Cut NFL preseason in half

The length of the NFL preseason becomes a hot topic every year.
The biggest questions are should a team play its starters, or rest them and not risk injuries.
To begin with, are four games really necessary? Why not only two preseason games?
There's less chance of starters getting injured and the games would become more meaningful.
By playing two preseason games, starters could... and should play at least a quarter or half in the opener, with non-starters, draftees and free agents playing the second half. That way, fans could be assured of watching starters actually play in a preseason game. There's nothing more disappointing than going to a preseason game expecting your favorite stars to play, only to learn they are not in full gear, but roaming the sidelines.
Stadiums wouldn't be as empty as they are now and games would be more than yawners if starters show up in pads ready to go full steam.
Now, the second preseason game could be reserved for those trying to make the final 53-man squad and for fringe starters needing a little more extra work.
Two fewer preseason games would also give all teams one more week of practice to evaluate players before the final cut when the regular season begins.
Owners need not worry. One more regular-season game could be added, thus assuring them of any possible revenue they may not generate with a second preseason home game.
Does it make sense? It does to me.

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Life jacket loaner program makes good sense

"Kids Don't Float" is the perfect catch phrase for a new life jacket loaner program I stumbled upon one day last week.
I drove down to the boat launch on the west end of Clinton Street. There I saw a large sign on a kiosk that caught my eye.
The sign read: "Kids Don't Float - Give Them Something That Does - Life Jacket Loaner Station."
A smaller sign on the cover of a large bin read: "Please return life jackets to this station when finished with them. If you could also hang wet jackets on the hooks and place dry jackets in the box, it would be truly appreciated - Thank You."
I opened the lid to the box and saw several life jackets stacked inside. They all were in excellent shape. There were several with "DNR loaner life jacket" printed on them, but other types, too. I took a couple of photos and closed the lid. Then I noticed the large hooks on each side of the kiosk, obviously for any wet life jackets.
Now, everyone knows I certainly don't agree with everything the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does, but this program is a real gem.
While most responsible boat owners carry plenty of life jackets, sometimes they may forget kids' jackets. Rather than returning home to retrieve them or buying more, they can borrow the ones the DNR and supporting sponsors provide.
I often notice kids, not accompanied by an adult, fishing from shore or the boat launch docks during the summer. Thanks to the DNR and the City of Parks, Recreation and Forestry's Safe Kids Coulee Region program, these unchaperoned kids could, AND SHOULD,  take advantage of the life jacket loaner program.
I tip my cap to the DNR and others who developed this program.

Forest Hills Players Club membership is special

I bought mine and you should get yours, too, at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse.
I have been a Players Club member for seven years. It's a great way to save money on greens fees, cart fees, range balls and receive Players Club only specials for a $30 annual fee.
For example, the course is currently offering a Players Club only spring special through May 12. Nine holes with a cart is $20, while 18 holes with a cart is $35.
Other Players Club benefits include $1 off on cart rentals and range balls, greens fee discounts and e-mail specials, in addition to guest discounts twice a year.
The program has been very popular since it started in 2013, according to Keith Stoll, Forest Hills general manager and PGA pro.
The course has more than 300 Players Club members each year, including all of its league players.
"Everyone who plays in our leagues here, buys one. It's a no-brainer because it saves them so much money," said Josh Larsen, longtime golf shop manager.
Trust me, it pays to be a member.
For more information, contact the golf shop at 608-779-4653 or log onto foresthillsgolf.org.


Here we go again!!!!!!

I have serious doubts about whether me and Junior will ever get out fishing together this year.
After experiencing flooding through most of the spring, it appeared we would be able to reach Ol' Tom's boathouse by foot late this week or at least before June 1 with the river going under 10 feet. Now, after Saturday night's deluge of rain, the National Weather Service predicts the Mississippi River will raise almost 2 feet by next Sunday. Can you believe it?
As of 7:15 a.m., today, the river stage in La Crosse was at 10.89 feet. It is now forecast to reach 12.7 feet by 7 p.m., on Saturday, May 25. For those who don't pay much attention to the river, flood stage is 12.0 feet. A "no wake rule" for boaters is in effect in La Crosse County whenever the river reaches 10.0 feet.
At 6 a.m., this morning, our rain gauge showed 2.5 inches of precipitation from overnight. Our neighbors to the north, stretching all the way to the tips of Minnesota and Wisconsin, received even more rain. And, more rain is in the forecast, especially on Tuesday.
Years ago, rain and high water never bothered me and Junior. We simply paddled his canoe out to the boathouse, hopped in his boat and motored out. However, age and health problems have affected both of us.
Junior's recent back surgery limits his movement for another 6-8 weeks. His doctor prescribed no fishing from a boat for that reason. Cancer and stroke have slowed me where I lose my balance easily. I don't trust myself in a canoe anymore.
All we want to do is to be able to walk out to the boathouse and fish from it, let alone crawl into his boat. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Brewers' Hader can't get any better than that

Sitting in front of the TV with thousands of other viewers on Saturday night, I watched lefty Josh Hader strike out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 victory over the the St. Louis Cardinals in Miller Park.
No big deal, right?
Well, Hader performed what is called an "immaculate inning." He threw a minimum nine pitches, all strikes.
Tyler O’Neill was the only Card to put any wood on the ball, fouling off Hader's first pitch. Then it was lights out. The next eight pitches were also strikes that no one could touch, including the last one at 98 mph. Hader's slowest pitch was his first (95 mph) that O'Neill fouled off. Hader's second pitch hit 96 mph, then six straight at 97 mph before the 98 mph heater that Yairo Ozuna flailed at out of the strike zone.
It simply doesn't, or can't, get any better than that.
Hader's heroics, thanks to an over-the-wall catch by centerfielder Lorenzo Cain to save a Brewers' victory in the opener on Thursday, are breath-taking.
For the record, Hader struck out seven of the nine batters he faced in three innings of relief work in the season-opening series. He threw only 30 pitches (all fastballs) and Cardinal batters swung 22 times, whiffing on 18 strikes. They made contact four times, putting only two in play.
The good news is Hader still hasn't shown his slider or the change-up he is working on.
While Major League Baseball continues searching for ways to speed up games, Hader is certainly doing his part.

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