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                                            About Sports Columnist, Mike Ankoviak:

Mike Ankoviak is a resident of Champlin, MN.  He was raised in Albert Lea, MN where his father, Bill Ankoviak, finished his career as a professional baseball player.  Along with his 5 brothers and sisters, Mike was brought up on a steady diet of baseball, golf, basketball, tennis, football, and mumbley peg.  He would spend his evenings scouring the paper for the latest sports box scores.  Today Mike's appetite for sports continues.  He has been a season ticket holder for most of our pro sports teams in the Twin Cities.  He has been a part owner of a race horse stabled at Canterbury downs, and is an avid golfer and tennis player.  You may not agree with all of Mike's opinions but I think you will agree that his insight into the world of sports is always refreshing. 

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Jan 30, 2019 Sports Blog   Super Bowl Preview

Boy itís been a long time since I wrote anything. Gosh, thatís how I started the last one I wrote back in the summer (remember what summer feels like?). How lame of me.  I could blame it on the Government shutdown, the Polar Vortex, or that I broke my 6 year old laptop.  But the truth is, I told the boss, Mr. Solem, that my resolution this year is to get a sports blog out every month. And in January I was going to do a really cool recap of all the Minnesota sports highlights of the preceding year. So Iíve spent that last 3 weeks trying really hard to come up with that story. I put the first one down as the Minnesota Miracle (remember way back then..Keenum to Diggs), and then I hit a huge stall!! I really couldnít think of anything else to write about. Call it writers block, or the simple fact that there really werenít any highlights to talk about!! The Twins stunk, and the Vikings bombed out of the playoffs last season, and followed that up by signing an $84 million QB and then missing the playoffs this recent season. The T-Wolves finally made the playoffs as the 8 seed and were one and done, as were the Wild. Gopher basketball has been nearly anonymous. The Gopher footballers actually won a bowl game, but if anyone here can even remember what Bowl or who they played, Iíd send them a congratulatory letter and a MMGA Red hat(make Minnesota great again in case you couldnít guess). Even the ever popular Lynx had an off year. You get the point.

So I had to refocus and write about something else.  And this time of year, what else is there but the Super Bowl.  Itís a great match up, the LA Rams and the omnipresent Patriots. Itís been a great and exciting season and I like this match up. To be the best, you have to beat the best. All season long there were teams expected to knock off the Patriots for the top spot in the AFC, yet Brady and  Belchichek prevailed. Again.  It will be Bradyís 9th Super Bowl and thatís incredible. Unprecedented.  The NFC was pretty loaded with power house teams this season. The favorite Saints, the powerful Rams and the vastly improved Chicago Bears were at one point all considered to be strong favorites over any AFC representative.  Then in the playoffs, the Rams beat in succession the Bears, Cowboys and the Saints (a little lucky there), yet they go into the big game as a 2 and a Ĺ point underdog.  There are over 400 prop bets for the Super Bowl. I usually throw out a few long shots, players to score the first TD, will there be a Safety or Defensive TD, etc.  For this one Iím going against my normal rule of never  betting against the Patriots, and taking the Rams. New England is vulnerable to more physical teams that can put pressure on Brady, and those that can run the ball. The Rams can do both of those things. Iím predicting a high scoring game with the Rams coming out on top 37-34. So Iím betting the OVER as well. Now, Iíve been known to be wrong a time or two, so as I always say, donít bet the farm!

I was privileged to witness some golf history this past month also. If youíre on social media you may have seen or heard too. Patti (P) on January 4th recorded a hole in one during our first round of the New Year.  It was pretty awesome. A 163 yard shot with a hybrid on a beautiful downhill hole at South Shore Golf Club. At that distance we werenít sure if it went in, or ended up just behind the holeÖ.but of course when we walked up to it, there it was in the hole. Thatís remarkable enough but then two weeks later on January 19th, she got another one! This was on an uphill Par 3 of about 85 yards, blind shot over desert waste area and a sand bunker. I had driven the cart around to the back of the green as she walked to her tee box, so I was actually standing near the green. I saw the flight of the ball, landing about 14 feet short of the pin and watched it rolled right in. The first time in the 20 year history of the club that anyone had two Aces in a month! The only bummer is weíre on this great January resolution so weíre eating healthy, working out 5 times a week, and not drinking. But for this we made an exception.  We celebrated the first one with a shot of tequila, and the second one with a martini. And for the record, thatís just about all weíve had for an entire month! (a couple of ounces of Red Wine a few eveningsÖfor medicinal purposes only!!) So I guess the moral of the story is, quit drinking and get a hole in one!! (Click on the link below and scroll to the bottom of the page to view a video of the par 3s at South Shore.)

South Shore Par 3s

So enjoy the Super Bowl. Watch some golf this weekend as the Phoenix Open (Waste Management Open) is one of the most exciting tournaments of the year with the fantastic crowds. Enjoy the warming trend too!! Until February.

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