Milwaukee Bans Conversion Therapy, Milwaukee Bucks Scorekeeper Of 50 Years Featured In Local Filmmaker’s Work, The Role Of Risk In The Playground

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While many parents focus efforts on making the lives of their children as safe as possible, our guest believes putting a little risk in playtime can promote growth. We talk to the guest about what healthy risk might look like. We hear from a Milwaukee filmmaker about his documentary project about 85-year-old scorekeeper for the Milwaukee Buck’s, Bob Wanek. We also learn more about the Milwaukee’s decision to ban conversion therapy.

Featured in this Show

  • Longtime Milwaukee Bucks Scorekeeper Highlighted In New Film

    Milwaukee has its share of sports legends. But one of the city’s most enduring is someone you may not have heard of.

    Take it from the famed sportscaster Eddie Doucette: “There’s nothing around Milwaukee that is as old a relic as Bob Wanek.”

    The Milwaukee Bucks celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Bob Wanek, now 85 years old, has been with the team since day one as its official scorekeeper.

    He’s finally getting some of the limelight in a new documentary, “Bob The Buck,” set to play at the Wisconsin Film Festival on Friday, April 6.

    Growing up around Milwaukee, filmmaker Brendan Jones says Wanek was someone he’d always see at Bucks games, but never really knew who he was.

    He finally got a chance to introduce himself one day recently, as Jones worked part-time running audio at a Bucks game.

    “And I’m like, how long have you been there?” Jones said. “And he said, ‘Since 1968.’ It kind of blew me away.”

    Wanek was initially hired by Doucette, who was the head of public relations for the team at the time.

    Wanek had been known at the time for doing the scoring for Marquette University and Pulaski High School basketball games since just after he graduated high school. He does the scoring — on a volunteer basis — for Pulaski High School to this day.

    “Bob was kind of like the authority on scorekeeping,” Jones said. “And Eddie (Doucette) was like, ‘I don’t want to worry about this, you seem to know everything, we’ll bring you on.’”

    Wanek never left. He’s seen the team through multiple owners, public relations heads and administrations.

    “He’s been the constant over those 50 years,” Jones said. “The next closest person would be John Steinmiller who still works with the Bucks, and then John McGlocklin who was the first draft pick.”

    The job has changed a bit over the years, aided by computer software. But Wanek still sits courtside and documents by hand the players, fouls, points, turnovers and rebounds. He can answer questions from the referees. He also has an entire scoring team working with him.

    Still, sometimes Wanek and the computer disagree.

    “If there is a mistake that Bob sees, they most likely will side with Bob, the non-computer, because they trust his judgment,” Jones said. “And NBA officials over the years have recognized Bob as being the best in the game.”

    Wanek is a stats whiz. He loves numbers, and he loves basketball because there’s always a finite answer, Jones said. He’s seen a lot of it, too — 97 of the game’s top 100 all-time scorers, over the years.

    He even earned the nickname “The Commissioner” from former Bucks General Manager Wayne Embry for how much he knew about the game.

    Wanek told Jones he hopes to keep at it until he’s 90 years old, which would be 55 seasons in the game.

    For the documentary, he showed Jones his memorabilia in his home, all boxes of merchandise and giveaways, yearbooks and statistics.

    Jones said making the film has showed him a different side of the sport.

    “When you start meeting the people behind the scenes in sports, you realize it impacts lives differently,” Jones said. “There’s many interesting positions that a lot of people don’t know exist until you see it first-hand.”

  • Milwaukee Bucks' Scorekeeper Of 50 Years Featured In Short Documentary

    A Milwaukee-based filmmaker has decided to shine the spotlight on a different basketball star, not one on the court, but on the sidelines. Bob Wanek at 85 years old has been the Milwaukee Buck’s scorekeeper for 50 years now and plans to continue to do so. We hear about the legacy of Wanek and the experience of capturing that behind the camera from the filmmaker.

  • Are Playgrounds Too Boring And Safe For Kids?

    Educators in Britain are incorporating more risk into their playgrounds – even in the way of fires and knives – in the name of resilience and grit. Our guest explains why she says America should do the same.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Chris Malina Host
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Brendan Jones Guest
  • Barbara King Guest