"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vikings begin pre-season (yawn) in Nashville

Our Minnesota Vikings played in Nashville, TN, Saturday. It's a testament to the popularity of the NFL that there's enough interest to justify the televising.
The games don't count. We watch many players scurry around whose names we aren't familiar with. The execution is rough.
Nashville was a minor league city when I was a kid. We'd get familiar with the names of these cities thanks to baseball cards. A player might have had a hitch in Des Moines on the way up.
Or Charlotte. Or Winston-Salem. (No, I don't think their team was called the "Filters.")
Educators might have decried baseball cards and comic books but this fare supplied building blocks. I remember a college teacher who decried Hardy Boys books for kids. I suppose she'd rather have us reading "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville.
I read years ago that Nashville's minor league baseball team was the "Sounds." What an absolutely perfect name for a Nashville sports team. Tennessee's NFL team is the "Titans."
Sometimes when a new big league sports team is created, the best nickname can't be considered. It's already taken by a lower-echelon team or might have been used in the past.
For example, we here in Minnesota once had an American Basketball Association (ABA) franchise called the "Muskies." Actually the ABA had more than one incarnation in Minnesota. I remember the "Pipers" too.
The ABA was a fascinating league that used the multi-colored ball, remember? Many black athletes liked the "afro" hair style at that time, and basketball uniforms were tight-fitting.
Loose-fitting clothes might have made you a "sissy" in those days. And in a later era, a "nerd."
If someone had told me low-riding baggy shorts would become fashionable, I would've said "you're nuts."
I would rather see the afro come back than to continue seeing all those tattoos. The tattoos are reason enough to switch off the NBA.
I'm assuming that because "Muskies" had already been used in Minnesota sports history, it couldn't be offered again as a nickname candidate. "Muskies" conjures up our north country nicely and it rolls off the tongue better than "Timberwolves."
I remember when our NBA team was forming and local government bodies were asked for opinions on team nickname. I think there were three candidates, one of them "Polars."
"Polars" wouldn't have been good PR because it suggests we live in igloos here.
I remember the late public servant Steven "Skip" Sherstad saying of this name polling: "I think this is ridiculous."
I'm not sure to what extent the polling influenced the choice but we ended up with "Timberwolves."
Right away we all knew it would be shortened. It's common to hear "Wolves" or "T-Wolves."
Even "Vikings" isn't snappy enough for some people, who opt for "Vikes."
"Muskies" wouldn't have been subject to this sort of thing. Although, I suppose some people would do like with the Miami Dolphins and say "Fish."
"Titans" (for Tennessee) bothers me a wee bit because you cannot, as a practical matter, pronounce the second "t."
"Twins" is a nice crisp one syllable but oddly, some people lengthen it to "Twinkies."
I wonder what the new University of North Dakota sports nickname will be. I'm sure that will be a mess there as people keep showing up for games wearing "Fighting Sioux" sweatshirts and with like fan paraphernalia, either as a habit or to make a protest statement.
UND presidents have turned gray dealing with this, surely.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Nashville three times. There's a main street called Broadway that has a small-city feel.
Nashville has expanded way out I'm sure, but there still is good ol' Broadway with its Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I posed for a photo next to Webb Pierce's 1962 Cadillac.
I'm sure Nashville's economy has diversified quite a bit. Country music will be a legacy image.
The Tennessee Titans handed our Minnesota Vikings a 14-3 defeat Saturday (8/13). Some of the sheen is already gone from the Leslie Frazier coaching regime. The offense needs to get juiced up a little.
QB Donovan McNabb didn't give us any proof that he has found new life after his disastrous year in Washington, D.C.
I continue to feel that McNabb coming here is the equivalent of Dave Winfield coming to the Twins. It's maybe not quite as bad as Steve Carlton coming to the Twins.
Bill Madlock said after facing Carlton in Carlton's twilight: "I faced Lefty back when Lefty was Lefty, and Lefty isn't Lefty anymore."
Time will tell but we can't rule out McNabb falling into that category. A grisled veteran signs a one-year contract loaded with incentives. It's a long shot.
The athlete still looks good in a uniform. But nobody wins because of the uniform.
McNabb was benched last year because as his coach put it, he "wasn't in good enough shape" to run the two-minute offense.
No coach's comment could be more embarrassing. And this is the quarterback we brought in because our rookie might be too raw? It could be a bumpy ride.
And we'll have to start scoring more than three points.
Charlie Johnson hasn't looked real sharp as Bryant McKinnie's replacement.
One thing about having Joe Webb at quarterback: he can always improvise (run) to gain yards. Didn't he beat Michael Vick last season?
Maybe in the contest between the graybeard and rookie, we'll see neither prevail. It might be Webb.
The Vikings will play at Seattle Saturday. Bill Musgrave had better find a way to prod the offense.
(Sorry, you people who found this post because you Googled "Bartleby the Scrivener.")
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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