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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Sports people need to quit using the "A" word

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a long, long time and never got around to it. Can’t take it anymore.  Had enough.

Early Easter Sunday afternoon, I watched TV in disgust as yet another of my Final Four picks in the NCAA Tournament went down in flames, this time Florida.  Michigan made it look too easy in disposing of the Gators.

After the game, Michigan star guard Trey Burke was interviewed. Burke made a reference that far too many coaches, players, broadcasters and analysts have claimed on far too many occasions in the past. He pulled out the “A” word.

Burke’s Wolverines were now headed to the coveted Final Four and he was asked the always insightful inquiry by the microphone-wielding reporter. I’m paraphrasing but I’m deadly accurate. The interrogator wanted to know how Burke felt.

Without hesitation Burke mentioned the obvious, that winning this game felt great.

Burke continued.

You know, he told the sideline reporter, his team (here it comes) had to “overcome adversity.”

The ubiquitous “A” word, especially in the world of sports.

And what exactly was the adversity Burke and his teammates had to “overcome”?

Burke told a nationwide audience that no one thought Michigan would get this far this season.

OK. I’m listening, watching, expecting and thinking there will be more. A true example of real honest to goodness adversity.


I understand some student athletes aren’t the brightest. Certainly Burke has watched enough TV to hear the “A” word tossed around like dough in a pizzeria, so he naturally felt comfortable using it to describe his experience. But can we please stop using the word erroneously and start using it correctly?

A few hours later I was at my brother’s house, glued to the set, watching Louisville take on Duke. Anyone who follows college basketball knows what happened.

In the first half, Louisville’s Kevin Ware jumped in an attempt to block an opponent’s shot.  Landing awkwardly on his right leg, Ware initially thought he sprained his ankle.  He looked up at his coach, Rick Pitino whose eyes looked horrified. Then he looked at his right leg. A piece of bone was poking through the skin. Ware went into shock. In New York, Ware’s father, watching the game on TV, thought he was going to have a heart attack. The injury was so gruesome that CBS that was broadcasting the game correctly refused to show replays.

That is adversity.

Adversity is armed combat in the military.

Adversity is a police officer engaged in gunfire from a violent suspect.

Adversity is a firefighter searching in a home engulfed in flames for survivors.

Adversity is being informed you have a terminal illness.

Adversity is losing your sight or a limb.

Adversity is losing a loved one.

Adversity is a catastrophe, a disaster, misery.

A football team that loses a game because it fumbled three times and gave up two interceptions is NOT an example of adversity.

A basketball team that suffers an unexpected losing streak is NOT an example of adversity.

It’s high time we end the complete, utter butchery and misuse of the “A” word.

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