BIG Roundtable: Memorial Day, racing, and the start of summer

Every so often, we poll our iHeartMedia Wisconsin sports personalities for their opinions on Wisconsin sports issues for the BIG Roundtable. Today, we head into the Memorial Day asking our panel about their favorite Memorial Day services, as well as a couple of sports-related questions.

Today's panel on the BIG Roundtable:

-Drew Olson, host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee and co-host of The Mike Heller Show @DrewOlsonMKE
-Brian Posick, iHeart Milwaukee/Madison sports director and the voice of Wisconsin hockey @brian_posick
-Armen Saryan, producer/host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee @ArmenSaryan
-Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame sports broadcaster in Eau Claire @Michael10075034
-Pete Knutson, iHeart Eau Claire sports director and the WBA's Medium Market PBP person of the year @SportingPete
-Mike Pilch, sports update guy and host in Madison and Milwaukee @mdpilch
-Mitch Nelles, Milwaukee sports radio host @mitchnelles
-Joel Finkelman, Madison producer/host of BIG Sports Saturday @joelfinkelman
-Spenser Williams, Milwaukee sports producer @SpenserWilliams
-Jimmie Kaska, who once ran in the 24 Hours of Lemons @jimmiekaska

All photos: Getty Images

Do you pay attention to any of the big races this weekend (Indy 500, Coca Cola 600, Monaco Grand Prix)?

Spenser Williams: I'll get up early for Monaco, and I never miss the Indy 500.

Mike Pilch: Yes. I grew up in a family that loves cars, and I went to the Indy 500 multiple times in my youth. I don’t have a lot of interest in CART racing anymore, but I feel I have to tune in and watch that American tradition at least for a while. The Grand Prix of Monaco is great just to see the scenery on television.

Jimmie Kaska: I'll usually have a TV on in the background with the earlier races on. The Grand Prix is super early in the morning, so if I'm already up it's fun to watch (plus, that episode of Archer is hilarious). The Indy is on midday, usually the only thing to watch on network TV at that point. By the time the Coca Cola rolls around, I'm outside doing something, so I don't usually watch that one.

Mike Sullivan: Indy 500. Even though it’s not what it once was, it still reeks of tradition (and motor oil).

Drew Olson: If I’m near a TV, I’ll turn on the end of the Indy 500 and the last few laps of Coca Cola. I’m not a racing guy, but I like to see how big events are presented. If the weather is pleasant, there is a good chance I won’t see either finish.

Joel Finkelman: The Indy 500 is interesting to me from a historical standpoint, and the Monaco Grand Prix interests me for the visuals.

Brian Posick: I'll watch the start and the end of the Indy 500 and the Coke 600. But I won't spend my entire day watching left hand turns.

Armen Saryan: I will definitely tune in as I need to take tips on how to turn left. I seem to only do well turning right and I need to work on my left-turn game.

Pete Knutson: Is it in 4K? It might look cool in 4K, and I would take a gander if that were the case.

Mitch Nelles: Nope.

Is this weekend the start of summer for you? Does it mark the beginning or end of a particular sports season here in the Midwest?

Brian Posick: Summer started after Wisconsin spring football ended on April 22nd.

Armen Saryan: I think this is definitely the start of summer, and the start of football activity feels like the end of summer. Although I always joke that summer is over on the last day of Summerfest.

Pete Knutson: Yes. The Northwoods League season starts the Tuesday after Memorial Day. I always look to this as the last weekend before the summer and the baseball season for me really gets going.

Mike Sullivan: The Northwoods League season starts this week, which is a big deal in Wisconsin.

Joel Finkelman: We've officially gotten into the start of slow pitch softball so... On a serious note, I do enjoy the idea that baseball will get its very own spotlight for a month or so, until mini-camps begin around the NFL.

Spenser Williams: I guess it kind of is the start to summer, which gets me in the mood to golf.

Drew Olson: Summer begins when we consistently have 75-degree days! But, this weekend is the start of grilling and backyard drinking season, which I enjoy.

Mike Pilch: To me, it’s summer when I’m grilling regularly and can go outside in a t-shirt and shorts, so we aren’t there yet. However, I feel Memorial Day is the first time when you start paying attention to where teams are at in the baseball standings, and how players are doing. It’s the first real checkpoint of the season (maybe even after the first week of June).

Jimmie Kaska: Summer starts for me when I can open the garage door and don't need a jacket when I drink beer sitting in my folding chair. July 4th is my "end of the sports season" because high school and college sports are all wrapped up for the year.

Mitch Nelles: Nope. To me, it’s more weather-related than anything else.

What is the best or most memorable Memorial Day service you've attended, or what service do you plan to attend?

Mike Sullivan: The speech by Dwight Eisenhower.

Pete Knutson: I’m not sure if they still do it, but when I was a kid living in Tomah, there was a ceremony close to the hospital where a plane would fly over the lake and drop a wreath out of it that would fall in the lake. I’m pretty sure a military band/soloist would play taps as it fell. My dad would bring us all to watch it, and I remember that being a Memorial Day tradition for us.
[Editor's Note: They still do the ceremony in Tomah]

Drew Olson: I attend my local community’s parade every Memorial Day. I’m not a big parade guy, but I enjoy that one because of the symbolic nature of the day. I’ve been in plenty of ballparks for Memorial Day games, and most teams do a good job of recognizing what they day is about.

Jimmie Kaska: My (deceased) family members all occupy the same cemetery north of Cadott, Wisconsin. The Village of Cadott does a Memorial Day service at three locations, including that cemetery. Any veteran of a foreign war will have a flag at their grave, and a card with the wars they served in. If I can't get up north for that service, I usually find one close to wherever I'm at. There's several military members in my family, so it's an important day for me.

Brian Posick: Every service is memorable. We are all fortunate to live the lives we do because of the men and women who serve(d) our country. God Bless America!

Armen Saryan: Not a Memorial Day service per sé, but the Honor Flight is a very special thing. My grandpa and dad went on one, and more special is to be at the airport for the return home. It's humbling and special to be there.

Mike Pilch: In 2012, I conducted a four-hour, one-on-one interview with my 90-year-old uncle, who served three and a half years in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War.  It was the only time he talked about his experiences to anyone in the family since he was discharged in 1946, and he talked about everything that happened over the course of the two-day sit down.  I have CDs made of the interview.  I could write a book with his information and about his experiences.

Spenser Williams: I've only attended the Village of Kohler Memorial Day service.

Joel Finkelman: I have to go with the Sunridge Park Memorial Day cookout (shout out to the Madison's west side). I went to a few there as a kid.

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