Saint Ignatius, If you have never participated or stopped at the Country Store you should do so. This is not your usual auction but comes complete with the purchase of a chicken dinner for lunch in the midst of some three auction stages. The quilts are amazing and the workmanship of other items, like storage sheds, outstanding but while certainly pricey well worth it. The money raised from the annual affair is used to finance the compound’s school. There also are a couple of marinas that have opened as Big Arm, complete with a restaurant and the long ago Jim’s, about across from Town Pump now are seeing customers. How about it? Just sayin’

Devil or Angel

By Mick Holien

Having done so some 15 years ago you wouldn’t think I would have a problem when I am handed some form that asks for the status of both my employment and my companion status.

It is not that I mind the latter except for the box that since divorced or single.

Now I am not trying to interpret just what someone is trying to learn about me not knowing that my three wives have left me single or the type of person I am if, which I assume the single box is for, I have never tied the knot.

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About Time

By Mick Holien

I’ve talked before in this corner about what I have desriobed as the vital roll sports plays in the psyche of a community and on the larger scale the country.

Maybe it is the fellowship of competition although I might favor the heydays of say the high-cleating Ty Cobb or the win at all coasts demeanor that say Pete Rose played with.

Now a days with free agency the majority of your opponents probably have been teammates at one time or another and kibitzing even during the heat of competition is common.

Why even the fifty-yard line in pre-game no longer seems sacred and I even noticed a visiting team at Washington Grizzly Stadium have a group photo taken while posing on the mid-field Grizzly after the game.

Unconscionable I say and I know a few guys who would burst through the gathering like melting butter.

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Father's Day

By Mick Holien

Pretty serious and pertinent stuff IMO delved iknto last week with the five-part series on suicide where there not only is plenty to accomplish but an equal amount to learn about all aspects.

An already on this first of the week I have been approached by listeners either with different views, which is what this is about, or to share similar feelings and circumstances.

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Suicide - Part 5

 

 

THIS IS THE THIRD INSTALLMENT IN A SERIES ABOUT SUICIDE

By Mick Holien

Lake is the seventh leading count y in suicide deaths with 109 deaths in a population of some 438,000 and the Flathead Indian Reservation has the second most suicide incidents in the state trailing only Roosevelt County where the Fort Peck Reservation is located but by almost four percent.

And since the county in which we live satisfies many of the elements contributing to suicide but few of the top tier assistance that leaves those of us who share their space to be knowledgeable and involved.

First of all the social factors:

While we like other corners of the state pride ourselves about it rural residency and social isolation are prime social factors in the proliferation of the disease.

Yes I did say disease not a wanton act of self destruction.

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Suicide - Part 4

 

THIS IS THE FIFTH AND FINAL INSTALLMENT OF A SIX-PART SERIES ON SUICIDE

By Mick Holien

It is interesting to note that in the week since I started writing this series, I have had no fewer than three different families comment that either they believe someone in the family is suicidal or they already know someone who has committed this heinous act.

We have spent the better part of the week examining suicidal signs, your possible reactions along with a glimpse into my life and experience.

This has not been a clinical or professional effort but a blue collar effort of information gathering.

Now after a diagnosis and/or counseling or in-patient treatment:

If you have encountered someone in or who has completed treatment you know how some of them are real con artists and need to be aware they will tell you anything they think they want you want to hear to advance their agenda.

Statistics indicate completing treatment is a first step but be aware a suicidal person is more apt to kill themselves not necessarily in the depths of depression but during as three-month period when the depression begins to improve.

Here are a few more pointers from the Montana Suicide Prevention website (www.dphhs.mt.gov/amdd/suicide) possibly to help you decide after their release if they are harboring suicidal thoughts and just how serious they might be.

  • Take what they say with a grain of salt because they really good at telling you what they think you want to hear.
  • Though difficult and challenging be candid by asking if a plan has been formulated and exists.
  • Can such a plan actually be formulated?
  • Is there someone available who could lend assistance to help them carry out such a plan?  

So what to do and what help are available?

If there has been an attempt or someone has reached out to you:

ACT, ACT, ACT

Call 9-1-1 NOW while not leaving the person alone, then take them to an Emergency Room or await emergency assistance whichever is quicker.

Let a family member know while assessing whether alcohol or drugs are involved.

The immediate assistance of a trained professional is of utmost importance.

While again I encourage you to seek help from the aforementioned website which is loaded with information and suggestions about seemingly every stage of a possible suicidal situation.

Other resources besides www.dphhs.mt.gov/amdd/suicide include:

The American Association of Sociology (202-237-2280) or www.suicidology.org.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ww.afsp.org. (888) 333-2377.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center, www.sprc.org. (877) 438-7772.

In the Treasure state there also is a crisis text line: Text MT to 741-741 is a free line for people in crisis.

And please remember the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255 (Talk) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

In closing we have given you an abundance of information that we hope will at least send you to the right place for help if you somehow become involved in an emergency situation or even the early stages of a person crying help for help.

From a personal standpoint I can tell you it sometimes happens very quickly and often involves an unlikely person to be in such a situation.

Nothing that we have talked about over the six segments is meant as advice, medical or otherwise, during a time when the word SUICIDE fortunately seems to be a hot-button issue.

This has been our attempt to increase awareness. I hope it did so.

Just sayin’

 

Thanks for listening.

   

 


Suicide - My Recollections Part 3

THIS IS A THIRD INSTALLMENT Of A SERIES ABOUT SUICIDE

By Mick Holien

I have long been prompted to write or record my personal overview and recollections of suicide, its corresponding effects on me and concern at least, fear at the most that some unidentified gene may well make me more of a candidate to claim my own life.

I think it is no different that someone who is concerned about say hereditary medical issues, one of which I will include in this series and other potential maladies or even tendencies.

Coming from a tiny and equally rural Washington state Columbia River town where it seemed everyone was related and probably knew too much of everybody’s business, I knew early on there was a family suicide incidence.

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Suicide - part 2

THIS IS THE SECOND IN A SERIES ABOUT SUICIDE

By Mick Holien

Not only was it surprising to learn late last week that Montana led the nation in the number of suicides per capita but equally so that recent studies have shown that added publicity dealing with suicide prevention increases the amount of deaths.

But just as concerning is that it took last week’s deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to learn that federal data indicates suicide rates have consistently risen for years across demographic lines in most states.

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Suicide

This is the initial installment of a series

By Mick Holien

It struck me as peculiar that Kate Spade’s father told the media Thursday morning that his deceased daughter showed no sign of being suicidal the night before she apparently took her own life.

While Spade reportedly long battled depression and accompanying anxiety, her husband and business partner Andy Spade told MSN.com, but she was seeing a therapist, taking appropriate medication and while admitting her difficulties seemed to have things in perspective.

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