Packer legend Favre from done

first_imgBefore we get into the real business of the column today, I figured I would make a few comments on the Super Bowl. I was working and had no real burning desire to watch the game. But since it was on in the office, I monitored it somewhat.First, I watched just about every commercial during the third quarter because some chump was supposedly going to propose to his wife during one of them. Never happened. Even more disappointing were the commercials themselves. From all accounts, they stunk this year. Companies ran spots that had been out for a couple months, and there were not any real innovative ones that really stood out.Second, Rex Grossman sucks. I tried to think of a gentler way to put it, but there really is none. Personally, I would have voted “Sexy Rexy” Super Bowl MVP for what he did to help the Colts win. But that is neither here nor there. On a scale of one to 10, how much do Bears fans wish they had a more accomplished quarterback like, say, Brett Favre starting for them? Probably about 3,837 or more, but while we’re here…There are three different types of good news. There is the type that elicits a smile when you hear it, like “Congratulations, you got an A on the paper.” Then there is the good news that deserves a high five with a friend: “We just won the basketball ticket lottery.” The third variety of good news prompts Tiger Woods-esque fist-pumping response, seemingly forgetting you are in public as you nearly skip all the way down Charter Street.Not surprisingly, this sort of good news is always unexpected and doesn’t come around too often.Last Friday, like many of you, I received some certifiable Stage-Three good news.Answering the phone having just left class, I heard my roommate John, “Coming back for his 17th season, Brett Favre.”There may very well never have been eight words that I have been happier to hear.Brett coming back instantly improved the Packers’ chances of being a playoff contending team next season, given they have any sort of productive offseason. General manager Ted Thompson has more salary cap space than most teams in the league and also the 16th overall pick in the draft. Rumors circulating that Randy Moss may be on the move to Green Bay — as good or bad as you believe such a move to be — are a sign this will not be a quiet offseason in Titletown.Aside from offseason acquisitions, the Packers are without a doubt a better team with him under center than if Aaron Rodgers was. The offensive line improved as last season went on, as did the defense.Undoubtedly there are some — my colleague Mr. McGrath, Bears and Vikings fans, and people who enjoy kicking kittens, to name a few — for whom the announcement was not welcome. Those types of people are cynical of his return, saying Brett’s just doing it for fame or fortune.While he will make a boatload of money (an estimated $11 million) and set many records (keep in mind not all of which will be positive, as Favre is only four interceptions away from setting that all-time mark), I firmly believe neither of those reasons are what convinced him to come back. Call me naive (as many people probably will), but I really believe all Brett cares about is going out there, playing football and having fun. Watch him play 230-some odd times and tell me otherwise.Which brings us to the consecutive games streak. For those sports fans who live under a rock, Brett has started 238 consecutive games dating back to 1992. That streak is at the core of the bond fans feel toward Favre. The bond that outside observers find difficult to understand. How fans’ feelings toward him ebb and flow with every throw, yet still always feel so attached to a football player who — at this point in his career — is not as good as he once was. After all, he is just a football player, right?Not as far as I am concerned.Maybe my cousin — who by her own admission follows football about as closely as I follow opera — explained it best.”It’s almost like he’s a part of the family,” she said. “He was that one family member who was never able to make it to the family functions, but he was always a part of them because everyone still talked about him.”As lame and ridiculous as that sounds, it is true. And I don’t think my family and I are the only ones with that sort of experience.Chew on this: Brett has started every game for the Packers since I was five. Out of all those games (237 in the regular season) I may have missed a handful or so. Packer fans of my age and I grew up with Brett as he grew off the field from a crazy young kid to a graying father. He still tends to play like a big kid, which is part of what endears him to fans. I have seen Brett play more often than I have my own brother, as sad as that may sound. In that sense he has been something of a long-lost relative.But it is not the streak alone that endears Brett to Packer fans. Moreover it is the fact that he is a real, genuine person. In an era of sports where athletes try to hide as much of their private lives as possible from the public, Brett’s has, for the most part, unfolded before the state of Wisconsin.Some critics bring up Favre’s previous addiction to painkillers as some sort of slam against him, as proof he is not a good person. In reality, almost everyone knows someone who has battled an addiction of some sort. But Brett stood up and admitted his fault like a man, admitted he had a problem before an entire state. He cleaned up his life for the betterment of his own family and his career.Then, in 2003, Brett played his signature game, the game by which I will forever remember him. Playing the day after his father died, Brett played a magical game, throwing for 300 yards and completing every pass he threw in the first half on Monday Night Football against Oakland. The nation saw a vulnerable iron man. And what I will always remember most about that game is that I watched it with my own dad.Over the next few years, Brett has suffered through a myriad of other personal hardships. His wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. His brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident that same year. His Mississippi home was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.All those events with which people can identify, all those events make him human in ways most athletes aren’t. Over the years, Packers’ fans have seen enough of those moments to make Brett seem like part of the family.That’s why there will always be a seat for him at my family’s big kid table.Ben is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and Journalism. Share your thoughts about Brett with him at bvoelkel@badgerherald.comlast_img read more

Men’s tennis chasing Big Ten run

first_imgAfter snapping a five-match losing skid, the Wisconsin men’s tennis team (9-10, 1-6 Big Ten) will look to put a conference winning streak together as it travels to the state of Indiana this weekend to face the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers.The Badgers were finally able to break through with their first Big Ten victory April 8 against a struggling Penn State team, which possesses an identical conference record to Wisconsin’s.As the Badgers fight to climb out of the dungeon of the Big Ten standings, head coach Greg Van Emburgh is relieved to have notched the first win of the conference season.“It was just huge, as far being able to turn the season around, that was a huge win for us,” Van Emburgh said. “It was a great confidence booster for the guys, the morale after the match was so much better.”The confidence of the team will prove to be an important factor this Saturday against the Boilermakers, as they lead the Badgers by just a single game in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin has owned Purdue as of late, winning the last eight matches.The Boilermakers are in a comparable spot to the Badgers at this point in the season – Purdue was similarly stunted by a Big Ten losing streak before defeating a weaker conference opponent.Sophomore Rod Carey understands that attacking two conference opponents this weekend is crucial to salvaging the regular season.“They’re really important to the team because it’s a way for us to get some momentum,” Carey said. “If we could get two wins there that would be good for the team.”Carey was able to individually bounce back from a five-match losing streak with a three-set victory against Penn State’s Russell Bader in the No. 2 position, a spot he has played in the past five matches. The Bahamas native was originally starting at the No. 5 slot, but his consistent effort has improved his rank in the lineup.An additional alteration to Wisconsin’s lineup has been an involuntary one due to the injury suffered by junior Billy Bertha. The captain hasn’t seen action since April 1 in a loss at Northwestern, in which he partnered up with sophomore Alex Robles in their second consecutive match as a pair.Van Emburgh is looking forward to seeing his captain back on the court.“We’re hopefully going to get Billy back in there … at least in the doubles, if not the singles as well,” Van Emburgh said.As the Badgers hit the road this weekend, they will be mindful that they have only earned one victory away from the Nielsen Tennis Center. That win came against an Idaho squad that held an 8-6 record at the time of the match.Solving the equation for road success will be pivotal for the Badgers, as three of their last four opponents will be played on the road before they participate in the Big Ten tournament.The team is confident about its opportunity to win away matches down the final stretch of the regular season.“They should take a lot of confidence into the remainder of the season,” Van Emburgh said. “I think from here on out, the matches that we’re playing are really going to be winnable matches and tennis is really a mental sport.”After its contest with Purdue, Wisconsin matches up with a more dangerous Indiana club that defeated Notre Dame, a top-40 team that Wisconsin fell to early in the non-conference season.Despite a steep hill to hike, the Badgers know they have much room for improvement. A slate of underclassmen has yet to hit its full potential and none of the Badgers are scheduled to graduate before the 2012-2013 campaign.“We shouldn’t give up; we should work hard, keep doing the right things on and off the court,” junior Alexander Kostanov said. “Even if we wouldn’t succeed in this season, it is going to pay off during next season.”last_img read more

What Can We Learn from Eric Duncan?

first_imgCan the death of Ebola-infected Eric Duncan in a United States hospital teach us anything?We believe it surely can.  The first lesson we can learn is that none of us should take Ebola for granted.  It can be, and often indeed is, a death sentence, though, as we have seen in the case of many survivors, it does not have to be.When in 1976 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) reported the first Ebola outbreak, statistics showed that 90% of those infected died.  Today in Liberia, statistics indicate that over 50% of the Ebola infected die.This means that we are dealing with a highly dangerous, indeed deadly disease. The second lesson we can learn from Eric’s death is that the minute we sense the symptoms, we should run to a treatment center.  Once there, the ball is in the government’s court.  The center must be prepared to receive the patient and begin immediate observation, treatment and care.  Too many people have died unnecessarily because in their desperation, they have gone to treatment centers only to be turned back because of no space. We are grateful for the good news that engineers of the Armed Forces of Liberia and the United States military contingent here are building new treatment centers in many parts of the country.  We are also appreciative of the ELWA treatment center and others operated by Medecin Sans Frontier (MSF), which have been treating patients successfully and discharging them.  We pray that construction work on the new centers will be expeditiously completed, so that the infected may receive immediate relief and healing.The third lesson we can learn from our brother Eric is honesty.  We are compelled to be honest with ourselves and all others around us.  We must realize that it is highly dangerous to engage in what Winston Churchill called “terminological inexactitude,” which means a lie or untruth.  See how far Duncan’s lie led him—all the way across the Atlantic and into contact with airline passengers and crew, as well as his fiancé and all the others in the home and neighborhood in Dallas, Texas.  It is only by the grace of God that so far, no one has been found to have been infected by him.  Let us pray it remains that way.  The fact is that if we are not honest with ourselves we could infect others, as we saw in the case of Miss Liberia in Caldwell, where she and several others in the household died.We keep referring to great example of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bernice Dahn, and Madam Yah Zolia, both of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, who quarantined themselves the moment they discovered that they had been in contact with infected persons—who later died.  That is the way to do it.  In the process, many lives will be saved.What next can we learn from Eric?  Many Liberians interviewed following his death in a U.S. hospital said they were not surprised.  They recalled that two U.S. citizens who traveled back to the USA with the same infection from the same Liberia were cured.We cannot cast aspersion (misleading charge) on the Presbyterian Health Center where Eric was   treated and died.  We believe they did their best for him.  The only problem was that when he first appeared there, with a temperature of 100 degrees, instead of immediately detecting an abnormality, they gave him tablets and let him go.  There is a good chance that had they, knowing his nationality, tested him for Ebola, he might have had a chance of survival.  But by the time he paid his second visit, it was apparently too late.Our final point is about Liberians asking why did Eric die in an American hospital when two Americans were cured in American medical institutions.  This seems to be a lesson we Liberians have difficulty learning: the Americans, like most other nationalities, know how to look after one another.  Do we in Liberia? NO!  We prefer looking after other people rather than ourselves.  See how two Lebanese rapists who viciously assaulted Liberian women were freed by Liberian courts.What is the lesson there?        Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PAPER PUSHES THE BOAT OUT FOR DONEGAL

first_imgONE million readers of the Sunday Independent got a true taste of Donegal at the weekend – thanks to an article on its attractions.Reporter Sophie Linehan spent a weekend in Rathmullan taking on water sports.You can read her great report here: http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/why-not-push-the-boat-out-3147462.html    PAPER PUSHES THE BOAT OUT FOR DONEGAL was last modified: June 26th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Washougal rejects plan to buy land

first_imgThe city of Washougal almost purchased property next to the popular Sandy Swimming Hole on Monday night, but several councilors rejected the plan, deeming it too expensive. The Sandy Swimming Hole sits just north of the Washougal River at 550 N. Shepherd Road. On sweltering summer days, it has long been one of hottest spots in Clark County for swimmers and kayakers to cool off. But the limited parking on site also presents a safety hazard. When the temperature heats up, the parking lot quickly fills, leaving other drivers to park their vehicles on the side of the road. At many points along Shepherd Road, there’s little to no shoulder for pedestrians and drivers. It’s common for drivers to leave their cars jutting out into the road before heading to the water, said Rob Charles, the city’s engineer. There are also no traffic signals or crosswalks, Charles added, posing a further danger to pedestrians. Charles and other city officials said they hoped to solve the problem by purchasing the land to create more parking spaces. The deal would have cost about $130,000, and the owner, the Riverside Seventh Day Adventist Church, was also on board with the sale. “It just creates a really unsafe position for people not only on the passenger side, but the driver’s side,” Charles said. “This is hopefully a start to building a parking lot for people to use instead of parking on the road.”last_img read more