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Ed Karow may have had the best ad-lib line ever uttered on KSTP-TV.
Twins pitcher LaTroy Hawkins grew up in Gary, Ind., a city famous for steel mills, The Jackson Five and Glenn Robinson.
A slice of the good life for Edina's HILARY LUNKE - 2003 U.S. Women's Open Champion.
MAN of STEEL (OnLine Special Addition)
Spend a few days working out with Chris Hovan and you'll understand why the Vikings' defensive dynamo is stronger, faster and better than ever.

By Joe Schmit
Aug/Sept 2003
Ed Karow may have had the best ad-lib line ever uttered on KSTP-TV.

A few years ago when Bob Bruce was the main sports anchor at Channel 5, he took part in a 500-mile snowmobile race that started in Canada and finished in Minnesota. It was a great opportunity to give some coverage to a popular recreational sport, and a better opportunity to show off a new satellite truck that could bring viewers to remote locations live and in color.

About two days into the race, Bob was in dead last and anxious to get back to the warmth and comfort of the KSTP studios on University Avenue. Bob's Amazing Race took a dramatic turn when he was given a citation for relieving himself alongside some country road that was so far in the boondocks that it was too rustic for Eric Rudolph.

Talk about your news leak, every single person in the KSTP newsroom and production studio knew about Bob's yellow snow adventure, however, this was one story that was never reported over the air. That night when Ron Magers turned to Ed for sports, it went like this:
Ron: How's Bob Bruce doing in his big snowmobile race?
Ed: Well, he's still a-whizzing in the ditches.

Nobody at home understood why Magers and everyone else in the studio was losing it. Ed played it straight-faced and went on with the sports. That was classic Ed Karow.

Ed died on May 14, 2003. He was 65 years old.

I believe my partner Eric Gislason said it best when he stated; "To know him, was to love him." I worked with Ed for 18 years and I saw that sense of humor many times. I also saw a man who survived 35 years in a business where longevity is rare. The only way you last that long in the TV news world is if you are a real professional and if you can adapt to change. Think of the dramatic changes Ed saw in 35 years of the sports business. There were no ESPN's around when he started. You showed the highlights with the film you shot, edited, and processed.

Think of the dramatic changes Ed saw in 35 years of the sports business...You showed the highlights with the film you shot, edited, and processed.
Ed Karow was on the scene for many of Minnesota's most memorable sporting events. He covered all four Super Bowls that the Vikings played in. He used to do the Bud Grant Show. He covered the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and got the first interview with USA Head Coach Herb Brooks. I also saw Ed get one-on-one interviews with athletes such as Arnold Palmer, when he was supposedly only doing a news conference for all the media.

Ed died of prostate cancer and I know he would not mind me using this column to encourage all men over 40 to see a doctor for the test. It's a simple blood test that takes 10 minutes. If it's caught early enough, it's a very curable cancer. Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for the man many of you grew up watching.

When Ed got sick, he never missed a day of work. Now there's not a day at work where Ed is not missed. He was a great storyteller and in the TV business, that's a great trait to have. Dick Jonkowski, the voice of Gopher Basketball at Williams Arena said; "He used to interview the Vikings and Twins. Now he is interviewing the Saints and the Angels." Ed would have liked that one.

Ed was a husband, father of three and friend to many. I can only think of one guy Ed did not like. We had a photographer who was with Ed on the Minnesota fishing opener one year. Ed had just bought a new rod and reel to catch a nice trophy lunker. That became impossible when the photographer snapped the rod in half when he closed the hatchback of the car on it. Ed didn't have time to cool off before that same photographer decided not to take Ed's advice on how to exit a soft,muddy area near a boat ramp, and buried the car up to the axles. This was the same photographer who drove a golf cart "baja style" through a sand trap at the state open. Did I mention that Ed was a patient man?

Twins Legend Kent Hrbek helped Eric Gislason carry Ed's wheelchair to his car for a doctor visit late in his life. He looked up at Herbie and said, "I feel like Larry Flynt." That was Ed. That's the Ed I miss every time I walk past his desk.

We put a tape together for Ed with some of his many career highlights. Members of the Sports Department past and present all contributed. We showed Ed the tape two days before he died. He was weak and tired, but still had his ability to make us smile
...through our tears.
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by Eric Nelson
Photos by Tom Dahlin
Aug/Sept 2003
Twins pitcher LaTroy Hawkins grew up in Gary, Ind., a city famous for steel mills, The Jackson Five and Glenn Robinson.

As a youngster Hawkins loved playing basketball, which made sense because Indiana is hoops heaven. From the inner cities of Indianapolis and Gary, to rural outposts such as Gnaw Bone and French Lick, basketball is the dominant sport in Hoosier country.

"We used to take the rim of a bike," Hawkins said, "and nail it on the side of the garage and play like we were in the Forum or over in Chicago Stadium."

Which meant Hawkins was just another normal kid in a state that goes hyper over hoops.

However, basketball wasn't Hawkins' only game of choice. When
Hawkins was 4 he took up baseball - a sport he slowly grew to love. "We didn't have any bats so we used broom handles," Hawkins said. "I remember breaking a lot of broom handles and making a lot of tape balls. We played with taped balls. Gloves? We didn't use gloves until we got into Little League."

Once it became apparent Hawkins had a baseball future, he got serious about the game. Suddenly the kid in basketball country began focusing on the little white ball as much as the big orange one.

"He talked about it all the time," said Hawkins' mom Debra Morrow. "Talked about it all the time, how he was going to be a baseball player, basketball player, whatever he was doing, he was going to do it well and do the best at it.

"He wanted to play sports, he wanted to play baseball.He didn't want to be out there gang-banging or whatever it is kids are doing.He wanted to go to school, play baseball and be famous. He wanted to be the boss, he always wanted to be the boss."

There was plenty of temptation and trouble on the streets of Gary, but Hawkins resisted its pull. Somehow he kept his goals on track, refusing to be derailed by the circumstances around him.

Most of the credit goes to Debra, a hair stylist, and dad Eddie Williams, who worked in the Gary steel mills for 33 years.

"I didn't have time to get into a lot of bad stuff," Hawkins said. "My mother kept me busy. I always wanted to play sports, I always wanted to be somewhere on somebody's team doing something. I think my mother did a good job keeping me active."

Hawkins also had help from his entire neighborhood. If he didn't have a ride to practice, one of Debra's friends would gladly pick him up and make sure he got there on time.

"It was tough, but people get misconceptions that Gary has always been bad," Hawkins said. "I think Gary turned for the worse in '92 and I graduated in '91 [from West Side H.S.]. Growing up we didn't have money, we were poor, but we left the house in the morning, played baseball, football and basketball all day, didn't think about lunch and came home for dinner when the street lights came on.

"Gary used to thrive a little bit. It wasn't always poverty and druginfested. Looking at Gary now, I think I had it easy growing up. I really do, because the kids now really don't have a chance.

"The parents are on drugs, the school system is not what it used to be. You've got asbestos in the schools. You've got kids being bused from far south Gary to the northwest side."

Hawkins wishes more of today's kids in Gary and other cities played baseball. He would like to see them playing on fields or in backyards, just like he did.

But Hawkins knows the reality of sports in 2K3. Kids want action. They want video games. They want a fast-paced sport, such as basketball. He knows that baseball, with its glacier-like pace, has lost its popularity with today's kids.

"I think it has," Hawkins said. "Kids would rather be in the gym breaking a sweat instead of outside in the cold trying to get ready for a baseball game. I think it has lost its appeal . . . baseball is a boring game. I love baseball but it was a steady process for me to love the game of baseball. I played baseball because I was good at it."

Hawkins is also good at keeping in touch with his mom. He calls Debra every day and she tries to catch his games on TV.
"He wanted to go to school, play baseball and be famous. He wanted to be the boss, he always wanted to be the boss."

- Debra Morrow

"I still get nervous to this day," Debra said. "Sometimes I can't even watch him. I have to go away from the TV. But, I turn around or something, and everybody in the house has it on."

According to Debra, Hawkins is more than just a pitcher, he can cook too. One of his specialties is a pineapple upside down cake that is "the bomb."

Another Hawkins trademark is his candid personality. Hawk-talk means not mincing words. For instance, Hawkins says baseball needs to market its stars better and needs to convince kids it is a cool game, like the NBA.

Perhaps baseball should use Hawkins as an example. Hawkins is a pitcher who washed out as a starter and closer, only to find a role as the Twins setup guy for Eddie Guardado.

Now, he is one of the top middle relievers in the majors.

"We are all closers," Hawkins said. "When it's our time to go out there and face the other team, we close out that team for that inning. Eddie is the closer by title, but we all close the game when we go in. That's the kind of mentality we take into the ball game."

Hawkins is thankful that ex-Twins skipper Tom Kelly stuck with him when his career bogged down a few years back.

"Hey, he saw something in me," Hawkins said. "He knew that at one time I would be able to get the job done. It took a little longer than a lot of people thought, but a lot of guys who come to the major leagues struggle at the beginning and end up having a successful career. It's not like it's the first time it's happened."

Hawkins also credits Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire and Pitching Coach Rick Anderson for staying in his corner when things looked bleak.

They are two reasons Hawkins likes the Twins and wants to stay in Minnesota. However, in June, General Manager Terry Ryan said he wouldn't talk contract with Hawkins or Guardado until the end of the season. Neither was happy, saying Ryan's stance meant they would not return to the Twins.

Both are likely to get more dough as free agents then the Twins can afford to cough up. Hawkins and Guardado weren't being ungrateful, they just wanted their contracts wrapped up before they hit the open market.

Because, if this bullpen duo winds up going the free agent route, it only takes one blow-your-socks-off offer, to knock the Twins out of the running.

No matter what happens, the folks in Gary should be proud of Hawkins. He is proof that with focus, determination and hard work, one can succeed.He is also proof that a basketball hotbed like Indiana can occasionally produce a baseball star.

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A slice of the good life for Edina's HILARY LUNKE - 2003 U.S.Women's Open Champion.

by Wally Langfellow
Aug/Sept 2003

Above: Passion for golf and confidence in her ability gave Hilary Lunke the winning edge in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open Championship.
YOU FIGURED that she would eventually break through and start challenging the Annika Sorenstam's of the world. Maybe pick up a top 10 finish in her second year on tour and who knows, maybe even a victory in an event that has a mouthful of sponsors' names in front of it.

But at the age of 24, Edina's Hilary Lunke has leapfrogged all of that. Just months after wondering if she was headed back to "Q-School" (a qualifying tournament where players vie to get on the LPGA Tour) or maybe out of golf altogether for the year, Lunke has accomplished something that most golfers can only dream of.

In winning the U.S. Women's Open championship this summer at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, Lunke not only turned the heads of her contemporaries, but she made an immediate name for herself; she also earned a five-year exemption to play in any LPGA event (so much for "Q-School") along with picking up a winning paycheck of $560,000. Before the Open, Lunke had about $39,000 in total career earnings and no top 10 finishes. Things have definitely changed for Hilary Lunke.

Lunke was admittedly struggling through the first several months of the 2003 season. But the last few weeks leading up to the Open, she began to hit her stride.

"At the LPGA Championship I finished 35th and I had two 21sts in a row. I felt good about my game going into it. I really had my sights set on a top 20 finish." (A finish in the top 20 would qualify her for the British Open.)

The Open then came at just the right time. "My short game tends to be the best part of my game, so any time I'm playing a U.S. Open I feel like the course is well suited to my game," she said.

With her 18-hole playoff victory at the Open came a blitz of media attention that probably cost her dearly just a few days later at the Canadian Open where she failed to make the cut. But that seems to be just a blip on the screen for Lunke, who despite the rigors of being on tour seems to manage her time like a long-time pro. "My goal is to never play more than five weeks in a row." she said. "It (travel) can be a grind." Lunke also circumvents some of the travel by staying in private homes with host families as opposed to hotel hopping. "I think if I was just staying in a stale hotel room every week I would get a lot more tired." she said.

While it's paying the bills now, golf wasn't always the sport of choice for Lunke. As a freshman at Edina High School, Lunke was a swimmer. Quite a difference from the sport she loves so much now. But after 10 years of competitive swimming, Lunke was bored with Mark Spitz's sport and eventually decided to go with water hazards instead of water sports. "I had gotten to the point where every time you swim, the bottom of the pool is the same," Lunke said.

So after years of a sport that demanded continuous physical training, Lunke picked a sport where three weeks of rest can sometimes do you as much good as three weeks of practice. "Golf just doesn't make sense that way," she said.

What also is hard to figure is how somebody who didn't play her first full round of golf until the age of 13, just 11 years later is the defending champion of the most prestigious women's event on the planet. But a vision and plenty of confidence seems to have helped Lunke who says that when she was in high school she saw herself someday winning this event, just not so soon. "I think I saw myself doing this maybe five or 10 years into my career, not just in my second year on tour," Lunke said.

Pedigree probably also had something to do with Lunke's success.Her father, Bill Homeyer, is an avid golfer who Hilary watched play as she grew up. Then when it was time to pick a college, Lunke decided on a school that had just sent Tiger Woods on to bigger and better things.

Although she's never met Tiger,when that day comes she'll have more in common with him than just a Stanford education.
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MAN of STEEL (OnLine Special Addition)
Spend a few days working out with Chris Hovan and you'll understand why the Vikings' defensive dynamo is stronger, faster and better than ever.

Spend a few days working out with Chris Hovan and you'll understand why the Vikings' defensive dynamo is stronger, faster and better than ever.
By Bruce Leonard
Aug/Sept 2003

Chris Hovan wants to be the best defensive tackle in the NFL. Period. He enters this season safe in the knowledge that he is already one of the best after his breakout performance last year earned him league-wide acclaim and a spot on two All Pro teams.

At 6' 2" and 294 lbs. he is in the best shape of his life, which sounds like an overused cliché, until you see him walk past you in a skintight sleeveless workout shirt that showcases his sledgehammer biceps, forearms that would make Popeye blush, and thick, contoured delts worthy of Michelangelo's craftsmanship. It's the physique of a man who works at it. "Your body is your biggest investment," Hovan says in a voice that makes you sit up and take notice. "If you really think about it, that's how a pro athlete makes his money."

It's 8:15 on a Tuesday morning and with the May sun rising above the side of Winter Park, the Vikings' headquarters is bathed in a morning light that illuminates the complex and plunges the team's logo on the front of its indoor practice facility in deep purple shade. Outside Winter Park, the City of Lakes is well into it's morning routine. Incoming commuters roll along 494 tapping their car radio buttons for last night's Twins' score, and the talk about the Wild's surprising playoff run, without giving a single thought to the Vikings or their defensive leader, who eighteen weeks before the season opener, has just plopped his gym bag in front of his locker ready to go to work.

Since being drafted number one in 2000, Hovan has spent the six months between the end of the season and the start of training camp engaged in a rigorous off-season conditioning program. It's a routine that's becoming increasingly commonplace among pro athletes. Each year more players show up for camp already in top physical condition following the example set by a handful of aging veterans.

No longer is the 40-something athlete someone like George Blanda tottering out to kick a 40 yard field goal. He's Michael Jordan hitting a fadeway jumper at the buzzer, or Roger Clemens firing a 95 mph fastball under somebody's chin, or Jerry Rice hauling in another touchdown pass. These veteran superstars are showing what's possible if an athlete dedicates himself to off-season conditioning before the aging process starts to take over.

The lesson has not been lost on Hovan, who at the tender age of 25, spouts like an evangelist at a revival meeting about the importance of staying in shape. "My philosophy is I give myself two weeks off and I'm back at it. I've always gone by a quote I heard in high school, 'When you're not working out your opponent is and somewhere down the road you'll have to face him.' That's always in the back of my mind. If I'm not working out, the guy I'm facing is. He's getting an edge on me, and I won't let that happen."

It's hard to imagine anyone, anywhere working out harder than Hovan. First on tap today, a trip to the indoor practice field where he joins about 25 of his teammates for a series of stretching and agility drills. During a water break 40 minutes later, Hovan wonders aloud in a voice that's half serious, and half joking, "Is this the warm-up or the workout?" noting that the team has yet to start running. Nearby, all pro center Matt Birk listens and laughs awkwardly in the way people do when something is really funny but also sort of painful — like the running, which by the way, is up next.

Vikings strength and conditioning coach Steve Wetzel steers Hovan and the rest of the linemen into position for the first of 10 150-yard sprints. "Okay," says Wetzel with stopwatch in hand. "Go!"

The pace for the first sprint is surprisingly quick, like a peel out of a parking lot that slams you back in your car seat. Straight back, knees pumping high, breathing only slightly labored, Hovan eats up the yardage like he's chasing down Brett Favre. He finishes the first sprint in front then spends the 1-minute in between walking it off. Fifteen minutes later he turns his last 150-yard jaunt into his own personal run for glory, finishing well ahead of the pack. He turns to Wetzel and says, "That's 10."

Last season Hovan enjoyed his best pro season after leading the Vikings with 36 QB hurries, posting a career high 73 tackles, and anchoring a defense that ranked 10th against the run, the team's best since 1995. Readying the Vikings' tower of strength for his weekly Sunday battles is his own personal pit crew.

In addition to Wetzel, who maps out the various components of Hovan's regimen, there's Mike Morris, the former Vikings' longsnapper, who's taught Hovan the fundamentals of strength training, his deep tissue massage therapist, his rolfer, the Vikings own staff of trainers, and his chef, who spends most of his kitchen time preparing beef, chicken, and vegetables. "I'm big on nutrition," says the man who has never missed a game. "I load up on protein and cut out the junk food."

Strength training and football go hand in hand, especially if you're a lineman. Hovan lifts weights four days a week intensely hitting a different body part each day. He trains for power and strength, which is a good thing when you get double teamed as much as he does.

The players' gym at Winter Park is a weight lifter's paradise. It's filled with scores of white enameled machines adorned with purple padding, and tons of free weights. Still, on this mid-May morning, Hovan has the place nearly to himself. Not that he's noticing. He's concentrating on the task at hand. It's leg day, and at this moment Hovan is on his third set of 10 reps at the lying hamstring curl. "Let's go," says Wetzel as he loads the machine with 230 pounds. Hovan lies tensing for a moment staring intently into the mirror. Then with textbook form he delivers 10 solid reps with an extra squeeze at the top of each rep for good measure. "I never have to be a cheerleader with Chris," says Wetzel. "My biggest job is to make sure he doesn't do too much because he works extremely hard."

Finished with his sets, Hovan uses his shirt to wipe the sweat from his brow, looks into the mirror and flashes the contented smile that comes only from a job well done. Why does he put himself through all the sweat, the pain, the agony of it all?

"Everything I do in here translates to what I do in a game," he explains. "If I'm the ultimate best in here, then I'll be the ultimate best on the field. That's what drives me. I want my opponent to look into my eyes and know that he is beaten, to know that I have that edge on him, that he fears me, that he tells everyone in the league that man you gotta go against Hovan this week, that man is one tough S.O.B."

Sermon delivered, he pauses to let the message sink in for a moment. Then the man who aspires to be the best defensive tackle in the NFL, his work day finished, turns to head back to the locker room ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

When you hang around Chris Hovan, you talk about more than just working out. Here are Hovan's thoughts on...

Sacking the Quarterback:
"It's an adrenaline rush that's better than sex."

Packer QB Brett Favre:
"He is one of the best in the game, and I will savor every minute I get to play against him because he's as competitive as I am."

Former teammate/mentor John Randle:
"A guy I thought I looked up to, but was wrong in many ways."

Playing at the Metrodome:
"Best fans in the league. They are our 12th man out there, and without them I don't know where I would get my energy from."

Vikings' defensive line:
"I think our front four will be the best in the league. I'll put my name to it."

Being the best:
"I want to be the marquee guy, and I won't accept anything less. I work too hard to accept anything less. Anyone who says they want to be 2nd or 3rd doesn't deserve to be in this league."

"You see too many rookies come into this league telling everyone what they're going to do and blah, blah, blah. But they haven't proven anything yet. So until they earn the respect of their coaches and teammates, they need to shut their mouth and know their role."

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