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).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Remembering Leona Cruze, a true matriarch

Seventh grade was a different type of experience from what preceded it. One difference was some new faces in the school hallways. The Catholic kids! They were quickly assimilated. We never forget their religious distinction, though. Catholics feel they need their own cemetery in Morris. To each their own, I guess, but I'm not a fan of cemeteries.
Death ultimately comes, of course. It came on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, for Leona Cruze, age 95, a devoted Catholic who would never use her faith in a critical context toward anyone. She was the matriarch of a large family that reflected her church's spirit 100 percent. What a vibrant family! Boys predominated.
Back at the start of my seventh grade year, I got familiar with two of the Cruze children who had been guided previously at St. Mary's School. I have always been impressed by St. Mary's as a basic type of school, just doing the job and not getting caught up in any avant garde educational ideas. The public schools get tugged down those detours sometimes. OBE? Those detours are good for getting attention in the media and our pop culture. Meanwhile St. Mary's makes sure the kids get the basics in preparation for real life. A little healthy discipline doesn't hurt either.
Leona and her husband Carl had ten children. Unfortunately one of them has left us: John.
The two MHS Class of '73 members were Art and Tony. Tony did a little wrestling at heavyweight under Al Hendrickson. He's a large of stature individual who could apply that imposing physique as a Kandiyohi County sheriff's dept. member. Our class prophesies had Tony getting taken to the Como Zoo, mistaken for the Hamm's Bear. Young people know little about the Hamm's Bear. Remember the jingle "From the land of sky blue waters?" People my age do. The jingle referred to "pines' lofty blossoms."
Art and I were in the school play in the fall of 1972 under director Mick Briscoe. Art proudly remembers his line "Hey miss, you can't do that!" Briscoe taught French the futile way, with conjugating verbs etc. He knew I was hopeless with my attitude. We had no capability of talking French after actually taking those classes. The way to learn a foreign language is through "immersion."
Art went into communications like yours truly. His forte: radio. Today he "sells air." He sells for the Willmar radio station. (Billy Crystal talked about "selling air" in the movie "City Slickers.") More importantly, Art has been a caregiver for Leona in Paynesville.
We lost a lot when the Cruze family left Morris for Paynesville in 1974. I remember visiting them for Game 1 of the 1991 World Series. Our eyes were riveted on the TV in the basement. When the first pitch thrown by a Minnesota pitcher was a strike, we all leaped up and were ecstatic.
Leona lived life in a relaxed but self-assured pace at all times. There was no evidence that having ten children ever caused her to pull her hair out. She and Carl had a sense of humor that they passed on to their kids. Their family gatherings through the years have been lively. "Lively" is a safe adjective. At times, "raucous" (in a fun-loving sense) would describe. Art and I imagined a headline for the Paynesville newspaper once: "Cruze family reunion held - four cars overturned."
The Cruze family got me introduced to the Catholic Church: they took me to Catholic bingo!
I had an interesting sort of closeness with the Catholic kids in general. There I was, an only child from a Lutheran family. My best friend in college was Mike Westra from a large Catholic family in Foley MN.
I have been a Civil War buff all my life. I have often read that "rebellion is immoral." Thus it was destiny for the South to lose. But isn't the Lutheran Church a rebellion from the Catholic Church? Ahem. All that matters is who wins.
I hope Leona was able to pay attention when the Pope visited the U.S. recently. Her son Greg bristles a bit when attention is paid to the Pope's liberal political leanings. A lot of Catholics are having to learn to rationalize over that. I say "hats off" to the Pope.
The Cruze clan put together a movie saluting Leona, a movie played on the big screen of the Cold Spring theater. Cold Spring is the home of Greg and wife Kari. Leona came back to Morris to hear Greg's daughter sing opera for the summer talent shows at East Side Park.
Leona was born in Morris on June 27, 1920. Her maiden name was Rudnicki. She went to St. Mary's when that school went all the way through the 12th grade! She married Carl (of Morris) on September 9, 1942. They understood the adventure of raising their large and vibrant family. They lived in Morris until 1974.
Leona developed a career in nursing. she worked in the nursery of Stevens County Hospital for ten years.
Here's a list of her surviving children: Roger, Michael, Diane, Patrick, Tony, Art, Marie, Greg and Richard. John beat all the others to heaven.
Leona herself came from a large family. She was preceded in death by siblings Leo, Joseph, Frank, Marie, Sylvester, Edward, Raymond, Josephine, Anselm, Genevieve, Angeline, Paul and Charles.
Families in general have gotten smaller through the years. Is the idea to make things more manageable? Is it about economy? Is it about perfectionism? We need to think twice about this. You're rolling the dice when developing a large family. Being responsible for these human beings can be a messy proposition. But Leona and Carl wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. We're blessed having all the Cruze family members amongst us. How else could I have learned Catholic bingo (LOL)? 
Mass of Christian burial for Leona Cruze is at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at St. Louis Catholic Church in Paynesville. Leona Cruze, RIP.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rocky Colavito couldn't get into baseball fast enough

Toby Tyler ran away to join the circus. Within all of us there is admiration for an inspired young soul that wants to join a glamorous occupation. The kids don't respect the shackles that society seeks to impose on them. Thus we should recognize Rocky Colavito.
Colavito was an American League baseball star who appeared on diamonds in the '50s and '60s. We visualize him as a Cleveland Indian. He grew up in the Bronx, NYC, but was not destined to be a Yankee. Only at the end of his career was he present "for a cup of coffee," as it were, with the Yanks.
Let's rewind to the start. We learn that "by age nine" he was playing semipro baseball. I'd be a batboy at that age. (We were "compensated" with taped, i.e. broken, bats.) This Toby Tyler-like story continued with Rocky dropping out of school at age 16 to pursue his baseball dream. Way to go! Major league rules were a complication for this starry-eyed young man. Rules stated that he had to wait until his school class graduated. Somehow he was able to succeed with a "special appeal." (Was he hopeless in school?)
This young man was destined to play high-caliber baseball. The Yankees didn't see it get. They passed on him. Into the picture came Cleveland, not a marquee team like the Yankees. But it was big league. Rocky got inked by Cleveland in 1950. There was an asterisk, though: two-thirds of the signing bonus was deferred until he progressed in their system. Patience was needed. Stardom was elusive for a time. All kinds of crazy up and down stories characterize our national pastime.
Rocky spent about six years paying dues and striving to climb the ladder. In 1954 some of that slugger potential came forth, when he was wearing the uniform of the Indianapolis Indians. Harmon Killebrew played for Indianapolis too in the late 1950s. Harmon actually came to Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington MN, to play in 1958, which was three years before his team of destiny, the Twins, were born.
Rocky Colavito hit 38 home runs and drove in 116 runs in his seminal 1954 season. He made a minor ripple with the big league Indians in 1955 (the year I was born). Then in '56, he pulled on a uniform in the Pacific Coast League. There was a time when that league had a reputation of being nearly as good, or just as good in some cases, as the bigs. Major league baseball moved west in the late 1950s. The Giants and Dodgers got started in California, and Calvin Griffith's Twins left the nation's capital for our Upper Midwest environs.
The days of train travel with its limitations had ended. "Quaint" describes train travel now. It's the stuff of scenes in old movies.
July of '56 saw Rocky get the call to join the Indians. He was ready to make a name for himself. We should note that Rocky's given name was "Rocco." Our hero batted .276 with 21 home runs and got a vote for A.L. Rookie of the Year. In '57 he fell out of the groove a little, marking time with a .252 average. Then in '58, he had the big league pitchers figured out. He soared to a .303 batting average. He made considerable noise with his 41 home runs. He was just one homer behind Mickey Mantle. Rocky drove in 113 runs in 1958. He was No. 3 in MVP voting.
In '59 he maintained his homer pace, becoming the first Indian to achieve two 40-home run seasons. He socked 42, tying our Killebrew for tops in league. He was No. 4 in MVP voting. He was an all-star. He would be a six-time all-star. He built a legend around himself when on June 10, 1959, he hit four homers in consecutive at-bats in Baltimore! As a Detroit Tiger later in his career, he hit four homers in a doubleheader. Rocky would hit 30-plus homers in seven seasons. He carved out a fine defensive reputation too, playing the outfield with a strong arm.
Cleveland loved him - he always accommodated the autograph-seekers. He went to Detroit in 1960 via a blockbuster and controversial trade. Why on earth would general manager Frank Lane trade this flashy player? Talk of the trade continued for years, even germinating a theory called "the curse" regarding Cleveland and its frequent futility.
Colavito was spectacular as a Tiger in 1961, the first year of our Minnesota Twins and also the year, you'll remember, when Roger Maris hit 61 home runs. Colavito's bat resonated with 45 home runs. He had the monster RBI total of 140. He scored 129 runs. He was No. 8 in MVP voting. Oddly, he wasn't as well accepted in Detroit as in Cleveland. He switched from right field to left due to Al Kaline being parked in right for Detroit.
An odd feud developed between Rocky and sportswriter Joe Falls, who I remember being a contributor to The Sporting News when I was in high school. I liked Falls but I think less of him now, having read about the conflict with Colavito. Falls created a stat for Colavito: "run not batted in." Why? So petty.
Colavito moved on to the Kansas City Athletics for the '64 season. He reached 300 career home runs as an Athletic. Then he was brought back to where it all began, to Cleveland. but in that trade the Indians had to relinquish Tommy John. Not only that, the Indians jettisoned Tommie Agee. Remember Agee? He starred with the amazing Cinderella story of the 1969 New York Mets.
Colavito had gas left in the tank for his finale as an Indian. He was an all-star in 1965 and '66. He led the American League in RBIs (108) and walks (93) in '65. That was the year our Twins won the pennant. I'm sure our fans were excited to see Rocky at our Met Stadium.
He built a journeyman reputation when he was traded to the White Sox in July of 1967. Then it was on to the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League. He was past his prime but not past creating special excitement. As a Yankee in 1968, Rocky became the last position player until Brent Mayne in 2000 to be credited as the winning pitcher in a game. He pitched a scoreless two and two-thirds innings against his old team, the Tigers. He also scored the winning run in that game. It was the first game of a doubleheader, and in game 2 Rocky homered. What a denouement in this Toby Tyler-like story: a man totally in love with his profession of destiny.
Such a career story lends itself to Hall of Fame status. Had he played most of his career with the Yankees, I think he'd be in. I strongly feel he ought to be in the Hall anyway. His problem was that he slid into decline a little too early. Baseball players today have much better longevity. Personally I think the Hall puts too much weight on sheer longevity. Why can't Tony Oliva be in the Hall?
I don't think I ever saw Rocky Colavito play in-person. The Indians weren't a big attraction. The Indians were rumored to be a candidate to move to Minnesota in the late '50s. We also heard that talk about the Giants. If the Indians had come here? My, we'd see a statue of ol' Rocco in downtown Minneapolis somewhere. I'm happy for all of his success.
You have to pat "Rocco" on the back for his lifelong love of the American pastime.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Duel of QBs ends with Monte's Diggins on top

Montevideo 20, Tigers 13
MACA got off to an encouraging start but ended up on the short end Friday (10/9). Jacob Zosel put the Tigers up 6-0 with a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The score was 7-0 when Dylan Gillespie kicked the point-after. That was the only scoring of the first half in this game played at Montevideo.
The MACA defense looked imposing. But in the third quarter, the host Thunder Hawks began getting their offense untracked. Preston Herfurth broke loose on a 32-yard scoring run. The PAT try was no-go. The Tigers' Zosel answered with a two-yard run for six. The PAT kick try was unsuccessful. Herfurth made another scoring statement, this time as a pass-catcher. This T-Hawk caught a 15-yard scoring pass that had Troy Diggins throwing the ball. Hever Valenzuela kicked the point-after.
The regulation four quarters ended in a deadlock: 13-all. Overtime!
The T-Hawks were really going to have to earn their seventh win of the season. They survived and improved to 7-1. A one-yard dive play made the difference. The ball was clutched securely by quarterback Diggins.
Diggins had experienced some rough-going on this night, throwing two interceptions. He completed nine of 20 pass attempts for 107 yards. His QB counterpart for Morris Area Chokio Alberta, Trent Marty, had solid numbers: six of 15 for 119 yards and no interceptions.
Eric Staebler had four catches for 98 yards. It was Marty who made both of the interceptions when Diggins was throwing. The Tigers' running game had Zosel bulling forward for 148 yards on 31 carries of the football. Staebler punted the ball five times for 152 yards.
The tackle chart showed Philip Messner with six solo tackles and one assist. Taylor Staples matched those numbers. Brady Jergenson had five solos and one assist. Jergenson and Staebler each had a quarterback sack.
The top Thunder Hawk receivers were Herfurth (three catches, 44 yards) and Riley Emery (3-27). The T-Hawk running game was fueled by Reece Kuhlmann (20 carries, 88 yards), Herfurth (6-59) and Ethan Schmitt (4-26). Valenzuela punted the ball. Kuhlmann had seven solo tackles and five assists.
The overtime conclusion had the final score at 20-13.
Volleyball: Tigers 3, Montevideo 0
The MACA volleyball Tigers continued the stellar pattern with their play on Thursday evening, at Monte. Scores were 25-20, 25-23 and 25-16 as MACA swept.
The success upped our won-lost record to 18-2 overall. In conference play we're 9-2. Karly Fehr was the proficient setter as always, with 31 assists on this night. Lindsey Dierks and Riley Decker each had two serving aces. Brooke Gillespie, Fehr and Cassidy Fehr each had one ace.
Gillespie, Ashley Solvie and Carly Maanum each had an ace block. The digs list had Decker at the top with 20 followed by Gillespie (15), Dierks (10) and Fehr (7). Here we go with the hitting summary: Jenna Howden had eight kills followed by Gillespie (7), Solvie (7), Fehr (5), Dierks (5) and Maanum (4).
Abby Olson pounded 13 kills for the host T-Hawks. Plus she had two serving aces. The Sulflows were the set assist producers, Grace with 24 and Sarah with six. Alexis Schmitz was imposing at the net for the host, executing five ace blocks. Olivia Hagen had eight digs.
Viva Morris Area Chokio Alberta fall sports for 2015!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A. Solvie nails eleven kills in sweep over Benson

Volleyball: Tigers 3, Benson 0
It was back to sweep city for MACA volleyball Thursday (10/1), as the Tigers handled Benson quite routinely. Scores were 25-11, 25-12 and 25-14. It was the 12th triumph of the season for Morris Area Chokio Alberta.
Ashley Solvie came at the Braves with eleven kills. Lindsey Dierks, Jenna Howden and Brooke Gillespie each pounded seven kills. Karly Fehr added four kills to the mix, followed by Carly Maanum with three and Haley Erdahl with two. Solvie and Howden each contributed two ace blocks. Fehr went up to execute one ace block.
Riley Decker impressed with her dig total of 19. Gillespie came through with eleven digs followed by Dierks with eight and Fehr with six. And in setting, Fehr raced around the court to contribute 35 assists. Gillespie showed precision at the serving line and produced three serve aces. These Tigers each had one serving ace: Fehr, Dierks, Erdahl, Decker and Koral Tolifson.
Benson's Addie Forbord had two serve aces. She was also the busiest setter for the Braves with 12 set assists. Megan Amundson had eight kills for the host Braves. Sophie Ascheman, Danielle Himley and Amanda Nissen each had one ace block. Amundson dug the ball up eleven times.
Melrose 3, Tigers 1
The Tuesday story wasn't so upbeat for the Tigers, who were dealt a 3-1 loss by Melrose at home. The Tigers and Dutchmen split the first two games, Melrose taking the first 25-18 and MACA rebounding to take the second, 25-15. After that the Dutchmen had the upper hand with scores of 25-21 and 25-18.
This was the second meeting this season of MACA and Melrose. MACA's season opener had the Tigers beating the Dutchmen.
Karly Fehr executed 28 assists in the Tuesday setback. Brooke Gillespie topped the kill list with eight. These Tigers each pounded down seven kills: Lindsey Dierks, Jenna Howden and Carly Maanum. Ashley Solvie had four kills followed by Fehr, Haley Erdahl and Moira McNally each with two. Moira McNally had two ace blocks followed by Gillespie, Fehr, Solvie and Howden.
Riley Decker was busy in digs, posting the team-best total of 24. Gillespie dug up the ball ten times. Erdahl had nine followed by Fehr with seven and Dierks and Tolifson each with six.
Football: BOLD 22, Tigers 12
BOLD was bold in making a comeback vs. our MACA football Tigers Friday at Big Cat.
Fans at Big Cat cheered as the orange and black went up 12-0. Eric Staebler caught a one-yard pass from Trent Marty for the game's first score. Sean Amundson hauled in a 31-yard aerial from Marty for the second score. The conversion tries misfired on these TDs. MACA had an encouraging 12-0 lead. After that, BOLD owned this game.
BOLD scored 22 unanswered points and won 22-12. Halftime arrived with the score 15-12. Brad Wolf found the end zone on a run from the eleven. Zach Blom kicked the point-after. Ethan Weis caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Breckan Ebnet. The conversion was good on a run by Austin Einerson. BOLD polished off this win with a 69-yard run by Brad Wolff, and Blom kicked the conversion.
Trent Marty had his usual good passing stats despite the game's outcome: he was seven-for-eleven for 100 yards and had one interception. Jacob Zosel carried the football 17 times for 63 yards. Ryan Dietz had seven carries for eleven yards, and Marty added five yards to the mix. Sean Amundson and Eric Staebler each had two receptions, Sean's covering 72 yards and Staebler's covering six. Taylor Staples, Zosel and Chase Metzger each had one catch. Staebler did the Tigers' punting.
On the defensive side of the ball, Metzger had six solo tackles and eight assisted tackles. Continuing with the tackle chart: Staebler (five solos, three assists), Cole Watzke (4-5), Staples (2-7) and Brady Jergenson (3-3).
Wolff was a terror in the eyes of MACA fans, as this Warrior gained 211 yards on the ground in 24 carries. Connor Riley covered 44 yards on the ground for the visitor. Austin Einerson gained 43 yards and Max Buchtel had 39. Ebnet completed two passes in four attempts for 15 yards and had none picked off. Weis and Einerson each made an interception. Jon Schultz had seven solo tackles and two assists. Riley Weis had a quarterback sack.
The Tigers will next travel to Montevideo.
Keep up with this trend, please
It appears there are fewer businesses willing to part with their money, to have their name in a tiny box on the edge of an MACA sports schedule page in the Morris newspaper. The paper should simply publish the schedules (three times a year) as part of its news reporting obligation. I thought that's what newspapers were for.
The paper should also publish obituaries as news and not try to wring money out of grieving families. But if the paper can get away with it. . .
The fall sports schedule page appeared to have fewer names of businesses than before. An ad like this is called a "sig ad," as a business basically just places its signature on it - the business does not inform about its products and services, which is the purpose of advertising. So, by supporting the sports schedule page, you're really just subsidizing the Fargo-owned Morris newspaper. Please try to employ more brain cells in the future.
Oh, and "sig ads" are referred to in another way by some in the newspaper industry: "sucker ads."
Here's another media observation I've made recently: I noticed that in the Chokio Review, the football game review article had a byline with the name of an assistant coach. Whenever I see this sort of thing, I think "bush league." Isn't there anyone associated with that business who could generate some paragraphs? These activities are fun and important. Let's make them exciting and interesting with the media.
Stevens County appears to have one less print media product now: There's no sign of the controversial "Northstar" on the UMM campus. I strolled through the campus a few days ago and saw no "Northstar" newsstands. It's astonishing that this "shock" publication was allowed to last as long as it did. As I ponder whether to make my annual $ contribution to UMM, I'm weighing how much to consider my anger over the needless distraction that Northstar represented.
Maybe we'll see no "affirmative action bake sales" either.
Northstar was not even a legitimate journalistic product. It was a very oddball attack vehicle mounted by an oddball faction of students. Amazingly, it got inserted with the Morris Sun Tribune paper not once but twice.
The longer the Northstar existed on campus, the greater likelihood that UMM staff members would quietly acquiesce to it. One staffer confronted me over my criticism of it. I imagine this person had adjusted to Northstar as part of UMM's information ecosystem, contradicting logic, i.e. simply because it was permitted. If it was permitted, the staff would begin to shrug and offer no objection, because after all, these staffers had wonderful jobs with wonderful pay and benefits, thanks to the existence of the University of Minnesota-Morris. This is "learned behavior" according to psychology lingo. Well, I'm not the type to be influenced by such a factor - I analyze things objectively.
The First Amendment was never an issue regarding Northstar. UMM has the right to manage the information ecosystem on its campus, as we have finally realized after two years.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com