ESCANABA - The wisdom of switching to geographical or non-traditional district basketball pairings was proven again this year.
All you have to do is look at Escanaba High School, which has hosted Gladstone two years in a row for the Class B boys district championship. Capacity crowds were on hand for the third showdown of the season each year.
This year Sault Ste. Marie was the designated host and last year Menominee was the assigned host. Under the former procedure, the Braves and Eskymos would have played the title game on the road, seriously limiting the crowd, excitement, enthusiasm, energy, et al.
The new format calls for the team in the top half of the bracket to host each game. It reduces travel and expenses and generates much better revenue, bringing in approximately $10,000 compared to perhaps $2,500.
l Garde Kangas of Manistique will be participating in spring football drills at Northern Michigan University.
The freshman wide receiver did not go out for football when he arrived on campus after graduating in 2009 but was asked to participate for spring drills, which begin March 22. The spring game is April 17.
His brother, Cody, an All-U.P. Class A-B-C quarterback in 2007, is now a linebacker for the Wildcats.
l The first year of Northern Michigan University's operation of the former Chocolay Downs Golf Club has been beneficial.
The course had a profit of about $5,000 last year, and as planned when NMU took over operation, the proceeds are put into the general scholarship fund.
NMU received the course as a gift from Joe and Patsie Gibbs of Interlochen. It was valued at $1.6 million. They developed the course in 1991 on 220 acres in Harvey.
l Joe Kiefer, one of the top golfers in the Marinette-Menominee area for many years, died Feb. 21. Kiefer, 97, won the Little River Country Club men's title 19 times, took six Twin City golf titles and won several U.P. tournaments.
According to his obituary, he had an excellent attitude on the links that would be a good plan for all of us to follow. "I didn't let the game get the best of me. If I hit a bad shot, I'd move on."
l Speaking of golf, more than a dozen players were spotted at Nahma Golf Club Sunday, adlibbing their way around the course to avoid the snow.
Even if the annual "March Madness" or St. Patrick's Day storm arrives, the real golf season can't be too far away. Several area courses appear close to playable right now.
l Casey Lyle of Escanaba received honorable mention at the competitive cheer district team finals recently.