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, December 11, 2017

Four Tigers score in double figures in boys' opener win

Tigers 83, ACGC 58
MACA rolled over the Falcons of ACGC in our season opener, played on December 8 here. The curtain opened for boys hoops play with a most impressive triumph, 83-58. This was ACGC's third game.
Camden Arndt showed the same kind of polish that marked his football campaign. He topped the MACA scoring list with 24 points. But the scoring punch was really pretty balanced. Jaret Johnson was smooth with his execution and scored 21 points. Connor Koebernick and Jackson Loge each put in 14. Kyle Staebler scored six, and Ben Hernandez and Tyler Reimers each had two.
The rebound leaders were Loge (8), Johnson (7) and Arndt (4). The assist leader was Arndt with seven followed by Koebernick with six and Nelson with four. In steals there were three Tigers each with three: Nelson, Johnson and Koebernick. Arndt had two steals.
ACGC had the one-two punch of Kobe Holtz and Jaren Kaddatz lead in scoring, each with 16 points. Josh Kinzler put in seven points in the losing cause. Wyatt Weseman and Steven Lawver each had six. Elliot Gratz had four points and Braden Hedtke had three. Holtz had six rebounds while Kaddatz and Gratz each had five. Holtz had four assists and Kinzler had three, and Holtz had three steals.
We're at the start of what promises to be an exciting orange and black campaign.
 
Girls: New London-Spicer 66, Tigers 31
The dynasty in New London-Spicer girls basketball just keeps rolling along. The Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls learned that the Wildcats are a power once again for 2017-18. My goodness, the 'Cats shot out to a 44-8 lead by halftime. The final score was 66-31 on December 7, here.
Shea Oman was a long-range shooting whiz for the victor. She connected for five three-pointers. Mackenzie Rich and Payton Mages each made one '3'. Oman was the steals whiz with seven. She was one of three Wildcats each with four assists, joined by Ashton Engelke and Rich. Ava Kraemer had nine rebounds and Emma Hanson had eight.
Oman used her 3's to top the NL-Spicer scoring list - her total was 17 points. Rich and Hanson each scored ten. Mages put in seven points and Erin Knisley had six. Engelke and Grace DeSchepper each added four points to the winning mix. The list wraps up with Mya Krause (3), Sam Johnson (2), Courtney Caskey (2) and Ava Kraemer (1).
For MACA, Malory Anderson played up to the high standards she has set in the early season, scoring 19 points. She made two 3-point shots. Maddie Carrington had five points followed by these three Tigers each with two: Riley Decker, Jenna Howden and Carly Wohlers. Kendra Wevley put in one point.
Decker and Anderson each collected five rebounds. Liz Dietz and Wohlers each had four rebounds. Dietz dished out four assists. Anderson had five steals and Carrington had four. Anderson led all scorers on the night. But the orange and black was outdone by a wide margin, by the dynastic Wildcats. I assure you the 'Cats don't win because of their uniforms!
 
Sauk Centre 73, Tigers 42
The MACA girls were dealt their first loss of the season on December 5 at home. We had three wins previously. But we were humbled by the Streeters of Sauk Centre. Sauk upped its record to 4-0 with an impressive 73-42 win. The halftime score was 42-29.
The Tigers faltered despite Maddie Carrington again making several 3's for MACA. She made four in all, the only long-range successes by our Tigers. She scored 14 points which was second-best on the team. Post standout Malory Anderson set the pace with 19 points. There's a dropoff after Carrington: Riley Decker with five points and Liz Dietz and Jenna Howden each with two. Anderson collected nine rebounds and Howden had four. Four Tigers each had two assists: Carrington, Jordann Baier, Anderson and Carly Wohlers. Anderson and Carrington each had three steals.
Tori Peschel supplied lots of scoring punch for the winning Streeters with 25 points. Other double figures scorers were Kelsey Peschel (14), Maesyn Thiesen (13) and Julia Dammann (10). Kenzie Schmiesing scored seven points, and Megan Klaphake and Michaela Dammann each had two. Tori Peschel and Thiesen each made three 3-pointers. Kelsey Peschel connected twice from beyond the three-point line, and Schmiesing made one '3'.
 
Wrestling: Tigers 59, BOLD 21
Five wins by fall fueled the MAHACA winning effort against the BOLD Warriors. The score was 59-21 as the Tigers greatly impressed on the wrestling mat. Our winning total was inflated by forfeits, unfortunately. This is one downbeat aspect of wrestling, IMHO.
Caden Rose had his arm raised unchallenged at 106 pounds. Justin Asthmus likewise won by forfeit at 113. Ethan Lebrija got to face an opponent and he excelled with a technical fall over Jesse Manderscheid, 23-5. Austin Berlinger was on the short end by fall vs. Matthew Dooner (3:20). Ben Travis got one of those forfeits at 132 pounds.
Dalton Rose showed a winning flair at 138 pounds with his fall over Jordan Amberg, achieved in 5:23. Gideon Joos got one of those forfeits at 145 pounds. Colton Wohlers pinned Blake Flann (4:45) in the matchup of 152-pounders. Brady Cardwell won by fall in 4:36 over Anthony Maher at 160 pounds.
Christian Doods won by fall in 5:22 over Jaden Huebsch at 170. BOLD's Tim Peppel won by forfeit at 182. Our Bain Lane dropped an 11-4 decision to Hayden at 195 pounds. Gage Wevley pinned Brady Ridler in 1:27 at 220 pounds. BOLD's Jack Peppel won by forfeit at 285 pounds.
Let's excuse the weight-conscious Tigers for doing some Christmas snacking soon!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwillyh73@yahoo.com

Monday, December 4, 2017

Maddie Carrington makes 3's in Tigers' 2-0 start

Tigers 50, ACGC 39
Now we're into a new sports season. The winter season began for the MACA girls with a 50-39 win over the Falcons of ACGC. The action was at Grove City.
The Tigers broke open a close game in the second half. We cruised with a ten-point scoring advantage in the second half, 26-16. Maddie Carrington was very sharp with her three-point shooting eye. She connected on four such shots. But it was Malory Anderson leading the team in scoring with her 22 points while Carrington finished with 18. Just five Tigers scored points. Riley Decker scored five points, Jordann Baier had four and Liz Dietz one.
Anderson snared eight rebounds and Jenna Howden collected five. Decker dished out five assists followed by Howden with four. In steals it was Anderson setting the pace with nine while Decker had five.
For the Falcons, three players each made one 3-pointer: Jeana Denton, Addison Bernstein and Madison Denton. Madison Denton was ACGC's top scorer with 13 points. The list continues with Bernstein (7), Jeana Denton (5), Anna Grimsgard (4), Lindsay Minnick (4), Molly Youngblom (4) and Gabby Lawver (2). Three Falcons each grabbed five rebounds: Grimsgard, Lawver and Minnick. Bernstein topped the Falcons in assists with five, and Jeana Denton was the top steal producer with three.
Last season's Tigers made the Section 3AA semi-finals. How high could they climb this year? A long season lies ahead. Carrington and Anderson scored all but ten of the orange and black points in the Tuesday contest. We have two returning starters from last year's high-achieving team. Those two were fairly quiet offensively against the Falcons: just five points scored. This pair: Howden and Decker. Those names were pretty prominent in the fall volleyball season.
Anderson is a sophomore forward who operates at post. She flirted with a triple-double, most certainly putting a smile on coach Dale Henrich's face. The coach had to smile about his team's overall defensive performance.
We won by eleven but the margin was closer for much of the second half. Our defense forced turnovers through a stretch of that half, but there was difficulty getting those turnovers translated into points. A Decker basket put us up 43-37 with 4:30 left. Then Carrington made one of her four 3's to provide some breathing room.
 
Tigers 50, Benson 43
Morris Area Chokio Alberta upped its record to 2-0 with a 50-43 triumph over Benson. The success came on the first day of December at Benson. It looks as though Benson is becoming more competitive than they've been over the recent past. Benson led the Tigers at halftime, 23-20. But MACA surged to outscore the Braves 30-20 in the second half.
As in the season opener, Maddie Carrington made four 3-pointers for the Tigers. Liz Dietz made one "3." It was Malory Anderson leading the Tigers in scoring with 17 points. Carrington followed with 12. The list continues with Jenna Howden (6), Riley Decker (5), Jordann Baier (4), Dietz (4) and Carly Wohlers (2).
Anderson at post led the orange and black in rebounds with eleven. Howden snared nine rebounds and Dietz had seven. Three Tigers each had two assists: Jennifer Solvie, Dietz and Decker. The steals list has three Tigers each with three: Anderson, Howden and Carrington.
Benson came at the Tigers with a 1-2 scoring punch of Kaitlyn Berreau and Claire Ricard, each with 15 points. Grace Lee put in nine points for the Braves, while Abbie Mitteness and Courtney McNeill each scored two. Berreau made Benson's only three-pointer. Lee was tops in rebounds with 13 while Ricard had eight. Ricard and McNeill each had three assists. Three Braves each had two steals: Berreau, Mitteness and Hannah Andrews.
 
Get out your reading glasses
Have you seen the MACA sports schedules on that flyer that was recently distributed with the Morris paper? The type size for the schedule info seems unreasonably small. I'm 62 years old and use reading glasses. But newspaper readership on the whole is "up there" in years. Why couldn't the paper use slightly larger type size? Oh, we all ought to know the answer: the paper is trying to squeeze in as many of those box ads for businesses as they can. The newspaper vacuums in some revenue. Obviously that's a higher priority than the schedule information which is just a lure for getting those ads which are "sig ads" (also known as "sucker ads"). Money shouldn't have to change hands for MACA sports fans to get easily-accessible schedule information. Doesn't Pheasant Country Sports provide this in a user-friendly way?
Also, I was shocked to see that the Morris paper fell all the way down to 14 pages. My goodness, 14 pages! The paper had been hovering between 16 and 18 pages. It's strange and a little alarming that this shrinkage is happening between Thanksgiving and Christmas, normally the most robust time of year for newspapers. If it's this bad now, how will it be after the holidays?
 
Should there even be a charge?
If the Morris paper is going to shrink this much, this fast, it should knock down the newsstand price from $1.25 to a dollar. Then again, if a superior publication like Senior Perspective is offered for free, along with the campus University Register, then you can argue that the minimalist Morris paper should be free too. Is Forum Communications getting ready to just start mailing out the Alexandria paper to everyone on the Morris/Hancock subscriber list?
It is fraudulent that the Morris paper continues to claim that it has now combined with the Hancock paper. The paper does appear to be going out of its way to appease Hancock, subsequent to the cancelling of Hancock's own paper, by presenting lots of Hancock material. I heard a complaint about this at church Sunday.
I spent 15 years generating two pages of sports for the Hancock Record every week. Randy Thielke told me recently he appreciated that. I do hope it is remembered.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, November 27, 2017

Panel on C-Span renews alarms about football

The late Glen Helberg talked about how much he enjoyed watching C-Span. Our household gets three different C-Span channels. I don't monitor an actual schedule but I come across interesting stuff when "surfing."
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I came across a Congressional hearing on football brain injuries. The panel was completely together on fundamental conclusions. There was no apologist for big-time football there. Former NFL player Harry Carson was there. So was Kim Adamle, wife of former NFL player Mike Adamle. The panelists supported themes that I have long been familiar with.

A "time bomb," possibly?
A new concern was aired: We at present have a generation of men in their late 50s and early 60s who played football at a time when the risks were getting greater. The onset of the "big helmet" spelled the increased danger, we learned. I wonder about Jerry Witt, an age peer of mine who was "Mr. Football" for a long time in Morris. He played runningback for the UMM Cougars and presumably played that punishing position for a long string of years. I pray Mr. Witt is going to be OK. But I'm thinking about it, which is a bad sign.
The football apologists talk about "concussions" as if the dangerous plays are isolated. They'll recommend something like a "concussion protocol." The assumption is that the risk can be contained. The C-Span program affirmed something that has been embraced by objective observers of the problem: It is the repeated contact in football that does the damage, not just the isolated "concussions." You can take the hitting out of practice but you can't take it out of games. Can we really expect kids to always follow correct tackling "technique?"
The panel suggested why young men continue playing football in spite of the burgeoning revelations about risk. It's because of the "brotherhood" aspect of the game, the bond among teammates or "the guys." It is of course foolhardy for this dangerous sport to proceed if this is the only incentive. I have suggested that the cheers from the bleachers are a big reason boys continue playing. Their self-esteem may be challenged in other phases of their life. Football can make them feel like heroes. How shallow a society we are, when we feel we need to make heroes out of boys who are simply capable of knocking opponents on their keisters. It's barbaric.
And yet we have allowed a monument to this sport, our Big Cat Stadium, to be built at our U of M-Morris, for our Cougars and Tigers. If a whole lot of men across the U.S. fall into cognitive issues that render them no longer self-sufficient, think of the enormous cost to our society. Think of the literal cost in dollars/cents. Think of the heartbreak.

Forget the perfect solution
A consensus is setting in, that football cannot be made "safe" in a way that does not fundamentally change the game, presumably to be less entertaining. Well so what? I have broken my old habit of watching football. I have a wee bit of curiosity about how things are going for the Gophers and Vikings. I'll be curious if the U of M can "sell" the new football coach or if he can sell himself. It's an issue of importance to the U because of the sheer dollars involved, or the (considerable) largesse involved. I confess I might watch for a few minutes if the game is in the fourth quarter and there's suspense. But no longer do I watch any game for an extended time, not like I used to.
We can break this habit of anticipating college football on Saturday and pro football on Sunday. We really can restructure our lives, I assure you. There is life after football.
Football used to be connected to a testosterone-fueled male culture that included lots of alcohol consumption. Televised games were full of beer commercials. I sense that has changed. That's a wonderful development (if you can stand insurance company commercials). I will someday go to my grave wondering why my generation thought it so essential to consume booze when we were young adults, right after the drinking age got lowered. We had the "privilege" of hanging around bars. My, how we availed ourselves. My male friends talked about brands of beer as if they could actually tell the difference. Someone would make a run to get a 12-pack of "Old Mil" (for Old Milwaukee). What a waste of money. What a detriment to our personal development. If you were to reject booze, marijuana and perhaps other vices, you'd be rejected as a "prude."
We associated those vices with being an adult or with rebellions. Rebellion was quite the fashion in the early and mid 1970s, in a way that today's young people couldn't begin to understand. Today's young people are taught to respect authority. It seems logical today but it wasn't logical in the days when our government was telling us we had to prosecute the Vietnam War. I entered my adult life thinking it was in fact important to question authority. This became a handicap for me.

Two sides to the UMM coin
UMM Cougar football was an incredible institution in Morris in the 1970s. This is an important nugget of Morris history to tuck away in your mind. UMM football also had a certain "swagger" back then that would be rejected today. We'd play in the Division III national playoffs and feel oh so proud, like this team was really putting us on the map.
Let's just say the Cougars were not averse to misogyny.
Stan Zweifel was the last UMM coach who could still hang onto some of that swagger. Then the program fell. I really wouldn't care except the extent of the fall was so marked, I had to wonder why it was allowed to happen. We fell into that incredible loss streak. A far cry from when we could beat Northern Iowa.
Today I can't even tell you how UMM football did this past season. I used to pop out there on my bike just to see how big a crowd was there. I don't even bother doing that anymore. Same with Tiger football. It would be nice to see the fan turnout go down. I fear that is not happening. I plead guilty to writing some blog posts about Tiger football using information from the West Central Tribune. That was a problem this past season as MACA football disappeared from the Willmar paper for roughly the last half of the season.
Why do I continue having any desire to write about Tiger football? I want to keep some sort of connection with the community's young people and their activities just like when I was with the Morris paper. If football is going to be an anointed activity by our board and administration, well I guess I have to "respect" that and "follow authority" according to current societal norms, right? We no longer favor rebellion, do we. Maybe the challenges coming forward vs. football are reminding us that rebellion and the basic questioning of authority still have their place, n'est-ce pas?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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
 
CHORUS:
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)
 
TAG-ON LINE AT END:
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