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SEPTEMBER 2013 2317 International Lane, Suite 210; Madison; WI 53704 Ph: 608-210-1710 Fax: 608-210-1716




was five years old when my brother Ted was born in 1957. He was born with spina bifida and was paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors told my parents it was doubtful that he would live through the night. Three days later they said he wouldn't make it to the end of the week. A month later they said he wouldn't survive another month. Ted passed away 26 years later from a kidney infection. He was a brave kid. A tough kid. A never say die kind of kid. I'll never forget the first time I saw my new brother. He was lying on his side in a bassinet. He couldn't lie on his back because he had developed a large (softball size) fluid deposit where his spine was severed. It was ugly. I couldn't bear to look at that reddish-purple bubble on my brother's back. That was probably my first real recognition about how unfair life can be to some people. Doctors eventually removed the fluid deposit - the first of 13 operations he would undergo over the next 10 years. Surgery for this, surgery for that. It was just never-ending. Ted never actually lived with us. His medical needs were way beyond the care that we could give him. He became a ward of the state and spent his life in a variety of special care hospitals and foster care homes. Twice a month, we'd pack up the whole family and make the 100-mile trek to Madison, Wisconsin to visit him. I hated those trips, not because I didn't want to see Ted but because we always had to leave him there and my mom would cry most of the way home. During the summer of 1966, the doctors said Ted was healthy enough to spend a couple of weeks at home with us. That was great news and the entire family pitched in to make him feel welcome and comfortable with his new surroundings, neighbors and friends. We pushed that wheelchair all over town. Wherever we went, he went. Everybody loved him because he was always smiling and laughing and never complained about anything. Only once did I ever hear anyone say anything derogatory about Ted. The kid up the street, with a brain the size of a walnut, referred to him as a "retarded gimp." Long story short, I'd still be beating him today if the whole neighborhood hadn't been there to pull me off of him. Enough said. One afternoon we took Ted to the sandlot baseball field behind the elementary school, and that was the only time I ever heard him complain about anything. He told us that he wished he could play. So we let him play! We parked his wheelchair in the batter's box and told him to swing away. He looked puzzled and asked us how he would "run" the bases. This kid was the ultimate optimist. He hadn't even hit the ball yet and he was wondering how he'd get to first base. We told him we'd push him in his wheelchair if he hit the ball. All the outfielders had moved way in toward the infield, thinking that his best hit might go the distance of a bunt. What they failed to realize was that people confined to wheelchairs who have use of their arms develop pg. 2

unusually strong upper body strength. Three or four swings later, Ted connected with that baseball and drilled it over the first baseman's head and down the line past the right fielder. The ball rolled all the way to the blacktop parking lot with the right fielder chasing it while my younger brother Jim and I pushed Ted's wheelchair as fast as we could. Then the inevitable happened - as we tried to round first base we tipped the wheelchair over and we all went for a good tumble. I was worried that Ted had gotten hurt. Jim was more concerned about his scraped elbow, but all Ted cared about was getting to second base. He looked me right in the eye and started yelling, "Drag me! Drag me!" So Jim and I each grabbed an arm and we dragged Ted to second base with a "lay down double." It was a magic moment for him and for me. That was also the moment that the guilt of being able-bodied hit me like a brick. I didn't know it at the time, but Ted had just given me the motivation to be the best that I could be for the rest of my life. I did feel guilty that God had blessed me with two good arms and legs. I felt guilty that I could climb trees, ride a bike, mow the lawn, throw a baseball and run up the stairs. Ted couldn't do any of those things, but I always thought that if he could, he would do them better and more enthusiastically than anyone else. I can't begin to count the times that I called on Ted's strength to get me through. I think that my high school coaches would have been surprised if they knew I was standing at the free throw line with the game on the line thinking, "I need to make this one for Ted." Or running down the sidelines of the football field thinking, "I'm gonna score this one for Ted." Later in life I called upon Ted's strength to get me through some tough times in Vietnam. I always wanted to be brave and pull my share of the load because I had a younger brother back home who would savor the opportunity to serve his country and wouldn't back down from anything. Ted was my inspiration to do the right thing and do it the best that I could. He's been gone for 30 years now, but I still feel like he's looking over my shoulder. Talent, preparation, physical ability and mental readiness are all key components of an athlete's success. But in my opinion, motivation is the difference between good and great. Motivation is the ingredient that gives you that little boost of energy to finish the race in first place instead of second. It isn't your talent that makes you practice longer and harder. It isn't your physical ability that gets you up at 5:00am for an extra workout. It's your motivation. Once you figure out what motivates you, everything else falls into place and makes a little more sense. Not everyone has someone like Ted in their lives, but there has to be someone or something that makes us want to be the best we can be. Find it and it will last you a lifetime! Yes, I dragged my brother to a safe place once, but he's been dragging me to safety ever since.

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By: Brian Meeter, WSS Marketing Director

From the Sports Marketing Department:


he Wisconsin Sports Services is dependent upon local businesses to help us deliver our events and services. From the beginning of the WSS coming to Wisconsin, we have depended upon two sponsors to help us get established on this side of the big river. Brent Johnston from the Hampton Inn in Onalaska has truly helped in our growth. Brent is a sports guy and a sports sales expert for several Hampton Inns across the state. He definitely understands Brent Johnston, Middle sport parents and what they are looking for. His knowledge base has helped us make our events a strategic success. Brent volunteers his time at Mt. La Crosse on Ski Patrol (photo above) and enjoys building and using his wooden kayaks. The Hampton Inn has been on board with us from the beginning, and we hope to continue that partnership for years to come. “The Hampton Inn La Crosse/Onalaska and Wisconsin Sports Services come together to make a great team to promote youth sports and an environment for success,” said Brent Johnston. The La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has also been an integral part of our success, aggressively recruiting the WSS to bring events to the La Crosse area from the beginning. But their efforts didn’t stop there. The LACVB staff has provided banners for our events and appropriate literature for guests, and has sent staff to work some of our events. Executive Director Dave Clements and Sport Sales guru Jeremiah Burish have been great partners in our growth in the La Crosse market, and we look forward to their continued support. "We have already partnered with the WSS on a number of great events. As we move forward, we know the relationship between the WSS & the LACVB will only get stronger and prove more beneficial to both organizations as well as our sports, tourism, and hospitality industries," said Dave Clements.

Marketing Tip # 2: Pick Up the Phone Social marketing, e-mails, newsletters, and other electronic media is a great way to initiate a conversation, but customers still want to talk with you. Picking up the phone can be a hard thing to do, especially for a generation that was born with electronic media as a major form of communication. Don’t become reliant on just one form of communication. Pick up the phone, schedule an in-person meeting, and take a client out for coffee or lunch. These little things will give you an advantage in an era where most are becoming overly dependent on electronic communication. pg. 4

WSS IN THE NEWS! From ConnectVerona.com

Vipers win 50th game, Badgerland title Submitted by admin on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 6:00am

[Photo submitted]

The Verona Vipers finished off their season by winning the Badgerland U12 Tournament held in Holmen on Aug. 3. The Vipers’ overall season record was 50-18, which includes five tournament championships, throughout the summer. The team also participated in the Cal Ripken Experience in South Carolina during the last week of June where they finished 3-3 against teams from all over the US. In reward for winning the Badgerland U12 Tournament, the team will receive championship rings during a pregame ceremony at Miller Park prior to the Brewers vs. Reds game on Sept. 14. Team members (front, from left) are: Zander Rogers (bat boy), Connor Kalinowski, Sam Pederson, Brooks Brazeau, Ryan Mirwald and Sam Rogers; (back) head coach Jay Brazeau, Connor Prielipp, Reagan Klawiter, Hunter Wickman, Andrew Newton, Ben Felsheim, coach Paul Wickman, Tyler McWilliams and coach Scott Mirwald; (not pictured) Matt Gilles and Curtis Cox.

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News Media

From: Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse and Wisconsin Sports Services. Re:

New Sports Events Partnership

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse and Wisconsin Sports Services (WSS) are forming a preferred host partnership to bring several new youth sporting events to the greater La Crosse area. The goal is to create sustainable, annual youth sporting events in our area that support the missions of both organizations. The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse is “to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” The Wisconsin Sports Services team provides tournament services to youth organizations, as well as many other educational services, such as a Youth Coaches Verification Program and the newly formed Badgerland Youth Sports University. WSS is an extension of the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services. WSS works with local hosts who provide facilities and a volunteer work force. WSS does the rest of the legwork, recruiting teams, building schedules, paying officials, and marketing the event. As the WSS builds a network of events, it is essential they build relationships with quality organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. From WSS Executive Director Dan Klinkhammer: “After meeting their staff, touring their facilities, reviewing their programs and comparing philosophies for conducting youth sports, it was an absolute no-brainer for us to affiliate with them. I have no doubt that they will serve as a vital piece of the youth sports puzzle as we build this network of programs and services for Wisconsin. We have very similar missions, so this relationship should be easy to maintain and grow, with the kids, coaches, parents and volunteers of Wisconsin being the big winners!” “This partnership with Wisconsin Sports Service provides a great opportunity for the Boys & Girls Club to serve more youth than ever. In meeting with WSS, it became very clear that their mission and ours were a great match,” said Mike Desmond, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse.

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he inaugural Badgerland Tournament of Champions (BTC) held in Holmen, Wisconsin on August 3-4, 2013 was home to 11U and 12U divisions with teams representing Wisconsin and Minnesota. The beautiful weather and stiff competition made for a weekend full of memories that won’t soon be forgotten. The 11U bracket began Saturday morning with Holmen, STMA, Goodview, Hudson, and the Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse all competing for the chance to take home the championship and earn the rings. As Sunday approached it was clear that nothing would be settled until the last game of the day, as STMA (3-0) prepared to play the home town Holmen team (3-0). The game had fans on the edge of their seats from the first pitch until the last out. Ultimately, Holmen was able to pull out a 3-2 victory over STMA in a game that was full of amazing plays and great pitching.

By: Jake Wenzel, WSS Staff

In the 12U bracket the field of Verona, Mindoro, Holmen-Ballweg Toyota, and HolmenPhillips Construction was set for the one-day round robin tournament. The high-octane offense of Verona proved to be too much en route to scoring 27 runs in three games and claiming the championship. Holmen-Ballweg Toyota bounced back from a tough loss to Verona to claim the runner up trophy and finish with a 2-1 record for the weekend. A first-class event like the BTC can only be capped by a first-class award ceremony. The WSS formed a partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this year. That partnership allowed us to invite the BTC champion teams to Miller Park on September 14 and bring the players and coaches onto the field before the game to award their customized Jostens rings at home plate! The WSS would like to thank Brian Weber and the Holmen Youth Baseball Association for hosting the 2013 BTC. The firstclass facilities, along with the hard work and dedication of their organization, made for a great event and we can’t thank them enough for helping us get this initial event off the ground. The WSS would also like to send a thank you to The Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse for assigning the umpires for the event. The number of compliments received about the quality of umpires is only a testament to their organization. We look forward to the continued growth of the event and are already planning for next year’s BTC. To get up to date details for upcoming baseball events, please go to our website at www.wisportsservices.org.

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BADGERLAND TOC DAY AT MILLER Park The Champions of the 2013 Badgerland Tournament of Champions (BTC) arrived at Miller Park on September 14th to receive their Championship Rings! The 11u Holmen team as well as the 12u Verona Vipers were invited onto the field during a pre-game award ceremony to receive their customized Jostens rings complete with player name, number and team record! For more pictures, check us out on Facebook!


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By: Beth Davis, WSS Staff


eptember 8, 2013 kicked off our first weekend of the Badgerland Fall Fast Pitch League in Holmen, Wisconsin. We are excited to have fourteen teams participating throughout the three age divisions: 12u, 14u and High School. Teams play double headers on Sundays for four weeks in September and into early October. The Wisconsin Sports Services supplies teams with jerseys, visors, balls and coachs’ t-shirts. This developmental league is a great opportunity for teams to extend their summer season a little longer and play local teams in some friendly competition. A big thank you to Dudley for providing the softballs, as well as Holmen Park and Recreation and Onalaska Park and Recreation for the use of their fields! Think there is an opportunity for a Fall Fast Pitch League in your area? Contact Beth, Fall Fast Pitch Director at 608-210-1710 or beth@wisportsservices.org.

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By: Lance Klinkhammer, WSS Staff


ow, that was quick…the summer of 2013 is in the books, which means we’re getting closer and closer to the start of the 2013-14 fall/winter basketball season! It’s a busy time for youth basketball associations all over the state of Wisconsin. Registering players, prepping for upcoming tryouts, communicating with parents, assigning coaches, putting together local invitational tournament information, creating team schedules – the list goes on, and it all involves some serious dedication and time commitment. It’s no easy task and the Wisconsin Sports Services has a great deal of respect for all the folks leading the way in their respective communities. Speaking of local invitational tournaments – have you taken a look at the Tournament Index featured on the Wisconsin Sports Services website? We invite all community-based youth basketball associations to take advantage of this wonderful resource! Whether you want to plan your tournament schedule for the upcoming season or advertise your local tournament to the masses, Tournament Index can do both. And the best part? It’s free to use! Tired of playing the same teams in your local basketball league every weekend? The WSS will be coordinating a number of Badgerland Super Saver events throughout December, January & February to offer your teams the ability to play against competition that you may not otherwise experience through your league play. We designed these events to save time for your parents, players and coaches by providing an efficient game schedule format. How does that work? Teams that play in these events will be guaranteed three games and have a total time commitment of only five hours which means – listen to this moms and dads – you get your weekend back! Now for the really big news. Do you want to end your winter basketball season while it’s still winter? On March 15-16 (girls) & March 22-23 (boys), the WSS will partner with numerous organizations throughout Wisconsin to coordinate the 2014 Badgerland State Basketball Championships! This program will offer every 4th-8th grade team in your community the chance to play in a season-ending tournament against equal competition. We believe that all youth basketball players deserve the opportunity to play in this prestigious event, regardless of competitive level, and we think all of you do, too!


For more information on the Badgerland basketball program, please contact Lance Klinkhammer at 608-210-1710 or lance@wisportsservices.org. pg. 11

www.wisportsservices.org pg. 12



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Profile for Beth

September newsletter sept 2013  

September newsletter sept 2013