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

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

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March basketball & how it pushes out weather

We're in March which is when we can be relieved winter is over. Winter can come at us with some last gasps.
March is a twilight zone kind of month in which the weather isn't neatly categorized. Every month has to stand for something. March is the basketball tournament month. At the prep level, Morris didn't put on much of a show for this. We're "Morris Area Chokio Alberta." We're still the Tigers.
We have the same old fight song which was written just for the "Morris" name. "M-H-S," we're supposed to chant. A friend tells me this has been altered. We must be careful tinkering with a composer's product.
Maybe someday we can be known as "Morris" again, with the simple understanding that we serve students from the surrounding smaller communities. Maybe someday we won't have to hear of "MACCRAY" any more, or "BOLD." These names are political constructions designed to appease certain parochial elements in their communities. In the name of suggesting there's no favoritism, we end up with school names that mean nothing and tell us nothing. It's a victory for paranoia.
I do think these feelings will soften at some point. They most likely already have, but change takes time. Very small towns are not as identity-conscious as they once were. There is less commerce in these towns. Increasingly they are bedroom communities or havens for retirees, people who really couldn't care less if the town is high-profile, and actually would prefer that the town be low-profile (quiet and safe).
(Mark Levin was recently taken to task by a caller for saying "could care less." It's "couldn't." Mark doesn't appreciate being corrected.)
When the Minnewaska school was on the drawing board, it was political to the max. Today, I don't that anyone in Starbuck has it cross his/her mind that there is no in-town high school in Starbuck. I do think it's a shame Glenwood doesn't have its own school, at least on the edge of town.
Once the state became committed to the "cornfield" Minnewaska school, it would make certain this school stayed viable, even with failed referendums (at least two). The state has a vested interest.
The state has also said it won't be allowed to happen again: no more "cornfield schools" like Minnewaska or Lac qui Parle. Glenwood lost out.
It's a shame a school can't be located in a community where a substantial number of school constituents might consider walking or biking to and from. With Minnewaska as it is, motorized transportation is necessary for everyone all the time.
We're so much more fortunate here in Morris. Our public school campus is almost breathtaking with its size and quality. The concert hall is incredible. We have a surplus of gym space. The old varsity gym (1968) seems almost a "ghost gym" now. Heck, I can remember when varsity basketball was played in the old elementary auditorium (razed now).
Morris has lots of blessings for its young people. No school is without issues. At present we have this very unpleasant business involving the high school principal.
I was also discouraged to see both our basketball teams losing out of the starting gate in post-season. The girls were especially mystifying. The regular season saw them handle the Minnewaska Lakers with no suspense. 'Waska was our first foe in sub-section. 'Waska was also our last foe. The "cornfield school" from the east took it to us.
'Waska not only won, they won with command and at our floor no less, our state of the art varsity gym.
Our teams were not state of the art in 2014. You can argue that the boys team had a rebuilding quality. The boys did pick up considerable steam after a loss streak that began the season. Noah Grove and Eric Staebler played like stars. But the Tigers failed to make any kind of statement in the post-season. We lost on the road to Eden Valley-Watkins.
But the MACA girls were the biggest mystery. It appears we should have cruised through that first round. I dutifully write about all these games. I know I have some readers but I don't know exactly how many. Regardless, it costs nothing to read my stuff.
I didn't feel like ending my basketball writing so soon. I decided to "adopt" the New London-Spicer girls basketball team. They're in our sub-section. They have a longstanding reputation for sharp play. I greatly enjoyed seeing the success round-by-round.
The Wildcats had to work for this success, as it was not routine. Somehow the coach seems to instill that little edge that gets them through close games. New London-Spicer with star player Taylor Thunstedt made it to state. Finally they lost, in a Wednesday night game vs. the Esko "Eskomos," in one of those low-scoring games that have appeared to become more common.
I had felt confident that NL-Spicer would beat Esko. When learning of the defeat the next morning, I felt that little emotional jolt of disappointment just as if it had been Morris that lost. Such emotions are a cornerstone of what March basketball is all about. I was happy to be along for the ride, even if it was with a team other than Morris.
Now my thoughts gravitate back to Morris. We have basketball teams that never had a chance to get "mad" with the "March madness."
I look outside and I see only the bleakness of cold March weather and "snirt" (snow and dirt). It's that twilight zone time in which we're best off not even thinking about the weather.
New London-Spicer basks in the afterglow of both its girls and boys basketball teams making state. Meanwhile here in Morris, we have headlines about when the trial date is set for the principal.
We always land on our feet here in Motown. We have so much state money pouring into this town, we can always thump our chest. Plus there's all the retirees with their Social Security checks. But let's not get complacent.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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