This, that and other things

Christmas came early for a couple of teams with local ties to Wisconsin.
First, congratulations to the University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team for capturing the school’s first-ever national title on Saturday.
The very next day, the Green Bay Packers wrapped up their third straight NFC North Division crown with a 31-30 squeaker at Baltimore. The Packers also got some help for solidifying the No. 1 seed and a first-round postseason bye when the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both lost. In fact Green Bay’s 11-3 record tops the entire NFL with only three games remaining in the regular season.
While the Packers’ offense was in sync, the defense didn’t perform up to par and the special teams’ woes continue. Maybe the Green and Gold’s latest acquisition - linebacker Peter Kalambayi to the practice squad on Monday - will be able to fill provide some much needed help to the special teams. Kalambayi, 6-3 and 252 pounds, is a fourth-year player out of Stanford. A sixth-round draft choice by the Houston Texans in the 2018 NFL Draft,  Kalambayi played in 41 games for the Texans from 2018-20, recording 15 tackles (eight solo) on defense and 18 special teams tackles. He also appeared in three postseason contests, registering two tackles on special teams. He signed with the Denver Broncos this past offseason, but was released in August. I’ll be surprised if the Packers don’t activate No. 43 for Saturday’s Christmas Day game at home against the Cleveland Browns.
Meanwhile, the Badgers’ men’s basketball team, minus leading scorer Johnny Davis, improved to 9-2 with a victory over Nicholls State last week to move back into the AP’s Top 25 poll at No. 24. Davis was sidelined with a non Covid-related illness.
Closer to home, Joe Bilskemper, founder and longtime director of the annual Lawn Care Specialists Cup golf tournament, is home and resting comfortably after a liver transplant in November.
“He's home now,” said Bruce Lindseth, who relayed the news to me on Monday. “Reports are he is doing well and he is in good spirits.”
Joe Bahr, another longtime friend, died last weekend. Joe was the course superintendent at the old La Crosse Country Club and then Forest Hills Golf Course for many years. I first met Joe in the late fifties and early sixties. Joe played shortstop for West Salem while I pitched and played first base for Onalaska. Joe was a great hitter and had a gun for an arm. He will be missed by many.
Finally, a Very Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Bob Lamb Outdoors.