The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


It has been a very rough week for me.

Obviously, the Predators self-destruction this week didn't help things at all. Neither did the Admirals' one-and-done" playoff run. But there's something more that's been happening, closer to home.

For those of you unaware, I work at a juvenile detention facility here in Wisconsin. It's been in operation for nearly 50 years, and in that time there's only been about three deaths of youth on grounds.

On Saturday, the 21st, there was a fourth. A youth who apparently had some heart issues collapsed in his room, and could not be resuscitated. It was not a pleasant day, to say the least. No, it was not in my place of work, but I remembered the youth from the time when he was in our cottage (living unit).

That wouldn't be so bad, if not for what happened late Sunday night. A fellow youth counselor who had worked a double-shift (first and second shift) lost control of his vehicle on the way home, and was killed when his car went off the road, flipped in a ditch and hit a tree, catching fire. His name was Todd Fraser.

Now, you may be asking why I mention his name. Well, there's a reason. For quite some time, I really didn't have many people that I could talk hockey or such with at my workplace. Those that were hockey fans were fans of other teams - the Rangers, the Devils, the Blackhawks and the Dead Things, for example. This gentleman, though, apparently had some connection with someone in Tennessee. I don't know why or how, but he would occasionally wear a bright orange UT pullover to work, and he mentioned that he was a fan of the Titans.

The best part, however, was that he was a Predators fan. Yeah, not very gung-ho, but he and I had some good conversations about the team. I actually commented to him the night after our series loss that there was definite venom in the air over Barry Trotz and wanting him fired. I actually saw him briefly on Sunday morning before I left work, since he worked at our main control area (gate house).

I'm not going to equate his death with that of Swampy, or of the beloved Eudora. But the Predators Nation has lost one of its own here - albeit tangentially.

This whole long weekend has also put something else in perspective: there are a whole lot worse things that can happen besides losing a hockey game. Maybe there's a bit too much venom on the part of us that are still around as to wanting Trotz gone.

That old Kentucky philosopher that used to wander the Nashville Predators message boards before he started playing with toy airplanes used to make an analogy about how the Preds were like his daughter. Sometimes she'd do things brilliantly, and sometimes she'd just get stuck on not being able to do this one little thing. I'm guessing that we're asking a bit much of a nine-year-old to do vector calculus.

Yes, they are our children. Yes, it hurts to see them lose. But there are many things that are worse that could be happening to you at this time.

Mourning the death of a co-worker, for one.