UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

University of Montana Fans have always loved the cheer “POOR BOBCATS!” In the NBA this spring they will be chanting a different phrase “BYE BYE BOBCATS!”  You see, after this season is completed the Charlotte Bobcats franchise will drop the Bobcat nick name and assume the “Hornets” nickname that the first NBA franchise in Charlotte. The current New Orleans Hornets franchise has agreed to trade back the nickname to Charlotte for financial compensation. Beginning with the 2013-14 season New Orleans Franchise will be known as the New Orleans Pelicans.

Old Dominion and former University of Montana coach, Blaine Taylor. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky. Photo courtesy ofESPN.

The Holidays are always a good time to check on old friends as well as new friends. Former Grizzly player and coach Blaine Taylor has had great success in his 12 seasons as head coach at Old Dominion but an inexperienced ODU team has struggled this season and entered Saturday game against the University of Virginia 1-10 trying to break a 9 game losing streak. Using Taylor’s patented tight defense the Monarchs upset Virginia 63-61. It’s always nice when a team exceeds their win total from the previous season, but to reach that Milestone on December 17th is very promising.

Former Griz star and UM head coach Larry Kryskowiak was able to posted just 6 wins last season in his first year at the University of Utah, but this season win no. 7 came on December 18th in a win over Southern Methodist.  On December 15th South Dakota State defeated the Montana Grizzlies in double overtime at Dahlberg Arena. The SDSU Jackrabbits “hopped” on their bus Sunday morning and began the 1,200 mile trek to Albuquerque New Mexico to face the New Mexico Lobos, the Lobos enter Saturday’s game undefeated and 16th ranked in the nation. Apparently a week spent mostly on a bus and chowing down at “”All You Can Eat” Buffet is a good prep for an upset as the Jackrabbits won 70-65.

In the summer of 1970 Chicago Cubs All-Star Third baseman Ron Santo was forced to acknowledge a health condition that he had kept private for much of his adult life. Santo had gotten word that a Chicago TV reporter had gotten a hold of documents that showed that Santo suffered from Diabetes, a mysterious illness at the time. Santo told the public that he was fine and had earned spots in 5 all-star games since the diagnosis. The Cubs sponsored tests for their fans at game sometime later and 18 of those tested were discovered to have diabetics or were borderline diabetic.

The story of Ron Santo tells us how much we have advanced in our knowledge of a once menacing illnesses.  When my friend Lexi Duce was beginning kindergarten in 2002 she had a series of health problems and it was soon discover that Lexi had diabetes. Interestingly, a year after her original diagnosis Lexi was told that she might not be able to play competitive sports. Last week the Hellgate Knights girls basketball team scored 29 points in a loss to Great Falls High and Lexi Duce went 7-13 from the floor and accounted for 16 of those 29 points.

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.