"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)

Friday, August 31, 2012

So, new football season is upon us

Watching Clint Eastwood talk to an empty chair made me wonder if he ever played football. We'll be hearing jokes like that now.
This wave of troubling news for football might be seen as vindication for all those males who passed. That ingrained inferiority complex can be wiped away. Our life choices will be better supported now.
I remember when I was in seventh grade, starting that adolescent journey, the science teacher on the first day of class asked who the football players were. They rose from their chairs. The message was clear: They were special.
Boys with the attributes of running faster and "hitting harder" were special. The best football players were born with these traits.
My only sampling of football was in the neighborhood, informally. I'd get into a three-point stance and absolutely fear what would happen next. I attach one word to those experiences: pain. So I wasn't one of those boys who stood up on the first day of science class.
Those boys subjected their bodies to lots of punishment. They sweated through August workouts. There seems so little (if any) inherent value in this, it must be hard to discuss.
"Boys play football because it's always been that way." Maybe that's what it all devolves to.
"Football builds character" is a general statement - I'd say it's a throwaway statement - that can't really be supported. Really it's a sport that glorifies the offensive backs and receivers while everyone else grunts. The "chubby" and unglamorous boys are asked at a young age to "block." The idea is for the sleek and fast "popular" boys to run and gain yardage.
The linemen and linebackers in high school football don't get much attention in the media.
Actually I bestowed more than the usual amount of attention to those guys when I was in the local print media. I'd meet with coach Jerry Witt at his residence every Saturday morning over steaming coffee. You might say it was a "roving residence." First his family lived by East Side Park, then in west Morris and finally out by the dam. I had to make sure I was fully awake in the morning so I knew where to go.
You could argue we spent too much time discussing each week's game - that my coverage got too lengthy and involved. But I'm glad so many normally unsung players got their due in print. The Brian Williams era in the local print media is over. We no longer have two issues a week.
Fans who want to see coverage in the print media really have to rely on the Willmar newspaper. At least the coverage appears the next day in the Willmar paper. There's no point waiting for the Morris paper which appears eight days later.
The Willmar paper can be very erratic in how it reports facts. The very fact the coverage appears the next day means it will have a certain sausage-making quality about it.
The Willmar paper's biggest excuse for the mistakes it makes is that it relies on "home team coaches" calling in. These coaches have to try to represent both teams. Sometimes I'm sure they do just fine. At its worst, this system can reveal real disasters. You might have a coach who has just lost a close, heartbreaking game, in a mood for kicking over chairs when he comes into the locker room. Oh, I've seen this sort of thing.
And this is the guy we're relying on to call in the precious MACA Tiger football information? This might have been what happened after last year's Morris-Paynesville football game.
Of course, I'm befuddled why coaches feel they even need to keep working with newspapers. This is the year 2012. Coaches can feel empowered to build PR interests by seeing their programs get comprehensive attention online. There's no reason why a high school team can't be represented just as well online as a small college team like UMM.
You guys need to be just as aware of promotional needs as any adviser or teacher in a school program. It seems especially vital now with the sport of football taking slings and arrows. We have seen the eruption of attention given the physical and mental consequences of football. We have seen the behavior problems.
Most recently we've had this monumentally embarrassing situation with Mankato State football. The coach there has been accused of the worst crime possible, except that on closer analysis, it seems much different and cloudy. But I can't help thinking: "Leave it to a football coach to get in this kind of trouble."
Why would I think that?
For years in my media role I covered the annual "Cougar follies." I would guess it doesn't exist anymore. If it does I'd say it's somewhat risky. "Cougars" is our UMM sports nickname. It's one of those "safe" cat nicknames, which I have come to call "default" nicknames. They seem safe as opposed to "Fighting Sioux" or "Injuns" or whatever.
"Cougars" might actually not be 100 percent safe because the word has come to denote a certain type of middle age woman. The name was actually rejected by a new high school out west not long ago, for that reason.
Anyway, our "Cougar" football players used to assemble every pre-season for a "performance" so absolutely irreverent, it would defy description. I remember when then-Chancellor Jack Imholte told me: "The less people know about that the better." There was a premise that women are objects. I remember a simulated ejaculation.
The language was so blunt it was numbing. I suppose we were supposed to write off this Neanderthal mentality as consistent with football. We were supposed to see it "in context." Football players were entitled members of the human species who could be "in your face" with all kinds of disgusting talk. No one would dare knock the chip off their shoulder.
Except that today, society isn't nearly as willing to exercise that kind of deference. Misogyny can't be written off. We are taking a closer and more objective look at what football does to players' bodies and minds.
Was that Mankato coach locked into that uninhibited and irreverent mindset of the type I'd associate with "Cougar follies?"
We're much less inclined to "write off" the silliness and self-destruction of college "game day" behavior, where alcohol and horseplay can reign. This was the backdrop for the infamous UMM "goalpost incident."
College presidents grit their teeth and wish all of that would just go away. The St. Cloud State president might be the pacesetter, so determined he has actually cancelled Homecoming. We don't laugh about this stuff anymore.
Higher education is totally serious business as we see global competition accelerate. We mustn't be complacent and let "boys be boys" anymore. We are seeing steps in the right direction. The Mankato State coach was certainly given no benefit of the doubt. The mantle he wore as football VIP didn't matter, and I say "amen" to that.
I hope all the seventh grade science students are treated equally.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Mankato mess, what it signals for parents

Minnesota State-Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner never expected to be photographed like this. (Image from "mugshots" site)
What a tangled web we weave when we use video cameras.
Having something on film supposedly provides incontrovertible evidence. Except that it isn't that simple in many cases.
People are having to explain things on video which in the past would never have seen the light of day. Like that guy using a strap to apply corporal punishment to his child in the back yard. A neighbor videotaped that over a fence. The strap represented a typical punishment that people my age - the boomers - can remember as being routine in our childhood.
We'd get plopped on a car seat without any special legally-mandated measures for "protecting" us. Somehow we got through all that.
It is fine to show vigilance in protecting the safety of children. But the measures can become onerous. The vast majority of boomers, I would guess, have a photo or two tucked away in an old album showing them without clothes on. Our parents wouldn't have worried for a second taking such photos. Just like they didn't hesitate much spanking us.
Parents were given a fair amount of space in which to show judgment.
Did some bad things happen? Yes I'm sure because we're human beings with human failings. We're told from the pulpit every week we're sinful. We strive to use laws to protect the interests of kids as much as possible. There's an old saying though that "the perfect is the enemy of the good."
It shouldn't be dangerous to have kids. The "old man" on "Pawn Stars" is joking when he says it's "scary" to have kids. But he's hinting at a kernel of truth. It's hard enough raising kids when you try to do everything right. A little lapse in judgment today, though, could cause your kids to be ripped away from you.
All these thoughts are prompted by that curious incident in Mankato, a nice mid-size city nestled in southern Minnesota. It's where Morris native Zach Witt went to play college football.
It's the football coach at Mankato State who is at the vortex of a tempest now. And it all came about because of "family videos" that may or may not turn out to be innocent. Which conclusion you reach thus far, appears to depend on what media report you're reading. One day I'll read a report suggesting the videos are innocent even if out of the mainstream. The next day, the subject appears pushed into more of a gray area.
I haven't read anything yet suggesting it's a slam-dunk for the prosecution. I should attach an asterisk. I'm puzzled by the use of "fondling" in the media reports. It's too vague a word to be used in a reliable news article. If the reporter can't get anything more specific from investigators regarding what is meant by the word, a sentence should be inserted saying so.
Right now I'm giving my benefit of the doubt to the accused party who is, or was, the Mavericks' coach at Minnesota State University-Mankato. It used to be "Mankato State University." And, not long before that, "Mankato State College."
I was a student at St. Cloud State University when it shifted from "college" to "university." I didn't notice any difference.
"Minnesota State" is confusing because both Mankato State and Moorhead State go by this. I remember Zach Witt playing quarterback for the Mavericks. I remember the sad pattern of Mankato losing more than their share of close, high-scoring games. The offense certainly shouldn't be faulted.
Zach was a lefty throwing the football. He's the oldest of the three athletically gifted Witt boys, sons of Jerry and Holly. I covered the Tigers when Jerry first became head coach here. Now he's a total graybeard with the wisdom one expects.
I'm sure Mankato State football is trying to regroup and focus now even with that sensational Todd Hoffner story in the background. I'm sure it's quite the story around the diners and coffeehouses in Mankato.
Hoffner is the coach whose family videos have caused a tempest because of legal charges. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky mess out east, and because of "mandatory reporting" obligations felt in most places now, there looms the possibility of a witch hunt.
Is the current Hoffner matter an unfortunate consequence of the witch hunt pattern? Or is it a legitimate matter where law enforcement needed to intervene - where something egregious was committed? Of course we don't know for certain yet.
If I were to be pressed, I would say the videos were totally uninhibited, rather odd and fun episodes of kids unleashed - acting stupid, whatever. I'm not convinced of any sinister aspect.
I can guess what the teachers in parenting classes are going to start saying: "Don't photograph or videotape your children naked ever, no matter what."
Why do parents want to take such photos of the type I've alluded to in connection to the boomers? There's one of me lying on my tummy on a bed, smiling and with no clothes on. Maybe parents see a special kind of beauty in the human body. Artists see this too. Prurient interests needn't be a part.
The sensational stories as reported by the media perhaps cause us to fear the worst too much. We certainly need to pursue the worst cases of wrongdoing. But this must be done with extreme care because "jumping the gun" can ruin lives.
The investigators in Mankato had better be pretty sure of their suspicions. Actually I don't think they are. They'd probably just argue they're "doing things by the book." That's the danger: that legal obligations will trump caution, restraint and patience in the process of sorting things out.
Would anyone dispute the Hoffners' lives are scarred now?
Just as most boomers were photographed in the buff with not a thought of legal consequences, so too were they occasionally spanked. Yes it could be intense. But there weren't video cameras poking all over the place.
Harsh punishment was a tool of love to get kids straightened out. Its effectiveness might be debated. But our parents didn't fear getting called on by social services.
I remember when I was a kid and our family was at the Del Monico Cafe having supper, I begged them to let me leave the booth briefly to look at some item at the neighboring Messner Drug (Thrifty White Drug today). I was a quite young tyke. I was allowed to make the jaunt.
The clerk in the store seemed uncomfortable about me being by myself. I told her my parents were right next door but finally she said: "I think you should go back and be with them." Simple encouragement from the wisdom and caring of an adult - no legal action. Today a store clerk in that situation might call 9-1-1 and social services might make a check, with the specter of me possibly having to be separated from my parents for a time.
So maybe there's in fact more than a kernel of sincerity when the "old man" of "Pawn Stars" says "It's scary raising kids."
We don't want people to be scared of having kids. The human race needs to propagate.
There are three generations on "Pawn Stars." It would be neat to take my old Beatles vinyl albums to their business. I would suggest "Pawn Stars" is more a show about family and friendships than about the pawn business literally.
"The old man" really does believe in family. He sets the example. Now we all need to lighten up.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

No more "fun" perspective on football

The movie "Invincible" showed a football culture that seems dated today.
Much of what is on this site might be seen as having archival value someday. There would be little sense of that now. The winds of change have to blow for a while. Where they're taking us, I don't know. We can only speculate.
For one thing, we can speculate that the sport of football will go into decline. The nature or timetable of this we cannot fully know. There are definite signs the public's consciousness of this is changing already.
Normally by this time of year I have written two or three "fun" posts about the Minnesota Vikings. It's the usual stuff, focusing on the personalities, ups and downs and drama of a pro football team. The players are like pawns on a chessboard. I have made the "pinball" analogy before, suggesting we watch football like it's a game of pinball where the pane of glass ensures that all the wild bouncing around of the ball is separate from us.
We should be ashamed we never realized or really internalized how we were watching human beings doing damage to each other. I find I can no longer write those "fun" posts. Same with U of M Gophers football.
It has been easy to put down Gophers football for a long time. We looked at the on-field performance and shook our heads. We threw darts at the athletic director. At present, the on-field performance of the Gophers is the least of my considerations. The old mindset is gone - the mindset of feeling thrills and discouragement, of bestowing praise and brickbats. It's concerning to consume all this as entertainment.
The past year has been interesting because of the virtual flood of information about football's dangers for its participants.
Here's a question: What if we realized that a girls sport inflicted the kind of health risks that football does for boys? Wouldn't there be a call to end it now? There probably are some calls to end football now. At present they're too isolated.
Football grew into a virtual empire of entertainment. It wasn't always this way. There was a time - really - when football had a rather brutal image and it was on the margins, not threatening baseball. Then TV technology improved. Joe Paterno may not have been a genius, maybe he just rode the gravy train as improved TV technology made football more entertaining to watch.
We all seemed to discover football as this Nirvana of a sport back in the mid 1960s. Remember the "Heidi game?" I remember where I was when that happened: in Glenwood. That was about the time football was beginning its ascendancy. It was the era of Joe Namath who got beat up physically quite bad. Did we ever stop to think what happens to a beat up body years later when aging has exacted a further toll?
We hear stories now. There was one about former Viking Bill Brown in the Star Tribune last week. But these stories go on and on. The media have decided it's a hot topic. There are plenty of depressing stories out there.
I cannot sit down and write those "fun" posts about football anymore, where I talk about who's "up" and who's "down" etc. Donovan McNabb got brickbats last year.
We figured those guys get paid enough to take the heat. Same with coaches and the athletic director in big-time college athletics. I am of no mood to write any more football posts of the type I wrote as recently as a year ago. If my sensibilities now prove to be the norm, all that old sports journalism is going to look "archival."
I had this sense, strongly, the other night when seeing that movie about Vince Papale on TV. A friend talked me into seeing that movie back when it was at the Morris Theater. It's one of the last movies I saw there.
I consider the Morris Theater to be outdated. I wish the co-op well but the idea of a large theater is outdated. It's too hard to get the sound projected adequately. It's too hard to follow the dialogue. I have long felt the sound system itself was never the issue.
Size of screen is not a factor in how much you'll enjoy a movie. You can watch a movie on a computer screen.
I can't remember the name of the Vince Papale movie as I write the first draft for this.
Update: It's "Invincible."
Seeing parts of it on TV, I was struck by how dated it seemed, showcasing the "macho" football culture that we all looked up to then. Vince's friends seemed so in awe when he "made the team." They were ready to deify him.
Coach Dick Vermeil was known to apply a spartan workout regimen. We were supposed to be impressed by that. Intense practices where guys practically dropped from exhaustion and pain were supposed to be a model for how we approach life. My, we didn't want to be like the "losing" teams that didn't seem to want to work as hard.
As I watched the workout scenes, soaking in the pain, barbarity and conflicts - the acid test for supposed "manhood" - I felt alarmed. I felt alarmed that our culture seemed so regressive.
This was no model for hard work, success or advancement. This was stupid. It was destructive.
What was the problem? I'm reminded of the typical "bad guy" characters in those "Dirty Harry" movies (Clint Eastwood). Watching them today, I think to myself "these guys could use social media."
You see, this is how our culture has advanced. It might not have dawned on us fully yet. Our sudden skepticism about football might be demonstrating our progress. Ergo, we have totally conquered boredom in our society. So complete has been this process, we now have the problem of "distracted driving."
Boys needn't gravitate to football to realize fulfillment and fill their time anymore. There are vastly healthier ways to do this. Today you don't define masculinity with football. You define it with mastering technology. Let's not even use the word "masculinity." Boys and girls, men and women realize self-esteem.
Men in their 50s - my age - who played football are beginning to worry if they'll pay the piper. I have read that the answer is likely "yes" although there's debate over the degree. The degree may be slight and it's likely not everyone's affected - some positions are more dangerous than others in football - but there's a definite basis for concern.
So I'll ask: Why should anyone take this risk? Why should any parents subject their sons to this? Aren't there vastly better ways for a young person to spend his time and develop?
High school students used to get bored a lot. They ended up in mischief because of this. Football and other sports were deemed a good way to channel your energies in a supervised way. Supervised yes, but civilized? Not at all.
People in football are having a hard time setting an example with their behavior. Look at the Mankato State coach last week. And Jerry Sandusky. When we read football can lead to moody and aggressive traits when older, how can we not be reminded of O.J. Simpson? Simpson was a runningback who was attacked by defensive players for years and years. Heaven only knows the kind of head trauma he experienced.
Former Viking Fred McNeill is finished because of his brain issues.
I will never gain allow myself to be entertained by this sport. It's nothing to take lightly.
Why did Vince Papale make the team? Why did coach Vermeil give him the nod? Was it pure merit? It's sad but we must be cynical: Vermeil used Papale on special teams because he was expendable. There was too much risk in special teams for the marquee players to be used much. So Vermeil found this guy with reasonable skills and sky-high desire who would go out there and butt heads with abandon.
Papale was likely well aware of this himself. But to him, being a Philadelphia Eagle was Nirvana. Bill Brown saw himself at the apex as a Minnesota Viking. Today they're human beings who wouldn't be recognized on the street. They can only pray the rest of their lives can be reasonably comfortable.
How many of them would be willing to do it over again? Head injuries/trauma and concussions are the stuff of daily news fare now.
A footnote: I will be paying some attention to Morris Area Chokio Alberta football this fall. Who am I to question the wisdom of MACA in offering this? I'm sort of doing it "under protest," though.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Resilient Eagles to play in state on 8/25

Ryan Beyer earned the "ironman" nickname with his work behind the plate in the Eagles' games on August 11-12. Wow! The town team played 41 innings total, getting past a 14-inning marathon along the way, and Beyer was the reliable backstop all the way.
Beyer and his Eagle mates won 9-8 in the 14-inning affair vs. Madison, thus they captured the #1 seed for 9C. They now have a bye through the first round in state class 'C' competition.
Next for them: an 11:30 a.m. contest this Saturday, Aug. 25, at St. Cloud's Faber Field.
After eight years away, the Eagles are in the prestigious showcase of state. It's a 48-team single-elimination affair - a new format adopted for 2012. Anticipation is high.
Hopefully Ryan Beyer has his muscles and joints all rested up for the new challenges. A young man like him ought to be pretty resilient.
The 9-8 win marked the dramatic end of the Eagles' weekend play. Click on the permalink below to read about the Eagles' 9-7 win over Clinton (on 8/11) and 7-2 win over Madison in Sunday's early game. This link is to my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
Morris 9, Madison 8
The Eagles got outhit 19-12 by the Madison Mallards but topped the final score. Each team committed two errors.
Nate Gades was getting his arm tested on this day. He got the save in the team's first game on the day. Then he was handed the ball for starting duties in the second. He looked vulnerable at the outset as he allowed the Mallards to strike for two runs in the first inning.
Tanner Picht drove in a run for Morris with a single in the bottom of the first.
Madison scored its third run in the third, after which Morris answered promptly with a Matthew Carrington RBI single.
Gades bore down to hold the Mallards scoreless in the fourth through sixth innings. Meanwhile the Eagles were able to mount a rally in the fourth good for four runs. Picht drove in two runs with a single. Carrington hit a soaring fly ball that was nearly caught but fell in for a two-run double.
Madison fought back to record three runs in the seventh with Gades no longer on the hill. It was Nate Haseman getting roughed up. He only lasted a third of an inning.
The seventh inning ended with the score knotted up at six-all. Now it was Kirby Marquart with the task of holding down the fort with his pitching arm. Little did he know he'd end up pitching something close to a complete game. He pitched seven and a third innings total, striking out eight batters and allowing eight hits and two runs (earned).
Marquart might have felt game's end was near when Eric Asche socked a two-run single to center in the eighth. Marquart went back out to the hill in the ninth and nearly closed the door on Madison. He was one out away at one point. But - ouch! - he allowed a bloop single with runners at second and third. So the score is tied up at eight-all. Matters wouldn't be resolved for a while.
Both teams had their chances. Asche came to bat in an RBI opportunity, made solid contact but had his drive caught by the second baseman who started a double play.
The air of drama was climactic in the 14th. Beyer continued working steadily as the catcher. The top half saw Madison load the bases with two singles and a hit batsman. There's just one out. Beyer alertly fielded a ball that had caromed off a teammate. He dove toward the plate and was able to tag the would-be run scorer. It was a close play but the umpire signaled "out!"
Jacob Torgerson was now called on to pitch. Marquart was assigned first base. Eagles fans breathed a sigh of relief with a ground ball hit to short, ending the threat. It's getting late - after 11 p.m.
The first two Eagle batters in the 14th drew bases on balls. Madison got two outs but the threat grew with Beyer walking. Eric Asche came up to bat and was patient. The exhausted Madison pitching wasn't able to cut it anymore. Asche drew a walk to force in the game-winning run!
The boxscore shows Asche with just two at-bats but he was much busier than this number suggests. He walked five times and got hit by pitch. He got on base seven times in his eight total plate appearances.
Jacob Torgerson earned the pitching win, having faced a mere one batter. Marquart deserves pitching kudos. Gades employed his pitching arm for six innings after having not pitched since July 21.
It's surprising that in such a long game, no Eagles had more than two hits. Those with two were Beyer, Picht, Carrington and Jamie Van Kempen.
Asche, Picht and Carrington each had three RBIs. Carrington will be playing in his sixth state tournament in his career of 23 years. (I covered him playing high school baseball.)
Just three Eagles are holdovers from the last Eagles state-qualifying team which was in 2004. This seasoned trio: Carrington, Marquart and Van Kempen.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Seattle World's Fair, UMM's participation

The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle
And the hills the greenest green in Seattle
Like a beautiful child growing up free and wild
Full of hopes an' full of fears
Full of laughter full of tears
Full of dreams to last the years in Seattle
The UMM men's chorus got to appreciate Seattle's attributes firsthand in 1962. Perry Como sang the lyrics to "Seattle" that start off this post. It became the theme for the ABC television show "Here Come the Brides." Como vaulted this song into Billboard's Top 40 in the spring of 1969.
The University of Minnesota-Morris men's chorus sang with style in the Seattle World's Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. UMM had not yet had a graduating class. It was beginning to bloom on the campus that was the long-time home to the West Central School of Agriculture.
Gaining visibility was important to the new UMM. Toward that end, UMM vocal musicians made this trip to the Pacific Northwest.
These were the heady days of the JFK presidency. Heady yes but worrisome too, due to the looming Cold War. Cold War circumstances caused John F. Kennedy to be absent from the fair's closing ceremony. The official word was that he had a bad cold. Really he was attending to the Cuban missile crisis.
The year 1962 seemed more a continuation of the 1950s than the dawn of anything new. Social change didn't seem on the radar yet. I have read one scholar, though, who suggests with support that there was a strong undercurrent in the 1950s anticipating change. It was merely beneath the surface.
The UMM singers visited the gala spectacle that expressed technology-based optimism. The famous Space Needle was built for the event. Two years later the UMM men's chorus would visit New York City where the iconic symbol was the Unisphere. These structures stand today.
I share a retrospective about the 1964-65 New York World's Fair on my companion website, "Morris of Course." You may click on the permalink below to read it. Thanks. - B.W.
Frankly I have often wondered why the Unisphere hasn't gained the stature of the Eiffel Tower in France or the Taj Mahal in India.
Another symbol of the Seattle World's Fair was the monorail. This too survives today with trains carrying about two million passengers a year.
Everyone was conscious of the "space race." JFK set the tone with his goal-setting.
The Boeing company had made Seattle vital in aerospace development. The world's fair projected a theme of how the U.S. was holding its own versus the Soviets in science and space.
The UMM men's chorus is planning a reunion for the upcoming Homecoming. Alumni from 1960 through 1964 are invited, encompassing the two world's fair trips. It was westward in '62 and eastward in '64.
The group performed in a tight and disciplined way, assembled on risers wearing their trademark maroon jackets. My father Ralph E. Williams was director. He was commissioned a "goodwill ambassador" for Minnesota by our Governor Elmer L. Andersen. A certificate marking this was presented to Williams on the state capitol steps, St. Paul.
The certificate proclaimed Williams a "10,000 Laker." He was in St. Paul for a final orientation before he and his 36-voice chorus left for Seattle. The party left from Morris by train, recipient of send-off festivities at the Great Northern depot.
Our men's chorus opened the program for Minnesota Day at the World's Fair. It was June 12. The chorus sang "Onward, Ye Peoples," "Born to be Free," "Rock-a My Soul" and "Russian Picnic."
Minnesota Day ceremonies were held in the Plaza of States. Governor Andersen was there along with St. Paul Winter Carnival and Minneapolis Aquatennial royalty. Another vocal group and four bands also represented the state. The UMM chorus sang later in the day at the Plaza of States.
The Minnesota delegation had brochures promoting the state's tourism to distribute to all. The singers and band musicians wore red and white badges with the messages "Minnesota says hello" and "Vacation Land of 10,000 Lakes."
The Minnesota delegation was 500 strong. Minnesota Day was coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Business Development. Governor Andersen said at trip's outset: "I want to tell you all that we're all mighty proud of all these organizations going out to Seattle."
The fledgling UMM got a boost in its visibility to be sure.
The Seattle World's Fair (or Century 21 Exposition) was held from April 21 to October 21 of 1962. Nearly 10 million attended. It did well financially compared to some other world's fairs.
The joy helped offset some of the dismay caused by world affairs. Americans were building homes with "fallout shelters." The trend didn't last long. The later TV show "Happy Days" gave a good retrospective on that. Their experiment with such emergency preparedness ended in a feeling of resignation. They figured if a conflagration so serious as to require fallout shelters actually happened, "life wouldn't be worth living anymore."
That says it all. The house we live in today does in fact have a fallout shelter. We even still have the owner's manual for it - probably a collector's item. It would be neat to take that to "Pawn Stars." I guess we're ready for. . .something.
All this survivalist talk by Glenn Beck might prompt one to think we should have a revival in emergency preparedness. But again, would life really be worth living?
The Seattle World's Fair projected optimism as best it could considering the backdrop of the Cold War. It and the New York World's Fair were futuristic, striving to put the best foot forward with technology. The monorail was a futuristic vision and shows its viability today. Now if we can get high-speed rail implemented in Minnesota.
The year 1962 was more of a "Father Knows Best" world than "Laugh In." Seeds were being planted for fundamental change. It was the year that saw the first computer video game, called "Spacewar." My goodness, audio cassettes were invented then. Cassettes seemed very futuristic and state of the art for a period, just like "faxing." Then we got CDs and email.
Nostalgia is easy to feel about 1962. If you turned on your radio while out motoring, you might hear "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens. Or, "Duke of Earl" - I love that one - by Gene Chandler. The definitive fad, the "Twist," was given to our culture by Chubby Checker.
Meanwhile JFK was guiding the country. It was an all too short presidency that may have come to be defined by myth at least to a small extent. The boomers were clearly enthralled. We knew nothing of JFK's peccadilloes or the extent of his health problems which really were substantial. I'm not convinced he would have stopped the escalation of the Viet Nam War.
Some inevitable forces bubbled over in the 1960s. We revere JFK as well we should.
I went to our Morris Theater to see "P.T. 109" starring Cliff Robertson as JFK in the real-life war story. Warren Beatty was the other finalist for that role. Movie history has it JFK made the choice himself, also stating he would only go along with the movie if it were factually accurate. Oh c'mon, a little propaganda never hurt a good war story. But the movie seemed to come off just fine.
The world averted the most feared crisis, nuclear annihilation, during the time of JFK.
The site of the Seattle World's Fair is called Seattle Center today. The city burst into our culture in 1993 with the flick "Sleepless in Seattle," the romantic comedy directed and co-written by the recently-deceased Nora Ephron.
The UMM men's chorus members will reunite on September 22 and 23. They'll join in with the UMM concert choir during the Homecoming concert set for 2 p.m. on 9/23 at the HFA. What a grand occasion it will be.
Gary Sethney is the main reunion organizer.
Are the "bluest skies" really seen out in Seattle? Are the hills the "greenest green?" The UMM men's chorus members would know, having celebrated the attributes of Minnesota (and Morris) out in the Pacific Northwest in 1962.
Perry Como sang how the city was "like a beautiful child, growing up free and wild."
Just like UMM in 1962, to be sure.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The magnificent outskirts of our community

Here's a windmill from an earlier time, along one of the narrow snaking roads by Wintermute Lake. (B.W. photo)
Wednesday night was one of those times when the turbine blades were white against a very dark sky.
Do we ever tire of looking at our giant wind turbines? A photographer can find all sorts of opportunities. They face in different directions and take on different shades.
On Wednesday night the skies weren't only dark, they were menacing. Nasty clouds were hovering, surely with the power to wreak havoc. Not only were they hovering, they were headed our way!
I was at a gathering at the Pomme de Terre Park shelter next to Lake Crissey. Lake Crissey? You might not be familiar with that name but that's how it was christened once. Sadly the name faded in its use. It's now simply called a reservoir.
Maybe there's no point in having a nice name for the lake because it doesn't really seem like a lake. It's a relatively wide spot on the Pomme de Terre River. There's no real water recreation there. I remember a diving raft being there when I was a kid. I imagine the water was more acceptable (more clear) for swimming then.
Swimming was also more encouraged at the Pomme de Terre Lake chain. We as a community can't even agree on a name for the primary lake in that chain. "Pomme de Terre" seems to have been the prevailing name. Someone must have told a mapmaker once it was "Perkins."
Now that there is controversy out there over proposed development - an RV campground I believe - the media tend to want to use the official name. Since "Perkins" is on the maps, that's the name we are seeing. But if you drive out to the public access you'll see a big sign welcoming you to "Pomme de Terre Lake."
I wrote a post quite some time ago on this confusion, accompanied by a photo of the sign. I was hoping to prompt some resolution. But as is so often the case with our community, no one sprang forward. My email to a Historical Society person was met with the response that "the individual who might study this has more important things to do."
The solution apparently is for more development to happen out there. Economic development will promote consistency.
All my life I have heard stories about "Perkins Resort" and the roller skating pavilion out there. The stories paint such a wondrous picture, it makes me scratch my head about why such a jewel should vanish.
For a time that location became a Lutheran youth retreat. It was called "Luther Crest West" which always rankled me, because the week I spent at the real Luther Crest near Alexandria was a week in hell.
I'm not sure to what extent Luther Crest West flowered as a retreat - the numbers etc. It became abandoned for that purpose. I'd like to add the refrain "die, Luther Crest, die." One thing to be said for me, I never ran from the bullies, I "took it." As I grew older I learned not to fight on their terms. I learned I could use words to "stand my ground," to develop journalistic skills.
John Stossel in one of his books claimed to have done the same. In his words, he learned to "turn the cameras on the bullies."
Today there are those seeing development potential at Perkins (or Pomme de Terre) Lake. And there's controversy/conflict.
How big could a resort attraction blossom out there? If there's really so much potential, how come this didn't happen before? Why not during the "go go" years of the economy? There's retrenchment now and in my opinion it'll get worse.
Don't you think that lake is barely acceptable for resort/campground purposes? Or that it's below the standard that is needed? By the standards of Stevens County it's terrific. But we bill ourselves as "prairie" and not "lakes." Sad to say, our lakes are known as "cow lakes."
We are a short drive from much superior lakes to the east. Having spent much of my childhood in Brainerd, I learned to view even the Alexandria lakes as substandard. Brainerd is God's country for this. Morris is prairie. We can't pretend we're something that we aren't.
You barely notice the Pomme de Terre Lake chain as you drive along North Highway 59. I recently explored out in that area to take some photos. The development along the highway is quite interesting and nice. But much of it is off the road so much, it's hard to be aware. The houses are scattered and they are impressive.
Take a right and you drive toward the river valley. Any river valley offers something aesthetic. There's a fine house that even has a dock extending over the river.
Take a left off North Highway 59 and you can see development around Wintermute Lake. Again, this is "scattered" development - rather opulent houses to be seen here and there. Oddly, the road you take out toward Wintermute is narrow and winding. It's paved but not very inviting.
You come to a fork in the road. I've never taken a right there, rather I go left toward the McCannons', along that winding "trail" (a word more apt than "road") until there is finally a dead end. It's a dead end at the McCannons'. If Roger is out in the yard you might step out of the car and explain your presence.
"I'm a Sunday driver." (Boy, now there's dated phrase.)
Once you get on those trails around Wintermute Lake, you'll have to use a private driveway to turn around. Maybe the roads aren't real inviting because this is a way for residents to express their desire for privacy.
I might suggest the same about the dirt road that heads out to the "Pomme de Terre West" neighborhood on Perkins (or Pomme de Terre) Lake. It's a lousy road that often develops that very annoying "washboard" effect.
It's a short walk from the Pomme de Terre public access to the Pomme de Terre West neighborhood. While it's short, there is no trail or road. In fact there's a barbed wire fence! That fence was repaired about two years ago. For a while there was an opening, maybe created by someone who was annoyed by it. (It wasn't me.)
For a time I took bike rides out there and then took a walk by the Pomme de Terre West neighborhood. Now I'd have to get over that fence. Was the fence repaired because the people noticed me, an "outsider," taking walks there? Actually I never saw many signs of life along that neighborhood, just big houses - you know, "McMansions."
I always viewed the proliferation of "McMansions" as ironic because the type of families who lived in them seemed so "on the go," they were hardly ever there. Meanwhile the retirees who settled in much more modest houses after World War II are home a lot.
You will see a "wind farm" as you proceed to the north along Highway 59. Also, an expansive field of bright yellow sunflowers. About 30 years ago, sunflowers were a very common cash crop out and around. I learned these plants are very subject to diseases.
A motorist passing through the area using Highway 59 might think it's pretty barren and common country. But how misleading that is. There is so much life along with aesthetic delights.
You just have to look.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Politics at the fair and everywhere

Political hopeful Dave Holman and "surrogate" make rounds at our 2012 Stevens County Fair. (Photo by B.W.)
The political stands (or booths) used to stand out much more at the Stevens County Fair. Today they're blended in with all the other booths at the exhibit building.
Do they still call it the "commercial exhibits building?" The Lee Center has made this aspect of the fair totally classy. I remember when this aspect was housed in a rather substandard wooden building. But the political stands for the two parties were away from that, too special apparently to just be "lost" amidst the other stuff. They used to be along the main walkway. I'm not sure the term "midway" is appropriate because I associate that with the rides.
I remember where the "DFL" booth used to be. My impulse tells me to put quote marks around "DFL." It seems an outdated name. It sprang from the days of the small, traditional diversified family farm, and "labor" the way it used to be. The corporate farms of today really just blend in with the larger business world.
"Labor" has famously been in retreat for a long time. Its last bastion appears to be the public sector. And the ramparts there are being stormed pretty aggressively. Look at Wisconsin.
You could pick up leaflets at those political fair booths extolling the respective sides. Those little piles of leaflets might each have a little stone on top, lest they blow away.
Politics didn't seem so much like warfare back then. We would joke about the conflict and then simply cast our votes in calm privacy. Today it's not so funny. Republicans led by the likes of Karl Rove appear to be pulling levers to subvert the actual electoral process.
I think someone should just offer Rove $5 million for the promise he'd get out of politics. Why does pure "winning" seem so important to him? Politics isn't even a practical matter to him or others who have gotten the "bug." It's an obsessive passion. It's simply about winning.
What would they do if they got their way? What if they got the majority in every legislative body and filled most executive-level positions? I'd like to ask: "What would they do then?" I think they would have to find some other type of arena. Because, fighting is what it's all about to them. It isn't about governing or improving the lot of ordinary folks.
This type of thing can get really dangerous. If America suddenly comes upon a "tipping point" economically, which I have long thought is in the cards, we want our political system to be stable and honest. We'll need prudent solutions.
Even then, there will be much tribulation. Desperation can give rise to despots. Oh, you're shaking your head because it hasn't happened yet. Bad things can happen.
Political conservatives haven't even allowed us to have a calm and rational discussion on global climate change. The zealots on the political right don't just disagree with those who suggest man made global warming. They must shout, insult and browbeat. The meteorologists you see on TV are scared to acknowledge the theory of man made climate change. Their jobs could be at risk.
The thing is, climate change creeps up on us and then we suddenly start noticing problems we never would have thought of. Micro-organisms begin to wreak havoc. It has been suggested these recent odd "otter attacks" are tied in. Those teeth get buried as far as two inches beneath the skin.
Kids have died because of a certain type of "amoeba" that has now caused a lake to be closed to swimming. I wonder how the property values along that lake have been affected.
I have mentioned to friends: "Wouldn't it be something if lake property in Minnesota went from being the most desirable to least desirable?"
We pray no further incidents of otters or amoeba happen. But if the problem gets worse? What if new elements arise?
Shouldn't there be a fear we waited too long to acknowledge and respond to climate change? The rich people who own lake property might wake up. Normally Republican, they might begin to look at the climate change deniers (like barking dog Glenn Beck and his ilk) in a new light. You see, I don't think the "real" conservatives have that much in common with the celebrity conservative media stars like Beck, Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann.
"Real" conservatives are sober, patient and practical people. They aren't inclined to go on the warpath against anyone.
We have allowed these "celebrity" conservatives to rise up because we're not real vigilant about understanding the media. Let's get to the point: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."
Bachmann pulls her hair out and talks of "Muslim infiltration" and her name gets splashed across the "news" (or what passes for it). The lemming residents of her district just go along with it. Maybe they just enjoy having a celebrity congresswoman. They shrug and vote for the "big name" on the ballot. They are detached from what politics is really about.
That economic "tipping point" will wake them up.
We might realize our money is losing its value. There might be another "financial crisis" like in 2008 but there might be no remedy to keep things calm this time. We'll wonder: "Why weren't more safeguards put in place after 2008?"
This is what politicians are for. But the tea partiers scream about how government needs to keep its distance from anything. They have gotten surprising traction. At least up until now.
I remember as a kid being at the Crow Wing County Fair and seeing a booth full of the crazy right wing reactionary stuff. It was cute but it seemed marginalized back then. We knew those voices were out there but they seemed trampled in the real, practical world.
Now a lot of these people are being elected to public office. It was a marvel in the midterm election. What does it say about us?
Republicans are trying to pull the rug out from under our very electoral process. Look at Ohio. It's right in front of your face there.
Republicans are using constitutional amendments to push emotional and ideological pet ideas. Here's where we could see a break between the crazy Republicans and the more traditional and practical ones. The business world is clearly uncomfortable with the "marriage amendment."
Rich people have parents who will get hurt if the Paul Ryan budget ideas are enacted. Rich people ought to care about everyone. But if this is what it takes - worry about family members - it's an acceptable route. This is hardly the age of altruism.
We live in a culture in which half of us can be defined as a failure. It's a culture in which an audience of Republicans at a Republican debate cheers about the possibility of people without health insurance just being left to die. We should be astonished. But we're probably just too busy.
And about half of us will probably vote for the presidential ticket that includes Ryan. I hope the Lord forgives us, "for we know not what we do."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Surging Eagles up season record to 17-7

The weekend of August 4-5 brought abundant success for our Morris Eagles baseball team. The season is winding down or reaching a climax, whichever way you want to look at it.
The Eagles are on a roll in the August phase of play. They own a 17-7 record as the curtain opens for our Stevens County Fair. They have won five of their last six.
Spokesman Matthew Carrington sees the squad "peaking at the right time." He's optimistic based on "a deep pitching staff and solid lineup." I might suggest a deep pitching staff is the finest attribute you can have. Now the Eagles are in for the Region 9C play-in game. They'll vie vs. Madison at 1 p.m. this Saturday, August 11, at Ortonville.
Click on the permalink below to reach about the Eagles' 5-4 win over Dumont on August 4 in the opening round of the Region 9C playoffs. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
Eagles 7, Clinton 2
The August 5 game had Morris taking on Clinton in Rosen. The Eagles built their win skein to four with a 7-2 triumph.
At first all wasn't rosy as Clinton owned a 2-0 lead after two innings. After that the Eagles owned this game, scoring at least one run in the third through seventh innings.
Tanner Picht's name appears in the leadoff spot for the blue crew in the weekend games. Normally we'd see Dusty Sauter's. But Dusty was sidelined with a concussion and broken nose - an unfortunate mishap from a collision at third in the game versus Appleton. His speedy return is expected.
In the meantime, it was Picht who began Morris' scoring in the Clinton game, walking and stealing second in the third inning before finally scoring on a Kirby Marquart single.
Morris scored another run in the fourth and would likely have scored two if the ball hadn't rolled under the fence. Back-to-back singles got Morris going in that fourth. These were off the bats of Craig Knochenmus and Matthew Carrington. Up to bat comes Brett Anderson who made solid contact and sent the ball screaming down the left field line. Knochenmus scored. Carrington had to stay at third after the ball went under the fence (darn).
Morris finally seized the lead in the fifth frame. This two-run rally began with Picht singling. He arrived at second on a Marquart sacrifice. Up to bat comes the seasoned Eric Asche who capitalizes, connecting for a two-run homer. It was a deep and majestic shot over the left-center field fence.
The Eagles scored again in the sixth on a Clinton fielding miscue.
The seventh inning saw the always-dangerous Ryan Beyer hit an RBI double that barely eluded the Card left fielder who made a futile dive. Beyer came in on a Knochenmus single.
The final Morris line score was seven runs, eleven hits and two errors. The pitching story: Jacob Torgerson got the win, working six innings and setting down two Card batters on strikes. One of the two runs he allowed was unearned. He walked just one and allowed five hits.
Jacob's arm was retired in favor of Knochenmus having his arm put to work for the last three innings. "Knochy" was dominant in getting the save, fanning six batters, walking one and allowing three hits and no runs.
Nearly everyone in the Eagle lineup hit safely. The multiple-hit guys were Marquart, Knochenmus and Carrington. Picht had a stolen base.
Madison beat Dawson 4-1 in the day's second game. So Madison will now face Morris in Ortonville.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, August 6, 2012

Will head trauma traumatize football?

The world of football is walking on eggshells. We're seeing the monumental clash between the old notions of masculinity and the new enlightenment.
The latter tells us football is hazardous. The former has tons of sentiment attached to it. How can we say goodbye to football? It ought to be easy. One very helpful step needs to be taken: boys need another athletic option in fall.
We have cross country but that sport isn't suited for boys of substantial build. The wispy kids (i.e. built economically) excel in the distance running. I forget which gender swims in the fall months in Minnesota. Shows how long I've been out of media work. Swimming is a fine sport but I don't see it attracting a substantial number of new male participants.
There is an answer. Just as we have baseball for boys and softball for girls in spring, why not offer both boys and girls volleyball? The Minnesota State High School League and other like organizations should get to work on something like this immediately.
As things stand now, I'd prefer that a young man simply come home after school and get on the computer, over playing football.
Why did it take so long to wake up to football's perils? A fair amount of documentation has been available for a long time. We knew about smoking's dangers long before an outright ban was instituted in restaurants. Remember how futile those old "smoking sections" could be? Could you imagine walking into a place like DeToy's Restaurant today and seeing the air blue with cigarette smoke?
The idea in football is to run past or through guys who are trying to throw you to the ground. The danger is made obvious by the use of helmets. Head trauma comes about by the brain "rattling around" in the helmet. The risk is greater the younger you go.
Why subject any junior high-age kid to the risk of concussion? How can any parent live with the symptoms including nausea and vomiting for up to a week? For what purpose is your child doing this? He's not getting paid.
The August practices seem almost an exercise in torture. In the past this was masculine affirmation. But times have changed quickly in regard to this. Gender "traits" seem to have dissolved. You aren't impressing anyone by playing a physically dangerous game.
One concussion makes a second one more likely. Repeated head trauma seems to increase the likelihood you'll have health issues when older.
Even the non-head injuries associated with football should give you pause. "Morning Joe" on MSNBC this morning showed one highlight from the early-bird football game involving the Arizona Cardinals. That play had quarterback Kevin Kolb getting slammed to the ground. Watching it, I thought there might be head issues. There might in fact be, but the official word was bruised ribs.
It doesn't take an outright concussion to create head issues. Football players at all levels are regularly subjected to hard impact. Many former pro players are now suing. And don't think public schools aren't a little nervous about continuing to offer this sport. I think a lot of them would like to get out of the football business.
And if boys had an additional option in autumn, like volleyball, we could ease into a new model and perhaps phase out the "gladiator" sport of football with its helmets. Boys and girls volleyball would be a blast. Weather isn't a factor for these gymnasium sports. Girls certainly look graceful playing it. Boys might actually have some "catching up" to do. Poetic justice, I guess, to make up for the girls' learning steps with basketball in the 1970s.
Many boys and their parents would breathe a sigh of relief if volleyball offered a welcoming gesture for fall.
We are going to see a schism between sports journalists and the football establishment this fall. Journalists are going to want to broach the health subject from time to time. The establishment is going to try to coach them on how to talk about contact on the field. Without doubt, the phrase "getting his bell rung" is going to be excised. Broadcasters will shy away from the language associated with "hard-hitting."
This conspiracy with sports journalists will succeed only to a degree, because people simply aren't stupid. They have the Internet readily available as a resource for learning of football's scary dangers. Lawyers and insurance companies will be ever hovering.
There is a serious ethical question of whether coaches or upperclassmen in high school should engage in any overt "recruiting" of students. Let the boys play who really want to play, I guess.
But I feel bothered when I read about parents who say they'd prefer their sons not play football, "but we'll leave it to them."
Whatever happened to adult wisdom? I sense a little bit of denial in these parents. It's as if they're not prepared to accept the reality of physical hazards on the gridiron. A voice in the back of their head is trying to tell them something.
The pull of sentiment is hard to resist. We grew up loving the Minnesota Vikings and watching football on TV. We need to wipe the slate clean and it's not easy.
I notice that the Sunday Star Tribune had a quite extensive feature on the fears people are feeling about football. We should all be shaking our heads over some football spokespeople, like coaches, still trying to "talk up" football. This was predictable but it's still disappointing. Quotes in this vein were in the Star Tribune piece. A guy says "the danger of concussions is overblown." He should get a good Three Stooges eye-poke for saying that.
Back in my media career I'd hear coaches saying at end-of-season banquets that players should "lift weights in the off-season." Of course this is a horrible culprit in the problem we're seeing now. Players are getting ever bigger, faster and beefier, becoming like missiles. What good does it do to lift weights when your opponents are doing the same thing?
You'll just be getting up off the ground with stars in your eyes. And when you reach age 60 you might have regular headaches and memory issues. How profoundly foolish.
We should be shocked football had such a long and glorious history. Can we begin to separate ourselves from the pro game? I think I can. After reading about many of these sad cases of retired NFL players, I think closing the curtain can be accomplished.
For prepsters, we need to institute a new sport for boys in the fall, like volleyball, and move on. We have moved on from that "blue air" in restaurants. Change can be effected. Let's not be tentative. Our youth warrant such vigilance.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Eagles aim to continue winning habit at Rosen

Bring on the Region 9C tournament! There's more to look forward to this time of summer than the county fair. Our "boys of summer" are brimming with playoff optimism, fresh from two wins on one day, that day having been July 28.
The Eagles turned back Montevideo and Appleton. Our town team exudes pride with a 15-7 won-lost mark.
Now the focus is on Round 1 of Region 9C play, which will have Morris playing Dumont at 1:30 p.m. Saturday (8/4) at Rosen.
Click on the permalink below to read about the Eagles' 9-4 win over Montevideo on July 21, in the opening round of the Canvas Division playoffs. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
Wins to close out July
Winning twice in a day in this very hot summer of 2012 earns a badge of resilience. The Eagles defeated the Montevideo Spartans 4-3 in game 1 on July 28. The site: Benson. Beating Monte clinched a region berth.
Monte gained a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but Morris got the score tied quickly. Eric Asche came up to bat with two outs and drove in Ryan Beyer with a single. Beyer had doubled. So the score is 1-1 with one inning done.
A very key inning was the third when the Eagles pushed three runs in. Again Beyer was a cog, this time singling. Asche sacrificed Beyer to second. Eric Riley made a statement that "small ball" wasn't really necessary. Eric caught hold of a Spartan delivery and hit a long homer to left-center.
The Eagles got their third run of the inning when Cole Riley raced home on a wild pitch.
Matthew Carrington pitched for all but 2/3 of an inning in this game. After allowing that first inning run, Carrington blanked Monte over the next five innings before allowing single runs in the seventh and ninth. The three runs he allowed were one shy of the Morris total, so Morris could savor victory and be assured they were "in" for Region 9C.
But it wasn't easy or routine getting through the ninth. Monte got a leadoff double. Morris committed a fielding miscue that resulted in baserunners at first and third. Whether or not hurler Carrington was feeling fatigued, it was considered prudent to have a fresh arm inserted.
Jacob Torgerson, active with both Legion and Eagles, was assigned work on the pitching rubber. Monte got a run in on a ground ball. Monte is within a run of tying. Torgerson needed one more out and he got it decisively with a strikeout.
The three Monte runs were charged to Carrington but two were unearned, and he was the pitcher of record (his seventh win). Torgerson was awarded the save.
Carrington fanned five batters, walked two and gave up six hits.
Colton Vein, a familiar name from the high school season, is a respected hurler for Monte but he looked mortal as he gave up ten hits.
Two Eagles each had two hits: Beyer and Jamie Van Kempen. Beyer scored two runs. Eric Riley had a hit (his home run) and drove in two runs. Asche had the other RBI to go with a hit.
Other Eagles with hits were Kirby Marquart, Cole Riley, Tanner Picht and Carrington.
The Eagles committed two errors and Montevideo one.
Eagles 9, Appleton 2
The Eagles turned things around nicely vs. the A's of Appleton. They were stung when the A's beat them 11-1 on July 22 in Morris. But Morris applied the stinging in the July 28 rematch.
What was at stake in the re-match? It was the No. 1 seed for region. So the victory had a savory feel indeed.
Morris took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Tanner Picht connected for a long double to right and Matthew Carrington hit an RBI single.
The sixth inning was when the decisive momentum set in. Again Carrington's bat produced an RBI single. Jacob Torgerson and Kirby Marquart worked the pitcher for successive walks, both with the bases full. Ryan Beyer got the ball out to the outfield for a sacrifice fly. Cole Riley singled up the middle to drive in a run.
In all, five runs came in for Motown in the sixth.
The final two Morris runs were scored in the ninth frame. They came in on base raps by Jamie Van Kempen and Kirby Marquart.
It was a big day for the burly veteran Marquart who went out to the hill for his first pitching start of the summer. He looked fully in the groove with his hurling. He set down nine Appleton batters on strikes. He walked just two and gave up three hits and two runs.
Every Eagle whose name appears in the boxscore had a hit! Tanner Picht had three. The following Eagles had two each: Marquart, Beyer, Eric Riley and Carrington. These Eagles had one hit: Dusty Sauter, Torgerson, Cole Riley, Mitch Carbert and Van Kempen.
The Morris line score was nine runs, 16 hits and three errors.
Tanner Picht had an amazing day as he played in four games, the first two of which were with the Morris Legion team. In the Eagles' win over Appleton, Picht looked fresh as could be as he went three-for-five with three runs scored and an RBI.
Now it's "destination Rosen!" for the Saturday (8/4) affair. Morris Eagles baseball is vibrant!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com