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Steel vs. US National Team  (12/2/21)

 

The Olympics are to sports like the old TV Show Glee was to musical theatre.  It draws in those who otherwise don’t like the genre to begin with.  Millions watch the Olympics despite having at best moderate interest in athletics.  Of course, many passionate sports fans tune in but it’s the casual viewer that drives the spike.  And it’s the human interest tales, and how for a brief period, many of us are captivated by athletes and teams we may otherwise pay no mind too.

 

This February, a team that is likely to grab the hearts, minds and eye-balls of the country is the National Women’s Hockey team.  Once again, they are a favorite to compete for the Gold Medal and NBC has no doubt already identified the players and storylines they can magnify.

 

Well, that what makes what’s coming up on Monday so monumental in our area.

 

This women’s national team, yes the same one that will play in the Olympics, comes to the Chippewa Valley to face our very own Chippewa Steel of the North American Hockey League.

 

Yes, it’s a group of professionals (Team USA) vs. amateurs (Steel).  Yes, it’s women vs. young men.  And yes, it’s Team USA vs. a Junior A team.

 

Most importantly, and not to be overlooked, it’s Team USA coming to our town.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a big league team come to our community.  Not just to sign autographs and hang around.  They are here to play an actual game.

 

If you care about sports, there are no excuses to miss this.  No matter what you already may have scheduled that day, re-arrange.  Heck, if your kid already has their own sports activity that night…have them skip because this is so much more important to see.

 

If you couldn’t care any less about sports, this is still something that should grab your attention.  A major event right in our community.

 

Once February comes, and this Women’s National Team is hopefully rolling, you’ll be able to sit back and remember how you saw them here.  In reality, with how small the Chippewa Ice Arena is, you may very well have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the players.

 

Many people still gush over how the Badgers and Duluth Bulldogs came to Chippewa this Fall.  That was awesome and so will this.

 

 

 

What Scott is Thankful For  (11/26/2021)

 

Though looking forward is essential, it’s equally as important to have moments of reflection and appreciation and that is exactly what this time of the year is for.  Thanksgiving itself is a holiday designed exactly for that.  There are no religious foundations for it nor even true historical markers that we are celebrating.  Instead, a random (not so random in terms of commerce but that’s another history lesson for another day) day created by Abraham Lincoln as a way for our country to take stock in what we have. 

 

That’s important, for we as a society are also wanting whether it’s material goods or simply “our way”.  So what am I thankful for…

 

  1. Street Snow Plows:  This one just came to me and while I’ll no doubt decry my street doesn’t get enough attention, without snow plows navigating the streets during the winter I might as well be as motionless as a hibernating bear.

 

2. Deep fried cheese curds:  Like a grandmother’s hug, are they ever bad?  Even when you don’t necessarily want one, it’s never something you forcefully fight off.

 

3.  Coffeeshops:  There are no shortage of them in the area, ranging from the laidback to high-energy.  Without coffeeshops, how else would I be able to look important tying away at my keyboard in public?

 

4.  Bowling Alleys:  I love to bowl and thankfully Eau Claire itself has two reliable allies to roll at.  The sport has waned in popularity greatly in the last 25-30 years but at least these two places haven’t fallen victim to the demise.

 

5.  The new Hy-Vee:  I really like Festival Foods and prefer it’s deli counter to that of our area’s newest Fall Mall.  Still, I just prefer Hy-Vee.  From the bakery to the seafood to the meat department to even letting my daughter graze the clothing area.  The only thing is…how can you have a Starbucks inside the store but the carts don’t have cup holders?!?!

SPIKING TO SUCCESS  (11/19/2021)

 

Not everyone who follows us is a sport’s fan and likely an even smaller number have an interest in UW-Eau Claire volleyball but the next few words will be focused on them.  Don’t get distracted, stay right here, for it’s necessary.  Like being dragged to an Hibachi grill restaurant when you have a disinterest, maybe even flat out dislike, of Asian cuisine. Just because you maybe don’t like the overall cuisine, doesn’t mean this niche, or its story isn’t compelling.

 

The Blugolds hosted the NCAA Regionals last weekend at McPhee, ultimately winning their three games and advancing to this weekend’s championship round in St. Louis, MO.  The victory, in and of itself, is worthy of pride for our community. At the time of this posting, the team is just two wins away from a national championship.

 

However there is more.

 

Seven other teams, complete with their family and fans, flocked to the area last week.  You likely saw one or more of the buses criss-cross the area.  Perhaps ran into one of the teams at a local restaurant.  All of that is money brought into  the area. 

 

It’s also exposure as these people are, many times, introduced to the Chippewa Valley.

 

Again, the financial impact aside, this is a prideful moment for the area. There is nothing wrong with some chest thumping and at times it feels our community is very muted in that area. Some will highlight the great “art” scene but the reality is, most of what I hear is about what our area doesn’t have or doesn’t do well.

 

Or moreso, we hear about the great “potential” and about “what is to come”.  Surely there are outstanding things on the horizon and the moment one’s life is void of looking forward to the future it loses it’s vision.  Still, lets not look past the good and monumental things when they come our way in the present.

 

Now the volleyball even got the attention, but the university also hosted a NCAA Regional event in cross country in Colfax last week.  In fact, there have been a handful of regional level events in the likes of gymnastics and wrestling but what makes volleyball slightly different is the sport is sneakily very popular at the younger levels in the area. This is the first time in 15 years the university has hosted a regional in volleyball and there just seemed to be a “big event” feel to the whole thing.

 

Congrats to the university and the volleyball program and here is to many more regional events heading our way in the future.

 

 

 

 

Get those Gutters Cleaned (11/12/21)

 

Consider this a PSA for my adoring public.  Get those gutters cleared NOW.  With most, if not all, the leaves off the trees this is the time to make sure those gutters are decluttered for laziness (or cheapness) now could lead to disaster in the spring.

 

A few years ago we had that winter where it felt as those 500 inches of snow came.  We all remember that, what we also recall is the quick warm-up that March.  I remember it vividly because one night, playing with our kids in our finished basement my wife and I noticed a “wet spot”.  We’d had the occasional “wet spot” before but this was different.  It kept spreading and spreading and spreading.

 

We were up all night, falling in efforts to use a “vacuum” to save the downstairs.  The next day, we were able to get a sump pump and for the next few days cleaned out our basement. 

 

The culprit?  Our gutters hadn’t been cleared and that was 80% of the issue. 

 

So now, every Fall we pay for a local company ($150 or so) to come and clean the gutters.

 

Maybe you have those special gutters that prevent leaves.  If so, great!  However, if you don’t either get up their now or pay for someone.  It’s much better to do this in the Fall then have the headache of a flooded basement in the spring.