Sports

City pledges funds for Hickory Hills expansion

Jun 2, 2015
Grand Traverse Ski Club

Advocates for the Hickory Hills Ski Area in Traverse City can move forward with plans to expand the city-owned park. The city commission voted last night to pledge $1.5 million toward the project, which would include a new lodge and parking lot. The money would come out of the Brown Bridge Trust Fund.

Commissioner Jim Carruthers said the expansion will draw visitors to the ski area year-round.

Jose Vargas enters his fifth and likely final season with the Traverse City Beach Bums
Traverse City Beach Bums

The Traverse City Beach Bums open their home season this Friday night. Playing his fifth season with the Bums this year, is veteran Jose Vargas.

Ever since he was young, he’s dreamed of playing in the Big Leagues. And at age 27, Vargas has given himself one more chance to turn his dream into a reality. 

Both the Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis and the Women’s Final Four in Tampa will fight it out with their shoes skidding across a floor made of Michigan maple.

The company responsible for making these floors is Connor Sports, a business located in the small Upper Peninsula town of Amasa, in Iron County.

The business has been around since 1872, a time before basketball was invented.

With so much buzz around Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon thought he'd recount the coach's beginnings at the university.

Harbaugh's father was a defensive backs coach under the leadership of Michigan's legendary Bo Schembechler, and during this time Harbaugh was a ball boy for the team.

Brandon Giesbrecht/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

People who attack sports referees would face tougher penalties under legislation in the state Senate.

Under the bills, a person would face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for attacking a referee. View the bills here and here.

Michigan State won against Michigan for the first time at Crisler Center since 2010. And with about three weeks until the NCAA unveils its tournament field of 68 for March Madness, the game had even more riding on it.

For Throwback Thursday, we're revisiting a story we did last year on the invention of the snurfboard. 

MLive is marking Muskegon Community College's exhibition, 50th Anniversary of the Surfer's Inventionwith a visual timeline of snurfing's contribution to snowboarding.

Listen to our "Made In Michigan" interview with the snurfer's inventor, Sherm Poppen. 

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Stand Up for Great Lakes

  Five friends from Traverse City are looking to cross Lake Michigan later this month on stand-up paddleboards. (You might have heard this called SUP. It looks something like a surfboard, but riders face forward and they use a paddle to ply through the water).

Andrew Pritchard says the team is looking forward to a serious challenge.

“You’re using almost every muscle in your body,” he says. “So it’s going to be very physically strenuous and I’m sure by the end of it it’s going to have taken a toll on our bodies and probably our minds a little bit.”

Surfing in Michigan?

It turns out good surfing is not found just on the North Shore of O’ahu or along the California cost. Try freshwater -- Lake Michigan.

Ella Skrocki is a surf instructor at Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak.

“Compared to the ocean, it’s not as consistent, but here on the lakes we get a really, really wonderful swell, through the fall is even greater than right now,” Skrocki said.

Skrocki said the inconsistency is actually what makes it special, because on the rare days when the waves start coming in everyone gets excited.

“We have a teeny, tiny community here and everyone gets to connect with each other,” she said.

Skrocki said the best days for a swell is actually when beach goers are in their homes.

“You get these giant storms that bring in on and off shore winds and that creates the waves," she said.

It’s best to wear a wetsuit when surfing on the lakes to protect from the cold water. The surfing season is mainly in the fall, late September through late November.

Skrocki said her best spot to surf really depends on the wind direction, but she prefers Frankfurt, Leland, and Marquette.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

The World Cup is over. And even if you weren't rooting for Germany or Argentina, the game was really something to watch. (Germany won, for all the non-sports fans out there.)

In addition to the game itself, the fans are just as fun to watch.

They paint flags on their faces, and scream, and cry a lot. 

Those fans exist outside of Brazil, too. There's an intense support section for the Detroit City Football Club. The minor league soccer team is called Le Rouge, and is in its third season.

Before the game, a lot of fans and supporters go to a bar and rally the troops.

Then the "Northern Guard" march to the stadium. There are smoke bombs, drums, gas masks, megaphones, and a lot of rouge and gold. 

Throughout the entire game, there's chanting -- some of which could never air on public radio.

According to Alex Wright, one of the DCFC co-owners, about 2/3 of the team play for their college team during the school year. The home games at Cass Tech High School began selling out this season, and Friday's game sold out by record numbers. 

Wright said that he and the other co-owners wanted to create the team because they're committed to the city. Wright doesn't believe that soccer is going to save Detroit, but it's just a reason to feel good about what's going on in the city. 

DCFC's season is over now, but fans like "Big Vytau" plan to come back next year -- and probably for a few years after that.

*Listen to the full interview above

Sara Hoover

Summer is typically baseball season. But it is also football season for many semi-pro football leagues across the country. Northern Michigan’s team, the Traverse City Wolves, has their season opener on Saturday, May 31. The players, like many athletes, play for the love of the game, which is good because they don’t collect a paycheck.    

The Family Man  

Sara Hoover

Almost 200 people filled a room at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center Monday night to debate a new use for the Vasa Pathway.

A new type of bicycle has exploded in popularity, and for the first time cross-country skiers are sharing their trails with fat-tire bikers. 

Emotional Topic

What happens at the intersection of college athletics and college academics? 

To what degree are student athletes allowed to get by with a lighter academic load, enabling them to play the games that are such moneymakers for the school and the NCAA?

That question is being asked more frequently today, often to the great discomfort of those who run colleges and universities, and their athletic programs.

To talk about the student-athlete double standard, we welcomed Paul Barrett of Bloomberg Businessweek. His recent piece is titled, "In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes – and Whistle-blower."  

Listen to the full interview above. 

Fat Tire Fate On Vasa Will Get Public Hearing

Apr 7, 2014
Courtesy of Einstein Cycles

Fat-tire bikes have become a popular winter sport, but they’re not too popular on the Vasa Pathway. The bicycles are a new trend. They’re designed for use on packed snow. 

Some skiers would like to ban them from the trail near Traverse City. Pete LaPlaca is board president of the North American Vasa Ski Race. He says there are safety concerns.

"Our trails are only 11 to 12 feet wide, which makes it difficult for passing or sharing the trails," he says. "Most of the trail systems are 20 feet or more in width and there’s much more room for passing."

The trail is on state land. And the Department of Natural Resources is asking for public comments.

Sara Hoover

The Traverse Bay Blues have been the high school state champions for the past four years. The girls rugby team hopes to defend its title when the season kicks off this Saturday, April 5, despite the fact that two-thirds of this year’s team has never played the sport before.

The gym at Traverse City High School is full of rugby players getting ready to head outside for practice. Members of the club team are tying their cleats and putting on thermals and jackets. Head coach Stephanie Kehrer is taking them outside for their first tackling practice.

The numbers are eye-popping:

MLB.com and other news sites are reporting that Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is getting an eight-year contract extension from the team that means he's guaranteed to earn $292 million over the next 10 years if he keeps playing.

Gov. Rick Snyder honored Olympic ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the state Capitol today.

The two University of Michigan students won gold medals at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

During the ceremony, Snyder noted many of the Olympic ice dancing pairs live and train in Michigan.

“I think it’s fair to say that Michigan is the ice dancing capitol of the world,” Snyder said, which drew applause from the audience.

Braving Conditions

Dec 27, 2013
Linda Stephan

About 65,000 Michiganders are still without power after the weekend storm. The ice that caused most of the damage was to our south... but roads were pretty rough in Traverse City Sunday midday. That's when we snapped this picture of two bikers and a runner braving conditions on Bay Street! The bikers were using something new called "fat tires." We talked about the new biking phenomenon earlier this year.

"Crazy-generous" tips, as Gawker says, have been showing up on checks across the nation as some anonymous good Samaritans known only as "TipsForJesus" add hundreds or thousands of dollars to their restaurant and bar bills.

Game Of Pickleball Picks Up In Traverse City Area

Sep 26, 2013

When IPR talked to pickleball players in the area we were told again and again, “Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America.” Which seems like it would be a tough thing to measure. But it's clear, at least, that pickleball is gaining popularity in northern Michigan.

The racquet sport was invented in the Seattle area in the 1960’s. It’s played on a court with wooden or plastic paddles and a hollow, ventilated plastic ball known as a wiffle ball.

Fat Tires Catch On Up North

Mar 8, 2013
Courtesy of Einstein Cycles

This winter you may have noticed bikes with unusually fat tires rolling around northern Michigan. Jason Lowetz says sales of fat tire bikes took off this year. Lowetz owns Einstein Cycles in Traverse City. He says the fat tires allow riders to "float" on sand and snow.

For most of us summer winds down this holiday weekend but not if you're a surfer. The surfing season is just starting up. The Dairyland Surf Classic is in Sheboygan, Wisconsin this weekend. It claims to be the largest freshwater surfing contest in the world.

The Blues Just Can't Be Beat

May 23, 2012

The Blues haven't lost a game in 3 years. And scores like 40, 50 or 60 to nothing aren't unusual. Jim Kehrer and his wife coach the Blues. Jim says that the Blues are drilled – and drilled hard – in the basics of rugby. And that they're relentless in moving the ball.

Jim says, “And the other team, you’ll see them just crumble, they’ll keep the pace for a little bit but they get so frustrated that they’re not able to do anything. They never give them a chance to breathe, never give them a chance to get any space and they eventually just crack.” 

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