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Matt Hendrickson is the Sports Director at KJAM Radio in Madison, SD… or at least he likes to think he is… We’re increasing his medication next week.

With the hot weather we’ve had, it’s hard to believe that the end of the summer is just around the corner… at least for amateur baseball!

For the past 21 season, we’ve carried the Cornbelt League on KJAM… and this year was a bit trying with all the rain, storms, and forfeits! But the final games have wrapped up and here are the final standings.

#1 ~ Dell Rapids Mudcats 21-1
#2 ~ Madison Broncos 18-4
#3 ~ Canova Gang 17-5
#4 ~ H-M-H Gamedogs 15-7
#5 ~ Dell Rapids PBR 13-9
#6 ~ Harrisburg 12-10
#7 ~ Lennox 10-12
#8 ~ Flandreau Cardinals 9-13
#9 ~ Salem Cubs 9-13
#10 ~ Colman A’s 6-16
#11 ~ Tea Toros 2-20
#12 ~ Canistota Rebels 0-22

Now the busy part of our schedule begins!

Starting Friday night, we’ll be broadcasting the Cornbelt League District Tournament live from Lennox. Seven teams from the Corn Belt will move on to the State “B” Amateur tournament, which starts August 3rd.

Now this means we’ll have to pre-empt “Calling All Sports” for the next week or so, which is unfortunate. But we will be back airing Mark O and Mike H on a regular basis once everything wraps up.

By the way, here is our broadcast schedule for the district tournament.

See ya at the Ballpark!

By: Cody Oliver- KDSJ Radio

In my news and notes for this week. First of all, Black Hills State has released its 2011-2012 basketball schedules. The Lady Yellow Jackets will open the season in Branson, Missouri to take on NAIA Division II power College of the Ozarks on November 11 and John Brown College November 12. The home opener for the Lady Yellow Jackets will be November 18 against Northern State.

The Yellow Jacket men’s basketball team will play only 11 home games during the upcoming season. They will tip-off the 2011-2012 campaign on the road against future RMAC opponents Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado on November 18 and Metro State in Denver on November 19. The Yellow Jackets will hold their home opener on November 22 against Chadron State.

Black Hills State is not eligible for any postseason play this season as the university continues the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. BHSU will join the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2012-2013.

KDSJ will be broadcasting all of the Spearfish Post 164 and Sturgis Post 33 games from the upcoming Region 3A Legion baseball tournament. The tournament this year will be played at Fitzgerald Stadium in Rapid City. The double-elimination tournament kicks off this Wednesday and concludes Friday with two teams going on to the State A Tournament in Yankton. For coverage of the tournament you can listen live at www.kdsj980.com

KDSJ will also be following Lead-Deadwood Post 31 at the State B Legion Baseball tournament in Winner, which begins Wednesday, July 20.

Matt Hendrickson is the sports director for Calling All Sports affiliate KJAM Radio in Madison. He figures he’s torpedoed his chances of ever working in Bristol, Connecticut with the following article.

A person once wiser than me said “If you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is stop digging.”

Sage advice… let’s see if ESPN follows it.

The so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports” has been taking in the shorts lately, and has stumbled mightily. It started last year with the ill-advised “The Decision,” which was basically an hour-long spectacle surrounding LeBron James and his decision to go to Miami. Earlier this year, the book “These Guys Have All The Fun” describes the inner workings of the network as not so much a professional broadcasting network, but something that would fit in with Caligula or Sodom and Gomorrah.

These things may have dinged ESPN’s reputation a bit, but nothing too serious. After all, as a fellow broadcaster once said, “Sports is basically the toy department of the media.” After all, there was really nothing to really seriously harm its integrity.

And then there was Bruce.

Bruce being Bruce Feldman. A pretty good writer… a guy who makes his living at ESPN writing and reporting on College Football. So in other words, a pretty knowledgeable guy. However, Bruce has found himself in hot water for co-authoring a book with former Texas A&M head football coach Mike Leach. So much so, that ESPN is to have given him an indefinite suspension.

Why, you say? Well, it all goes back to Leach’s firing at Texas A&M. Leach was a fairly respected coach for the Aggies, helping the team become successful during his tenure. The bottom fell out when there was allegations from ESPN College Football Reporter Craig James that Leach and his staff was abusive to his son, who was a member of the team. All in all, the school fired Leach, who then filed lawsuits against the school, James, and the Public Relations firm James had allegedly hired to smear Leach’s name. Also named as a defendant? You guessed it… ESPN.

Looking at this from a business standpoint, I would think it foolish to allow one of my employees to work on a book with a person who has a lawsuit pending against my company. Granted, ESPN would have taken some flack if they had put the kibosh on Feldman’s partnership before it even began, but at the same time it would be considered understandable in some circles.

But here’s the kicker… Feldman asked for and was given permission by ESPN to do the book. Pretty boilerplate stuff, really. But then some higher-up decided that Feldman had to be punished so they supposedly suspended Feldman indefinitely….for doing something HE WAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO DO.

Needless to say, this has the sports media world all up in arms. Dan Patrick is asking why ESPN hasn’t fired James, there are now Facebook pages and Twitter Feeds, urging the network to “Free Bruce Feldman”… and all the while, ESPN had remained silent.

Finally, the network released this milquetoast statement.
“There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed. Bruce has resumed his assignments.”

Really? Where were you five hours before when all of this was coming down? AND… if he wasn’t suspended, why was is necessary to say Bruce has resumed his assignments?

I don’t know whether ESPN is suffering from heavy-handedness, incompetence, or both. But it seems to me this network had better take a long, hard look at what they’re doing. A charge of violating journalistic integrity–perceived or actual–is a serious wound to a news-gathering organization’s integrity and reputation.

ESPN has had a LOT of PR foul-ups lately… and it better shape up unless it wants to end up a pariah…. unless it already has become one.

(The following blog by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D. Genzler writes The Genz blog. Here is a blog about USA women’s soccer and its conversion of a naysayer – me.).
In full disclosure, I am not a die-hard soccer fan. Not even close.

I love football (both college and NFL) and baseball with a little college hoops mixed in. I have lost my passion for the NBA. I will watch the women’s softball World Series and occasionally turn on tennis when the U.S. Open or Wimbledon are underway.

It is rare that I will watch a soccer match at all. But, a revelation here, I have now watched both of the USA’s heart-thumping wins in the 2011 Women’s FIFA World Cup.

It wasn’t planned.

Being kind of a sports nut, I was watching ESPN when the highlights of the USA’s loss to Sweden a few days ago flashed across the TV. So, I decided maybe I would watch the quarterfinals with Brazil. Then, I thought, if I am asked a question about women’s soccer, at least I can say, “yes, it was exciting but the USA’s doesn’t have it anymore.”

Yep, I was one of those naysayers. I know, I know, where’s your USA spirit. Well, I must confess it wasn’t there, until….

I saw the penalty on the USA in the Brazil match. I jumped a little, cursed some, as the USA was penalized with a red card, in the process losing one of its best players, in the second half. Then after goalie Hope Solo stopped a shot by Brazil, the official gave Brazil another shot, saying a player encroached or Solo moved. Whatever it was, I spewed a few choice words.

Down a player to one of the best teams in the world, things didn’t look good for the USA. Still, I watched and fretted a little. Suddenly, the USA, even down a player, seemed to be controlling play. The USA took the match to extra time. Here I was thinking, OK, it is only a matter of time before it ends.

Along the way, I began thinking, why do I care about USA women’s soccer? I suspect it was because like the U.S. Hockey team in the Olympics, I am drawn to games where patriotism engulfs you. Sometimes, a call against your nation can fire you up – at least to this one observer.

As Brazil scored early in extra time, the USA still didn’t quit. The fans in Germany started coming to their side. It was amazing turnabout, almost like Rocky IV when he beat Drago and then after the fight said to the Russian fans – “if I can change and you can change everybody can change!.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsJnxlXepsY&feature=related

That was happening to me. I was changing, rooting hard for the American women’s soccer team, in a sporting contest that mattered little to me before this week.

The USA fought through, kind of like Rocky, beat the odds and when Abby Wambach’s header late in overtime or extra time, tied the match, well I was hooked. I watched the USA win in a shootout of penalty kicks. Again Solo was huge with a big save. With a 2-2 (5-3 PK) USA win (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y5sPHb6lQw), I was ready for their next match.

Today in the Cup semifinals against France, the USA seemed a bit disjointed and tired. Still they took a 1-0 lead early. However the French team was here to play and they had a number of opportunities to take advantage of the porous US play. They counted just one goal, on a weird play, ball bouncing past U.S. goalie Hope Solo, who reacted to a player in the box going for a header.

In the 79th minute, Wambach did it again. For the third straight game, she scored a goal – this one again on a header. Shortly thereafter the USA added a third goal and they were on their way to the World Cup finals.

Now, I am confused. I can’t say I am a soccer fan yet. You won’t find me heading out to local soccer matches, hoping I will find the next Hope Solo or Abby Wambach. But like Brandy Chastain and Mia Hamm did 12 years ago, the USA women are the attention of the nation, if not the world. They are continuing to build a legacy of excellence in women’s soccer. These wins, and how they unfolded, are captivating young American girls if not all of America.

I think we are seeing the heart of a champion. I don’t know that it matters who is next. It will be a downer if they don’t win it all but they have won over people, like me.

No, maybe I am not totally sold on soccer, but I am going to watch the finals. And, when those moments get tense, I will shout a few words or encouragement to the Americans and disapproval to the referees, thinking they will hear me through the TV.

This Cup finals will capture my interest and be an event that I will remember (even if it isn’t the NFL or the World Series with my beloved Tigers).

The the best thing about this soccer resurgence isn’t winning me over (obviously) but that soccer is back – if it ever left. The USA is tough, resilient and just plain good. We are reminded of that again.

By: Cody Oliver- KDSJ Radio

First, thanks to Mike Henriksen and the Calling All Sports staff in letting me join the blog group. I’m currently the Program Director and do sports play-by-play for KDSJ 980 AM out of Deadwood, SD.

My contributions to the blog will be to cover Black Hills State, Spearfish, Sturgis and Lead-Deadwood sports news and notes. Looking forward to posting the latest news from this area of the state and reading from others.

Congratulations to Lead-Deadwood Post 31 Legion baseball team, winning the Region 7B title on Sunday evening in Martin. They defeated Hot Springs 29-13 for the championship. Good luck to the boys in Winner for the State B later this month.

I’ll be checking in later this week with more.

Note – this blog is the first in a “Pride of the Prairie” series at The Genz blog (www.genzmania.blogspot.com) by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., and will feature all-time greats from South Dakota and the Midwest. 

For wriers, finding a few gems of knowledge, particularly new jewels that have been hidden for some time, is like a kid enjoying a twist ice cream cone on a hot Sunday afternoon. You get excited and imbibe in a treat that is refreshing but leaves you wanting more.

Recently, I found out that the legendary University of Southern California baseball and basketball coach Justin “Sam” Barry was born in Aberdeen, S.D. After reading about his life, I learned that he along with Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers manager George “Sparky” Anderson and Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy had connections including being born or growing up as youth in South Dakota.

Barry, with Anderson, born in Bridgewater, S.D., and Leahy, formerly of Winner, S.D., had careers that left an imprint on the national sports scene. All three men have been inducted into prestigious national Halls of Fame. And, interestingly, both Anderson and Leahy have direct connections to Barry.

After the sudden, unexpected death of legendary USC football coach Howard Jones in 1941, Barry was named head coach of the Trojans for football, baseball and basketball, a rarity. Barry had served as Jones’ top assistant for years and had come to the Los Angeles campus because of Jones, who coached with him at Iowa.

Jones left Iowa in 1923 after directing the Hawkeyes to a co-championship of the Big Ten, which wasn’t again accomplished until 1956. He went to Trinity College (later Duke) for a year before he was hired in 1925 at USC. When USC’s basketball job opened in 1929, Jones recommended his friend and former colleague. Barry took the job and also was named head baseball skipper.

Over the next 12 plus years, both men experienced significant success, as Barry also served as a football assistant to Jones. USC won three national titles in football, seven PAC-10 conference titles and five Rose Bowls. USC’s baseball (5) and basketball (3) teams, coached by Barry, won a combined eight conference championships.

The USC football team, which was mourning Jones’ death, didn’t recover in 1941, falling to a 2-6-1 record with Barry at the helm. Yet, Barry led the team to a pair of impressive performances, including knocking off Oregon State, who would go to the Rose Bowl that season. In the season opener, Barry, in his first game as USC football coach, directed the Trojans to a 13-7 win as USC scored the winning TD with 13 seconds to play.

Later in the year, Barry directed his troops to a near upset of fourth-ranked Notre Dame at South Bend, where the Irish were led by first-year coach Frank Leahy, who finished 8-0-1. For Leahy it was the start of a remarkable career, which would put him into the College Football Hall of Fame. Leahy finished his Irish coaching career with six national championships (two as a player under Knute Rockne and four as the head coach). 

Leahy coached the Irish in 1939-40, 1941-43 and 1946-53, compiling a mark of 107-13-9, or an .864 winning percentage, which still ranks second best in NCAA DI football annals. He trails only his mentor and coach Knute Rockne.

Barry would serve as USC’s coach just two more games before leaving the campus to serve in the U.S. Navy in 1942. Barry’s final game as head coach was a 7-7 tie with city rival UCLA in the 1941 season finale.

So, there it was a Winner kid (Leahy) and an Aberdeen boy (Barry) matching coaching strategy as their teams butted head on the biggest of stages. Leahy’s Irish won a close encounter, 20-18, before more than 54,000 in attendance.

An interesting sidebar about that 1941 game is that both Barry and Leahy were first-year coaches. In the long rivalry of USC-ND, it wasn’t until Brian Kelly of Notre Dame and Lane Kiffin of USC met in 2010, that another pair of first year coaches faced off in one of America’s most famed rivalries.

Also during that time, Barry became acquainted with Bridgewater’s Anderson, who served as the bat boy for the USC baseball team in the early 1940s. We all know that Sparky would become the first major league manager to win World Series for teams in both leagues. He was inducted into Cooperstown (major league baseball hall of fame)  in 2000. Sparky was also the first manager to win 600 career games in both leagues and as a minor league manager directed a team to a 4-3 win in 29 innings, the longest uninterrupted game in baseball history.

All three men had famed careers and biographies worth noting. The Genz blog takes a look back at the careers of the three men, all who unfortunately have passed on, but are prime examples of the “Pride of the Prairie.” For more about the men, go to www.genzmania.blogspot.com

(Posted by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes The Genz blog. This blog will also be posted at www.genzmania.blogspot.com)

Derek Miles, an assistant track coach at The University of South Dakota and two-time Olympian, cleared 18-6 3/4 to win the men’s pole vault at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Miles, a 1996 USD graduate, finished ahead Jeremy Scott, originally of Norfolk, Neb., who placed second at 18-4 1/2. Scott’s sisters are Diana and Terri, both who ran for Coach Lucky Huber at USD with Terri, also serving several years as a coach. Jeremy Scott has also jumped at Miles’s pole vault competitions at the DakotaDome. Now competing with Team Nike, Miles recorded the winning jump ( http://www.universalsports.com/video/assetid=090fb11a-dadb-4d3f-bf09-15899c5622f6.html) on his second attempt at 18-6 1/4. He has now qualified to compete in the IAAF World Track and Field Championships August 27 to Sept. 4 in Daegu, South Korea.

In his ninth year as an assistant coach at USD, Miles has helped the Coyotes develop a top-flight pole vault program along with USD track coaches Dave Gottsleben and Lucky Huber. He helped coach Bethany Buell, a redshirt freshman from St. Louis, Mo., become the Coyotes’ first-ever All-American (second team) with a 13th place finish in the women’s pole vault at the NCAA Division I Championships earlier this month in Des Moines, Iowa.

With this win, it appears that Miles isn’t slowing down at the age of 38. He began 2011 as the top-ranked American vaulter and was fourth in the World Rankings. Earlier this year he had the best vault in the Mall competition at the Drake Relays, going 18-5 1.4. He was runnerup  at both the USA Indoors and USA Outdoors in 2010. He  finished fourth in the pole vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, after competing in 2004 in Athens, Greece. 

Also in 2010, he finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships as the only American to qualify for the finals.

Miles, who lives in Tea with his wife Tori (USD graduate and former Coyote sprint and hurdles standout, who coaches the girls track team at Tea Area HS), competed in the prestigious Diamond League Series last summer, taking second at the competition in Paris. He had a vault of 19-1, which was the highest U.S. mark during the season. He also finished third at the 2010 Continental Cup as the only American competing. 

In his 11-year career, he has ranked among the top 10 worldwide seven times and been in the U.S. top-10 rankings every year, including top=ranked four times.  He won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and was the IAAF 2008 World Athletics Champion. He has also placed highly in several international meets during his illustrious career.

(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D. It is also posted at www.genzmania.blogspot.com)

Fanfare rarely follows a young athlete like Valerie Robinson, a Vermillion junior who won the second flight consolation championship at the 2011 South Dakota Girls State Tennis Tournament.

Tennis athletes like Robinson have the passion, desire and dedication for their sport at the same level of others in track and field, football, basketball or any number of sports. They won’t play at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, but they will at state tournaments and other event venues as they provide thrills for their families and fulfill their competitive and personal goals in a sport they love to play.

Every year Vermillion competes in tennis against the biggest schools in South Dakota without complaint. They go out and work hard, trying to do what they can to win and help their team succeed. Yet, it is has been since the mid 1970s that a Vermillion team has won a tennis championship. Still, they go on and with extraordinary dedication.

Due to budgetary constraints, the Vermillion School Board made the difficult decision to eliminate the boys and girls tennis programs earlier this year. After that decision, a Vermillion parent’s group, in support of VHS tennis, asked the school board if they could raise the necessary funding needed to save the program. In good faith, the school board gave them the go ahead.

This coming weekend (June 25-26), the “Save Our Sport” tennis group will try and raise money through a tennis tournament to be held at the DakotaDome Tennis Courts. Anyone interested in participating, volunteering or sponsoring the tournament should contact VHS Tennis Coach Dan Hanson at dan.hanson@k12.sd.us or go to http://www.vermillion.k12.sd.us%20and/ print an entry form. All proceeds will be directed to saving high school tennis in Vermillion.

“We are hoping former Vermillion High School tennis players, parents of current and past tennis players as well as friends, businesses and others will rally behind our efforts. We hope that they will support this when they see its legacy and interest levels,” said Curt Robinson, a member of the Vermillion “Save our Sport” VHS tennis program effort.

According to Robinson, who is Valerie’s dad, the Vermillion School Board has given the group until August 1 to raised $8,500 to fund the program for 2011-12. The fundraising effort will provide financing for the coach’s salary as well as travel and equipment expenses.

“I think one of the reasons to keep the program in tact is that tennis has a long history in Vermillion and that there is significant interest among students at VHS. We appreciate the fact that the Vermillion School board has been gracious to let us try and keep this program going,” he said.

Robinson is like many other parents involved in this fundraising effort. His family has had a long association with the program. Aside from his daughter, his son Jordan played #1 singles until graduating in 2010 and another son Daniel is an eighth grade with an interest in playing.

“I have an interest for personal reasons because of my kids’ interest in tennis,” said Robinson. “But I believe that is true for a lot of people who are part of this effort. Tennis is a lifetime sport, that provides our children another team sport option at VHS,” added Robinson.

According to Robinson, the high numbers of students interested in playing means that a lot of families will be impacted by the loss of tennis.

“We hope this effort helps the School District meet loose ends until the VHS budget gets stronger. If we can help the school through a tough period of funding, it is a good thing because of the number of young people that it will benefit from salvaging a historically relevant athletic program.”

The Tanagers have a proud tradition of success, dating back to three consecutive state runner-up finishes by the boys tennis program from 1973-75. The VHS boys program has had a pair of individual titlists including John Van Why, who won the first flight title in 1952. In 1988 Nick Helwig won the first flight and he was second in 1986. Scott Hackler finished second at #1 singles in 1975. The boys program has also experienced doubles success with Hackler and Knutson capturing the 1975 title. In 1952, Van Why and Malone were second.

The girls program also has a legacy of excellence. One of South Dakota’s all-time greats, Karen Bernard Hegge, starred at VHS. She was part of three-straight state doubles titles from 1974-76. In 1974, she teamed with Beth Krause, and in 1975 and 1976, she was paired with Karen Kaltsunas to win titles. Hegge, who was inducted into the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, led Vermillion to its only state title in 1974. Later, she played at the University of South Dakota and Augustana before winning six South Dakota Closed singles titles. As a freshman at USD, Bernard Hegge was 26-0 at #2 singles, winning state and regional titles and advancing the nationals in Denver, Colo. She transferred after her sophomore season to Augustana where she was elected co-captain. One of her highlights was defeating the University of Kansas number one singles player and teaming with Maria Bell during the Iowa State Invitational to defeat the KU’s top doubles duo, 6-0, 6-1.

From Bernard Hegge, to Helwig and Hackler and now to Robinson and others, both the boys and girls programs have achieved at a high level.

“We hope that people will support our efforts,” said Robinson. “It is really about the young people. They should get the chance to compete in a sport they love,” he said.

Anyone interested in supporting the “Save Our Sport” – VHS Tennis Program fundraising effort, may make a gift/donation to the Vermillion Public School Foundation, Inc., Attn. VHS Tennis Program, at 17 Prospect Street in Vermillion, S.D.

-Matt Hendrickson Reporting.

Before I start this, I have to admit that I got the inspiration for this posting from Jimmy Kimmel’s blog posting at Grantland.com. Seriously, if you haven’t checked it out, you need to. They’re writing like I wish I could.

This year, I didn’t do anything for my dad for Father’s Day.

I have to make a confession. Mike Henriksen and I are not father and son. Yes, we have similar last names and yes, we’re both broadcasters. But my dad’s name is Steve. And while he’s got the voice to be a very fine broadcaster, he has been a truck driver for well over 40 years.

By the way, Dad’s not dead… he’s not even sick. In fact, I talked to him for 15 minutes tonight while he was driving out of New Orleans with a combine headed for Mississippi. The precursory “Happy Father’s Day” wish, setting up arrangements for my brother’s upcoming wedding, and talking about his home area of Door County, Wisconsin.

I guess if I had to compare my dad to anyone, I’d compare him to John Wayne. Both have that slow way of talking. Both are pretty easy-going and not very quick to lose their tempers. And while The Duke and my dad don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, you always had a pretty good idea of knowing where you stood with them and how they felt about you.

Being a truck driver, my dad had a tendency to miss out on a lot of things…. birthdays, holidays, ballgames, etc. But that’s the nature of the job. When you’re on the road for 2-3 weeks at a time sometimes things get pushed to the wayside. I know Dad didn’t like being gone so much, but I also remember when he was home, he made it a point to get to our football games, wrestling matches, and much more. I also remember basketball games in the driveway and football games in the front lawn. Dad wasn’t going to be mistaken for Joe Montana, but to an eight-year old kid, Pops sure had a cannon!

While some people might look down on Pops and criticize him for not being there a lot, I learned a hell of a lot from him. For starters, he wasn’t one of these “helicopter parents”. Mom wasn’t a helicopter parent either; both were busy making sure we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. And while they supported me and my brothers in whatever activities we were in, they also didn’t gush all over us or be a “soccer mom” or a “little league dad”. Basically, he was there if we got into real trouble, but for the most part they let us make our own mistakes and learn from them.

Dad also instilled in us a pretty solid work ethic. Actually, both he and Mom did a pretty good job of that. I remember that while they provided the basics for us growing up, it was up to us boys to work and make our own money if we wanted to bum with our friends, go to prom, go on band trips, stuff like that. I can still remember the time that he and mom sat me down and told me they weren’t able to send me to college. They said if I wanted to go, I’d have to be the one to work for it, borrow the money, etc. I had to work my butt off every summer and it made me appreciate my education more. And for that, I’m grateful.

Dad also taught us that we boys should never start a fight…. but if worse came to worse, we should always finish one. Although I try to avoid conflict whenever I can. But I get P-O’ed enough, I’ll definitely say something.

He taught us was the importance of family. Maybe it’s regret because he wasn’t always there for our activities. I can remember him telling us boys not to go into trucking if we planned on having families. And that made a lot of sense. In fact, he strives for that balance of good pay on the road and being back to spend time with us boys (and now his granddaughter). But no matter where he’s at or what he’s doing, he’ll always take a few minutes out of his day to talk to us… unless his cell phone goes through the washing machine. (Sorry, Dad!)

But the most important thing my dad taught me was that it’s not what you SAY that matters, but what you DO. While I can probably count on one hand the number of times my dad told me “I love you” the last few years, I’ve never had to worry about whether he does or not.

So…I want to take this time from writing about sports to wish a happy belated Father’s Day to my Dad, Steve Hendrickson. Thanks, Pops… for everything. And I owe you a steak dinner next time you’re home.

(The following blog by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes The Genz at genzmania.blogpost.com)When you are young and the entire world seems to spinning all around you, catching a baseball or football game on the radio is how you invest yourself in your favorite sport. You dream that someday the scene will include you at Tiger Stadium, Target Field, the Rose Bowl, at an NCAA “Road to the Final Four” game, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, the Olympics or some other major venue.

As you move on with your life, things slow down yet still move swiftly. Those childhood dreams stick with you so when you get the chance to go to one of these events, you don’t hesitate. I have had the fortune of attending and working at some major events. From a week in Tiger Stadium to attending NCAA Division I tournament games, I have had the chance to not only watch the games but interact with participants.

As a former Sports Information Director, I have either worked events or offered my services to help colleagues with events, which has included various media relations duties from taking quotes, doing trash stats for TV, preparing post-game notes for media, serving as a press steward, serving as a championship media moderator (moderating post-game press conferences), among other duties.

Along the way, I witnessed one of the greatest closing moments in NCAA men’s basketball history and other moments. I was court side when James Forrest’s hit his unbelievable game-winning shot in Milwaukee in 1992 as seventh-seeded Georgia Tech and Bobby Cremins upset George Raveling’s second-seeded USC bunch, 79-78, that included Harold Minor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fz4hhpFoE&NR=1 (I was seated in the press row at the bottom of this video).

I saw the Michigan band get booed during an NCAA tournament game in Wichita, Kan. At the 2000 regional final, I watched Mateen Cleaves work his magic with Morris Peterson and defeat Iowa State en route to a national title http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej0a0Hn55o4.

Spending a week at Tiger Stadium in its final year of existence (http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/past/TigerStadium.htm) was among the most vivid of my memories. It wasn’t a great Tiger team (69-92) by any means, mediocre would better describe the team. I was there with good friend Mike Mahon as fans and we saw Al Kaline and Ernie Harwell (never spoke to them), watched batting practice from left field (hoping for a long one that never ended in my hands) but to see those two men — two of my heroes — was special.

Another memory was serving as SID for the South Dakota women’s basketball team, which upset top-ranked Delta State in 2008 (http://www.usdcoyotes.com/sports/wbball/release.asp?RELEASE_ID=4375) and advanced to its only national championship in history. Then, there were the Summit League battles that ended with SDSU’s 2011 women advancing to the national tournament for the third straight season and Oakland continuing its reign of men’s dominance. I worked as moderator as SDSU’s Aaron Johnston talked about the unbelievable winning effort that sent the Jacks to its third straight tourney title (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QsP9_Omwr4) and berth into the NCAAs. I also served as moderator at the 2005 NCAA Division II men’s basketball championships in Grand Forks (ND) when Virginia Union finished 30-4 and upended Bryant in the finals. In 2008, I got my first taste of the NCAA Track and Field Championships, working as a photography marshall. In 2006, I was disappointed at the NCAA Division II football championship in Florence, Ala., when University of South Dakota quarterback Wesley Beschorner finished second in the Harlan Hill Trophy balloting (http://www.usdcoyotes.com/sports/football/release.asp?RELEASE_ID=2861).

I could go on and on. Lots of memories.

So, when I was talking with a friend recently about going to the 2011 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, it didn’t take a lot of convincing to take that step and head to Drake Stadium. With help from my good friend and former Drake SID Mike Mahon along with Iowa State’s information specialist Mike Ferlazzo I received credentials for the meet last Friday and Saturday. And, believe me, it was a “smart” decision.

Along the way, I was able to reacquaint with some old friends while making new connections. It was particularly pleasing that while working at the meet in the mixed zone (where media interview winning athletes), I saw a person that I hadn’t seen in 12 years. While I was interviewing Canadian runner Sheila Reid of Villanova, Zeb Lang tapped me on the shoulder to say hello. Zeb grew up in Vermillion where his dad Steve worked with me in University Relations at The University of South Dakota. Steve and I developed a solid work and personal friendship and I got to know his family, including Zeb. Now, Zeb is finishing a master’s degree at Cornell (NY) before he begins a career in corporate finance. He was at the meet working for letsrun.com (http://www.letsrun.com/). Zeb Lang is a good kid with a great future

I seem to have this unusual propensity to meet people from my past at events. It happened with Zeb. It has happened so often my family has asked me “do you know everybody.” I go to a Sioux City Perkins restaurant and a former Coyote women’s player (Ashley Robinette) says hey. It happened when I was in Wichita, Kan., for a regional men’s basketball tournament when a old friend from college strolled by where I was working. It happened when I was flying to San Diego as a teenager. Then this March, I was at the Boys State Tournament (won by O’Gorman) when I headed to the concession stand for some popcorn when an old friend from my college days, someone I had not seen in 25 years, appeared in my path. We talked for awhile and I left thinking, wow, how does that happen? It just does – I think to all of us.

I suppose that six degrees of separation make all of these unexpected interactions take shape. Regardless, this 2011 championship meet became one for the ages and one that will stick in my memory for a long while. Of course, one of the drawing points for me was the opportunity to watch Bethany Buell, the redshirt freshman pole vaulting sensation for The University of South Dakota. She was the first USD student-athlete ever to compete at the NCAA DI Championships. I knew I had to witness Buell’s performance as she represented the Coyotes on an athletic stage that included athletes from traditional DI powers LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Southern California and others.

For more of this blog (including my eight special memories of the NCAA Track Championships), go to The Genz (genzmania.blogspot.com).