History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Metrodome had its thrilling run for Minnesota sports

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis
The vagaries of big-time sports can be enormous. We were told at one time that a roofed facility was essential. The Minnesota weather was too much of an obstacle for sports to be played outdoors. Advocates for the Metrodome were adamant. I remember the whole discussion leading up to the Dome's construction.
Isn't it amazing that we felt one facility would be suitable for the three main big-time teams of our state: the Twins, Vikings and football Gophers.
The Dome was supposed to be a boon for Gophers recruiting. It didn't seem to turn out that way. Critics said the Dome seemed too detached from the U of M campus. Lou Holtz gave us a faint taste of premier college football glory there. The experiment of Lou Holtz as a truly big-time coach leading a premier program ended. I attended one game with Lou on the sidelines, in 1984 when we were playing Ohio State. Holtz left and we drifted back to the usual underwhelming standards. After all the ballyhoo about how the Dome would be so wonderful for Gophers football, we had reality set in. The "sales job" didn't deliver the goods.
And as for baseball, all the talk about how a dome was essential faded away too. As the years passed, we heard the likes of Bert Blyleven and others say that baseball indoors was something of a perversion. I heard Blyleven literally say "that's not baseball." But that's not what we heard in the late 1970s when the drumbeat grew for the Dome.
The national media never seemed to fully respect the Dome. Some called it the "homer dome" which I interpreted as a smear, a cheapening of the thrills that unfolded there. Those same media people would find charm, not defects, in a place like Fenway Park in Boston which is arguably rather odd with its dimensions and with its "green monster." But Boston is a "cool" East Coast city where everything has merit, whereas we're way out in "flyover" country. These perceptions have faded in the present day as the new media have been a real equalizing force.
Let me assert that Target Field seems to have won 100 percent acceptance.
The big change over the last few years is this belief that any major or semi-major sports team deserves its own facility. What incredible prosperity! Remember that in the 1950s, we had Metropolitan Stadium built on a "spec" basis as we rather desperately sought a big league team, any big league team. Gophers football at Memorial Stadium had a monopoly. Met Stadium was the home of the old AAA Minneapolis Millers for five whole years before we got the Twins! Why so grudging a process?
Met Stadium beginning in 1961 developed as rather like an erector set, one addition after another. It was considered a miracle place for a time. But by the end of the 1970s, we saw it as dilapidated and outmoded. Minnesota in fact fell into a pattern of building a new stadium at the end of each generation of stadiums - a bad deal. Prosperity overcame all that. Just think of how quaint this is: a stadium like the Metrodome named for a politician. A Democratic politician (Humphrey). My goodness! No sale of "naming rights?" How strange.
In regard to Vikings football, the Metrodome developed a rather strange reputation toward the end of its run. This got so bad, there were letters and even a guest op-ed in the Star Tribune. The Dome developed an image of being quite non-family friendly. One complainer summed it all up by saying that "20 somethings" were filling the place and getting out of control with their rambunctious tendencies, well-lubricated by alcohol presumably. Why did that trend happen? Is it guaranteed that it won't come back with the new facility?
Not opulent, but site of great thrills
The Metrodome cost $68 million to build, significantly under budget. It came across as a utilitarian facility. I felt it was like walking into someone's basement, albeit a clean and classy basement. The Dome always had a very clean feel and it always felt big league. But it never seemed opulent.
Could Minnesotans ever feel more joy than what came their way for the 1987 and 1991 World Series? We got our money's worth with the Dome, certainly. My, what a succession of important events we got at the Dome. We got baseball's All-Star Game in 1985, the Super Bowl in 1992, the NCAA basketball Final 4 in 1992 and 2001 - two of them! - and those World Series classics. Do memories come any better than this? Let's not forget the 1998-99 NFC championship game. Wasn't the 1992 Super Bowl the one where that Buffalo Bills runningback couldn't find his helmet at game's start? That might have actually affected the outcome of the game.
The fabric domed roof caused sound to reverberate in the place. Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield and Cal Ripkin Jr. joined the 3000-hit club at the Metrodome. Tony Dorsett had his 99-yard run there. Dwayne Wade got his fourth triple-double in NCAA men's basketball tourney play. In 2008, our Gus Frerotte threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian.
My introduction to the Dome
My first visit to the Dome was in 1984. I ran in a 10K fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy just prior to the game. We began just outside the place with Twins owner Carl Pohlad on an elevated platform to fire the starting gun. The clouds opened with rain as we ran the 6.2 miles. I was wearing a brand new pair of Brooks "Chariot" shoes that day. Dick Beardsley ran with us. Because he was recovering from injury, his pace was slowed and I could actually see him ahead of me for a good portion of the race. I wasn't left behind in a cloud of dust!
The game had the Twins playing Toronto and going up against Dave Stieb in his prime. We lost a low-scoring game. I didn't change into street clothes for the game.
Another of my visits to the Dome was when the roof fell in (to a degree) due to sudden bad weather, remember? Yes, "I was there" and I did feel some fear for a few moments.
I attended a game during the Twins' stretch drive in 1987. I was with an old high school friend and we snatched up two tickets at the last minute before the game sold out. We sat at the very top row of seats but didn't feel detached at all. Tom Brunansky hit a dramatic game-winning home run. Mike Smithson pitched. We certainly got the flavor of all that was going on - the wild devotion. In the back of my mind I felt bad about how our Twins' story ended in 1965, with that loss to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in game 7. To this day I feel crestfallen about the 1965 heartbreak at "the Met." But just think, only five years previous in the '65 Series, Minnesota's only big-time team was the football Gophers at Memorial Stadium. Just imagine life in Minnesota then. And now we're so spoiled.

"The Metrodome" song
I'm pleased to note I have written a song about our old Metrodome, simply called "The Metrodome." I may have it recorded in 2018, one of six songs I tentatively have planned. The second line of the chorus is a highlight. The verse melody seems like it lends itself to a polka rhythm but I wouldn't have it recorded that way. A simple lively rhythm is desired. Here are the lyrics:

"The Metrodome"
by Brian Williams

Here in Minnesota
We have love of life
Even with the weather
Causing lots of strife
Back in nineteen eighty
We just felt the need
For a new arena
For our favorite teams
Big shots in the sports leagues
Said it had to be
Guarding from the weather
A priority
So we went and did it
We just could not wait
So our sky was Teflon
And the grass was fake
The Metrodome was our dear home
Looking like a Jiffy Pop so huge
The Metrodome was our big show
Weather would not make us sing the blues
We watched Kirby Puckett
And the monster trucks
In that hallowed palace
That we loved so much
Basketball was welcome
How the fans did cheer
Timberwolves would howl
In their maiden year
Who could have imagined
Twins as number one
But we saw it happen
Such unbridled fun
Manager Tom Kelly
Lifted up our dreams
With our homer hankies
We rejoiced and screamed
(repeat chorus)
In the golden autumn
For the pigskin sport
We rejoiced in purple
Ecstasy uncorked
Watching all our heroes
Running to and fro
Was a grand elixir
Making our state go
As the years proceeded
We began to hear
Baseball should be outdoors
Wasn't it so clear?
Still we had affection
For the indoor home
Gophers, Twins and Vikings
At the Metrodome
(repeat chorus)
It would make us sing a happy tune
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Then Came Bronson" & other random travel/adventure

What are the odds that I could even get into some sort of fascinating interpersonal situation if I were to simply take off traveling? I might get arrested. Yet the entertainment world has given us a number of story lines that follow this. It isn't called the "dream factory" for nothing.
Look at that guy in "Kung Fu." He beats the bad guys time and again. "Kung Fu" was a weekly must-see for young adult males in the early 1970s. It was "appointment TV" for them. The show was largely a ponderous type of western drama of the type that was common then. But about 45 minutes into each episode, the hero was displaying his martial arts, maybe for just a brief time, and my male peers had their eyes bugging out.
"Route 66" was a TV show about these dudes just "heading out there" and seeking adventure, which of course they find thanks to carefully tailored TV scripts. Plausible? Does plausibility really matter? I have read that "Wagon Train" was the precursor to the classic "Star Trek" TV series. It's counter-intuitive: a western leading into sci-fi. But it's logical. Again we have our heroes simply venturing out there.
Maybe it's all a reflection of the American spirit of moving westward and opening a continent. A lot of mythology grows up around that. Seriously, prostitutes probably had more to do with opening the U.S. West than gunslingers. "Cowboys" in reality were laborers who smelled of manure. Was the frontier ethos really in contradiction to the "big government" of the East Coast? Oh no, government and its levers of power were essential to opening the West. The best example is the Hoover Dam.
As a kid I thought about taking a long-distance bicycle trip. I got a book on the subject. I thought maybe I could prepare some correspondence that could be shared in the newspaper. It sounds enticing in theory. Of course, my mature mind of today tells me such a trip would be boring and of more significance, dangerous. The danger is accented tenfold in our current age of distracted driving. Many years ago I'd sometimes take Highway 59 North (on the shoulder of course) back to Morris from Perkins Lake on my bike, if the wind was behind me. I'd take county roads on the way out there. A strong wind out of the north would make the trip back seem effortless. It was exciting. No way would I do it today.
Vagabond on a motorcyle
The random adventure plot premise was really put forward by the TV series "Then Came Bronson." The guy traveled by motorcycle. The show is associated with our whole entertainment landscape of the 1960s, even though it came along at the tail end. Michael Parks was the star. It's not surprising that I feel special affection when remembering the series. The protagonist was a newspaper guy. He gets disillusioned "working for the Man." This comes after a dispute with his editor.
The Morris MN newspaper of today exists only to achieve a certain profit margin by any machinations that are practicable - there is no transcendent or benevolent purpose.
Parks as Jim Bronson becomes a vagabond who searches for the meaning of life. He shares his values with the people he meets. He rides a Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle.
The series did not last long. There is a flaw that we might identify: although his travels sprout from an urge of self-discovery, he embarks on each episode destined to enter someone else's life at a pivotal point. He acts as a catalyst for change.
The series is close to my heart because Bronson is a pacifist! Our nation was torn apart by the Viet Nam war in the 1960s. We must resist urges to be nostalgic about the 1960s. It was a harrowing time. A Simon and Garfunkel song does not offset that. Bronson can re-direct an antagonist's anger into self-determination. No martial arts! Bronson rolls out of every episode unchanged.
Martial arts, no, but music, yes. Parks was a gifted singer. He recorded three pop/jazz albums. Parks sang over the closing credits of each episode. Of note, several of Bronson's production staff and cast members had previously worked on the original Star Trek series. We saw James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) appear in "Bronson."
The iconic opening
Let's remember here the most famous part of "Then Came Bronson" which was the opening! Who could ever forget? It was such a metaphor for the show's premise and for the zeitgeist of the 1960s. Bronson rides up to a red light in San Francisco. He chats with a typical commuter, presumably a harried soul who wears suit, tie and a formal hat.
The driver asks "taking a trip?" Bronson asks "what's that?" The question is repeated and Bronson says "yeah." The commuter asks "where to?" Bronson says "Oh, I don't know. Wherever I end up, I guess." The driver says "man, I wish I was you." Bronson responds "really?" The driver says "yeah." Bronson then gives his signature line: "Well, hang in there."
I guess the U.S. was supposed to "hang in there" during the unpleasant stuff of the '60s, chiefly the Viet Nam war. God bless the Bronson character for his pacifism. BTW "Mad" Magazine did a neat satire of the Bronson show opening. I found it online a few years ago by typing in the right keywords.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

MACA football ends season, volleyball charges forward

The image shows your blog host cavorting along the sidelines, during his work as a sports "stringer" for the Morris Sun Tribune newspaper in the fall of 1972. The Tigers were playing Alexandria. As I recall, Alex was celebrating either a new or refurbished football facility that night. I wrote for Arnold Thompson. The football coach was Jim Satter. In the macro U.S. scene, Watergate was starting to bubble up. I believe the photo was taken by Dave Gausman.
Pillager 36, Tigers 0
MACA fans made the rather demanding trip to Pillager Saturday (10/28) for a night playoff game. Post-season football often calls for a substantial travel commitment. I'm not sure it's prudent to have so many of the visiting team fans drive home so late at night. But that's the way it is.
MACA had its season end on a down note, partly because it was a loss and partly because we failed to score points. It was a lot different from the Tigers' playoff opener that saw them score plenty of points in a win over Breckenridge. The Breckenridge game was where we wanted it to be: here at Big Cat Stadium.
At Pillager Saturday we were defeated 36-0. So the season of 2017 is over and in the books for our orange and black. Our final record is 4-6.
The Huskies of Pillager were led by Dylan Loftis who scored three touchdowns. Pillager lived up to its top-seeded status. We were seeded No. 4. The Saturday game was in the Section 6-AA semis.
Pillager had a 1-2 punch coming at the Tigers in the ground game. Eli Horn rushed for over a hundred yards to complement Loftis. We were dominated in the total yards category, 380-91. All of Pillager's 380 yards were on the ground! Josh Doss of the Huskies attempted four passes and completed none.
Pillager scored in each of the four quarters. It was Loftis scoring the first TD as Pillager built its advantage - it was on a run from the seven. The conversion run try failed. It was Horn scoring at 9:38 of the second quarter on a run from the one. Loftis carried the ball successfully on the conversion play. Loftis scored the third of the Huskies' three first half touchdowns, at 6:53 of the second quarter. He scored from the ten. Horn added two on the conversion run.
The third quarter saw Logan Gjovik score a touchdown at the 9:01 mark. He scored on a six-yard run and also carried successfully on the conversion. Pillager applied finishing touches on this 36-0 win with a TD in the fourth that had Loftis carrying the football from the two. The conversion try was unsuccessful.
The Tigers had 86 rushing yards on 32 carries. Our passing game was negligible as it typically is. We had one completion in three attempts for five yards. So, the total offense numbers were 91 yards for MACA, 380 for the hard-charging Huskies. Loftis rushed for 139 yards on 20 carries. Horn's stats were 109 yards on 20 carries. Gjovik rolled forward too, accumulating 75 yards on 14 carries.
Pillager takes an 8-2 season record to the next level. The Huskies now face West Central Area in a game set for Friday, 5:30 p.m. at the Fargodome. WCA is the No. 2 seed.
Volleyball: Tigers 3, Litchfield 1
The Tigers ended a hiatus from competition and came on strong Tuesday (Oct. 31, Halloween) to defeat Litchfield in the post-season. Coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers roared with this 3-1 success and now advance to play Paynesville on Thursday at Minnewaska. Paynesville needed five games to advance past New London-Spicer.
Our Tuesday win was No. 20 in this most impressive season. Scores vs. Litchfield were 25-12, 25-17, 24-26 and 25-16. Jenna Howden stood out in several phases, one of them serving where she had two aces. Karly Fehr, Jenna Larsen and Riley Decker each had one serving ace. Karly Fehr in her specialty of setting chalked up 48 assists.
Howden was a power at the net with her team-best 21 kills. Bailey Marty pounded down ten kills and Larsen had nine. The list continues with Fehr (8), Kenzie Hockel (5) and Lexi Pew (5). Pew was tops in ace blocks with three. Fehr had two ace blocks and Howden had one. Decker impressed in her forte of digging with 26. Marty dug up the ball 20 times, and Fehr and Howden each had 16. Hockel came through with seven digs and Larsen had five.
The orange and black takes a 20-5 record into the next round of play.
Anyone want to predict?
Another contest that is coming up is the referendum for Morris Area High School. I was curious what advice the late Laura Carrington might give. Hers was a voice of wisdom, often a conservative voice. I contacted a friend who like me, knew Laura well, and here's how he responded by email:
Laura always complained that they didn't do / budget plan for repair / updates. Let it go to h--l and then talk new or major updates. Counties are guilty of the same actions. I talked to a customer in North Dakota and he said the district has three schools and they take a section each year and do mechanical updates. I guess that makes too much sense!
Mike O'Keefe, RIP
"Salt of the earth" describes Mike O'Keefe, who unfortunately has left our mortal ranks. As my mom would say, "he's in a better place now." Earth was a mighty satisfying place for Mike. He was gregarious, relaxed and reassuring in his stance toward everyone who entered his world. I didn't see him as much as I would have liked the last few years. We'd occasionally see the O'Keefes at DeToy's Restaurant.
I appreciated Mike's concern over the fact I never got married. He approached this subject with a touch of levity. He had advice too. It's all tucked away in the back of my mind. I saw Mike regularly at Beyer Ford which I visited weekly for taking photos. I'll never forget his "rattlesnake eggs" gag, which totally "got me" the first time! "Caution when opening."
If I'm fortunate enough to come across Mike in heaven, he'll probably greet me by saying "You haven't gotten married since the last time I saw you, have you?" His voice by itself seemed to make all your problems go away. He's with son Tony in that "better place" now.
Whither the Morris paper?
The Sun-Tribune or Stevens County Times, whatever, struggles today. The paper is a very weak shadow of what it once was. I was on the staff during the Sun Tribune's heyday, when we published twice a week and the paper was thick. I covered the UMM Cougars, not comprehensively but with a decent amount of commitment, in the days when UMM either had no sports information director or had an SID in name only. Mark Fohl would not object to this sentence if he read it.
My early work as a stringer was especially fun because I wasn't pressured to work full-time with its manic demands, nor did I fill out those dreadful timesheets. Timesheets put unreasonable pressure on me and often left me feeling like I was in a no-win situation. In that earlier "stringer" phase, maybe I was lifted by the sheer joy of youth! College gave me a cynical hard edge. The 1970s had its disturbing elements.
The Morris Sun Tribune today has weakened greatly in terms of subscription and readership. That shouldn't surprise you. Here's an assessment I received recently via email from a newspaper publisher/acquaintance of mine in western Minnesota. His candor and bluntness is refreshing.
The subscriber numbers in Morris are shocking. I believe they've dropped below 2500 paid subscribers. I see on the Minnesota Newspaper Directory website that circulation is around 2900 but that figure can be sugar-coated with fictional newsstand numbers. The official Minnesota Newspaper Association website directory says circulation is 2800 (not verified) and I have a hunch that is the Hancock and Morris numbers combined. That's a newspaper that may not exist in five years. I really believe a majority of the problems in Morris are caused by Sue Dieter and probably also from very poor top-down management by the Forum. She is aloof, arrogant and obviously in the wrong profession. It is a damn shame for that town. I will rail and rail on the Fargo Forum, but as we see in Alexandria and the Echo Press, it is possible to run a good show in the Fargo Forum family. I am befuddled at the difference between the Alexandria and Morris newspapers.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MACA girls end regular season with sweep win

First off, let's acknowledge the MACA football team's success Tuesday night. The Willmar paper has no coverage of this playoff win outside of the score. Several other games are covered at length. The Willmar paper has no official responsibility to do any of this. It's an honor system for coaches to call in, presumably the home team coaches. It would make just as much sense for the Alexandria paper to do the reporting on Morris. 
The problem with Morris' own paper is that it only comes out once a week on Saturday. During this past season, I have checked the Morris paper's website during the week and found maybe 2-3 sentences about the most recent game. So, that coverage doesn't even count. 
Now, maybe the public is concluding what I have sensed for a long time, that it really doesn't matter how much "press coverage" a team receives. What I'm suggesting is that the coverage has little real value. To the extent it appears to have value, it's in a political context of expecting "the media" to simply pay attention to the teams and the schools, as a political sort of statement, affirming the value of these institutions. So when I make an issue of the Willmar paper at present, it could be that the vast majority of Morris fans are really rather indifferent about it. 
I often use the rough information from the Willmar paper to put up blog posts which are the equivalent to what I used to do at the Morris paper. I enjoy staying close to these things. I'm not sure the Morris paper staff is motivated by the same sense of enjoyment. If they were, we'd see a little more effort on the paper's website. The "paper" version of the paper has such limited value, now that it only comes out once a week. 
I regret I haven't been able to blog more about MACA football this fall. We had a real good start to the season. The coverage then faded. I'm not sure what's going on behind the scenes. Has the coach become skeptical about calling in to the Willmar paper, for reasons I could certainly speculate about, but I'm not certain about? I hope the day doesn't come when media coverage of these teams simply vanishes or becomes negligible. 
Look how the UMM teams are covered on UMM's website. Couldn't high school programs follow that template? It would be exciting and fun.
Volleyball: Tigers 3, Minnewaska Area 0
The regular season came to an end for MACA volleyball on October 17. The Tigers hosted and defeated the Minnewaska Area Lakers via sweep. We got our 19th win by scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-20. The success certainly sets the right tone for the post-season. Expectations are high. We cruise into post-season play having captured the West Central Conference title outright!
Jenna Howden stood out in several stat categories. Hitting is her forte and again she set the pace, pounding 15 kills at the Lakers. Bailey Marty slammed seven kills. Karly Fehr added five kills to the mix while these three Tigers each had four: Kenzie Hockel, Lexi Pew and Jenna Larsen.
Fehr facilitated the offense as she always does with set assists - on this night her total was 31. Howden and Fehr each executed three ace blocks. Hockel had two ace blocks and Pew had one. Riley Decker was busy in digs with the team-best 15. Fehr had 12 digs while Marty and Larsen each had ten. Howden assumed an aggressive stance at the serving line. She batted three serve aces while these four Tigers each had one: Marty, Fehr, Larsen and Decker.
For Minnewaska Area, Ellie Danielson was tops in kills with 14. Bailey Stewart had two serving aces. Sara Geiser was the top Laker in set assists with eleven. Danielson had two ace blocks. Three Lakers each had ten digs: Jessica Lanoue, Geiser and Stewart.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are two Carringtons again in MACA cross country

Conference meet
Hooray! Maddie Carrington is back in action for MACA cross country! Let's say hooray also for Meredith Carrington's high-caliber running. Having the two Carringtons in the MACA lineup is a most encouraging thing to see. Meredith and Maddie excelled in the conference race which was held Monday, Oct. 16, at Olivia.
Meredith took first place with her time of 21:09.20. Maddie took second with her 21:43.60 clocking. The sisters pushed their team to a first place team finish among the six teams. The other MACA runners were: Malory Anderson (12th place, 22:00.80), Kaylie Raths (14th, 23:16.90), Madelyn Siegel (15th, 23:18.10), Caryn Marty (20th, 23:54.40) and Isabel Fynboh (24:58.90). The runner-up team behind MACA was Sauk Centre.
Our MACA boys team topped the standings too. Benson-KMS took runner-up. Jonathan Tostenson of Benson-KMS was the boys champion, time of 17:16.37. Our Tate Nelson arrived at the finish chute No. 3 with his time of 17:57.90. Noah Stewart was No. 5 to the finish line with his time of 18:10.40. The rest of the MACA lineup: Solomon Johnson (10th place, 18:20.71), Ben Hernandez (11th, 18:26.78), Thomas Tiernan (22nd, 19:14.27)., Tyler Reimers (27th, 19:36.21) and Bradley Rohloff (31st, 19:57.55).

Volleyball: Tigers 3, Sauk Centre 2
Karly Fehr worked proficiently as setter, getting the ball to the hitters in a way the hitters could really finish off. She distributed the ball in deft fashion, and this was an ingredient in a 3-2 MACA win over the Streeters of Sauk Centre.
The October 12 home action had these scores: 25-23, 25-21, 18-25, 22-25 and 15-12.
Karly Fehr is making inroads in the record books. Against Sauk Centre in this marathon match, she performed 62 set assists. Kenzie Hockel and Jenna Howden each had one serving ace. Howden was a force in hitting as she so often is, on this night getting 30 kills. No. 2 on the list was Bailey Marty with 14 kills. Jenna Larsen pounded down ten kills and Lexi Pew had nine. Hockel came through with four kills and Fehr had two.
Three Tigers each had one ace block: Fehr, Howden and Pew. Riley Decker maneuvered to accumulate 39 digs. Marty performed 27 digs. The list continues with Fehr (19), Larsen (9), Hockel (6) and Howden (6).

Football: Sauk Centre 39, Tigers 8
We're coming down the stretch of the fall sports schedule. As I write this post on Tuesday, the weather is summer-like. Sure doesn't feel like typical conditions for the MEA week game. Do people still call it that? The MEA week game?
The October 13 assignment for our MACA football Tigers was to play at Sauk Centre. There weren't a lot of smiles on the way home. We were humbled by the Streeters: a 39-8 final. Our only touchdown came in the second quarter. Camden Arndt got into the end zone from the two. Connor Koebernick ran for two on the conversion. However, futility would characterize the MACA offense on this night, a night when the host Streeters scored in each of the four quarters.
Hunter Fletcher scored the first Sauk Centre touchdown: a big play run of 58 yards. The score became 8-0 when Dylan Haskamp ran for two. The score was 8-0 at the end of one quarter. Sauk Centre scored two touchdowns in the second quarter. Casey Schirmers ran the ball into the end zone from the one. Haskamp again carried for two on the conversion. MACA got on the board with the Arndt run but the Streeters answered with a big play pass. Casey Schirmers passed to Royal Weber on a play covering 54 yards. The Schirmers-to-Weber combo worked again on the conversion.
Sauk Centre created some distance on the scoreboard with two second half scores. Fletcher turned on the jets for a scoring run from 16 yards out. Haskamp ran successfully on the conversion. Haskamp then went to work on a one-yard run to polish off Sauk Centre's offensive fireworks on the night. This time the Streeters kicked and Fletcher's toe was true. The Sauk fans could savor this 39-8 triumph.
The stat report shows Arndt of the Tigers creeping over 100 rushing yards to finish at 101, achieved on 23 carries. Connor Koebernick rolled up 44 yards on 13 carries. Also on the ballcarrying list: Nathan Beyer (eight carries, 24 yards), Joel Ruiz (3-18), Parker Dierks (1-2) and Austin Berlinger (2-0). True to form, the Tigers passed very little. It was really negligible. Not only did we have just one completion, we also threw two interceptions! Groan. I'll omit the names. Parker Dierks had the only reception. On defense, Dierks had an interception.
Hunter Fletcher of the Streeters rolled up 136 rushing yards on 15 carries. He was part of a 1-2 punch that also included Dylan Haskamp (22 carries for 124 yards). The Sauk passing game had only slightly more impact than MACA's. Sauk had two pass completions for 61 yards. The pass catchers were Royal Weber and Cade Neubert. Schirmers and Weber made the Sauk Centre interceptions.
The Streeters upped their won-lost mark to 5-2 while Morris Area Chokio Alberta slipped to 3-4.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A $ commitment to help UMM's aspirations

We were pleased to get a thank you card from Stacey Aronson and Bradley Miller the other day. Mom and I are pleased to have made a financial infusion to UMM Humanities. We made a financial infusion to the music department, quite logical since my late father Ralph founded the music department. I wrote up some background material on our whole family's background with UMM. I submitted this to the appropriate department within UMM which requested it. I have learned that this has been edited down quite a bit. As a journalist I fully understand this. Nevertheless I wish to share the entire text, which I am doing with this post today. I have my own communications platforms. I guess I don't even care if UMM publishes anything I submitted. I am my own journalist. The image you see with this post is of mom Martha H. Williams in her well-known "gait" across the UMM campus, in her role as post office supervisor. Many years have passed since our direct involvement with UMM. Employees there are less and less aware. Knowledge of the past enriches our present. Maybe we can even hear Dad's "UMM Hymn" again someday. But that decision lies in someone else's hands. If you read what I present below, you'll note that I affirm UMM's historic core mission. In the past I have shared a little skepticism of that - the pure liberal arts commitment - but in the spirit of wanting to show faith in UMM's leadership, in rooting for their goals, I do in fact affirm the mission. Good luck on that. - B.W.

Why give to UMM music? Our family wants to be sure to have a connection to UMM's present as well as its past. We are inspired to give to UMM based on our conviction that UMM's mission will remain as viable as ever. Our family's background is inextricably tied to the University of Minnesota. The late Ralph Williams was a founding faculty member of UMM. He had a background with the U before we came here. He was a graduate of the U and taught at the U's St. Paul School of Agriculture in the 1950s. Ag schools were heading toward obsolescence. Morris had this nice if challenging transition from the WCSA to the pioneering UMM: a small public liberal arts college. The grand experiment would seem to have turned out quite nicely! Students have been happy here even when the campus had fewer amenities. 
We give to music at present because this was my father's life. He invested a big part of this life here in Morris. He directed the band in its debut performance on November 5 of 1960, at the old armory where the public library is now. That concert represented the kind of campus/community bond that has always been held up as an ideal. The concert was for an audience of about 1000 composed of Stevens County 4-Hers and their parents. There were 50 band members. "A band of this size was not anticipated the first year," the Morris paper reported. 
My Mom Martha Williams was UMM post office supervisor and worked at the bookstore before that. She was known for her "gait" across campus as she handled chores for the post office. She was very thoughtful toward her student workers. She played violin in the original UMM orchestra which was directed by my father. That group along with the men's chorus put out a vinyl record album.
What about me? I came to campus often on behalf of the Morris newspaper. I  wrote many sports articles in the days when UMM sports information had more limited resources than today. We're talking pre-Internet! I enjoyed writing about UMM soccer in its debut year.
I played trumpet in the West Central All-Stars in the early days of Jim Carlson's fabulous Jazz Festival. Jim had been a member of my father's men's chorus. I was recruited to fill out the concert band's french horn section for a short time in the late 1960s when I was merely junior high age. It was interesting because I soaked in the feeling of campus turbulence in the Viet Nam war era. I showed up for rehearsal one day when rehearsal was canceled due to a Viet Nam "moratorium" - remember those? - at Edson Auditorium. Rather than just leave I grabbed a chair and listened. I was in the band for graduation that year, very memorable. We are blessed not having a war tearing apart our society today.
How do we want to see out gift applied? We defer to the department chairman in this regard. We may pick up a British accent yet! We hope the gift furthers the spirit of networking that friends of the campus feel. It's all about community. In music this is easy to appreciate because of the regular music concerts. Music enriches, entertains and serves a public relations purpose for the institution. All that was borne out when my father took the UMM men's chorus to the Seattle and New York World's Fairs. The chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the Seattle event. 
The Williams family is delighted to make a contribution ($10,000) that will help ensure that UMM music keeps its exciting and enriching quality. We have fond memories of UMM Founders Day events where we'd get to hear students sing my father's "UMM Hymn" which he wrote for UMM's inception. We are giving in the spirit of "giving back."

- Brian R. Williams

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tigers sweep to win No. 14 at ACGC court

Tigers 3, ACGC 0
The MACA volleyball Tigers surged to a 14-3 season record with a sweep win on October 5. This road contest brought scores of 25-18, 25-20 and 25-19. The host team was the Falcons of ACGC.
Karly Fehr facilitated the most effective MACA offense with her 33 assists. Riley Decker contributed two assists. Kenzie Hockel and Jenna Howden each batted two serving aces while Fehr had one. Howden slammed hard in the hitting department, on this night accumulating 15 kills. Jenna Larsen impressed with her eleven kills. Bailry Marty had five kills, Fehr four, Lexi Pew three and Hockel two.
Pew came at the Falcons with two ace blocks. Fehr, Howden and Larsen each had one ace block. Riley Decker was proficient in her specialty of digs, accumulating 21. Marty had eleven digs while Fehr had eight and Larsen six.
For ACGC, Rachel Wilner had 21 set assists. Addison Bernstein had the team-best seven kills. Wilner and Brenna Anderson each had an ace block. Bernstein led the Falcons in digs with 12. Falcons with serving aces were Anderson (3), Lindsay Minnick (2), Madison Denton (1) and Pailey Wilner (1). ACGC's won-lost numbers are the reverse of MACA's.
I have to plead some ignorance here, perhaps. The Willmar newspaper reported that setter Fehr of the Tigers got her 3,000th career "save" in the match. I have written countless volleyball articles through the years but I am unfamiliar with the term "save." I associate that term with hockey goalies. Sorry, it's hard to be a master of all the details in all these sports, but "save" eludes my understanding in volleyball. At least I am showing some humility regarding this. I hope my critics will understand.
Coach Kristi Fehr was quoted saying of her team "It wasn't our best match, but to their credit they played hard."
Football: Homecoming win
I have been unable to find a Homecoming game review of our Friday win. It wasn't in Saturday's Willmar paper. Then I hoped there would be a belated summary in the Monday paper. This happened the week previous with the game versus Minnewaska. It was in Monday. So I stopped at Casey's early this morning (Monday) to buy the Willmar paper, with darkness still prevailing outside. Got home, opened the paper with the hope of learning of the game's highlights which I assumed would be substantial. Nada.
I checked the Morris paper website on Saturday and found only 2-3 token sentences about the game. I seem to recall the score was 21-20 over Osakis.
I was disappointed during the radio broadcast to hear an announcer speak for several minutes about the upcoming referendum for high school improvements. There was really no place for this on the broadcast. It's a politically charged topic. The announcer complimented his boss, the superintendent, for being just "informational" on the referendum topic and not crossing the line into advocacy. Does anyone think that school officials have really been neutral on this? Did you get that flyer in the mail? That flyer screamed "vote yes" without saying so in a direct, explicit manner, although some might say it was explicit. I assume the law prohibits that.
I don't want to see the expected upcoming library referendum endangered. I don't want people to tire of referendums to the extent they turn down a really bona fide one, which would be our library proposal. As for the school, it always has such an insatiable appetite for money, I tire of it. I think we have allowed our school campus to expand too far. We can be gleeful about this until we realize that all that infrastructure demands maintenance. These buildings need to be built in a more sound and durable fashion in the first place.
A friend said to me "I wouldn't allow these problems in my home."
I would love to have an extensive blog post put up today reviewing the MACA Homecoming football win. I would love to have put up this post on Saturday. Nada. I rely on the Willmar paper for rough information. I feel bad about this shortcoming.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com