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

A house reminding of U.S. Civil War - morris mn

A house reminding of U.S. Civil War - morris mn
Click on the image to read about the historic Stanton house of west Morris.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Conformity? It's the purpose of education

I remember a punk rock group when the genre first became well-known, that sang "I hate the bloody queen." British, of course.
When I was a kid a British accent seemed to be associated with sophistication. It's just an accent of course. The punk rockers did a good job discouraging that stereotype.
As with much pop music, this was the voice of the frustrated masses (though a long way from Woody Guthrie). Soon after the line about the queen came: "She makes me go to school!"
Do kids still hate going to school?
Maybe the boomers, now that we're parents, have made it a little more warm and fuzzy. I suspect a lot of kids have just learned to act like they enjoy school.
Why might kids hate school to the point they'd want to take it out on "the queen?"
"The reason kids hate school is that the purpose of school is to prepare them for a world of work that they will find unpleasant much of the time," I heard a cultural analyst say once.
When I was a kid and the school closing announcement came over the radio on a bad weather day, KMRS Radio would then play "That's what happiness is."
Nothing subtle about that statement.
In the early '70s the education establishment was forced to inspect its naval because of the prevailing tumult. There was a mantra out there of "let's not conform." Conformity had led America down some dubious paths, we were told.
It was a correct assertion but what could this mean for formal education?
The education establishment tried to pretend it was on board with the conformity-bashing. But it made no sense. Politics aside, the whole purpose of education is to promote conformity.
The whole idea is to mold young people delicately but also with a firm hand so there is a common grasp of principles that enables them to live together.
It's a glue of civilization.
So the question isn't whether school will promote conformity. Because that's all school does. The question is, what direction will our kids be pointed in?
Educators are great for saying "critical analysis" needs to be instilled in kids. Kids are often dragged through swill in reading assignments because "we need to teach them to think critically."
Most often I smell a condescending tone in such statements. I can't help but think teachers just want to steer kids toward a world view like their own. It's a world view with political overtones.
I'm not terribly worried because these kids become adults with an independent streak of thinking anyway.
School represents society's desire to have kids get adapted to the rigors, discipline and yes, even tedium of the workplace. It's very primal, to instill civilization.
To throw off conformity? It was only a fad. Fads come and go in education. Remember "outcome based education?"
George W. Bush brought us "teaching to the test." Why should a school even offer music and art if these aren't going to help kids on their essential tests?
Why would Bush have the Federal government impose itself in such a firm way with education, where I would assume that Republicans would want maximum local control?
I hope kids are taught about the disingenuous nature of politics.
School is a model of the world outside. Kids are put through exercises that have structure and require self-discipline to handle and complete. The intrinsic value of many of these exercises may be nil. And yes, I do have an example.
I was driving the company van once and listening to the always-observant (and maybe a little verbose) Don Shelby on the radio. He was talking about "language immersion." It turns out, the only way to really learn to speak a foreign language is to do so via "immersion."
If you're learning French, you should do so in a classroom where the only language allowed is French. You plunge in and slowly develop a grasp.
Shelby's segment on his WCCO program that day vindicated me. Because I remembered being hopelessly bored and lost in French class at MHS which was not immersion-style. It was a standard French class of the time. Shelby remembered a family member of his who went through classes like that, fruitlessly.
"She could conjugate verbs like mad. But she couldn't speak French," Shelby said.
Oh, conjugating verbs. I bristled.
Sitting in that classroom, I was like that punk rocker with my feelings about school. We had headphones at our disposal in those classes - high tech for its time. The school could trumpet those resources. But I couldn't speak French.
Classes of that kind were just exercises in instilling discipline - following marching orders. The purpose was never to really learn to speak French. The designers of these classes must have known that.
But they mapped things out so we'd have to plow through a structured body of learning. This is how we would find the world of work, as adults, in many respects: You learn a routine that is tedious in many ways but you endure it.
The tech revolution has wiped away a lot of the old tedium. The whole purpose of tech is to get from point 'A' to 'B' in the most practical fashion - no unnecessary or superfluous hurdles.
So along comes "immersion" and language camps that employ it. Now, the idea of taking a foreign language is to actually learn to speak that language. How refreshing.
All that conjugation was just hell. It was imposed on us as an exercise in conformity, in just swimming through a body of knowledge. We built self-discipline. Maybe I didn't but many of my peers did.
I had enough of a grasp of writing that I would get through school on the strength of that. I got whacked on the back of the head by a teacher at MHS once. But I learned to forge ahead. I learned to use words.
Words can be far more powerful than violence. John Stossel recalls being bullied as a kid and eventually becoming a journalist partly so he could "turn the cameras back on the bullies."
I understand fully. It's a jungle out there. I might hate "the bloody queen" too if we had one. We had Dick Nixon which was close.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tigers fall to Braves in 5AA game, here

Daniel Nelson makes a stop for the Tiger defense. (Photos by B.W.)
Jordan Staples pursues the Benson QB.
Tim Ostby aims for more rushing yardage.

Benson 30, Tigers 14 (5AA quarter-finals)
The Benson Braves came on strong in the middle two quarters Tuesday evening at Big Cat Stadium. There was a slight feel of early-winter in the air but overall the conditions were pleasant.
Benson scored 14 points in the second quarter and 16 in the third. The host MACA Tigers, the slight on-paper favorite, scored six points in the first quarter and eight in the fourth. Add these numbers up and you get Benson winning 30-14.
Thus the MACA season of 2011 is done. It ends in an anticlimactic way because the Tigers seemed so fueled by momentum coming down the home stretch of the schedule. Not only were the Tigers winning, they were winning with a dramatic flourish.
But no such magic emerged to lift them Tuesday in the face of the Matt Ahrndt-led Benson crew. Ahrndt is a supremely gifted quarterback.
Scott Gonnerman, a UMM product, is coach of the Braves and on this night he out-dueled fellow former Cougar Jerry Witt.
The first quarter ended with Morris Area Chokio Alberta having assumed a 6-0 lead. That initial MACA score came on a six-yard pass from Jake Torgerson to Chandler Erickson. The Tigers tried a pass on the conversion and were unsuccessful.
The early glimmer of hope for MACA subsided in the second and third quarters. Turnovers hurt. Logan Connelly returned an interception 33 yards for Bensons' first touchdown. Jacob Huston kicked the point-after.
Ahrndt clicked with pass-catcher Luke Schwarz for Benson's second score. Schwarz reached the end zone on a 22-yard pass, and this score was followed by another successful Huston PAT kick.
Huston began the second half scoring with a 27-yard field goal.
Benson continued taking command of this playoff game with a two-yard TD run that had Ahrndt clutching the football. Huston's toe was true again for the point-after.
Benson's final score came on an Ahrndt one-yard carry. This time the PAT try was no good.
MACA got its point total up to 14 when Torgerson passed ten yards to Erickson, and Torgerson passed for two points to Logan Manska.
Torgerson on the whole had his struggles on this night, untypical for him, as his stats showed nine completions in 23 attempts for 117 yards and four interceptions. His receivers were Jordan Staples, Erickson, Manska and Tom Holland.
Tim Ostby was tops in rushing with 19 carries for 74 yards. Staples had eight carries for 35 yards.
Tanner Picht did the Tigers' punting. Zach Gibson had a fumble recovery. Picht had a quarterback sack. Standouts on the tackle chart were Holland, Picht and Connor Metzger.
This game was in the 5AA quarter-finals. Benson advances to play BOLD this Saturday night, 10/29.
The Tigers end the 2011 campaign with a 5-4 record.

A personal note:
This was my second season covering Tiger football since my hiatus from journalism. It was enjoyable but there was a down note.
I rely on other media, mostly, for the raw information that I use in writing my posts. The other media can be very fallible.
There is a regional newspaper that purports to cover the Tigers along with other area teams. There may have been a time when this system was the best available to share game information broadly. Remember Bruce Strand? Those were the good old days.
The problem with this newspaper's system is that it largely relies on home team coaches calling in information. Often it seems to work. But when it fails it can fail badly. We saw the undesirable scenario during the 2011 season.
I appreciate the MACA coach who contacted me to make sure I could at least correct a couple of the more glaring errors after a game. There was another game review where I could spot two problems just in my initial reading. This is disheartening.
I have already suggested to a Morris Area school board member that our school strongly assert a policy of having game information reported only from our own coaching staff. Our athletes deserve it. Online would be the reporting vehicle. The particulars would be worked out with time.
Obviously there would be a link or links on the school website. Eventually we'll probably see advertising on the school website. Nationally this is happening.
Why not keep advertising dollars here, in our own community and helping our school? Coaches have to deal with media relations no matter how it's done. So there's a time investment regardless. Having the information processed here means quality control which is what our student athletes deserve.
Don't think of all this stuff as "work." A lot of it is fun.
It would also be nice to hear the pep band a little more in the future. What about cheerleading? How about a male/female "cheer team?"
Thanks to Boe and Tina DeToy for their post-game receptions for players and fans at their DeToy's Restaurant.

Cross Country: Tigers first to the chute
An MACA Tiger won the individual championship in both the boys and girls divisions of the WCC-South cross country meet. Those titles were enjoyed by fans lining the course at our Pomme de Terre Golf Course.
Runners from around the conference came here on Tuesday, Oct. 18, for the big and colorful spectacle.
The orange and black got to the finish line first in the boys and girls races. It was Roy Reese entering the finish chute No. 1 in the boys race. His time: 17:36.0. Teammate Aaron Goulet was No. 2 with his 17:53.0.
The MACA boys as a team were second behind the purple-clad Montevideo crew. There were six teams in the running.
Reese and Goulet were joined in the MACA effort by Beau Keimig (8th place, 18:28.0), Greg Anderson (11th, 18:41.0) and Brody Bahr (13th, 19:02.0).
Makenzie Smith continued her top-flight running in the girls race, getting into the chute with her first place time of 15:36. The MACA girls had a fourth place team showing.
The champion girls team was from LQPV-DB.
Also running for Morris Area Chokio Alberta were: Rachel Rausch (14th place, 17:34), Julia Sauder (24th, 18:42), Becca Holland (26th, 18:58), Adrianela Mendez (31st, 19:56) and Tahni Jungst (32nd, 19:57).

Volleyball: Tigers dealt setbacks
The fall break week wasn't kind to the MACA volleyball team. The Tigers were swept on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17 and 18.
Sauk Centre came at the Tigers with a relentless offense in the Monday action. The Streeters prevailed by scores of 25-13, 25-7 and 25-16.
Terianne Itzen was the most productive hitter for MACA with 29 good in 30 attempts and five aces. She and Katie Holzheimer did the setting, following the usual script.
Paige Schieler and Holzheimer each had an ace block. Mikaela Henrichs led in digs with 15 followed by Itzen with eight. Courtney Ehleringer had eleven good serves in as many attempts and chalked up an ace.
Nicole Strobel and Itzen each had a serving ace.
The Tuesday volleyball story had the Tigers playing conference champion BOLD in Olivia. There would be no turning back the kingpin Warriors on this night.
The Warriors made another strong statement in WCC-South play, downing the Tigers by scores of 25-21, 25-21 and 25-17. It was their eleventh conference win against one loss. In 2010 their conference mark was 12-0, so it's quite a run of success there.
They had too many weapons for the Tigers to overcome Tuesday.
Paige Schieler got in with the setting to join Itzen and Holzheimer. In hitting Itzen was at the fore with her 33 good in 38 attempts and eight aces. She and Sydney Engebretson each had an ace block. Henrichs was at the fore in digs with her 20. Katie Holzheimer showed an aggressive flair at the serving line, chalking up five ace serves.
But it was BOLD with the superior overall attack.
The post-season is next and the Tigers' initial foe will be Benson at Benson.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No shades of gray in judging the U's Maturi

Chip Scoggins had an analysis Saturday that was about as incisive as "the Pope is Catholic."
Chip writes for the Star Tribune. There was a time when the Star Tribune was a beacon in this state. Today "the media" have a whole new definition.
I like looking at this relic of a media institution when I have my morning breakfast at DeToy's Restaurant. That's why I can comment on Mr. Scoggins' commentary on Gophers football that appeared Saturday. His headline: "Undo bad fit - bid farewell to Maturi."
The reference is to Joel Maturi, U of M athletic director.
Maturi is way too easy a target. We Minnesotans deserved better than what we got Saturday afternoon on KSTP-Channel 5. It was the U's Homecoming and we should have anticipated a decent football game.
Instead we tuned in expecting something unpleasant, like tuning in for the Jerry Springer program. You watch to see how bad someone can get bludgeoned.
This has been going on way too long in Gophers football.
It's anything but a revelation now to read that maybe the overmatched Maturi should just mosey on down the road. But scribe Scoggins felt it should be splashed on Page C1, as if maybe the light bulb might just be going on.
He had his facts right. There was nothing sloppy about the piece. But he went too far out of his way to be diplomatic. He seemed to see shades of gray where none existed.
It's politically incorrect to be overwhelmingly negative especially when you're writing about the state's flagship institution of higher education. But sometimes the Pope really is Catholic.
This is the second time in a couple of weeks I have taken to task someone named Chip. First it was Chip Cravaack, our new tea party Congressman.
It's a little sad because "Chip" was one of my favorite characters in the classic TV show "My Three Sons." I especially liked that show in the early years when it was black and white and William Frawley played "Bub." That show belongs in baby boomer nostalgia just like the Gophers being a premier team in college football.
Chip (the writer) looks a little young to have any first-hand recollections of that. I do.
But college football has evolved into a behemoth since then, greased by big money and big TV deals. Our state of Minnesota should be up to the task. Chip strives to pull back the curtain and he states the obvious. But he hedges way too much.
He strives to show deference. It's hard to say the emperor has no clothes when the emperor, in this case the University of Minnesota president, has academic credentials of the highest stripe. And yes, the president has to get drawn into this, regardless of the notorious buck-passing that can happen in large, cumbersome institutions.
Chip begins by quoting Maturi saying "he doesn't know whether he will return next year as Gophers athletic director."
The second sentence makes reference to the U's new president, saying Eric Kaler "still has not announced whether he will offer Maturi an extension after taking time to evaluate him."
Can we really be sure the Pope is Catholic?
Chip then cites a "general sense around campus" that Maturi's tenure will end with a "mutual parting of ways."
Why does it have to be mutual? People leave jobs in non-mutual ways all the time, jobs that pay a fraction of what Maturi hauls in.
Yes, Maturi is bombarded with his share of "angry emails," as Scoggins writes, but he probably has a compensation package that cushions the blow. Us suffering fans who watched the Gophers get buried by Nebraska in the first half Saturday have no mitigating reward.
Simply knowing the Gophers were about to play Nebraska conjured up visions like the lions eating Christians. This has gone on for a while now.
Scoggins writes that the atmosphere around U football and Maturi is "toxic."
Really? The writer suggests a contract extension would cause an "uproar." Why oh why is this scenario even in the cards?
"The Gophers need a big-picture CEO type," Scoggins continues.
We have read before about Maturi going out of his way to make low-profile sports feel important at the U. That's nothing but quaint. We're not in the year 1960. Like it or not, Division I athletics have become a behemoth type of proposition. Scoggins' conclusions represent a given.
That Kaler would even hedge, saying he needs more time to evaluate the AD, is puzzling. Is Kaler "just another victim" in a series of U presidents that struggle to stabilize U sports? Or, who are fundamentally uncaring about them? Who pays mere lip service?
The Gophers were so manhandled in the first half Saturday, we wondered how Nebraska would even approach the second half. They were here to play football. They took the field for the second half probably wondering if they'd be perceived as "running up the score."
What a sad spectacle at our still-new TCF Bank Stadium. Why was it allowed to get this way? OK, let the buck-passing start.
But there's a bottom line here like acknowledging the religious affiliation of the Pope.
Scoggins finally makes solid contact: "The Gophers might be the worst football team in Division I-A."
Scoggins is careful to write "Joel Maturi is a good man."
The AD is "honest to a fault," Scoggins continues, but the same can be said of the lead character in the movie "Our Idiot Brother."
You're playing among heavy hitters in Division I-A. These guys succeed the way car salesmen sell cars.
Maturi "cares deeply about his department and athletics," Scoggins writes.
I certainly wouldn't suspect otherwise. If there were evidence to the contrary, that would be quite the scandal, wouldn't it?
So all of this misses the point. Maturi may seem like a charming grandfather - he's age 66 - but he's a charming grandfather who I'm sure pulls down a big salary. It isn't necessary for Scoggins and others to be so delicate judging him.
"We shouldn't forget the mess he inherited after the academic scandal," Chip writes, again going out of his way to be balanced.
Well I've forgotten about it. That happened a long time ago.
Nebraska has academics too. Somehow it's not an impediment there, nor at Michigan and Purdue, who beat the Gophers by a combined score of 103-17 earlier this season.
The worst embarrassments, though, were the losses to New Mexico State and North Dakota State, both at home. Nebraska had a bushel-full of points at halftime Saturday while "our beloved rodents" had donut.
"The product on the field appears to be getting worse and, frankly, is hard to watch," Scoggins writes, projecting a tone that should have dominated his whole column.
It's also a little scary going to a game if you get squeamish about watching someone go into an intense seizure, as our head coach Jerry Kill did.
I continue to be struck by how the media seem not to want to question Kill and his staff. I feel sorry for Tim Brewster, Kill's predecessor. The media seem to feel Kill is just digging out of a hole that came about because of Brewster. Brewster was hired by Maturi.
Brewster, a good man and good football person, didn't have the background to get established as a successful Division I coach. I remember vividly that when he was hired, I thought to myself "that's a curious decision."
It was a gamble. At this level you're vying with too many heavy hitters, those car salesmen, to expect to succeed with a decision like this.
Does Kaler understand this? He'd probably just pass the buck.
"College football is the window to a university," Scoggins wrote.
Kaler had better understand that. The clock is ticking.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tigers hand BOLD first loss, 34-29 at Big Cat

The Tigers in the foreground playing defense in the win over BOLD are Tim Ostby (left) and Connor Metzger. (Photos by B.W.)
Tom Holland, No. 3 of the Tigers, aims for more yardage in the win over BOLD.

Wednesday was a great night for viewing MACA football at our magnificent Big Cat Stadium. The Tigers took the field for the annual mid-week game which in the old days was called the MEA week game. Today it's "fall break."
The temperature felt like late-fall, no mistaking, but there didn't seem to be any wind and after a few minutes of being outside, the elements didn't seem to be a hassle at all.
The fan turnout seemed a little thin. But the fans who turned out at our Big Cat saw a whale of a game.
The BOLD Warriors came here looking like a juggernaut. They had yet to be beaten in both conference and overall. Would they roll over our Tigers? Most certainly not.
In a season of particularly exciting wins, coach Jerry Witt's Tigers added another one Wednesday.
Let history record the Tigers handed BOLD their first loss of the season. Fans were ecstatic as time expired with the orange and black up 34-29. It was the fourth win in league for MACA, fifth overall.
The playoffs beckon! The Tigers will host familiar opponent Benson for the start of playoffs this coming Tuesday, 10/25, at 7 p.m.
BOLD looked the part of an undefeated team in the first quarter. The Warriors built a 13-0 lead.
Skeptical fans might think this was a predictable script. But the Tigers appear completely unfazed in these situations.
The BOLD scoring pace slowed to a crawl in the second and third quarters - three points between the two quarters. Meanwhile the MACA engines began humming. Tim Ostby got MACA on the board with a two-yard TD carry, and Jake Torgerson passed to Tom Holland for two on the conversion.
Senior Ostby was on his way to a career type of night. He attacked the vaunted BOLD defense for 231 yards on 31 carries. His two-yard TD that put MACA on the board was the first of three TDs by this workhorse Tiger.
Holland scored the second MACA touchdown on a 19-yard run. Then it was Ostby catching the two-point conversion pass from Torgerson. We're in the second half now.
The Tigers also scored the next touchdown and this was on a big play run by Ostby: 76 yards. This time the two-point conversion pass try failed.
BOLD found new life with two touchdowns. First it was Zach Remillard scoring on a four-yard run. The conversion kick try was blocked. Then, Kyle Athmann found the end zone on a 15-yard run. Nic Bolleter kicked the point-after.
The rest of the night's scoring was performed by Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Ostby ran the football into the end zone from the six. The conversion pass try was unsuccessful.
Now the Tigers are down by one on the scoreboard, 29-28, so would those failed conversion plays haunt? For a while it looked like the answer might be "yes."
BOLD seemed in position to run out the clock. A fumble can always dash those designs. Indeed, the Warriors did turn over the football via fumble. This was a gift-wrapped break for MACA.
Torgerson engineered a 12-play scoring drive. Holland, the Tiger who had pounced on the fumble, caught a 17-yard screen pass. The eventual game-winning score came on a Logan Manska eight-yard pass reception.
It's too bad more fans weren't there to see this unforgettable 34-29 triumph. But kudos to all those who turned out.
Ostby was followed in the rushing department by Jordan Staples (eleven carries, 43 yards) and Holland (4-31).
Torgerson was efficient with the arm, completing six of his 14 pass tries for 70 yards and - this is important - no interceptions. Here's the receiving list: Chandler Erickson (two catches, 19 yards), Tyler Henrichs (1-12), Manska (2-22) and Holland (1-17).
Corey Storck did the Tigers' punting. Erickson and Dan Nelson had interceptions. Holland had that essential fumble recovery.
Standouts on the tackle chart were Holland, Connor Metzger, Staples and "Bubba" Gibson.
BOLD's Remillard rushed for 123 yards on 18 carries. Kyle Athmann did BOLD's passing.
BOLD can claim the WCC-South title despite the loss.
It has been quite the season for our orange and black. Stop and imagine how fun it would be to see Tiger football represented online in a system like for the UMM Cougars. In the meantime you can enjoy this website. Yours truly is having a blast.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vikings on verge of dubious new chapter?

We Minnesotans might be feeling a little "jet lag" this week. There was a prime time (late) Vikings game on TV Sunday. It was also a downer of a game.
Now we know what Detroit Lions fans felt like for the past couple of decades. The Lions have sprung out of that funk. Are the Vikings on the verge of falling in? I have warned before that this might happen.
Once a team falls into the lower tier, it can stay there a while as if afflicted by a disease (or curse).
"Losing is a disease," proclaimed that psychologist/consultant for the fictional New York Knights baseball team in "The Natural."
I'm writing this after having slept in Tuesday. Maybe the jet lag is subsiding now.
The Minnesota Vikings keep dancing in our thoughts because there's that monstrous specter of the new stadium issue. If we didn't know anything about Arden Hills before, we do now.
Why don't all these media articles remind us why we need a new stadium at all? The stadium formerly named for Hubert Humphrey seems quite fine. We should still feel proud we have a covered stadium that can get us through nearly any winter. Well, I guess not last winter.
Remember the "panic" over getting TCF Bank Stadium ready for a prime time game? Remember our "home" game played in Detroit with that surreal Vikings logo painted at midfield?
But the Metrodome has served us well since its inception. People my age remember Vikings games played at the old "Met" (Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington) which gave the impression sometimes we were in the middle of the arctic tundra.
We can get nostalgic about the Met. That's because we're separated by time and don't need to deal with our toes feeling they might be frozen solid.
Is there anything wrong with watching football games played on "Mall of America Field?"
The movers and shakers will tell us there's a reason why the old dome needs to be retired. A lot of us are busy or have ADD and need to be reminded. Let's see, it's because the new stadiums need luxury boxes for all the obscenely rich fat cats?
"Big money" couldn't be the reason, could it?
Is the problem that we feel a need to keep up with Jerry Jones in Dallas? Many NFL observers wonder if Jones' new stadium might be "a bridge too far."
Why can't we reach a point where we're just satisfied with what we have? We need to listen to a typical grandmother here. "Be thankful for what you've got."
I thought the Metrodome was a blessing when it was built. It solved the PR problem that Minnesota had with big-time sports events outdoors. It was clean and sturdy if not fancy.
Yes, the images on the projection screen were primitive. (Patrick Reusse joked they were "brown and white," not black and white.) We got to see the ghost for "walks will haunt."
Compare that to Jones' jumbo screen in Dallas, so spectacular it has been said a fan can get his money's worth just watching that instead of the "real" action. But is this a route we really want to follow? Does everything have to get bigger and better all the time?
Will we reach a point where the NFL product might mot mesmerize us like it once did? This can happen through saturation which any marketing person can tell you about. I learned about it through reading Harvey Mackay.
There is more and more NFL football for us to watch all the time, along with around-the-clock analysis on the ESPN channels. It has been a wild ride.
The analysis stuff was practically nil when I was a kid. You had to search for it like on WCCO Radio or by looking up Sid Hartman in the Minneapolis paper. Hartman wielded power then. Today he ought to enjoy life and retire. He has earned it. He is lost in the media shuffle today.
The saturation theory dawned on me Sunday night watching the Vikings, because it seems there is a certain "sameness" in NFL games. A certain predictability.
This happens with entertainment products that reach their maximum penetration. They follow a formula to reach that point and pretty soon the formula becomes clear to us.
We see how the rules have been tweaked to help the passing game.
We all knew when Christian Ponder entered the game at quarterback that he would complete passes against a soft defense played by the Chicago Bears who were protecting a lead. I could script the kind of passes Ponder would complete.
He was put out there as a tease. He was judged not good enough to start the game. Coach Leslie Frazier used his professional acumen to decide Donovan McNabb should start this game. A stupid fan wouldn't know better.
This game was on national TV so it couldn't be allowed to just die. So Frazier patted the fanny of Christian Ponder, the ol' FSU Seminole, and sent him out to the huddle.
I'm trying to decide which famous actor Ponder looks like. He has the handsome image to ingratiate himself. First he has to win a couple games.
On Sunday he essentially got "garbage time" as Vikings fans watched with a combined air of despair - we're tumbling out of playoff contention - and excitement over seeing "the rookie" throw passes.
I'm sure many of us were wondering if we'd be better off in bed.
Winter is about to arrive on our doorstep in Minnesota. The Vikings season is following the script made famous by the Detroit Lions. We'll watch the remaining games only to the extent we can't find better things to do. The team will expect us to feel excited about the rookie quarterback.
This will then make us smile, supposedly about the inexorable march toward a new stadium on that ammo dump. Wouldn't George Carlin love this? He had a routine where he talked about the violent nature of football compared to baseball.
"In baseball, you're 'safe,' " he'd say. "Baseball is played in a ballpark. Football is played in a stadium."
And then came the payoff line.
"War Memorial Stadium," Carlin intoned, a reference to the stadium in Buffalo, New York.
So Carlin would smile, if he were still with us, learning of our intentions of building a new football stadium on an old ammo dump.
Our morning table at McDonald's feels a sense of resignation about the new stadium drive.
"They always end up getting it," is the typical refrain. "It's like new school referendums. You can vote 'no' over and over again, but all it takes is one 'yes' vote and it's done."
The new stadium push is like a menacing specter that can't be chased away. A certain proposal might fail, but within months we'll tune in to the evening news and see some blow-dried anchor saying once again: "There's a new stadium proposal in front of the legislature."
I love the passive voice in these statements. A new stadium proposal doesn't just come from nowhere. Someone puts it there. All that's left is the script the news anchors read (minus the winks between movers and shakers).
And then us Minnesotans just get a feeling of resignation.
Our table at McDonald's may exude wisdom but it doesn't matter. Our populist views are trampled. There's big money at work.
As Glen Helberg and yours truly often say: "Money talks and bulls--t walks."
Lemmings, we are.
I should be at McDonald's now (Tuesday a.m.) but I slept in a little. Jet lag.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tigers score all 28 points in fourth, beat YME

MACA downed Yellow Medicine East in an incredible high school football game Friday in Granite Falls.
The host looked like granite for the first three quarters, preventing the Tigers from scoring a single point. But what a turnaround the MACA fans were treated to in the fourth.
The Tigers are making a habit of winning in dramatic fashion as road warriors. They did this against Paynesville, and summoned the winning magic again Friday.
They scored all of their game-total 28 points in the fourth quarter! They downed the stunned Sting in the 28-25 final.
The Sting led 12-0 going into the fourth quarter. It might have been a somewhat dull game up until then, but the fourth quarter truly became "showtime."
Coach Jerry Witt mapped out the winning formula and his players executed.
At one point in the fourth the Tigers actually trailed by 18 points. The Sting's Jacob Peterson scored on a 62-yard run in the fourth to give YME that promising bulge on the scoreboard.
Could the Tigers possibly turn things around? They most surely could, and the momentum got started with a Tim Ostby five-yard touchdown carry. The conversion pass try failed.
Next it was Chandler Erickson scoring for the never-say-die Tigers. Erickson charged through openings on a kickoff return, really turned on the jets and scored - a 79-yard return. The Tigers tried a kick on the conversion and were unsuccessful. (Conversion plays have been a bugaboo for MACA this fall.)
The Tigers used the big-play pass for their next score: quarterback Jake Torgerson passed 28 yards to Logan Manska for a TD. This time the Tigers clicked for the conversion as Torgerson found Ostby for two.
The Sting struck back as Peterson found daylight to score on a 25-yard run. Cody Bossman kicked the point-after.
Then it was the Tigers getting back to work scoring again. Erickson got open for a 28-yard catch from Torgerson and the refs signalled "touchdown."
Tom Holland ran for two points on the conversion.
What a game!
The scoreboard read Tigers 28, Sting 25, and the orange and black could savor their third conference win of the season, fourth overall.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta had nine first downs. Ostby led in rushing yards with 60, in 15 carries, and Jordan Staples picked up 25 yards in five carries.
Torgerson completed ten of his 18 pass attempts with no interceptions, and his passing yardage was 174. Erickson eclipsed 100 receiving yards with his five catches. Tanner Picht had two catches for 18 yards, Ostby two for 19 and Logan Manska one for 28.
Staples had a fumble recovery.
YME's Peterson was a nemesis for the Tigers and he finished with 139 rushing yards in 16 carries.
YME's first two touchdowns on the night were scored by Adam Koepke and Brandon Grund. YME's passing was done by Jake Sharkey and Elliott Carmany.
Next for the Tigers: the annual mid-week game that signals we're coming down the home stretch. Wednesday, Oct. 19, will find coach Witt's crew hosting BOLD at Big Cat Stadium. BOLD has carved out lots of success so the challenge should be substantial.
Let's defy the late-fall chill in the air and all turn out for the 7 p.m. kickoff!

Volleyball: a week of sweep wins!
The MACA volleyball Tigers rolled past all opponents this past week.
What a week! Not only did the orange and black prevail in all three of its matches, it did so via sweep.
On Monday the opponent was Minnewaska Area. On Tuesday: Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. And after the day off on Wednesday, the Tigers discovered plenty more fuel in the tank and swept Lac qui Parle Thursday.
The success really invigorated the squad although it still finds itself two games below .500 at 10-12. In conference the numbers are 4-7.
If the Tigers can parlay the kind of form they exhibited this past week, you might say it's a whole new season. Prior to the week, the Tigers had been somewhat snakebit losing some games by scores like 24-26.
There was a reversal in the match against Minnewaska Area. Here's a review of the scores on the night: 27-25, 27-25, 25-16. It's a pleasure typing the higher number first.
Katie Holzheimer and Terianne Itzen set the ball in typically proficient fashion. Itzen also came to the fore hitting. She posted the team-best kill total of eight. She also served for an ace.
Jaimie Bergerson was second best in kills with her six. Four each were pounded down by Nicole Strobel, Paige Schieler and Sydney Engebretson.
Bergerson led the ace blocks list with five. Schieler and Engebretson were right behind with four and three respectively. Mikaela Henrichs with her 17 digs was tops in that department. Itzen and Engebretson were a force in digs with 16 and 15, respectively.
Courtney Ehleringer served for 15 good in as many attempts and had one ace.
Minnewaska's Lexi Amundson had eleven kills.
The Tuesday story was a sweep again, this time in Atwater over the Falcons of ACGC. Again, two of the three games were as close as you can get. MACA fans are delighted to see their team on the winning end of those squeakers.
MACA disposed of the Falcons 28-26, 25-16 and 25-23.
Holzheimer and Itzen raced around the court, executing in the setting department flawlessly. Together they put up 28 assists.
Jaimie Bergerson and Sydney Engebretson were determined at the net and together they pushed down five ace blocks.
The vital kills department had Paige Schieler setting the pace on this night. She pounded down ten, followed by Engebretson with eight, Bergerson with six, Strobel with four and Itzen and Courtney Gades each with three.
Henrichs was at the fore in digs with 14. Itzen racked up three ace serves.
ACGC's Katie Knisley was proficient at the net with 12 kills.
On Thursday the Morris Area Chokio Alberta fans had reason to anticipate more success. Lac qui Parle entered the night with no wins in conference or overall. Things weren't going to get better for the Eagles Thursday.
MACA bore down to make it a sweep for the week - a truly memorable week in Tiger volleyball. The Eagles got stronger as the night went along but they couldn't eke out a win. MACA prevailed 25-11, 25-20 and 25-23.
Nicole Strobel was aggressive at the serving line and she served for five aces.
Holzheimer and Itzen were steady as always in setting. Bergerson and Engebretson found lots of those sets to their liking as they each pounded down eight kills. Itzen was right behind with seven.
Engebretson went up for two ace blocks. Itzen had the team-high eleven digs.
LQPV's Jordan Halvorson had five kills.
Coming out of Thursday, BOLD was the conference leader with a 10-1 record followed by Benson at 9-2.

Cross country: Smith first to the chute
Makenzie Smith continued her hard-charging ways in cross country races this fall, taking No. 1 in the Benson Invitational held on Monday, Oct. 10. Smith was greeted at the finish chute with her time of 15:49.52.
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls as a team took third. Benson-KMS had the top team.
Joining Smith in the orange and black cause were Rachel Rausch (15th, 17:45.27), Julia Sauder (17th, 18:25.14), Becca Holland (26th, 19:34.89) and Adrianela Mendez (28th, 19:38.78).
The MACA boys took third like the girls. Sauk Centre had the top boys team.
Two Tigers finished in the top five: Aaron Goulet in third with his time of 18:03.88, and Roy Reese in fourth with his 18:34.51 performance.
Caleb Sanderson finished 15th (19:28.40), Brody Bahr 25th (20:18.61) and Ben Jerke 27th (20:26.83).
The boys race was won by Jacob Gerhartz of Sauk Centre who arrived at the chute at 16:35.06.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why can't kids just read good stories?

George Will once wrote that if the U.S. model of education had been imposed on us by an outside power, "it would be considered an act of war."
Monopolies mean trouble. People within their walls develop their own self-serving agendas. They can't allow students to just enjoy life and become self-empowered. Self-empowerment might mean less reliance on the state and its educational apparatus.
Students surely don't know what's good for them, right?
Oh, this doesn't apply in the natural sciences or mathematics. Nor in industrial arts. But as I reflect on the classes I was steered toward in school (because someone thought I was a good writer), I'm mystified.
I hope the situation has been addressed since my school days.
Here is where political conservatives can do us a favor. Conservatives would advocate getting a shovel and cleaning out the barn. They assail with some cause our monopolistic public education system where young people are subjected to a lot of turgid material.
I remember that not long after high school, I heard a news report about a conservative group protesting some high school reading materials here in Minnesota. The TV report showed a pile of some of the objectionable material. There was a big blue book I remembered from high school.
"Well, that makes sense," I thought.
Here's a case where I'm totally aligned with these people, people who today tend to be tea partiers. We mustn't generalize when it comes to movements. People of an ideological stripe can sometimes see merit in the opposing side. Let's occupy Wall Street!
I'm with John Stossel on a lot of philosophical matters even though he tends to associate himself with the Fox News crowd which I reject. Stossel is a libertarian but it's obvious he's gentle and caring - not a snarling pit bull.
My old boss says I express a political philosophy on this site that defies easy categorization. Thanks, I think.
Have I become such an old-timer I actually exude wisdom? I'm a progressive who has no real problem with European style socialism. But I get irritated where progressives get carried away.
There are areas in American life where market principles can be a real boon. Public education needs a strong dose.
I suspect there has been progress since when we had that "blue book" thrust on us.
It's hard getting teachers straightened out because of the power they acquire.
Why can't kids develop their reading by just reading "good stories?" Why can't kids learn history in a way that leaves a little more room for optimism about the American story and American model?
It's quite possible things are being done better now. But that "blue book" and other such tripe were rightfully under fire from sensible people who wanted kids to open their horizons in a way that was less coached.
Don't think for an instant that kids don't know what's going on. Many of them "play the game" as set down by their teachers and move on, probably with wrinkled forehead over what happened.
Like what? Well, maybe like reading "Death of a Salesman."
The intelligentsia would say this is a "classic." If it is, I'd say it's a classic in their own minds. All the more reason to storm across the moats and remove these people from their pretentious perches.
Reading a synopsis of "Death of a Salesman" leads me to think I could scribble the plot line for this on a bar napkin at the end of a night on the town. My God, this material is dreary and depressing.
So is "A Piece of Steak" by Jack London, written in 1909. Isn't a lot of this material too dated to really be interpreted properly by young minds? Again, it's a woefully dreary and depressing story. An over-the-hill boxer who can't afford a proper meal loses to a younger opponent.
Aging and poverty are a bummer.
We had to read "Walden II" by behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. This was a 1948 story about a small planned community based on the model suggested by H.D. Thoreau.
Thoreau might be an interesting person to sit across from at a bar. In his time he was able to get his writing in front of enough people to be considered important. But why do we take him and his kind so seriously today?
Why can't we just move on from Jack London? These people found a market for their work in their time. Good for them. But they put their pants on one leg at a time.
It's like Jim Bouton writing that all the hyperbole about "old-timers" in baseball was sheep dip. It seemed the more time went by, the more the old names got ingrained in the baseball pantheon in an immortal way.
"The classics" get inflated whether in literature, music or whatever.
I will make an exception for Charles Dickens. He wrote true classics. A lot of the other stuff can be filed in the dustbin.
Much is preserved because it serves a political agenda.
Because public schools are the epitome of collectivism, teachers tend to be left-of-center. This doesn't apply to the natural sciences and math where the body of knowledge is self-defining. But the kind of classes where we read "Death of a Salesman" are quite another matter.
I remember being forced to read "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. This fit the objectionable pattern. The book might have had relevance in 1945. Orwell was a democratic socialist and critic of Joseph Stalin.
Let's at least assert here that high school kids are too young to read this stuff and put it in proper context.
I'll add to this list "Of Mice and Men" which I paged through when young - assigned reading of course. I still remember the expression "the fatta the land." The John Steinbeck story came out in 1937 and had a Great Depression backdrop.
It had vulgarity and violence. One of the principals shoots his companion in the back of the head to ensure his "painless and happy death" because there's a lynch mob coming.
Again, I could probably construct a story line like this on a bar napkin. And if I presented it to a publisher I'd have the door slammed on me.
We read "Bartleby the Scrivener" in high school. I still remember Bartleby's trademark line: "I would prefer not to."
What sort of "genius" is behind this story?
It's about a "copyist," Bartleby, who refuses to go on doing the sort of writing demanded of him. He "forsakes conventional modes because of an irresistible preoccupation with the most baffling philosophical questions."
And this is appropriate reading for high school youth?
You can't go out in the world and simply refuse to do your job properly.
I know my class was during the nonconformist early 1970s but let's get real about such tripe.
Why? Why was all this oddball, idiosyncratic, dreary and (I would suggest) pseudo-intellectual stuff by self-absorbed, detached writers who fool the intelligentsia the way "modern artists" fool the art world, thrust upon us?
Why can't kids just read a good story? Why not read a John Jakes type of historical novel? Why not a novel that suggests the American story does in fact have some room for optimism?
Why not a story with characters that appear well-adjusted, get along with others and have high aspirations?
Well, many teachers in the humanities feel their material should be difficult and elusive to grasp, with ideas that seem lofty and are implanted in subtle ways. We can't just let kids enjoy their reading, right?
We have to read about people with problems. People with alcoholism or who commit suicide.
Well, the likes of Stossel and that conservative protest group would vigorously suggest the alternative.
We can read a good clean story about well-adjusted Americans dong the proper things and ending up reasonably successful. It doesn't mean we're in denial about the injustices that can crop up in American life.
In closing, I can quote from an old Cheech and Chong routine from when they were in their marijuana-inspired prime of entertaining my generation. They're watching a movie with torture - this was long before Dick Cheney as VP - at a drive-in theater when one says to the other: "This movie's a bummer, man."
Likewise with so much of the required reading I recall.
How sad and avoidable.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cougars aiming to turn barge around

The Cougar defense converges on a Northwestern ballcarrier in the 10/1 game. (Photos by B.W.)
Danny Kernan aims to zip upfield after making a catch in the Homecoming game. Danny is a UMM sophomore from Minneapolis (Southwest High).
Garrett Mensing, junior runningback from Blue Earth, turns on the jets at Big Cat Stadium. The big Homecoming crowd is seen in the background.

The Cougars hit some snags in mid-season play. Their two wins to start the season didn't set the tone for what followed, as it turned out.
The Cougars aim to finally get the barge turned around this Saturday, Oct. 15, when Eureka comes here. Hopefully the weather will be pleasant for the 1 p.m. kickoff at Big Cat Stadium.
Playing at home will be a pleasure after traveling all the way to Missouri for the 10/8 game. The Cougars put up a game effort but were stopped in the 27-14 final, at the hands of Westminster.
Turnovers were a major angle in understanding this game. UMM had six, and two of these led directly to Westminster scores.
The Cougars made the long trip back pondering their 2-4 record, 2-3 in the UMAC, and how to get that barge (of frustration) turned around.
The turnover bugaboo was in the form of three fumbles and three interceptions. Westminster returned one of each for touchdowns.
The turnovers negated the sheen of a quite productive UMM offense. In fact the Cougars outgained the Blue Jays 279 yards to 189.
The defense too won decent grades. The 'D' allowed just two scores by the host's offense. The 'D' put Westminster in position to punt eight times.
There was a sour note early in the game as UMM fumbled the football in its opening possession. This was the fumble the Blue Jays recovered and returned for a touchdown. There was no further scoring in the first quarter.
The Cougars fought to get the score tied, driving 64 yards in nine plays, the last of which a 27-yard pass that had Ted Hoffman throwing and Brendon Foss catching.
The Hoffman-to-Foss connection worked again to get UMM's second touchdown on the board. This was a 13-yard scoring hookup and it capped a seven-play, 63-yard Cougar thrust.
The Blue Jays recovered to score on an eight-play, 63-yard drive that got the score tied at 14-all. They began seizing the momentum with a late third quarter touchdown.
The Cougars' late hopes were punctured when a promising drive ended in an interception, an interception that was returned "all the way." The fans in Missouri could react with delight. For the Cougars, it just made for a little longer ride home.
Brendon Foss, a former Hancock Owl, had quite the day receiving with six catches for nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Hoffman was one of three Cougars throwing the passes. He was joined by Derrick Foss and Daniel Garrigan. Leandro Dower was productive carrying the football as always, on this day gaining 130 net yards on 22 carries. Justin Irlbeck had a carry good for 23 yards.
The first day of October saw the University of Minnesota-Morris host Northwestern for the 2011 Homecoming.
UMM took the early lead, driving 80 yards in eleven plays to score on their first possession (after the opening kickoff). Dower carried the football in from the six.
But Northwestern scored a touchdown on each of its three first half possessions, driving 54, 69 and 70 yards. These had a backbreaking effect, and UMM went on to lose 45-13.
Derrick Foss scored on a one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Former MAHS Tiger Cody Hickman had 12 tackles including five solo stops. Christopher Coromelas from Anaheim, CA, produced eleven tackles.
Northwestern outdid the Cougars in total yardage 504-261.
Derrick Foss completed 12 of 20 passes for 138 yards. Brendon Foss had five catches.
The Cougars' September 24 assignment was to play St. Scholastica in Duluth. Brendon Foss had a huge day against the Saints with 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Foss threw for 155 yards and Garrigan for 102, but the Saints summoned a stronger attack and defeated UMM 44-19.
The Saints built the advantage in total yards 444-350.
Let's get the barge turned around! A big fan turnout at Big Cat Stadium would be a delight to see.
UMM football has been blessed by good weather for 2011 home games thus far.
Click on the link below to review the Cougars' first three games of the season:

UMM fans would love to say "eureka!" in celebration of a win.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tigers upend Eagles with big third quarter

Tom Holland makes a pass reception for the Tigers in the 22-15 win over LQPV. (Photos by B.W.)
Joel Harrison, #72 of the Tigers, wraps up a Lac qui Parle ballcarrier in the 22-15 win at Big Cat Stadium.

Lightning flashed to the south. Waves of rain were felt. The game was played to completion at Big Cat Stadium Friday night and it had a favorable outcome for the home team.
The Tigers picked up their second win in conference, 22-15 over the Eagles of Lac qui Parle Valley.
It was a night to hear regular updates on the Minnesota Lynx from the P.A. announcer. The fans built on the tradition of shouting the last word for "that's another Tiger first. . .down."
It was a night to savor the feeling of victory at DeToy's Restaurant post-game. Kudos to Boe and Tina DeToy for this promotion. The winning Tigers got pulled pork buns on the house.
The orange and black needed time to build up momentum in this game. Indeed, they had yet to score at halftime. Meanwhile the visiting Eagles scored 13 points in the first half.
Lac qui Parle's scoring in the second half was limited to a safety (two points). Otherwise the Eagles went flat while the Tigers got going. Coach Jerry Witt's squad took advantage of turnovers. Turnovers will haunt!
The third quarter told the story of this game as the Tigers scored all 22 of their points.
Let's look at the third quarter momentum change: It unfolded with Lac qui Parle having added those safety points and looking good with a 15-0 lead. A punt snap out of the end zone spelled safety and those two points for LQPV. The mood among Tiger fans might have dipped a little.
The 0-15 deficit was aggravated by having looked sloppy on the errant snap.
There were moments when the weather seemed to be adding insult to injury.
But any disconsolate mood was quickly wiped away by renewed determination. Morris Area Chokio Alberta took care of business in a flurry, scoring three touchdowns in a span of ten minutes.
Here we go:
Jake Torgerson passed to Brian Miller for a 38-yard touchdown. The conversion pass try was no good.
Next it was Tim Ostby crossing the end zone stripe for MACA. His scoring run was from the 30. This time the Tigers clicked on the conversion pass: Torgerson to Tyler Henrichs.
Ostby scored again when he found openings, turned on the jets and scored from the 14. Torgerson passed successfully to Tanner Picht on the conversion.
The Eagles and their fans were stunned and there was no comeback in the offing for them. The cats prevailed at Big Cat.
MACA came out of the night at 2-2 in league and 3-3 overall.
A look at the numbers: Lac qui Parle outdid MACA in first downs, 14-9. Ostby paced the MACA running attack with 52 yards on eleven carries. QB Torgerson rushed for 15 yards in eight carries. Jordan Staples added four rushing yards.
Torgerson was efficient with his passing arm, connecting on nine passes in 13 attempts with no interceptions. His aerial yardage: 114. The receptions really got spread around, to: Staples (one catch, 17 yards), Tyler Henrichs (1-13), Logan Manska (1-13), Ostby (1-6), Tom Holland (1-15), Brian Miller (1-38), Chandler Erickson (2-11) and Tanner Picht (1-1).
Picht handled the punting. Erickson intercepted a pass and Ostby recovered a fumble. Quarterback sacks were turned in by John Tiernan, Connor Metzger and Holland.
Standouts on the tackle chart were Holland, Erickson, Ostby, Metzger and Staples.
Sam Haas was a powerful ballcarrier for LQPV, amassing 172 yards in 25 carries. Lac qui Parle's infrequent passes were thrown by Dylan Erickson and Blake Hoium.
J.D. Struxness scored LQPV's first touchdown on the night with a 55-yard reception from Erickson. The Eagles' next two scores came from the kicking toe of Brandon Bornhorst (field goals).
Their next score was that safety. After that, everything seemed to go downhill for them. Turnovers can haunt!
BOLD owns the WCC-South crown, lifted by a 35-22 win over Paynesville. Their position was also solidified by Benson's 30-22 win over ACGC. BOLD is undefeated in conference and overall.
Zach Remillard was a force for the BOLD Warriors, running for 234 yards on just 18 carries in the win over Paynesville. He scored three touchdowns.
Next for the Tigers: a road game against the Yellow Medicine East Sting at 7 p.m. Friday, 10/14.
Click on the link below to reach the MACA football schedule/results page of Pheasant Country Sports.

Jottings:
We got a reminder of the fallibility of the old media last week. The regional daily paper that covers Tiger athletics included too many errors for comfort in its review of the Paynesville game.
The Tigers won an especially memorable game at Paynesville. It would be nice to have such a win preserved properly in those scrapbooks. But maybe we should push scrapbooks aside along with that regional paper. Let's think digital.
As for our own paper here in Morris, it has slipped largely into irrelevance because we must wait eight days to see a game review in the print product. The paper does have a website but it's not exactly an award-winner.
Mistakes in the media abounded because of an outdated system where the home team coaches phone in game results. It probably doesn't help when the home team loses a heartbreaker, you know, the kind of game where the losing coaches might be in a clipboard-throwing mood.
Led by the West Central Tribune, the media reported the wrong Tiger catching the 46-yard touchdown pass that won the game at the end. Chandler Erickson made that catch. There were other errors as well.
So should there be venting against the Paynesville coaching staff? I don't think that would be productive. I'm quite sure coaches are under no contractual obligation to "call in."
If they get negative blowback on how they handle this, they might well decide this system is more trouble than it's worth, and I wouldn't blame them.
There's an easy answer: online. School sports programs can develop their own online reporting bureaus. The exact form of these and exact system are still subject to study and development, and perhaps we'll see some variance.
But these teams should empower themselves by taking responsibility and ensuring quality standards on their own terms. They have to deal with the media anyway. It's just a question of how.
Student-fans with an interest in writing might be enlisted, just as I'm sure they do stat-keeping now.
A lot of people do this type of thing as a hobby, or they spend substantial time on social networks which are just a form of online information-sharing, much of it trivial. Tiger sports news is far beyond trivial.
Let's see some creative and entrepreneurial spirit on this. So Chandler Erickson and others can get their proper acknowledgment when they do something significant.

Tennis: 4-3 triumph over MACCRAY
The Tigers were dominant in the singles division and didn't fare so well in doubles on Monday, Oct. 3.
Since there are four singles positions and three doubles, this state of affairs worked out quite fine for the Tigers. The Morris Area Chokio Alberta tennis athletes downed the Wolverines of MACCRAY 4-3.
This was the final regular season match for coach Jim Gillis' squad.
It was Krista Matthews-Saugstad occupying the first singles position and she downed Paige Bourne. The set outcomes were 6-1 and 6-2.
Then at No. 2 singles, Abby Olson got the nod to play Brooke Rambow. Olson showed a winning flourish 6-1 and 6-1.
Megan Wagner wielded the racket at No. 3 singles and she turned back Amber Wieberdink 6-0 and 6-2.
Marlee Morton completed the singles sweep, performing superbly vs. Avery Winter and winning 6-1 and 6-2.
The No. 1 doubles team of Carly Gullickson and Darcy Aronson was defeated by Callie Mersbergen and Erica Bonnema 2-6 and 3-6.
Renae Mullins and Kjersa Anderson fell to Jenna Mersbergen and Kailee Christianson 4-6 and 3-6.
Kaitlin Vogel and Emily Moser at #3 doubles fell to Emma Jansen and Rachel Davids 4-6, 6-3 and 4-10.

Volleyball: Defeat vs. the Sting
MACA volleyball had to go back to the drawing board with its game after the 0-3 loss it experienced Tuesday (10/4).
It's always frustrating to lose but the Tigers scored fewer points as the night went on. They fell at the hands of the Sting of YME. The Tigers faded to further south of .500 in conference and overall.
This was a West Central-South Conference match and it ended in scores of 22-25, 20-25 and 17-25.
The Sting are comfortably above .500 in conference wars but haven't been doing quite as well in overall. Their "sting" was obviously felt at the expense of Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tuesday.
Angie Scheffler and Emily Baker treated fans at the Granite Falls gym to regular kills. Sheffler posted the team-best total of 12 while Baker was right behind at eleven.
Jaimie Bergerson was at the fore for the orange and black in kills. Jaimie had nine while Terianne Itzen pounded down seven.
BOLD defeated Benson in Tuesday volleyball to firm up its hold on first in conference. BOLD's won-lost numbers: 7-1.
It appears to be a banner autumn for BOLD Warrior athletics.
The Yellow Medicine East Sting entered mid-week at 6-3.
Itzen was in her usual dual role of setting and hitting. She worked in tandem with Katie Holzheimer in setting. Holzheimer worked at the net too and had four kills. Sydney Engebretson had three kills.
Mikaela Henrichs topped the digs list with 28. Sadie Fischer was proficient in serving with her 13 good in as many attempts.
Montevideo swept Lac qui Parle in other WCC-South volleyball Tuesday.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lutherans giving push with Malaria Initiative

I once read "we keep elevating our definition of what the good life is."
This was in an op-ed that reflected on the invention of the washing machine. We can extrapolate from that to the myriad other tech strides that have come to bless us.
We have been reminded of this with the passing of Steve Jobs. He was right in the footsteps of Edison.
The invention of the washing machine and similar tools was supposed to "save us time" and presumably make our lives more, well, blissful. Actually we chose to wash clothes more often. Instead of kicking back "we keep elevating our definition of what the good life is."
Let's take a moment in our harried lives, put down that smartphone or whatever, and really think about our blessings.
I'm writing this inspired by Carol Voorhees, who attends First Lutheran Church in Morris like yours truly. She and husband Ward check this site regularly and I greatly appreciate it.
I used to write in the mass media but now it seems I write for selected individuals or individuals with special interests. If these individuals are as rich spiritually as Ward and Carol, my audience is worthy indeed.
Carol told me about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. While we can feel distracted and annoyed by things like the recent gas line incident - CenterPoint to the rescue! - much of the world has to concern itself with basic matters of survival. About half the world's population is at risk of malaria. Especially vulnerable is sub-Sahara Africa.
WHO tells us there are over 200 million cases of malaria each year and of those infected, nearly a million die. Pregnant women and children under age 5 are most at risk.
"Malaria takes the life of a child every 45 seconds," I learn from a pamphlet Carol shared with me.
Women and their unborn babies are most vulnerable because of weakened or insufficient immune systems. It's no surprise people afflicted by poverty can suffer worst from this health menace. It's a menace with broad economic consequences too.
Carol emphasizes that malaria is preventable and treatable. Let's look at the encouraging side, because measures can be taken for protection. Sleeping under bed nets reduces transmissions by nearly 90 percent.
Medications can help if there's prompt diagnosis. Early treatment shortens the duration of the infection. We must spread education and access to the needed tools, Carol says.
There are displays about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative at First Lutheran Church. The United Nations Foundation is a partner. Lutherans are mobilizing in a global effort.
The atheists at UMM - oh, there's at least one who has gained fame this way - who seem to feel religion is but an odd anachronism around is, might heed the following: ". . .churches can and do play an active role on the international stage and can serve as the catalyst for implementing successful programs on the local level."
Also heed this: "Empowering local communities to join in the effort will pay dividends for the health and livelihoods of future generations."
You can give money right at the church. We are asked to pray. That's the part that college professors would probably scoff at (well, certain ones, I mean).
George W. Bush asked us to pray as Hurricane Katrina approached. We needed more tangible assets from our government, as it turns out.
We live in a world where the most fundamental hazards can still hover close to us, hazards much worse than having a computer virus wipe out your hard drive. We elevate our definition of what the good life is. So we feel frazzled, frustrated and harried even though tech has seemed to advance us by light years.
Somehow the boomer generation got to where it is without smartphones or even computers.
We are so human an animal. We seize our blessings and just seem to demand more, to raise the criteria for determining we are happy.
There's a good therapy for all you people: Read the brochure on the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. You'll see the words "restoring health, inspiring hope."
You should count your blessings, pause to just rest from the day-to-day regimen or "rat race," and realize some of the travail felt in the rest of the world. And maybe help the Initiative in a monetary way.
Ten dollars can provide one family with a treated bed net and the proper education on its use. Thank you Carol for bringing this cause, and background, to my attention. Thanks for coming to this site once in a while and helping me realize I can still find fulfillment in writing.
It appears First Lutheran has a new pastor. I have no reason to believe he isn't an outstanding individual. But in reading the large postcard that got sent out, I'm a little underwhelmed. He bounced around in his clergy career, and for the last three years wasn't even in this career. He sold insurance.
Why is he here?
"Pastor Erdal and his family moved to Chokio this fall so that his wife could accept a teaching position at the Morris school."
I'm not sure why teaching in Morris would require one to live in Chokio.
"Pastor Erdal possesses many years of experience in a variety of congregations."
So, we're going to just be another part of that "variety."
When a spouse gets a teaching job, I guess you've really "made it."
I know a retired clothing store manager whose wife taught, who reportedly once said "if it weren't for my wife's paycheck, I wouldn't eat."
Don't worry, because if Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gets his way, teaching jobs won't be the kind of anchor occupation they have been in our small towns anymore. We'll all drop to the bottom rung.
There's one remedy: "Vote Democratic!"
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

State needs to take hard look at 'U' football

Lately we have seen in the news the following warning: "Some of the video you are about to see may be disturbing." It's in connection to the Michael Jackson (doctor) trial. It might be just as appropriate before the presentation of U of M Gopher football snippets.
We are at a very familiar place now - way too familiar. The Gophers have sunk to the kind of depths that it's a PR issue for the state.
This isn't typical whining about a losing sports team. It should be dawning on everyone now that there is something deeply systemic that is wrong.
Sports voices like those on ESPN cannot simply report the scores of U games without being inclined toward wisecracks now.
The Sunday sports section of our Star Tribune devoted way too much space to the game against Michigan. Attention for this game was warranted but more in the context of commentary. To simply splash over the front page of sports the debacle that was the Michigan game was uncalled for.
I imagine this space allocation was pre-determined. That's how things happen with newspapers. As a reader you knew it was coming when you pulled the sports section out of that pile of pulp.
And there is was: the dreary headline and articles stating the obvious. Articles that might have begun with the warning: "Some of what you are about to read may be disturbing."
But it was all so obvious, there was no point paying attention to the details - the mundane game details of the 58-0 loss. The bigger picture was crying for attention.
It's an odd phenomenon of Minnesota history that the Minnesota Vikings pushed aside the Gophers pretty decisively. The baby boom generation decided the Vikings were their team. The Gophers seemed more a relic of a bygone era, you know, attached to old names like Bernie Bierman.
We had a vague grasp of how the Gophers were once great. We knew they weren't great anymore but they were decent. Today they're so lost they belong on a doctor's couch. Losing to Michigan 58-0 is an exclamation point.
Even more disturbing was the loss to North Dakota State, a school that isn't even full-fledged Division I. Not only that, they're from North Dakota!
We've lost to NDSU twice in the last several years and to U of South Dakota last year. And, South Dakota State came close to beating us. If my parents' generation had known we'd have to fight someday to try and beat the Bison, Coyotes and Jackrabbits, well my God. . .
Many boomers were college age when a very nice and capable coach named Cal Stoll came on the scene. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The program was no longer in a position to be in an elite class.
Murray Warmath had seen his share of glory but there was little glory to be felt in the Stoll years. A glimmer here and there perhaps, but nothing that could rival what the Vikings were building.
The Vikings went to four Super Bowls. Yes, we lost all four of them. But pro football had truly burst into the forefront, and the old "Big 10" had come to seem passe. It belonged to our parents' generation.
Don Riley, the unique columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press (who could get away with frequent un-PC comments), observed that the Big 10 had become "The Big Two and the Little Eight."
It was so true and rather odd: the predictable nature of how Michigan and Ohio State would play for the Big 10 title each year, as if the other teams were barely there.
Woody Hayes, the old-fashioned iron-fisted coach, ruled at Ohio State. Until he used his fist on a Clemson defensive player along the sidelines. I remember watching that game, seeing the incident which was somewhat obscured, and saying "he hit him!"
The broadcasters were at first reluctant to report what seemed obvious. I'm not sure they ever came out and said it during the broadcast. But in the days that followed, the excrement hit the fan for this throwback type of coach and he was shown the door, like the Jack Nicholson character in "A Few Good Men."
Bo Schembechler ruled at Michigan. We would tune in to the Rose Bowl each year expecting to see the Buckeyes or Wolverines. We couldn't so much as imagine the Gophers being in that warm Pasadena sun.
Stoll brought some outstanding individuals here like Tony Dungy and Rick Upchurch. Stoll eventually had a public clash with Athletic Director Paul Giel who was a product of the University of Minnesota's glory years.
Giel was guiding the Gophers into a new era which I don't think he fully understood. He seemed like a common salesman to me. I remember him coming to Morris to speak to the Chamber of Commerce once. That was a perfect milieu for him.
Not all was glum in the land of the Gophers because men's basketball under Bill Musselman became a phenomenon. Remember Ron Behagen and Clyde Turner?
Of course, Musselman had to skirt some rules and do some things with a wink. Apparently he was a notorious non-people person. He cooked up a regime that put us all on a sugar high for a while.
The boomers had no problem gravitating to this. But it totally crashed and burned. It did find new life later with the likes of Kevin McHale, but then we had Mitch Lee. Let's not get into the details of that. We might need another Michael Jackson type of warning.
Clem Haskins gave us another meteor streaking through the sky. Meteors flame out. I believe the Gophers' Final 4 appearance under Haskins is now being treated like it didn't even happen. What a business.
We had the Dan Monson hoops regime which sank into total mediocrity, a regime in which a win over the Long Island Catbirds might be considered a highlight. And now we have football and the level of mediocrity that goes well beyond the normal sub-.500 record.
This is such an utter trainwreck it threatens the U's overall reputation.
Can the University of Minnesota be trusted to manage itself? I remember when Jesse Ventura was jousting with Mark Yudof. Yudof was of course trying to get all he could from state coffers, quite to excess, and Ventura, getting irritated, said "for the amount of money the University is asking, maybe I should run it."
Hey, we never thought of that. Ventura made us think about a lot of novel things. Of course, it wasn't about to happen. But the missteps of U of M sports under the oddly clueless Joel Maturi make us take a new look.
The media haven't really wanted to call a spade a spade. They've been in an odd sort of PR mode. The commercial pressures on the old media are probably to explain. No one wants to be too "negative." It can be bad for business.
There was a time when the media would have come right out and said the emperor has no clothes. Today the media are restrained and try to show deference to the appointed leaders. They assume that Jerry Kill is "rebuilding." This assumes that his predecessor was at fault.
And, was that really Tim Brewster in the broadcast booth for Sunday's Vikings game against Kansas City? Good for him. He was made sort of a scapegoat.
So the media brush him aside and are still trying to give every benefit of the doubt to Jerry Kill. Kill has a very unfortunate health distraction that encumbers him in a way that his rivals are not encumbered. It wasn't necessary to bring him here with that impediment.
The media are going to have to start changing their tune soon. Brewster must have done some things to irritate them, for them to have become so deferential to Kill.
Wishing Kill well with his health is a whole separate matter from rooting for the Gophers.
It will be very sad if the legislature or governor have to start doing the prodding. It will make us think again about the possible wisdom in the idea Ventura broached. Can we really trust the U to fully manage itself?
Look, no one cares if the athletes are allowed to "squeak by" academically. We all know many of these athletes come here with an agenda separate from academics and I don't blame them. Let them get by with the most minimal of standards.
Let them focus on sports, enjoy life and maybe get a crack at the pros. That's a big enough commitment in itself. The U doesn't need to put on airs of "academic superiority." No one is impressed by that.
The Jan Gangelhoff scandal was so pathetic. Let's set up sports so it's a separate division from everything else at the U. Let's set it up so the people with academic "airs" don't have any influence anymore.
People are smart enough to know what's going on. They know the U is an academic gem even if it has sports teams with athletes who don't choose to be bookworms.
If the U isn't interested in Division I football, maybe some other institution in Minnesota could be set up, I mean, if North Dakota can swing this with NDSU.
How about St. Cloud State? You laugh. But why not? It's a big institution in a big and booming city right in the middle of Minnesota. It has a new football stadium that could easily be expanded.
For sure SCSU couldn't make the jump with the resources it currently has. That's a laugh. It would need help. But it's an interesting possibility to consider.
SCSU wouldn't have any problem offering basketweaving classes to athletes. Maybe this is an idea that should pick up steam.
Click on the link below to read the post I wrote after coach Kill's seizure episode at TCF Bank Stadium:

http://ilovemorris73.blogspot.com/2011/09/coach-kills-health-distracts-from.html

- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tigers beat Paynesville in wildly exciting game

MACA football prevailed in an especially dramatic and memorable game Friday in Paynesville.
This wasn't the same Bulldog team the Tigers trounced last season. Last season the Tigers scored as if turning on a faucet at Big Cat Field, almost to excess.
This year's Paynesville team took shape with a clean slate. The green-clad student athletes from central Minnesota, in a town that used to be considered the halfway point to the Twin Cities in the days before the Interstate, entered Friday in a first place tie in league.
This would be no easy hurdle on the Tigers' schedule.
Wow! What a game it was. Among the highlights are two in particular that stand to be remembered a long time.
The Paynesville coach wasn't content letting the clock run out to halftime, and called timeout. Paynesville had the football and felt it could still capitalize in the time remaining - mere seconds. The coach's initial signalling didn't get through to the referees. Only on appeal was the break granted and time put back on the clock.
Could Paynesville summon some sort of dramatic play to get some valued momentum going into halftime? There was a dramatic play all right. The Paynesville coach had to watch with indescribable dismay as it was the Tigers getting getting that momentum.
The hero was Tim Ostby of the Tigers who picked off a pass. He capitalized, sprinting 42 yards for a score!
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta fans were ecstatic as their team entered the halftime huddle with the lead, 28-20. The Paynesville fans? Stunned, absolutely stunned.
The Tigers needed each and every point they scored on this night. They even needed a TD at the very end. Finally, when the final horn sounded, the Tigers could savor victory 40-34. Paynesville relinquished that share of first place in the WCC-South (with BOLD).
That decisive scoring play at the end had Jake Torgerson passing the football and Chandler Erickson catching. The clock showed 28 seconds left when this play unfolded. The score was tied 34-all. The Torgerson-to-Erickson connection worked for a 46-yard touchdown!
The conversion run try failed, leaving MACA with that six-point lead which stood up.
The only turnover of the game was that Ostby interception.
The win was the Tigers' first in conference play. They'll take a 2-3 overall record into week #6 of the season which will be at home. The foe: Lac qui Parle Valley (on 10/7).
The interception and the late touchdown produced priceless memories. If coach Jerry Witt's eyes look like they're open a little wider than usual this coming week, you'll know why.
Paynesville scored first on a three-yard run by Josh Bungum, who would prove to be a real workhorse. He would rush for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Plus he passed for 102 yards and a score.
It was QB Torgerson scoring the first MACA touchdown. This was on a run from the one. Ostby carried successfully for two on the conversion.
It was Bungum scoring next for Paynesville on a 34-yard scamper. He also carried for two.
Tom Holland then scored a Tiger touchdown on a five-yard run. The conversion pass try was no good (a problem area for the Tigers).
Bungum crossed the end zone stripe for Paynesville's next score: a three-yard carry. The Tigers answered with a 12-yard scoring pass from Tanner Picht to Tom Holland. The usual thrower, Torgerson, took over for the conversion and he passed successfully to Logan Manska.
The next TD was the thrilling interception return by Ostby in the waning moments of the first half.
The Bulldogs sought to fight back, first with an 18-yard TD run that had - who else? - Bungum cradling the pigskin. But the Tigers kept pace as Torgerson connected with Picht for an 18-yard scoring strike. Alas, the conversion pass try went awry. (Back to the drawing board for that.)
Paynesville asserted itself with a 20-yard TD pass from Bungum to Kyle Wolters. Then came the 46-yard Tiger scoring pass described earlier.
Whew! Thank goodness this website is available to share all the highlights in a proper and timely way. Nothing is standing in the way of anyone else doing this either. (It can cost as little as zero.)
The Tigers had 14 first downs. Ostby had a whale of a night running with the football, eclipsing 100 yards. Holland ran for 23 yards.
Torgerson completed eight of 15 pass tries for 139 yards and no interceptions. Here's the ample receiving list: Tanner Picht (four catches, 101 yards), Tom Holland (3-17), Austin Thielke (1-8) and Chandler Erickson (1-25).

Volleyball: Tigers win marathon at Monte
There's nothing like a five-game volleyball match to leave you feeling drained. The MACA Tigers and Montevideo Thunder Hawks engaged in such a marathon Tuesday at Monte.
This West Central-South Conference match ended up going the Tigers' way. The Tigers showed enough balance along the front line to outlast Monte.
Both teams entered the night below-.500 in conference and overall. Both were seeking a more competitive stance to hopefully crawl closer to the .500 plateau and maybe surpass it.
At first it looked like the Tigers were not going to emerge from the evening with that kind of optimism. They dropped game #1, 18-25.
But they stayed resolved and got things evened up in game #2, winning by that same 25-18 score.
The pendulum swung back to the host T-Hawks for game #3. That game ended with MACA on the short end 17-25, so the Tigers couldn't afford another loss. They'd try to push the pendulum back in their direction.
They did it! The game #4 outcome was a 25-22 Tiger victory. The stage was set for a dramatic fifth and deciding game. There was no handicap being the visitor as MACA won 15-8. They came out of the night at 2-5 in conference and 5-8 overall. Monte's numbers: 1-5 in conference, 2-10 overall.
A five-game match is truly a test for the setters, and Katie Holzheimer and Terianne Itzen scurried to get in the best position to set for the hitters. Sydney Engebretson and Itzen led in kills with nine each, while eight were pounded down by Nicole Strobel and Paige Schieler. Jaime Bergerson pounded down three kills.
In the ace blocks category, Engebretson and Shieler were tops with four and two respectively while these Tigers each had one: Bergerson, Courtney Gades and Nicole Strobel.
The busiest Tigers in digs were Mikaela Henrichs (17), Itzen (13) and Engebretson (11).
Henrichs had three serving aces and Holzheimer two. Itzen and Emily Tonn each served for one ace.
The Tuesday victory removed much of the sting from the 0-3 loss the Tigers were dealt the previous night by BOLD.

BOLD 3, Tigers 0
The Tigers came up against a red-hot BOLD Warrior team that had won its previous two conference matches by sweep.
On Monday, here, the Warriors made it three in a row but had to survive a strong Tiger charge in game #3.
BOLD eked out that game #3 win 26-24 after having won the first two games 25-16 and 25-12.
Tyann Caspers and Nikki Neisen were top hitters for BOLD and Neisen was busy with digs too.
Holzheimer and Itzen were busy setting for the Tigers. In hitting we have the following list (kills): Itzen 7, Engebretson 6, Bergerson 4, Schieler 3 and Strobel 2.
Bergerson and Schieler each had two ace blocks and Engebretson had one. In digs it was Henrichs clearly the leader with 15.
BOLD was very sharp in receiving serves so there were no Tigers with more than one serving ace.

Benson 3, Tigers 2
A week that was busy to the max for Tiger volleyball included a Thursday home match against Benson. The Tigers took the Braves to five games like in the Monte match, but on this night the pendulum wouldn't swing their way in the end.
The teams took the court after a 2-2 standoff in games, and finally the fans would learn which team could chalk up the 'W'. It was Benson with a 15-7 win.
Benson began this night like they'd be dominant, putting away the stunned Tiger team 25-9 in game #1. Would Benson rule the night? Not at all, as the Tigers showed an unfazed air to take game #2 (barely) 25-23.
Game #3 was just as close and this time Benson eked out the win by two, 26-24.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta stayed alive in game #4 with a 25-20 triumph but they failed to sustain that momentum.
The Tigers worked to survive frequent kills chalked up by Braves Samantha Goff, Emma Peterson and Emily Reuss.
Holzheimer and Itzen set up the hitting where Itzen ended up the top kill contributor with 15. Engebretson pounded down eleven kills. The list continues with Strobel (6), Bergerson (3) and Schieler (3).
Engebretson set the pace in ace blocks with six. Henrichs and Courtney Ehleringer topped the digs list with 29 and 22 respectively.
No Tiger had more than one ace serve.
The Tigers will visit Yellow Medicine East on Tuesday, 10/4.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com