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, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl, Groundhog Day at apex of winter

The Super Bowl is filed away as history now. It coincides with the height of winter. In this respect it's much like Groundhog Day (or, as it's represented on the Morris Area school calendar, "Groundhog's Day").
Bill Murray told us in the famous movie that the holiday made us think about winter's role in the yearly cycle of things.
Winter can seem dismal now. The Super Bowl and Groundhog Day come when the "blahs" have typically set in. Perhaps this doesn't apply to our Minnesota winter of 2011-12. This anomalous winter has hardly seemed like winter at all.
As i recently wrote on "I Love Morris," our winter might make us feel we're in southern Iowa. Is that a step up? Hardly.
Winter reminds us how we often have to approach life like it's a siege. Weather can be an adversary. Enjoying oneself outdoors is no casual thing. It requires a strategy. Like a fishhouse.
I once wrote a song called "I Spent New Year's Eve in a Fishhouse." Those words began the chorus. Then I proceeded with: ". . .tryin' to forget the year. I was a little flat singin' Auld Lang Syne but no one was around to hear."
Yes, winter is a time of contemplative reflection.
Warm weather allows us to do impulsive things. In California they take the balmy conditions for granted. Out there you can figure that if you waste a day, tomorrow will be another wonderful sun-drenched day to begin anew.
Winter in Minnesota means literally getting confined to our home sometimes. There we can appreciate the basics of survival - a primal instinct. We assume our normal rounds when conditions permit. The lost time doesn't seem really lost.
It's just a part of winter, a chapter in the seasons that God bestowed with a purpose, a purpose that presumably goes beyond consuming the Doritos and Pepsi while reclined on a couch for the Super Bowl. I congratulate those who mark Super Bowl weekend in the traditional way - partying and sitting spellbound toward the glowing tube. I simply choose not to follow the ritual.
I don't even consider the Super Bowl a football game. I consider the peak of the NFL football season to come in wild card weekend and the weekend that follows. Each of those weekends has a full slate of four games (and eight teams). There's so much grist for ESPN Sportscenter to sift through. The season tapers off, in my mind, when the number of teams in contention tapers off.
The Super Bowl seems less an NFL football game and more a circus. Either that or an obscene tribute to American excess and unbridled capitalism. Beer commercials become an important institution. We evaluate their nuances. We give thumbs-up or down.
We consume more Doritos. We have no reservations about blatant consumerism.
But, you might ask, "Isn't this the natural order of things?"
Relatively young people might think so. I remember the Super Bowl from when it wasn't called the Super Bowl yet. I forget when the phenomenon of the "Super Bowl commercial" set in. But it wasn't when Vince Lombardi was coaching. Or when Len Dawson was playing. Dawson helped sink the collective morale of Minnesotans when the Vikings first played in a Super Bowl.
Older Minnesotans might not want to talk much about when our Vikings were in the Super Bowl. The thoughts can sting. The Vikings made us so proud so much of the time in the 1970s. They had an absolute aura, but they never could parlay that premier reputation into a Super Bowl win.
We looked so mortal in the Super Bowl. There were four of them involving the Vikings. All four left us in a stammering daze. There was no "spin" available. We could only rationalize "life goes on."
For the record, we played the Chiefs (with Dawson), Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders in the Super Bowl. The Raiders killed us. Congrats John Madden. If we had to lose to someone, Madden's the guy.
The Steelers game is remembered as the one where maybe we had a chance, at least for a while. I watched that game in the TV lounge of Shoemaker Hall at St. Cloud State University. The way I recall, a Bill Brown fumble (on a kickoff?) turned the whole thing around in favor of the Steelers and their quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
Today Bradshaw is a broadcaster with an ebullient and eccentric air, and as he gets older, doesn't he look more and more like the Peter Boyle character in "Young Frankenstein?" Those classic Mel Brooks movies came out when the vintage Vikings dynasty was thrilling us, most of the time anyway.
The four Super Bowl losses dragged down our state's psyche horribly. We continued moping about that, at least subconsciously, until the 1987 Minnesota Twins baseball team came along and won the championship.
One might think the '87 Twins avenged the '65 Twins (who took second). I really think they avenged the four Vikings teams that didn't quite make it.
The Vikings of the '70s are a distant chapter in Minnesota history. We came, we saw, we conquered, at least up through the conference championship game. After that? Well, the Super Bowl seemed no more uplifting than looking at that big rat, otherwise known as a groundhog, on the day associated with Bill Murray.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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