"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)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

St. Luke's Hospital vs. Duluth News-Tribune

Ken Browall is publisher of the Duluth News Tribune. (Image from "the podunk blog")

You may be aware that the Duluth newspaper is being sued by St. Luke's Hospital. Lawsuits are never fun and regardless of how this one turns out, there will be some lost sleep.
A little dose of humility might be good for the company that owns the Duluth paper. It's the same company that owns our Morris and Hancock papers.
But I would suggest there's another reason why the Duluth paper should be taken to the woodshed. A year ago at this time the Duluth News Tribune (DNT) got on its high horse and decided we needed a good ol' tea partier representing Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District.
We will hear less of the tea party as time goes by. It's a political fashion that will run its course in a manner like Jesse Ventura. That's because, we all favor responsible government. No one advocates for recklessness, so it's just a matter of how to proceed.
Right now some very conscientious government leaders in Minnesota feel a high-speed rail project is a responsible and forward-looking, even grand, proposal.
But Chip Cravaack, the man who slayed Jim Oberstar, says "no."
Northern Lights Express high-speed rail would connect Duluth and the Twin Cities. The Federal government is expected to cover up to 80 percent of the project's expense.
Cravaack's party, the Republicans, thought it fine to fight wars and not pay for them. But in regard to the high-speed rail proposal, the neophyte congressman says he "doesn't support spending money on a venture that can't pay for itself," according to MPR.
Oberstar was totally behind the venture.
I have a first cousin who lives in the Duluth area and he can tell you how to deal with bears. The point here is that Duluth is somewhat remote and thus can benefit from grand government-funded projects. This one has a pricetag of about $750 million.
How fast is high-speed? The trains would go up to 110 MPH. The one-way trip would zip by in about two hours.
The world is getting smaller all the time if we let progress take its course. But the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Chip Cravaack last October in an editorial that a City Pages opinion writer called "a big wet kiss."
I could almost cry when reading the actual endorsement piece because it included: "There's no denying the enormous, life-changing and positive impacts U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar has had on Northeastern Minnesota."
The historically right-leaning company that owns the DNT couldn't just say "OK, let's keep him there."
The upstart Cravaack got the nod of Duluth's dead-tree media product because "the brake pedal of fiscal responsibility is needed in Washington," the DNT asserted.
Does the Dakotas-style of conservatism really have a place in Minnesota? The Duluth News Tribune is owned by Forum Communications which has its roots in Fargo, North Dakota. It fancied itself an empire of sorts for a time, but I'm not sure any newspaper company today can be described with the grandiose term "empire."
If it doesn't like throwing its weight around, why does it endorse candidates? Forum executives dictate endorsements (to their properties) in statewide races. They denied giving direct instructions for the Cravaack endorsement. Cynics can smile and realize we all know what side our bread is buttered on.
In situations where The Forum does endorse Democrats, I would suggest it's in races that aren't real pivotal or where polls indicate the outcome is obvious anyway (as with Amy Klobuchar).
Do people really want the tea party? Its rhetoric is so enticing for many. But when tea partiers roll up their sleeves and do what they say they'll do, the reaction might be "wait a minute."
Only two months had passed before the Duluth newspaper seemed to be saying "wait a minute" in regard to ol' Chipper.
"The DNT is shocked, just shocked," Hart Van Denberg wrote on the City Pages site.
Cravaack was showing skepticism about the city's request for Federal funds for airport improvements. He asked "Can we afford it?"
The DNT bristled, arguing the funds in question weren't "pork."
It's never pork when it benefits you, is it.
It was suggested that the DNT's reaction represented "buyer's remorse."
Oberstar was an 18-term Democratic congressman and household name. He was a visionary. He saw the high-speed rail project as a no-brainer that would benefit Minnesota. Cravaack has reasoned the money would be better spent fixing roads and bridges.
I would suggest those roads and bridges will be maintained even if it's not at an absolutely optimal timetable. But when you have a chance to grab a Federal "goody" like the exciting high-speed rail, you take it and beat your chest over it. We're Minnesota and we think big.
Maybe in the Dakotas it's OK to lay back, be complacent and just ensure people aren't taxed too much. That's OK if it's your thing. Fargo has the Red Hawks, we have the Minnesota Twins.
The Federal government has been moving as if high-speed rail will get the nod here. A $5 million grant has been awarded for engineering studies. The Federal Railroad Administration has approved a route. So everyone, let's get on this bandwagon.
Let's get on it the way our Republican administration wanted us all to get on the bandwagon for the Iraq war. It's not so simple, though, when so many of us are incapable of recognizing a good thing.
Moving ahead with high-speed rail would be an exhibit of America's greatness.
The tea party is regressive and not as widespread as might be generally believed. Is it largely a media creation pushed by moneyed right-wing interests whose agenda is to put President Obama and the Democrats on the defensive? To intimidate them into not really enacting many of the populist type of principles they might be inclined toward?
So they push "fiscal responsibility" as if any of us are actually against that.
Oberstar said "the Fargo Forum owns the Duluth newspaper." Of the endorsement he said "they have dictated this outcome. It is one that fits their philosophy. It does not represent that of the Northland."
These quotes appeared in David Brauer's column on Minnpost.
A friend once said to me about a young athlete he saw as too cocky: "Maybe he should have one of his (testicles) taken off. Maybe he'd appreciate the other one."
This I hope will be the effect on The Forum, of the lawsuit from St. Luke's Hospital. It's a defamation action resulting from the DNT fancying itself an "investigative" reporting crusader in the mold of the 1970s Washington Post.
It's tremendously ironic because The Forum is a very risk-averse media business. I would argue it's a cookie cutter chain newspaper company. Its agenda is to rake in as much revenue from legacy advertisers as possible while newspapers retain some semblance of viability. The line on the graph is downward and we hear whistling in the graveyard.
Yes, papers can prop themselves up by making cuts. Businessmen who are Republicans are especially proficient at this. And then when they look at the burgeoning ranks of the unemployed, they say "These people don't have the skills we're looking for."
No wonder Michael Moore has such a big and growing following.
Screw the tea party.
I found an offending DNT article online but had difficulty trying to read it because a "log in" panel kept popping up.
"Join now for free access," I read.
Well if it's free, why do I have to log in? That makes about as much sense as "save a pretzel for the gas jets" (from the "bad lip-reading" website).
Consider the following headline and tell me if it's reasonable, restrained and fair: "As Duluth hospital reaped millions, surgeon racked up complaints."
Is there any doubt the headline writer was screaming "expose?" A chimpanzee could see this. A chimpanzee wearing sunglasses.
Problem is, there are systems of accountability built into our health care system. There are proper channels, which is the way it should be. Heaven help us if we need Woodward and Bernstein-style reporters.
The surgeon in question is a neurosurgeon. I imagine his work is vastly more difficult and risky than helping someone with a sore throat.
I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but let me offer some advice to Duluth's medical community: Don't let a stupid newspaper sow seeds of friction or discouragement in your community. Use the proper channels for ensuring accountability in medicine, for surely these are reliable.
Might it be that St. Luke's Hospital wasn't spending as much on advertising as it might have? This is a possible motive.
Again I'm astonished that a plain vanilla company like The Forum would do such edgy work. I'll also make a little wager that the newspaper principals who were involved in this won't be there a year from now.
And that includes Publisher Ken Browall who pronounced in reaction to the St. Luke's suit: "The stories portrayed what is unquestionably a matter of public safety and concern. We look forward to proceeding to court and the dismissal of this unwarranted complaint."
No one questions that the subject matter involves public safety and concern. It's how you approach that, that is at the crux of this.
Browall didn't make the most obvious and expected rebuttal statement, which would have been "we stand totally behind our stories and our reporters."
You at the DNT have become an annoying gadfly to a vital health care institution for the Duluth area.
Browall said "we look forward to proceeding to court."
Yeah, and save some pretzels for the gas jets.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Now it's turbines, plural, for U of M-Morris

They say the land by the river is the same as before civilization arrived. (Photos by B.W.)
The turbines as viewed across the choppy water of Lake Crissy (by Pomme de Terre City Park) on a spring day.
Here we see the turbines from the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC). This photo was taken soon after the second turbine went up.
Generally speaking the best photos of the turbines are when they're dark, silhouetted against the sky, but they can look quite striking when glistening-white too, as this photo shows.
The gazebo on the west side of the Pomme de Terre River makes for a fine foreground landmark in this photo of our two grand wind turbines. The turbines have become like a trademark of the Morris community, kind of like the Gateway Arch for St. Louis, MO.

It's a little dreary writing about "energy" so soon after the CenterPoint Energy escapade of this past weekend (Sept. 23-25). People will be telling stories about that for a long time.
Ironically the weekend was an upbeat time for "energy" on an unrelated topic. It was a time to celebrate the second wind turbine.
The first was quite the novelty and we still don't take it for granted. Now with two in place on the eastern fringe of Morris, they're unquestionably a trademark of Morris. They're majestic. Against a sunrise or sunset they're riveting to look at.
I haven't tired as a photographer approaching them. There are endless angles one can use depending on the wind direction. Sometimes the blades are dark against the sky and often they're shimmering white.
Sometime I'd like to get a shot when they're white against very dark clouds.
Several special events were held on Saturday, Sept. 24, to celebrate the second turbine having its blade spinning. There was even a "2K Wind Walk" beginning at the Student Center at the University of Minnesota-Morris. The walkers ended up out at the dedication site.
Some excellent background on UMM's wind power was shared in the September 22 edition of the University Register. The front page article by Faless Jeremiah (news editor) was headlined "Twice the Love."
I sense some extra spark in the Register this year compared to before. Kudos to Joey Daniewicz, editor-in-chief, who is definitely making this venture into a crusade.
I have suggested in the past that maybe UMM didn't need the Register anymore. It's true that no matter how committed a newspaper is, there are storm clouds for this media form. But Daniewicz is striving to ensure that the Register is lively, stimulating and relevant. And psssst, there might be a little "liberal media bias" once in a while!
Our first wind turbine began operating in spring of 2005. The new structure, located 1600 feet to the south, looks identical but for the record it's 10 meters taller. It can deliver 10 percent more power than the existing turbine, Jeremiah's article pointed out.
Wind energy is now expected to "provide an average of 70 percent of campus electricity," Jeremiah wrote.
That figure could jump to 100 percent when conditions are right, "right" meaning that the wind we're known for out here on the prairie is especially robust.
Last spring there were days when the wind virtually howled. It got ahold of the front storm door on our house and obliterated it. We subsequently had Steve Sauter on behalf of Morris Lumber and Millwork come out and remedy that. The new door is even better.
It was a vicious south wind that shattered the previous door.
It's the northwest wind that usually makes all of us shudder. And winter is getting closer with each passing day. My goodness, what if the CenterPoint Energy thing had happened in the early stages of winter?
I have suggested that someone write "CenterPoint Energy the Musical." It could be written from the perspective of those guys going door to door in harried fashion, getting a fleeting glimpse of ordinary home life in Morris.
The weekend was a little stressful for us because we didn't know what happened until Saturday morning. I went to bed Friday night in a grumpy mood, expecting to have to try to summon our plumber (Mohr's) out to our place on Saturday. When I called, Mohr's had a firmly worded recording stating that CenterPoint Energy was responsible for remedying the situation.
So I could breathe a sigh of relief, in a sense, knowing we weren't alone. But I'm sure Mohr's would have come out if needed. It's a well-oiled company.
I'm sure our local law enforcement and government had a hectic weekend making sure the incident was properly attended to, and that government resources wouldn't be called into play any more than required.
You don't suppose some heated words were exchanged between certain parties, do you?
Today (Tuesday) I think most of the problem is behind us.
Back on the wind turbine subject, UMM Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was quoted in the Register saying "the second wind turbine will fix our electrical costs for the next 20 years."
Let's end on that upbeat note.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tigers fall to Benson & their "Superman" QB

Logan Manska, #7 of the Tigers, advances the ball during the Homecoming game against Benson. (Photo by B.W.)

The teams went back and forth scoring in the 2011 Morris Area Homecoming football game.
The celebration this year had an extra dimension as the Chokio-Alberta royalty were introduced at halftime like the Morris Area royalty. The Morris Area Chokio Alberta partnership seems fully cemented.
The football could not have been more entertaining (if you disregard the outcome, Tiger fans).
Each team had an answer for the other's scores.
It was the visiting Benson Braves having the advantage at game's end, 39-28. It was quite a night for their quarterback, Matt Ahrndt.
The Tigers have found victory elusive since their season opener. Win or lose they play an entertaining brand of football. They rushed for 225 yards Friday and passed for 141. Quarterback Jake Torgerson completed 13 of 23 pass attempts. The Tigers compiled 20 first downs and scored in three of the four quarters.
Tim Ostby rushed for 103 yards in 19 carries, and Tanner Picht gained 75 rushing yards in eight carries.
Benson quarterback Ahrndt was quite the nemesis for MACA. He amassed 360 total yards and was involved in all six of his team's touchdowns.
The fourth quarter was especially wild. The Tigers showed offensive focus with 14 points in the fourth. But the Ahrndt-led Braves kept pace, scoring 13 to hold an advantage.
Hopes grew among the big Homecoming fan turnout - orange all over the place - when Tommy Holland scored from the one to bring MACA to within four points (32-28).
Benson then summoned the deciding blow with a march covering 63 yards, making the score 39-28 with a little over two minutes left. Ahrndt took scoring honors for this final TD.
The Benson QB was superlative with his passing, posting stats of 21 completions in 25 attempts for 256 yards and no interceptions. It might have been a career night. But wait, it doesn't end there, as Ahrndt was Benson's top rusher with 100-plus yards.
Logan Connelly was the favorite receiving target of Ahrndt as this Brave had 13 catches for 153 yards.
Benson led 14-6 after one quarter. With some sunlight still apparent, Ahrndt ran the ball into the end zone from eight.
The Tigers answered with a two-yard TD carry by Ostby. The Tigers' woes on conversion plays continued (from the previous week) with a failed run.
Ahrndt had a three-yard TD carry later in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw coach Jerry Witt's Tigers outscore the Braves 8-6. Benson scored first in the quarter with a 22-yard pass that showcased the Ahrndt/Connelly chemistry.
Lincoln Berget then showed a deft receiving touch for MACA, hauling in a ten-yard scoring strike from Torgerson. This time the Tigers clicked on the conversion as Ostby caught a pass from Torgerson.
On to the second half: The Ahrndt-to-Connelly magic surfaced again with a six-yard scoring play.
It was MACA scoring next as Torgerson carried the ball in from the three. Again the Tigers found success on the conversion: a pass from Torgerson to Chandler Erickson.
But Benson continually found ways to answer the Tigers. The Superman-like Ahrndt ran the ball in from the two. Is he really just a junior?
The one-yard run by Holland was the next score, and Benson applied the final dagger with Ahrndt reachng the end zone. Colin Ose kicked the PAT for the evening's final point.
The Tigers are still in search of their first conference win. In overall they're 1-3. Coach Witt's crew will next play at Paynesville.
Here's a review of the MACA receiving crew from Friday: Ostby (two catches, 25 yards), Holland (3-39), Logan Manska (4-35), Lincoln Berget (1-10), Tanner Picht (2-23) and Chandler Erickson (1-9).
Picht handled the Tigers' punting. Connor Metzger and Daniel Nelson each had a fumble recovery. Ostby, Metzger and Jordan Staples each each had a quarterback sack. Standouts on the tackle chart were Metzger, Staples, Zach Gibson, Holland and Erickson.
In other action around the WCC-South, ACGC beat Lac qui Parle 20-6, BOLD thumped YME 32-0 and Paynesville prevailed vs. non-conference foe Melrose 28-12.

A personal note: I'm a little groggy as I prepare this coverage due to the CenterPoint Energy snafu. Tonight's (Saturday) low temperature is expected to be around 40 so hopefully things can get remedied in a timely way. Somehow my intuition tells me it won't be that routine.
Hopefully I'll be wrong, like I was wrong about an aspect of the MAHS Homecoming. I was concerned that if special efforts were made to acknowledge C-A's Homecoming as part of the celebration here, it might be problematic. Might the Morris Area Homecoming seem watered down?
I was totally wrong because the full acknowledgement of C-A's royal court Friday at halftime went over totally well. Congrats to all.
It was nice to see and hear the MAHS pep band. Maybe sometime they can play both pre-game and at the half, although temperatures are likely to get colder (and uncooperative) now.

Volleyball: a mixed bag in week
The MACA volleyball Tigers got their first conference win Thursday and it was a sweep. The Tigers downed Lac qui Parle Valley at LQPV, 25-14, 25-13 and 25-9.
Jaime Bergerson delivered nine kills followed by Terianne Itzen and Sydney Engebretson each with seven. Bergerson and Engebretson each had an ace block. Mikaela Henrichs led in digs with 19 followed by Courtney Ehleringer with 13.
Katie Holzheimer and Itzen did the setting. Emily Tonn had 18 good serves in 19 attempts and chalked up an ace. Ehleringer's serving numbers were 15 good in 16 attempts and two aces.
Henrichs and Holzheimer were both 12 of 12 in serving.
The Tigers' Homecoming week match was Tuesday and on that evening, they found themselves on the short end against the ACGC Falcons. This was a surging ACGC team that came out of the night at 5-0 in conference, 9-2 overall.
Katie Knisley and Sydney Larson were effective hitters for the visitor. Both of these Falcons had double figures in kills.
MACA was defeated 0-3 but a look at the game scores indicates the Tigers put up a much stronger challenge. After the 21-25 game #1 outcome, only a hair's breadth separated the teams. Scores of the other two games were 25-27 and 24-26.
Holzheimer and Itzen set up the hitting attack where Itzen was a cog with her 28 good, 30 attempts and 12 aces. Engebretson's numbers were 22-24-8 and Bergerson contributed seven kills.
The busiest servers were Engebretson, Itzen and Holzheimer, with Engebretson and Holzheimer each notching two aces.
Engebretson had four ace blocks and Henrichs was busy in digs with 33.

Tennis: match vs. the Sting
The Tigers prevailed at first and second singles but the outcome was a loss against Yellow Medicine East Thursday on the YME courts.
Krista Matthews-Saugstad and Abby Olson were the victorious Tigers. First singles player Matthews-Saugstad defeated Jenna Rasmussen 6-2 and 7-6 (7-4). Olson in the No. 2 spot downed Rachel Christensen 6-2 and 6-2.
YME was the 5-2 winner on the day.
MACA was represented at third and fourth singles by Megan Wagner and Emily Moser. The first doubles team was Darcy Aronson and Carly Gullickson. At second doubles it was Shelby Marthaler and Marlee Morton vying for MACA.
The No. 3 doubles tandem was Kjersa Anderson and Kindra Cannon.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

UMM football taking 2-1 mark to Duluth

Sun-splashed day at Big Cat: Quarterback Derrick Foss, #12 from Hancock, takes a shotgun snap on the day of Cougar Fest. UMM won 28-3. (Photos by B.W.)
Lineman Matt Anderson from Hibbing stops a MacMurray ballcarrier during the Cougars' opener win.
Leandro Dower, #34, carries the ball for UMM in the 28-3 win that marked the start of the season. Dower is a product of North High School.

The UMM football team has been involved in some high-scoring action thus far in the 2011 season. The Cougars have a road game set for week #4, a game they'll enter with a 2-1 record (2-0 in league).
They'll make the trip to Duluth Saturday (9/24). There they'll vie with St. Scholastica. The winner will own first place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).
The Cougars are coming off the only loss they've been dealt to date. This was one of those high-scoring affairs. The outcome was a 42-20 loss to Wisconsin Lutheran at Big Cat Stadium. Prior to that the Cougars won twice, over Martin Luther 44-40 on September 10, and over MacMurray 28-3 on September 3.
The opener vs. MacMurray was for Cougar Fest. Big Cat Stadium was bathed in sunshine. The fan turnout was substantial as yours truly (B.W.) could appreciate from the east sideline.
UMM's defense slammed the door almost completely. The offense rolled for nearly 400 yards with 290 coming on the ground. Todd Gramenz and Leandro Dower each carried for over 100 yards.
The Highlanders of MacMurray were held to 80 rushing yards among 133 total.
It was Dower who began UMM's scoring for the new season in exciting fashion, breaking loose off-tackle for a 45-yard run. Gramenz would score two TDs.
The passing game was showcased for the Cougars' final score: Derrick Foss, whose prep football was in Stevens County with Hancock, passed to William Paine for six.
UMM arrived at 28 points on the afternoon and could feel satisfaction. MacMurray - is the school named after Fred? - was forced to punt eight times.
The Cougars' wildest game to date was against Martin Luther in New Ulm. Their defense wasn't exactly stiff on this day as they gave up 40 points. But their own point-scoring was prolific to say the least. The deciding score came on a 15-yard pass reception by Danny Kernan with 3:22 remaining.
University of Minnesota-Morris finished the afternoon with 44 points and the win.
Gramenz scored twice with his second putting the Cougars up 38-34. But neither team would sit comfortably with an ample point total on this afternoon. The offensive units worked fast and furiously.
Brandon Foss, like Derrick a former Hancock Owl, was a busy and successful receiver, doing his part to help the UMM offense keep pace and eventually prevail. Brandon had four catches all for touchdowns and amassed 153 receiving yards.
UMM's offense covered 422 total yards.
Derrick Foss shared the passing work with Tallahassee, FL, product Daniel Garrigan. Foss completed six of 13 attempts for 139 yards and two scores. Garrigan's numbers were six of 12 for 175 yards and three scores. Kernan finished with three catches for 78 yards.
Linebacker Tanner Gramm, yet another product of Hancock, helped lead the Cougar 'D'. So did fellow linebacker Cody Hickman, a former Morris Area Tiger. Mitch Zimmer who operates from "the trenches" - he's a lineman - produced eleven tackles.
The Cougars returned to Big Cat this past Saturday, 9/17, hoping to stay unbeaten, but it wasn't to be against Wisconsin Lutheran. UMM got another lesson in how the defense is going to have to bear down more. The Cougars gave up 569 yards of total offense in the 42-20 setback.
Of that total, 402 were amassed by the foe in the forgettable first half.
There were third down woes on offense as UMM converted a mere three of 14. Also woeful from UMM's standpoint was the foe's 8.4 yards-per-play average.
The University of Minnesota-Morris 2011 Homecoming game is set for October 1 when Northwestern will be the foe at 1 p.m. Big Cat Stadium is sure to be packed for the festive event.

Meanwhile at the main 'U'. . .
Now it's seizures "plural."
I recently wrote a post less upbeat than most about coach Jerry Kill's health issues and how they figure in with U of M Gopher football. My post sought to look beyond the wave of human sympathy felt in the wake of his severe seizure suffered at TCF Bank Stadium in the New Mexico State game.
I argued that human sympathy was a given. I felt the central questions went beyond that, to whether Kill's hiring had truly been a sound move given the background.
Was Tim Brewster such a disaster that we have to gush about what follows? There seems to be an impulse to do that. Beating Miami of Ohio doesn't make everything right.
Now we learn coach Kill has had multiple seizures over a period of days. We are talking about 20 or so seizures over six days, in Kill's own estimation.
How can this not be a distraction? He was removed on a stretcher in the New Mexico State game. We feel sympathy but this is not the kind of episode fans want to think about when they take their seats for fall football.
Kill spent five days in the hospital. Doctors are working on adjusting his medication.
Let's look at a wider picture: The sports media have changed. In a previous time the big city scribes would have taken an approach more like mine. I suspect the pressure on the newspaper business makes these writers far less inclined to pursue angles that might be deemed negative or depressing.
This stance will be tested if the Gophers start being taken to the woodshed by Big 10 teams. First, though, "our beloved rodents" have a possible creampuff on the slate in the form of NDSU - at least there was a time when NDSU would have been considered a creampuff - and this game is set for Saturday, 9/24, at TCF Bank Stadium.
Brewster's Gophers lost to the Bison. I still remember the radio announcer describing an NDSU runningback "outrunning the Gophers secondary" for a touchdown. Cue the "Twilight Zone" music.
Kill said Tuesday he's "OK but tired." He'll be going up against Big 10 coaches who aren't encumbered.
Only if the Gophers surpass expectations can the talk about Kill's health stay relatively in the background.
We'll see.

And, let's take a look at St. Cloud State. . .
I could have rolled my eyes watching the evening news out of the Twin Cities Tuesday night. The more some things change, the more they stay the same.
St. Cloud State University has been trying to turn over a new leaf. So determined is SCSU President Earl H. Potter III to put a dagger in the school's less admirable side - the image of frivolity - Homecoming is cancelled there.
But Potter's wishes are being defied and thwarted in that central Minnesota city. I could have seen this coming: a faux Homecoming.
I thought students might loosely and informally organize this. But now, of all things, it's the "downtown bars" exercising the defiance. Don't those business owners know how important St. Cloud State is for the city's economy? If Potter feels strongly about tweaking the school's image, why can't they be respectful and cooperate?
I almost sensed a smirk in the news anchor's face as she reported this, as if she were thinking "there's no hope for St. Cloud State."
The guilty party here is the St. Cloud Hospitality Association. We're in euphemism country here. We all like "hospitality," right? But the "unofficial Homecoming" being put forward by this group is just an attempt to keep tradition going, a tradition with dubious PR ramifications for the school.
St. Cloud State has replaced its defunct Homecoming with four "Celebrate! St. Cloud State" events. I wish them well with that. Really I just wish everyone there could get on the same page.
Thumbs-down on the bars.
The new "faux" Homecoming is set for October 8 when the SCSU football team will host Mankato State at 1 p.m. I haven't attended an SCSU football game since 2006 when I found the single game ticket price to be ridiculous.
My alma mater can't seem to shake its fun-loving reputation. It will be a long slog and perhaps futile.
Our UMM has no such PR issues, not that we've never had PR issues.
"Go Cougars" and "go Gophers" for this coming Saturday!
As for the Vikings, they're appropriately at the end of this post, and I think we can suggest now they're in the running in the Andrew Luck derby. Lots of luck.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remembering Bouton's seminal "Ball Four"

First let's retreat in time a little: The first non-fiction book I ever read was a sports biography. I checked it out from the elementary school library which surely meant it was a "safe" book.
No revealing of any peccadilloes. No grumbling about pettiness, mendacity and pitfalls in the workplace.
You could say sports books of that time were cookie-cutter. Personally I enjoyed them. I still have in my possession a paperback biography of Bobby Richardson written in the early 1960s.
Bobby Richardson? He was a player of less than superstar status with the New York Yankees. He was a fine second baseman and fine person. He was a straight-laced person in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes mold.
The traditional type of sports book was right up his alley. I wouldn't mind reading it again. Today I'd find it refreshing next to the avalanche of candid stuff that has come down the line - stuff that actually uses peccadilloes to sell.
The honest and tabloid-y stuff was once taboo.
What happened? It's easy to explain because there was one book that broke the mold. The book was kind of a one-hit wonder for its author.
Maybe "author" should be in quotes because I think he really just provided the raw material and facilitated it.
Big league sports was ready for a book of this kind. So was the publishing world. So along came Jim Bouton, pitcher and opinionated soul.
Not much is said about this book anymore. It broke the mold and once that was done, there were no inhibitions anymore.
For a while Bouton was a whipping boy. He paid the price for going against the norms of the time. A lot of that type of thing was going on in 1970, though, the year "Ball Four" came out and ruffled feathers.
Michael Moore can be seen on C-Span2 telling stores from that time period, a time when berating "the establishment" was both risky and necessary. Moore focused on a fraternal organization that sponsored a youth speech contest on the subject of Abraham Lincoln. One problem: the organization had a "Caucasians only" policy for membership.
I was astonished that such a policy was allowed to exist at so late a time.
Bouton in Ball Four went after sacred cows. He revealed superstars as ordinary mortals who could be as scared, vulnerable and ignorant as anyone.
Ball Four was a diary type of book about the 1969 season. I recall that Bouton worked with an an iconoclast type of sportswriter named Leonard Shecter. Shecter was part of a sportswriting fraternity known as "the chipmunks." You can get a glimpse in Billy Crystal's movie "61*" about the 1961 home run race. (Yes, there's an asterisk after "61.")
Newspapers were at their apex then. "Chipmunks" were sportswriters who were more interpretative than in an earlier time. Readers wanted to peel below the surface a little more. People were getting more interested in the human element of the game, knowing full well their heroes weren't the one-dimensional figures they once seemed.
The chipmunks not only obliged them, they became very competitive.
No wonder Roger Maris started losing his hair.
You might say Ball Four culminated the rise of the chipmunks. The establishment recoiled but as with most turbulence of that time, the new way won out.
Many of the athletes who trashed Ball Four were probably gnashing their teeth about not having written it themselves.
Fans of the book will remember it was put out by World Publishing. We can remember the jacket illustration: a close-up of a hand releasing a "knuckleball."
Bouton was a teammate of Richardson in the early 1960s. They were key members of the last chapter in the Yankee dynasty of that time. Bouton seemed washed up in 1965, the year when the Yankees faded and our Twins won the pennant.
Well, he was washed up in terms of his ability to throw conventional "stuff."
In 1969 he joined the expansion Seattle Pilots, a fascinating team that lasted just one year. Seattle wasn't quite ready for major league baseball. Bouton felt affection for the city and said it cared more for its art museums than baseball.
Bouton was a knuckleballing relief pitcher. The knuckleball is a total finesse pitch. It's released with a lazy delivery.
Bouton didn't set the world on fire but he held his own in "the bigs" for a while longer. In 1969 he compiled his views on life, baseball and even politics daily. The raw material for Shecter was enormous. Bouton was in line with the counterculture and anti-war movement. There's a photo of him addressing a moratorium audience (a mass of people outdoors).
We seem to have forgotten what it's like to live in a time when young men would shudder about getting a draft notice and facing the prospect of going overseas to some godforsaken jungle to perhaps be killed. Or, of being amidst fraternal organizations that were "Caucasian only."
Bouton saw the injustices and the tragedy. Attacking all that required the kind of candor that can get you in trouble. Since he had decided to enter that abyss, he had no inhibitions whatsoever.
He vented his frustrations at the micro level, talking about the meanness and pettiness in the workplace. Any professional person might relate. But hoo boy, this is not how sports books were written up to that time.
Ball Four broke through barriers just like Michael Moore did. Obviously it spawned imitators. The novelty of such a book in fact faded quite fast.
So today I almost find it refreshing finding a book of the older genre, a book like the Bobby Richardson type.
If I remember correctly, the first non-fiction book I ever read was a biography of Eddie Matthews, the Milwaukee Braves third baseman.
The Braves eventually moved to Atlanta and the Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers. Meanwhile, Seattle hung in there and eventually re-entered the bigs with the Mariners.
The Pilots seem like an orphan in baseball history with no one really caring about them. Ball Four helps deal with that. The former players with them may not be that proud about the association, because their "human," fallible side had been revealed so vividly.
Of course Bouton could have written this book about any major league team.
He even focused on his Yankee mates of the early 1960s. The Yankees up through that time were in a special pantheon. No way would Richardson have a biography published if he had played for any other team. We can understand why Mickey Mantle was a superstar. But Joe Pepitone?
Bouton revealed all these souls as being less than Olympian in their stature. Many of them cursed Bouton but I suspect they were just bitter because it was Bouton, not them, making money from the venture.
Ironically Bouton is cited as a force helping bring empowerment for the players and their union. Players may be ridiculously wealthy today but they were far more modest in their means through the 1960s. The better players could make a nice professional wage but keep in mind how meteoric these careers could be. The owners held tremendous power over them.
When the owners lost in the famous Curt Flood legal case, it was "like the Confederates losing the Civil War" - an analogy used by Bowie Kuhn in his memoirs. I gather this is a popular analogy used in the legal profession to describe a side that loses totally - no spin available.
Ball Four was written in a time when baseball was grim in many ways. The players were tread upon. They were discarded or traded on a whim. They were forgotten after they "lost a step."
Once on the scrap heap they'd fend for themselves, perhaps selling insurance or some such thing. Many were woefully lacking in the kind of education or refinement that would enable them to do well in that or many other things. Reading Ball Four helped us appreciate all that.
The boomer generation demanded brutal honesty. Ball Four was an honest book on steroids. There were heroes and villains.
It was hard not to think of Bouton as one of baseball's victims. He had lost his fastball. He was industrious enough to get a reprieve with the "junk" he threw. He hung on for more than just a cup of coffee. Heck, Ted Turner gave him another reprieve in the late 1970s. Bouton had one last comeback with Turner's Atlanta Braves.
Bouton working with Shecter was like Dean Martin working with Jerry Lewis. Bouton on his own was never the same. He had an arrogant side that came out way too much. This is what editors are for.
Even though Bouton couldn't parlay Ball Four into a continuing significant body of work, he gave us the seminal Ball Four, cheered by the boomer youth of the time who were symbolized by Michael Moore.
Now that we know all about the "human" side of sports, I find it kind of refreshing to see the old Bobby Richardson book again. I think I'll dust it off and read it sometime.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall weather grand for MACA Tiger athletes

The weather has stayed pleasant through the early stages of the fall prep sports season.
Cross country is always a fun sport to watch when the weather is fair. Coach Dale Henrich took his MACA Tiger harriers to Spicer for an invite on Thursday, Sept. 15.
The fall weather was magnificent and the Tigers were up for a strong showing.
Makenzie Smith was in a photo finish for first place. She battled against a Lac qui Parle/Dawson-Boyd runner: Alaysia Freetly. They stretched for the finish chute with equal determination. The manual timer wouldn't even be sufficient to make the final determination.
Good news: The eventual judgment was that Smith won.
Smith is putting together some significant accomplishments in early-season running. She must have made a good off-season commitment. She also won the season-opening Morris Invite at our PDT course. Her official time Thursday at Spicer was 15:23.81. And Freetly's: 15:24.06.
Freetly's squad did have the distinction of being #1 as a team. LQPV-DB took first among the seven girls varsity teams. The Tigers settled for No. 6.
Joining Smith in representing the orange and black were: Rachel Rausch (19th place, 17:04), Julia Sauder (27th, 18:07), Becca Holland (42nd, 18:40) and Adrianela Mendez (42nd, 18:59).
The MACA boys topped the team standings (seven teams as with the girls) and they were led by Roy Reese's championship showing.
The finish was close for Reese as with Smith. The advantage went to MACA on this day, and in Reese's case the championship was garnered with a time of 16:50.82. He edged Ben Burgett of Community Christian School whose time was 16:51.28.
Tiger Aaron Goulet arrived at the finish chute third with his time of 17:47.60. Gage Anderson took eighth, timed at 18:29.15.
Beau Keimig placed 12th (18:49.26) and Brody Bahr 18th (19:09.16).

Football: setback in Falcon country
Friday night was a time for coach Jerry Witt's Tigers to get back on the road. They were coming off a disappointing overtime loss to New London-Spicer and wanted to get back to winning ways. But it wasn't to be against ACGC.
The host Falcons notched their first win of the season at MACA's expense, 28-24.
ACGC struck with two really big plays in the fourth quarter to get some scoreboard cushion. Erik Whitcomb broke loose for a 75-yard TD run. Trever Heining picked off a pass and made a 40-yard return that ended in the end zone. On the conversion, Dylan Hoerchler passed successfully to Hayden Rouser.
The Falcons owned a 28-12 lead and clung to it. The Tigers scored two more times but were stung by two failed two-point conversion tries. Making those would have tied the score. But two pass tries ended up incomplete. ACGC could celebrate the win.
Tim Ostby had a 13-yard touchdown run that closed the gap some. Chandler Erickson was off to the races on a 91-yard punt return for six, getting the score closer yet. But those failed conversion plays loomed.
The Tigers had two other touchdowns in this game and they came in the first and third quarters. In the first, Tanner Picht carried the ball in from the 14, putting the Tigers up 6-0. But it stayed 6-0 as the conversion play - a true bugaboo - went awry.
Then in the third quarter, it was Picht again owning the ball in the end zone, this time having received a pass from Jake Torgerson. It was a ten-yard scoring hookup.
Ouch! The two-point conversion try was no good on a pass. The Tigers might have to try something other than passing the football on those conversion plays.
Another down note on the night was running the football. The Tigers were stagnant in this phase.
Quarterback Jake Torgerson rolled up 153 yards through the air but his completion percentage wasn't all that good. And his one INT (for the ACGC score) was costly of course. The receiving list is impressive: Tanner Picht (four catches, 60 yards), Chandler Erickson (3-52), Logan Manska (2-24) and Tom Holland (2-17).
Picht had a fumble recovery and also did the punting.
ACGC got the win despite just five first downs! Their passing was minimal but they rushed 41 times for 170 yards, led by Erik Whitcomb whose 27 carries netted 146 yards.
The Tigers at 1-2 are going to try to turn things around for Homecoming week.

Volleyball and tennis
Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tiger volleyball struck a down note Tuesday with a 1-3 loss at the hands of Yellow Medicine East (the Sting).
The game scores indicate a closer complexion than that. Here they are (MACA numbers first): 19-25, 22-25, 25-20 and 22-25.
So the Tigers battled commendably but just need to pick up the habit of putting an opponent away.
YME carved out an edge partly on the strength of Kylie Jans' hitting and Courtney Hinz's setting.
Individuals of note for the host Tigers were Terianne Itzen with 19 kills and Mikaela Henrichs with five ace serves.
Itzen was followed on the kill list by Sydney Engebretson (6), Jaime Bergerson (5) and Nicole Strobel (4).
Paige Schieler led in ace blocks with five. Mikaela Henrichs was busy with digs, working proficiently to perform 23.
Tiger tennis was humbled Tuesday by LQPV-DB. It was an 0-7 defeat with the following Tigers seeing action: Krista Matthews-Saugstad, Megan Wagner, Renae Mullins, Kjersa Anderson, Darcey Aronson, Carley Gullickson, Shelby Marthaler, Marlee Morton, Kaitlin Vogel and Emily Moser.
Now it's on to Homecoming Week 2011 for all the MACA Tiger student athletes!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Toward lower-key 9/11 remembrance

Now that the "ten-year anniversary" of 9/11 is past, maybe we can stop highlighting the event.
Surely we saw this coming: the 10-year milestone that would surely cause media outlets to trot out all that horrifying footage. It happened just the way we could have scripted it.
I for one don't see the necessity.
I have a media background and I know how this particular beast works. The tragic-beyond-words episode of 9/11 has "visuals." The media prize those.
Once the first plane struck the World Trade Center, it was guaranteed that countless cameras were going to be pointed at the complex.
This was in Manhattan where the media are concentrated. To begin with, any event there is going to get more attention than a comparable event out here in the hinterlands.
Mike Barnicle said on MSNBC the other morning that part of Notre Dame's problem staying competitive in football is that South Bend, Indiana, is "in the middle of nowhere." I've never been to South Bend but I'm quite sure it isn't in the middle of nowhere.
What does that make us?
Barnicle with his thick eastern accent can be forgiven. He's a caring soul who just happens to be New York City-centric.
As 9/11 unfolded on that morning out of hell, it was guaranteed to be in a fishbowl. With such riveting video footage stored away, it was certain we'd see it all again when that magical 10-year milestone arrived.
Magical? I have written on this site before that anniversary stories in the media have never impressed me. Why should the accident of an anniversary cause a particular event to be trotted out before us again?
Part of the explanation is the intense competition caused by the 24-hour news cycle. When I was a kid the "news" was neatly compartmentalized. The "evening news" was when people got home from work. The news they really had to know about was neatly organized into a half-hour program on network TV.
Professionals with a sense of scale and basic decency organized it. They had a sense of mission beyond ratings. Really they did, because how else could you justify Irving R. Levine doing a dry-as-dust business segment on many nights?
Remember, this was in a previous time when "business news" was synonymous with boring, when most people couldn't be made to pay attention to what the Federal Reserve did.
Political activity was more compartmentalized. There were Republicans and Democrats then like today. But by no means did we have this "gang warfare" mentality that we have seen seep into our politics.
People had their political leanings but these leanings weren't self-defining passions.
The media environment has done much to change our world. The 9/11 anniversary was guaranteed to bring the highly disturbing images of that day, a day filled with death, back to the forefront. How could we not watch?
I found it absolutely unconscionable that video of the WTC "jumpers" would be shown. But there it was. Some of this was so vivid that the identity of the jumpers could be pinned down by those close to them.
Can you imagine anything more horrifying? If nothing else, the media should have a moratorium of these particular images.
At least one network has been known to replay coverage of that morning as it happened. But why is this necessary?
If you stop and think for a moment, you'll realize this is largely media-driven. It's a quest for eyeballs. A big reason why the Jon Benet Ramsey murder became so sensationalized was "visuals." It was that footage of the girl in those little-girl beauty pageants.
On the weekend of that horrible goalpost incident here at the U of M-Morris, I received several phone calls from non-local media who were feverishly looking for visuals. In the days immediately following that incident, they struck out.
Eventually some video got into the possession of KSTP, so finally I could see what the heck happened. Was it good or bad that there was no video (or even still photos) in the immediate aftermath?
We can say it's good because, who needs to see a tragedy? But if the video was going to come out anyway, maybe it should have been made available immediately. Minus this, Morris just gets this image reinforced of being "in the middle of nowhere," the way Barnicle might put it.
We have always tried to shake that image.
I got calls from a very nice man with the Today Show. He probably had his bosses cracking the whip over him. Getting on the Today Show would also mean getting on MSNBC, the cable partner of NBC.
Full-page newspaper ads encouraged us to remember 9/11. I'd like to see a groundswell toward forgetting 9/11, at least forgetting the media-driven obsession with it. We can begin with the video of the "jumpers" which is such a no-brainer I shouldn't have to be writing this.
The newspapers of course are glad to take money from "sponsors" for those pages commemorating the tragedy. I took a glance at our own Morris dead-tree product and they were right on board, right on cue with the generic version. There in those little boxes were the names of the sponsoring businesses, businesses choosing to throw their money away on these ads known in the business as "signature ads" (or "sucker ads" among insiders in the newspaper trade).
Nothing good came of 9/11. We hear about the heroes of 9/11 and surely people did what they could in order to rescue etc., but the death toll of the day was beyond comprehension.
It was a day to bemoan our airline security. It was perhaps a day to question our "political correctness" in the sense that some "profiling" might help prevent such acts.
It was a day used by the neocons to start the puzzling war in Iraq.
We have seen dictatorships fall or come under intense siege of late in the "Arab spring." Maybe Iraq would have lined right up with these dominoes, had we just stayed out.
Oh, blood certainly would be spilled. But it wouldn't be blood of American soldiers.
Our conquests in that part of the world have bled us financially. Republicans are supposed to be the party of isolationism. But President George W. Bush had grand visions of spreading U.S. power. It was under the guise of doing good but it was really in an imperialist way.
What will history say about it?
We deserved sympathy on 9/11. I'm not sure our behavior since then will be viewed so generously. And the media's obsession ought to end although it probably won't.
Bush and Dick Cheney have their defenders on Fox News which has become one of the most curious phenomena of our new media age and ecosystem.
Fox News has harnessed all the scared anti-intellectual people out there. These are people who will advocate for political causes that are not in their own interests. Thomas Frank has written about this in "What's the Matter with Kansas?"
One of Barnicle's colleagues at MSNBC is Chuck Todd who has gotten caught in one of those typical and trivial media kerfuffles for our new age (and new ecosystem). Todd, who seems the most solid and poised newsperson, used absolutely innocuous language to describe some polling results recently.
Todd indicated that the network's pollsters were "concerned about the most recent poll numbers for the president."
The conservative ignoramuses in their foxholes cried "foul" at what they saw as bias. But how pathetically trivial.
Bill O'Reilly piled on from his hour-long TV soapbox. O'Reilly is one of the barking dogs of Fox News. He's a master craftsman of TV, above all else, who knows how to get viewers. He gets viewers the way the Andy Griffith character in "A Face in the Crowd" (the late 1950s movie) did.
Barnicle once famously said of O'Reilly: "I've known him for 25 years and he isn't the ogre as he is so often portrayed."
It was like someone explaining that professional wrestling isn't real. OK, I know that.
Of course when I write about O'Reilly, who will someday have to answer to his maker, I risk having his producer come out here and do an "ambush interview." Oh, that would be exciting. It's just that I doubt Jesse Watters would bother coming out this far into Flyoverland.
It would certainly bring excitement to our morning at McDonald's Restaurant, where of course only the most erudite expressions of political and social commentary are made. (Recently we discussed whether it's proper etiquette to use toilet paper for blowing your nose.)
So Jesse Watters, come on out. Please painstakingly formulate one of your questions, thrust your microphone in my face and watch me stammer. I'll be just another liberal victim. "Liberals" are truly the enemy of all that's good, right?
Chuck Todd probably used the word "concerned" (about those poll numbers) because any time the U.S. president's popularity is dipping, it might be a worrisome sign for the nation. Is this not rational thought?
Not when you're in that conservative foxhole, imagining bomb blasts all around you caused by those nasty, misguided "liberals," you know, those people who feel we need a compassionate government to ensure that people on the margins of society can still live a comfortable life.
Us aging boomers are going to end up on the margins if we don't look out. And yet so many of us have become "tea partiers" who sit on the edge of our couches and cheer for the likes of O'Reilly.
Again, "What's the matter with Kansas?"
It's hard to get worse than O'Reilly but Laura Ingraham is. I'd say she was delusional but for the fact she's just one of those "professional wrestlers" of cable TV news. She assumes an identity and hammers away with it.
She acts like an eyedropper full of "bias" might contaminate all of us. Of course there isn't so much as an eyedropper of bias on Fox News (her home on TV, same as O'Reilly and Watters).
Chuck Todd should have assumed, I guess, that it's a legitimate point of view to root against our president which by extension means rooting for bad things to happen in America. It would all be for the good, the Fox News barking dogs would suggest, because it would help those valiant, intelligent and heroic Republicans get elected.
Ingraham is the worst. She felt she had Chuck Todd cornered as if she were that dog character in "Cujo."
Now Watters would ask me why I called Ingraham a dog. My, what a world in which we live today.
Let's make it a world without such pervasive memories of 9/11.
God bless the victims and let's move on.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coach Kill's health distracts from futility

The U of M Gopher football assistant coaches might have to step it up if head man Jerry Kill is forced into some sort of sabbatical.

I innocently tuned in to Channel 12 (the sister channel of KSTP) Saturday night simply wanting to know how the Gophers game turned out. I hadn't paid attention during the day.
We have Mediacom cable which means we don't get much access to Gophers sports on TV. "Our beloved rodents" as Patrick Reusse has famously called them are often on the Big Ten Network. We don't get it.
This might be an issue if the Gophers were something to crow about. Most often they're kind of an afterthought. But on a fall Saturday, you might as well find out how they did. So I simply tuned in to Channel 12 at 9 p.m.
But little is simple about the U's football program. It was in the news all right but in a way that had nothing to do with winning football or football at all. Fans at TCF Bank Stadium had been scared silly by a sideline episode in which it appeared someone may have died or was in the throes of dying.
It wasn't a player who had been dealt a vicious hit. It wasn't like Joe Theismann suffering a compound fracture (the replay of which has been known to make some people throw up). It was the new head coach (i.e. new victim) of our University of Minnesota football Gophers.
Unbeknownst to many, this guy is susceptible to seizures. He had a doozey on Saturday. The Channel 12 news opened with this story which was presented with the expected feeling of gravity. I thought "well, that's interesting, but what was the score?" I had to wait until the later sports segment to find out.
We at McDonald's Monday morning engaged in a little gallows humor about the incident. Maybe Jerry Kill faked it in order to obscure the disastrous nature of the loss that was surely looming. The Gophers were playing their home opener against one of those obscure foes who normally are treated like scrimmage fodder by the Big 10.
When Tim Brewster's Gophers were losing to those Dakota schools, we could at least "keep it in the family" (the Upper Midwest).
You'd have to depend on the media to learn that New Mexico State goes by "the Aggies." I imagine there's also a University of New Mexico. Maybe even a New Mexico Tech. Or how about Tech State?
Anyway, a school that came here as a trivia answer not only held their own, they won in a game that plunged into the news for reasons having nothing to do with football. Coach Kill had a seizure. He rolled around on the ground as paramedics tried to hold him down.
The Gophers had a promising drive going and had the opportunity to tie the score.
Normally there isn't an ounce of drama when New Mexico State plays a Big 10 member. It's normally a slaughter. But I'll repeat that nothing seems simple or routine involving our "beloved rodents." Not even finishing a football game.
Kill had his affliction which must have scared the daylights out of most of the 30,000 fans in attendance.
Let me insert here before commenting further that on a human level we all have the deepest concern for Jerry Kill's welfare. But let's be blunt: Kill was in the news not because he was a human being having a health issue, he was in the news because he's head football coach at the U.
Head coaches in Division I football must be resilient souls. Some gotta win, some gotta lose. And the latter means you'll get tapped on the shoulder and asked to just mosey on down the road.
Brewster's tenure here was brutal. He didn't even make it through his last season. Who could have predicted that, what with Brewster having survived the acid test of being tight ends coach for the Denver Broncos?
Anyway, the revolving door continues here. We all know the Big 10 can be brutal and you can't set the bar too high, necessarily. But we went to the trouble of having a new stadium erected, we're Division I and in the Big 10 and doggone it, we'd like to think we can beat the Bison of NDSU, the Coyotes of U of South Dakota and the Aggies of New Mexico State.
Let's be quite blunt again: New Mexico State's average margin of defeat in six previous Big 10 matchups was 49 points.
The Star Tribune reported that the Aggies "looked like the more talented, poised and confident team for much of the day."
Did this game just underscore the exodus from the rust belt to the sun belt? Probably not, although some kind of diagnosis for the U's ills ought to be made soon.
Presumably we have a highly paid athletic director. Hasn't it been clear that Joel Maturi is overmatched? Yet he seems to be in a protective cocoon at the U. Would the Gophers be doing any worse if they had stayed in our beloved Metrodome? Isn't this a comedy?
First we moved into the dome because coach "Smoky Joe" Salem said we'd recruit better from there. He just became another victim. Eventually we heard that "on campus" and "open air" represented the only way to go. But isn't the Metrodome actually closer to Coffman Memorial Union than the new stadium site?
Periodically we get snowed under by these rabid pushes for new stadiums. We've gotten smart about this, right? And we wouldn't fall for it again? Wait a minute, the Minnesota Vikings are on the verge of pushing through the latest extortion job. Mark Dayton gets dragged along kicking and screaming.
Football is truly the opiate of the masses. Which means we're in for an awfully long fall/early winter. Because as I write this (9/13), Minnesota's big-time teams have a donut in the win column. It's an 0-3 state of affairs which looks like a prelude.
New Mexico State scored touchdowns on three of their first five possessions. They rolled up 421 yards of offense. In last year's home opener vs. that juggernaut from Vermilion, South Dakota, those howling Coyotes rolled up 444 yards.
How is this cheesecloth curtain of a defense going to hold up after the "creampuff" (non-conference) portion of the schedule is done?
They say we might have a "quarterback controversy." The guys involved are Marqueis Gray and Max Shortell. The latter is a true freshman. The Gophers should be so lucky as to have a real controversy. It might garner some of that media attention. Right now that attention is lavished on a subject, coach Kill's health, that shouldn't even enter the picture.
The powers that be at the U knew this might happen: the seizures. Will any fan not approach any future game thinking the spectacle of a squirming coach on the ground won't happen?
Again, it's a given that this is sad and the individual in question must be vigilant in attending to his health concerns. But the U didn't need to bring Kill and his health baggage here to Minnesota to be a distraction and disturb fans.
Kill isn't in Minnesota because he likes us. He's here because he got the lucrative contract. His job is to produce entertaining football. It's demanding beyond words.
Such a job is unfair to many who enter the ranks and engage in the primal, masochistic task.
It's hard enough getting the U football program pointed in the right direction, like turning a barge around in a river.
Kill came here as a no-name coach who couldn't charm with his charisma like Lou Holtz. He had to show the U could bear down and deliver better results. We've seen no evidence of that. Now at 0-2, the Gophers seem unlikely to achieve the kind of minor bowl (Sun Bowl or Music City Bowl) that is often good enough for a U coach to get a reprieve.
Wait until the Gophers play the "big boys." Wait until Ohio State gets to tee off against a true freshman quarterback (if Shortell plays).
And can we hope for any better on Sunday afternoons? Look, I enjoy a "back to the '70s" event as much as anyone, but the Vikings are going nowhere if they follow the dated 1970s model of "establishing the running game" and building around a workhorse runningback. That's so Walter Payton.
The modern NFL game has been fashioned to showcase the forward pass, so to keep the masses of lemmings watching from their couches and seeing all the beer commercials.
It was clear last year that quarterback Donovan McNabb was all washed up. And his backup now is rookie Christian Ponder who seems like a true freshman at this level.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave should wear a sack over his head.
The Vikings will at least get more eyeballs than the Gophers, because that's the way it's been since about the mid 1960s. But brace for a long fall and early-winter as football is likely to be a lowlight.
With the Gophers it feels like Sisyphus. Coach Kill, maybe you'd best take a sabbatical because your current role doesn't seem suited for you.
And AD Maturi? Take a hike, man.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tigers succumb to OT field goal at home

Quarterback Jake Torgerson runs for two to make the score 14-14. The Tiger at left is Tom Holland. (B.W. photo)

What a joy the new high school season is upon us. There was a substantial fan turnout for the MACA Tigers' home football opener Friday. The weather could not have been better.
This is the first year for the "MACA" initials to be in effect for Tiger football. The history of the CAHN Spartans is now completed.
The Tigers put up a very strong battle vs. the New London-Spicer Wildcats. The "Big Cat" name for our stadium could not have been more fitting.
The Tigers and Wildcats fought to a stalemate in regulation. They took the field again for an OT extension. Alas it was the Wildcats who enjoyed just enough of a burst to get the win. They did this with a field goal - not seen too often in high school football.
The Wildcats went home the 23-20 winner. The Tigers came out of the night at 1-1, having beaten Minnewaska the week before.
Next for MACA: a road game against the ACGC Falcons Friday (9/16) at 7 p.m.
The first half was upbeat for the visiting Wildcat crew as it assumed a 14-6 lead. First there was a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Tobkin to Mitch Ejnik. Tobkin kicked the PAT.
The Tigers answered with a pass of similar length; it had Jake Torgerson throwing and Logan Manska catching. It covered 31 yards and was followed by an unsuccessful PAT kick.
The Wildcats led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. They accomplished the only scoring of the second quarter. Tobkin scored from the one and also kicked the PAT. The halftime break arrived with MACA seeking to find a little extra offensive spark.
The third quarter was scoreless. Then came a wild fourth quarter in which MACA outscored NL-S 14-6. Tim Ostby carried the football into the end zone from the five. Quarterback Jake Torgerson ran for two points on the conversion.
The Wildcats jabbed back with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tobkin to Ejnik. This time the PAT kick try was no good, which could have been critical to the Wildcats' fortunes.
The Tigers surged back, bringing a wave of cheers when Ostby plunged into the end zone from the one, capping a sustained 74-yard drive (nine plays). But the conversion try went awry on a mishandled snap from center.
So the four quarters ended with the teams in a 20-all deadlock.
Overtime! It was Morris Area Chokio Alberta having possession of the ball first. But the air was suddenly taken from the Tigers' sails with an interception. Adam Essler performed the INT for the visitor on a fourth down play.
The Wildcats reached the MACA seven yard line on the ensuing possession, whereupon decision time arrived. Try a field goal? That decision got the thumbs-up, and it was marquee player Tobkin who did the kicking.
The refs signaled "good" to put the NL-S fan turnout into a frenzy of celebration. It had been a long night but well worth their trip here.
For the Tiger fans, they can hope their team climbs back over .500 Friday at ACGC.
Coach Jerry Witt's Tigers had 16 first downs. Ostby was the go-to guy carrying the football; he had 25 carries for 64 yards. Quarterback Torgerson had 24 rushing yards on 12 carries. Mac Beyer and Tom Holland rushed for minimal yardage.
Torgerson completed 13 passes in 29 attempts for 193 yards and had one aerial picked off. The pass-catching was spread around. Torgerson's targets were Manska (three catches, 49 yards), Chandler Erickson (2-38), Ostby (4-49) and Holland (4-57).
Mac Beyer intercepted a pass and also had a fumble recovery. Tanner Picht did the punting. Connor Metzger had a quarterback sack. The tackle chart leaders were Beyer, Picht, Metzger and Daniel Nelson.
Wildcat Ronnie Johnson got over the 100-yard rushing plateau on his 27 carries. Tobkin was efficient passing, completing nine of 15 for 142 yards with one INT.
The Wildcats had 13 first downs.

Given the backdrop of terrific weather, it would have been nice seeing the Morris Area pep band at work. Do other fans agree with me on this? Or is the band an afterthought now?
Are budget issues in play here? Maybe a business could "sponsor" the MAHS pep band. When I was in high school, the school was just expected to do these things.
I noticed Friday that New London-Spicer had a full cheerleading contingent here - yes, traditional cheerleaders, in uniform and in various formations. Morris Area does not have cheerleaders. Is this a void that should be looked at?
We are so blessed to have a state of the art stadium. Maybe we should maintain other assets like the band and cheerleaders. Or am I just showing I'm an old fuddy-duddy?
Oh, and I miss the P.A. announcer of last year who applied his own flourish with: "That's another Tiger FIRST. . .down." It would get mimicked along the visiting team sideline. Maybe we've decided that announcer idiosyncrasies are a no-no.
Whatever, it's still a beautiful venue and the enthusiasm seems high. The real test will come when the more harsh fall weather sets in. Or, the Siberia-like weather we saw for last year's playoff game against Benson. I'll never forget that.
There was a post-game promotion Friday: a gathering at DeToy's Restaurant. My waitress there Saturday morning said the turnout wasn't quite as good as had been hoped for. Did the losing outcome dampen spirits? Hopefully that doesn't get in the way, and I hope this is done with future home games.
I didn't attend the post-game Friday but I will in the future. DeToy's is the most congenial all-around eating establishment in Morris (no alcohol served). Kudos to Boe DeToy for this post-game promotion.
Click on the link below to read about the Tigers' opening-game win at Minnewaska Area:
Click on the link below to reach the MACA football schedule page on Pheasant Country Sports:

Curtain rises for volleyball
The MACA volleyball Tigers found victory elusive through their first three matches.
The curtain rose with a road challenge against the Jaguars of BBE on Tuesday, Aug. 30. It was a 1-3 setback for Morris Area Chokio Alberta.
Then came home opener night. The fans were happy to get back to our spacious Morris Area gym for the new school year. The outcome was 0-3 but the Tigers were more competitive than those numbers suggest. The scores in games 1 and 3 were 24-26 and 23-25, respectively.
One little turnaround and the match complexion could have been much different. The Tigers were fairly competitive in the middle game too. They dropped that one 19-25, as it was hard to keep pace with the quality front line the Thunder Hawks presented.
The T-Hawks showed command with their hitting much of the time. The Tigers succumbed to kills by Kendyl Anderson, Dani Emkes, Olivia Bisel, Nettie Duvall and Ashley Hoehne.
The Monte attack was well-greased by setter Kelsey Amborn.
Terianne Itzen of the Tigers pounded down ten kills and Sydney Engebretson had eight. Nicole Strobel served for three aces and Itzen two. Strobel and Itzen each had three ace blocks while Engebretson and Jaime Bergerson each had two.
The most proficient diggers were Courtney Ehleringer and Itzen. The busiest setters were Katie Holzheimer and Itzen.
On to Thursday (9/8): The MACA girls were back on the road, this time matched against conference rival Benson.
Each team had a win after two games. After that the Braves seized just enough momentum to win. Here's a review of the scores with the MACA numbers first: 19-25, 25-22, 19-25 and 23-25. We narrowly missed the full five-game match.
Itzen showed focus at the net and accumulated 16 kills. Bergerson came through with ten.
Holzheimer and Itzen scurried to and fro setting up the spikers. Itzen had two ace blocks followed by Bergerson and Engebretson each with one. The digs category saw Holzheimer, Itzen and Ehleringer stand out with their numbers.
In serving, Holzheimer and Engebretson each had two aces.
Emma Peterson of the Braves was a force helping turn back the Tigers. Peterson's 14 kills and ten ace serves were a big ingredient in Benson's second win of the season (against one loss). Brave Samantha Goff was a force at the net too.

In tennis: defeat vs. Benson-KMS
Krista Matthews-Saugstad carried the first singles banner for MACA in winning fashion Thursday. None of her Tiger mates could fare as well, though, as this dual went into the books as a 1-6 defeat.
Matthews-Saugstad defeated Susan Zniewski 6-4 and 6-2.
Megan Wagner vied at second singles and she came out on the short end against Bridgett Auch 2-6 and 1-6. Renae Mullins fell to Kelly Saunders at #3 singles, 0-6 and 2-6.
Kjersa Anderson fell to Maggie Buyck in the #4 singles spot, 3-6 and 1-6.
The Tiger first doubles team of Darcy Aronson and Carly Gullickson was bested by the Brave duo of Kelsey Hammerschmidt and Hannah Ricard 2-6 and 1-6.
Shelby Marthaler and Marlee Morton teamed at second doubles and they came out on the short end vs. Megan Vergin and Kendra Dingmann, 4-6 and 6-7 (5-7).
At #3 doubles the Tiger pair was Kaitlin Vogel and Emily Moser and they were bested by Kelsey Rajewsky and Gretchen Pederson, 1-6 and 1-6.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Natural selection could nix Postal Service

The Borders bookstore chain crashed. Who could have foreseen that a few years ago?
A friend took me to a Borders in the Twin Cities once. It seemed like the epitome of culture. What a wondrous array of books, periodicals and CDs.
Today we are in the era of "creative destruction." Institutions and businesses can take little for granted now.
What wondrous new world are we being led into? It's a world where no one can take a staid approach.
Electronic communications level the playing field for everyone. It heightens natural selection in the business world.
Natural selection is not a pretty thing. "Jurassic Park" reminded us how a whole ecosystem got selected out. We learned how chaos theory can result in a seemingly well-ordered system breaking down.
I doubt we realize the full consequences of our digitized world. With analog systems breaking down all around us, lives are being disrupted, often in a tragic way.
The staid approach doesn't work for anything now. It's hard on middle age or older people who appreciated the old sense of order. We used rotary telephones and manual typewriters.
Writing longhand often seemed preferable to punching something out on a clunky typewriter. You'd write longhand to "write a letter."
But holy cow, the U.S. Postal Service looks now like it awaits the same fate as the dinosaur.
Aren't you getting weary seeing those fatalistic headlines every few months about the Postal Service? The bleak picture gets ever bleaker.
The mere reporting of this news would seem to make the situation worse. Now we're told the Postal Service could shut down due to financial woes. Heavens, it could happen before the end of next winter.
All these news articles end the same way: "Any changes (to how the Postal Service operates) are subject to approval by the U.S. Congress."
The Postal Service is desperate to throw off certain shackles. The government is responding with the kind of attentiveness and urgency one would associate with a tortoise, making me realize that Fareed Zakaria is probably right when he says the basic machinery of our government isn't suited for our new age. It's too cotton pickin' slow.
If in fact there is a solution for the Post Office woes, it should be implemented with not a moment to spare. Already many nervous individuals who depend on the Post Office for certain things are scrambling to identify contingencies.
People who have procrastinated on direct deposit will probably get off the shnide. My own family is an example of this.
The line on the graph will take a more extreme downward dip. Small towns that already have one foot in the grave will be dealt another blow if their P.O. closes.
It has been said the small-town Post Office offers intangibles. It's a tidy little building in town managed by a cheery, competent, uniformed individual. People kibitz there. Literature on government programs might be available there. Ditto tax forms.
But at its core, the P.O. is evidence of "life" in towns where increasingly the weeds are growing up from cracks in the sidewalks.
The school in Cyrus is supposedly in dire straits. Cyrus has already lost its cafe (a "kibitz" haven by definition). I spent 2-3 New Year's Eves dining in Cyrus alone. Actually I wasn't alone because I remember some of the other patrons who were there.
The cafe is empty. The school has vultures circling over it, and can the Post Office not be far behind?
Morris is increasingly an oasis. An oasis means "life" but you don't want to be too isolated. It's a little scary being isolated. What if the (economic) grim reaper slowly begins hovering over our community?
We have already lost some things of value. The old school property which 5-6 years ago was the focus of such grandiose visions - remember the "green community?" - sits deader than a doornail.
How steadfast is in fact our own Post Office? Might more and more activity be concentrated in Willmar? Why not? It's bigger, right? Everything is dictated by "the numbers," right?
It's natural selection which operates unabated if we allow it to.
"Progress" wiped out the small family farm and that was traumatic enough. Losing Post Offices will be dictated by "the numbers."
Newspapers are in rapid retreat and that doesn't bother me. The natural selection of the digitized world will have consequences that we're probably just starting to see. A futurist can have a field day.
A futurist might have predicted the demise of newspapers by now. Michael Wolff did. Nancy Barnes of our Star Tribune said recently the end of print is indeed coming. This was treated as somewhat of a bombshell by David Brauer of Minnpost. (David has been through a health issue recently and I certainly hope he's on the mend.)
Barnes sees print surviving for at least five more years. After that, all bets are apparently off.
If Barnes is right, we can expect a rapid further decline in print's viability. Because, print won't simply disappear if it gives all the appearances of being stable. It will disappear once it clearly has a stake in the heart and everyone has moved on to something else. Ironically it won't even be "news!"
Of course we're already moving on to alternatives. I have probably been a gadfly with people around Morris over the last five-plus years by saying we should grasp those alternatives now. What a wonderful experiment it would be if we could just say "to heck with our non-locally owned newspaper and just forget about it."
Seize the new media which is what "Stevens Forward!" wants us to do anyway.
"Stevens Forward!" recommends a "virtual community." We have all the tools to establish that now.
Old habits do drag on for a while.
Borders is gone and we just shrug. The U.S. Postal Service is entangled in an ugly transition and who knows how it will emerge.
Newspapers? Chuck 'em.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

How should we truly mark Labor Day?

It's Labor Day weekend which is a signal that the slow pace of summer is fading.
I'm writing this on Labor Day itself (Monday), a holiday that has always had a fuzzy purpose. Is it a day to honor all working people in a general way? Or is it a day to pay tribute to the organized labor movement?
Organized labor has been fading in America. Its last real bastion has been the public sector, and as we've seen in Wisconsin, its perch there is under siege as well.
I have always been puzzled how organized labor claims to speak for all working people. Its aims are laudable but its reach is too thin.
Organized labor, they say, gave us the weekend and the 40-hour week. But who really works a 40-hour week anymore? Work schedules are all over the map.
Also coming under revision is the idea of going to work at "the office." The new communications technology has obviously chipped away at that. It has actually applied a machete.
Work can be done anywhere. So many functions don't have to be performed face to face. The ones that don't, can be performed from literally anywhere.
Working from home can be nice. But it can be a curse if you find you can never get away from your work. If your boss can always find you.
"Mr. Spacely, what's up?"
Someone made mention of the "40-hour week" on the Chris Matthews program (on MSNBC) recently. The host sort of scoffed. Matthews said something to the effect that "nobody works a 40-hour week anymore."
The discussion quickly moved on but this exchange stuck with me.
What have we as a society lost when the 40-hour model has faded away? To be replaced by a disjointed structure where many people are in dead-end part-time work or working themselves into an early grave?
The 40-hour week was really a monument created by the World War II generation in the postwar years. We took it for granted. We insisted on limits.
Weekends were a time for diversions with friends and family. "Work" would have been considered an intrusion.
Many people looked for ways to "knock off early" on Fridays. Matthews would probably react to that phrase as being dated too.
What was wrong? Were people lazy? I think not at all.
People had a sense of their proper priorities. They made sure they had a secure job with a steady paycheck. Beyond that they valued R & R and connecting with those close to them.
Their jobs were fairly predictable. Yes, they involved systems that might be described as "analog."
"Oh, how inefficient!"
Maybe, but the new technology is so disruptive it's concerning. I don't think this has really sunk in yet.
Who can't be fascinated with computers and "connectivity?"
But lives have been turned upside down by the rapid changes.
Forget the old predictable nature of the workplace. All systems have been geared toward "efficiency."
Because we have decided that Wall Street is our new main street, profits rule. It hasn't yet fully dawned on us how dehumanizing this can be.
We haven't learned yet that "efficiency" isn't everything. We will learn, probably the hard way. It might happen when the U.S. economy runs into another snafu like in 2008.
Only next time, the government (an institution we aren't supposed to believe in) might not be able to bail us out.
In 2008 there was "sort of" a bailout. I think it just bought some time.
It's amazing that a Republican president like George W. Bush, who I presume feels the private sector can handle everything, would propose such drastic intervention as in 2008. He said his "economic advisers" told him he had to do it. So, he didn't have to take responsibility.
If Wall Street had been allowed to crumble, a new type of system could have arisen. I think it almost happened. It might take another crisis to see the kind of revision that might be good for America.
The question is how "ugly" that transition will be.
The inhabitants of Wall Street have close ties to our government. A lot of them went to the same Ivy League institutions.
Meanwhile all of us out here in the great Midwest are at their mercy. Up until now we haven't made much of an issue of this.
Frustration and anger has been building but it has been misdirected.
Let's get specific: It's the tea party. The tea party is a fountain of ignorance. It knows bad things are happening in America but doesn't know the exact cause. So it gets regressive, pining for an America of an earlier time that we know isn't coming back.
It attacks the very populist-based policies that are in their own best interests.
President Barack Obama seems like the most pleasant person who wants the best for all Americans. And yet he's assailed by the tea party, who come across as a bunch of rubes managed as if they were marionette puppets by the usual GOP bigshots who are aligned with the Wall Street establishment.
Can the truth break through? On this Labor Day of 2011, we all must wonder.
I'm pleased to know there's a formal Labor Day event in Morris this year. Yes it has political overtones. The DFL party is putting on this event at our University of Minnesota-Morris. It's from 5 to 7 p.m. It will include "labor music and exciting speeches."
"We invite everyone who supports the goals of standing up for the working people of our country to show up and show their solidarity," a spokesman was quoted saying in the first University Register of the new school year.
Sounds like socialism to me.
Where is the Counterweight when we need it?
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cross country, football usher in new fall

Tigers on trail surrounded by lush green, at PDT.
Aiming for the lead: some of the top runners jockey for position.
The running student athletes set a competitive pace on the PDT course.

Morris Area Chokio Alberta student athletes are off and running for the new school year.
"Running" truly got the accent for the Morris Invitational cross country meet on Monday (8/29). The orange and black colors showed up well on the course, not only because of our MACA Tigers but also because the Marshall Tigers were here.
Yours truly (B.W.) was delighted to be on hand and take the photos seen above. It would have been a thrill with or without camera.
I was hindered somewhat not knowing the layout of the course and being confused at first between the MACA and Marshall uniforms. The sun was getting too low to photograph the boys (at least for my equipment).
I can't include meet details here because on Tuesday through Friday, I couldn't find coverage anywhere in the media. And today (Saturday) I can't use the Morris newspaper because they cut me off on my comp subscription a couple of years ago.
I'll just report that it was an exciting spectacle and coach Dale Henrich deserves kudos. The 18-hole Pomme de Terre Golf Course is truly panoramic now.

Football: 13-7 opener win
One of the most exciting Tiger gridiron plays last year was when Tom Holland sprinted for six on a kickoff return vs. Paynesville. He did it again Friday.
Holland gave MACA the 7-0 lead by turning on the jets on the game's opening kickoff. He covered 80 yards to quiet the crowd at Minnewaska Area, not that there weren't a fair number of MACA fans on hand to cheer.
It was season opener night. That kickoff return ended up most essential for how the Tigers fared on the night. Coach Jerry Witt's crew debuted with a 13-7 win.
Mac Beyer kicked the conversion after Holland's sprint.
The Lakers also scored a first quarter touchdown. This came when Andrew Ostrander plunged in from the one. Landon Thiel's toe was true for the conversion.
So the score is stalemated seven-all and this is where it stayed until very late.
Finally, with the clock showing three minutes left, MACA executed a screen pass which broke the Lakers' back. Quarterback Jake Torgerson drifted back and then released the ball to Chandler Erickson.
Everything fell into place. Chandler found the lanes he needed and was off to the races. The play covered 53 yards and ended with the referees signaling "touchdown."
The PAT try failed but it wouldn't matter.
Minnewaska Area was a stubborn opponent and didn't commit a turnover. The Tigers lost two fumbles.
Coach Witt is going to want to erase that deficiency; and for sure the six penalties called on his team, for 40 yards, didn't put a smile on his face either. 'Waska had just one penalty.
What surely makes the coach smile is the big "W" (win).
Quarterback Torgerson handed off the football plenty of times to Tim Ostby, who accumulated 93 yards.
Passing the football, Jake had six completions in nine attempts for 115 yards and zero interceptions. Logan Manska paced the receivers with four catches for 44 yards.
Tanner Picht handled punting chores.
Minnewaska's top ballcarriers were Lucas Anderson and Blake Johnsrud. Ostrander did the passing and his favorite targets were Sam Long, Jeff Pooler and Anderson.
'Waska had nine first downs compared to seven by the Tigers.
Now the orange and black crew is gearing up for its first home game. They'll take the field at Big Cat for the upcoming Friday affair which will begin at 7 p.m. and have New London-Spicer as the foe.
The atmosphere is bound to be festive.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwily73@yahoo.com