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Do you believe in miracles?: Athletes recall 1980 Winter Olympics

By John Kekis AP Sports Writer  Scott Hamilton gets goosebumps at the mention of Lake Placid.  He was a 21-year-old Olympic newcomer and sitting in a darkened theater when he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Halfway through the movie I get pulled out by our team captains," the figure skating great recalled. "They tried to make me think that I was being thrown out of the Olympics. Then they broke the news. I remember I was shaking so badly that when we went back to the Olympic Village…

Spring training: Baseball emerges from winter

By Jimmy Golen AP Sports Writer FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The crack of the bat at spring training camps replaced the sound of trash can lids banging in homemade YouTube videos as baseball emerged from its winter of cheating scandals and salary dumps to bask in the Florida and Arizona sun. The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres held their first official workouts, and pitchers and catchers for 16 other teams reported to their Grapefruit and Cactus League complexes on Tuesday. The rest of…

Usher in a new guard: Interior OL a Bears’ soft spot

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor Offensive line construction, like offensive line play, is simple. A common convention of building a successful wall is working your way from the outside in. Tackles are placed at a premium. They are underrated athletes and some of the smartest members of a team. Cornerstones with the authority and firsthand power to protect the main cornerstone, the quarterback. If a team jives well at tackle, chances are little other issues are present. Chances are, they…

Eisenhower eighth grade boys play for sectional basketball title

Staff Report VERNON HILLS, Ill. - The Rockford Eisenhower Eagles eighth grade boys basketball team will face Marlow Wednesday in the IESA Class 4A sectionals. The Eagles knocked off RESA 47-42 last Thursday to win the IESA Eighth Grade Class 4A Rockford regional. The top-seeded Eagles reached the regional title game by beating Lincoln 57-9, and Flinn, 55-48. The win over RESA earned the 22-4 Eagles a game against Lake In The Hills Marlow, which is 19-1 after knocking off Batavia…

NBA changes All-Star 3-point contest

By Tim Reynolds AP Basketball Writer The NBA is changing the format to this season's 3-point contest at All-Star Saturday Night in Chicago by adding a pair of deep shots that will be worth three points apiece. That change means each round will now be a total of 27 shots instead of 25, and competitors will now get 70 seconds to finish their shots instead of the customary 60. Competitors were told of the changes in the past few days, and the NBA announced the change Tuesday night. The…

Keep it tight, keep it light: Tight end a loose end for the Bears

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor There was one clear message to derive from Super Bowl LIV. For a spectating outsider like the Bears, it was simple. Overall qualities of the Chiefs or 49ers rosters had nothing to do with it, as having a good team is already a prerequisite for playing deep into winter. Patrick Mahomes' individual resilience, then brilliance, had no part to play. The steady hands of Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, great as they were and are, also paled in comparison to Chicago.…

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs rally to win Super Bowl LIV

By Barry Wilner AP Pro Football Writer MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes needed just the waning minutes of Super Bowl 54 to end a whole lot of frustration. A championship 50 years in the making for the Kansas City Chiefs. A two-decade wait for an NFL title for coach Andy Reid. All it took was falling behind by double digits in the postseason, again. Then Mahomes found his mojo. The 24-year-old quarterback who was selected Super Bowl MVP, led the Chiefs to 21 straight points…

Girls Hoops: East’s Kabrea Jamerson scores 45 points in OT thriller

Staff Report ROCKFORD -  On a night Kabrea Jamerson was honored for making history, she made even more. The East E-Rabs held a ceremony before the game to celebrate the fact that Jamerson passed 1,000 career points over the Martin Luther King weekend. She is just the fourth East player to do so – joining Mardaeja Cross, Tiffany Chatman and Gina LaMay. Then Jamerson, a senior, went out and scored 45 points to single-handedly keep the E-Rabs alive against the Vikings in a 72-65…

Finding a leading paw: Quarterback once again takes the Bears’ center stage

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor It's a tale as old as time, or a story at least as old as whenever the NFL's charter franchise was last relevant. A story that could mesh with established ideas of tradition, lore, and yes, complacency. Winter is reaching its apex in the Western Hemisphere and the Bears, both those in the wild in their cozy caves and on the football field, are nowhere to be found. This is not a dramatic development. It's not new for any resident in the mythical Heartlands.…

Kobe’s second act cut tragically short

By Tim Dahlberg AP Sports Columnist Kobe Bryant was barely a few years into his post-NBA life when it was suddenly cut short in a helicopter crash so unimaginable that we had to keep reminding ourselves it actually did happen. The greats just aren't supposed to die like that. It's so overwhelming that it's difficult to process the thought that Kobe is really gone and that his 13-year-old daughter died alongside him. At the age of 41 he was awaiting certain induction into the Hall of…

The same, tired lessons of January

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor To most, January is a fresh start. It's a conscious acknowledgement of all the rights, wrongs, and missteps of the last 12 months. A representation of where one's life stands, and what must be, or could be, done to improve standing. Resolutions are made as fast and as eagerly as they are broken in half. A sizable swath of the population is encased in ice, deep in the throes of winter, not quite knowing when they will be thawed and safe again. January is a…

IceHogs shut out Wolves

Staff Report ROSEMONT, Ill. - Collin Delia made 34 saves and Gabriel Gagne notched a goal and an assist in his IceHogs debut as the Rockford IceHogs shut out the Chicago Wolves 2-0 at Allstate Arena Sunday afternoon. With the IceHogs up 2-0 midway through the third, the Wolves broke in on a 2-on-1 rush. Delia slid from his left to his right to deny the back-door bid and maintain the Hogs' two-goal lead. Delia kicked away all 34 Chicago shots on the day to earn the second shutout of his…

Pro Hockey: Blackhawks recall Brandon Hagel

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled forward Brandon Hagel from the Rockford IceHogs, the clubs announced Friday. Hagel, 21, has skated in 38 games with the IceHogs this season, logging 21 points (13g, 8a). He leads the team in goals and is second on the roster in points. Additionally, his 13 markers are tied for sixth among rookies in the American Hockey League. Signed by the Blackhawks on Oct. 30, 2018, he made his professional hockey debut with the IceHogs at…

IceHogs top Grand Rapids on road

Staff Report GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Chad Krys notched his first professional goal late in the third and Ben Youds and Joseph Cramarossa each scored in the shootout to lift the Rockford IceHogs over the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-1 at Van Andel Arena Wednesday. With 7:27 remaining in regulation and the IceHogs down by a goal, John Quenneville entered the zone and backhanded a shot from the right-hand boards that rimmed around to the left wall. Pinching down from the point, Krys shoveled the…

A Lazor’s precision: Bears’ Lazor must overcome history

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor Coaching dynamics in the NFL are straightforward. They can be boiled down to a few succinct paths. There are first, of course, the nepotists, with regular rewards for their children (often not based on any merit). These permeate across the landscape of a titan of a league, and have existed since professional football's inception. They will never, unfortunately, simply walk away. When some of them are coaching on Championship Sunday (ahem), it's hard not to…