"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)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Home game versus Benson is all Tigers

Tigers 58, Benson 22
Benson couldn't summon much of a challenge against our MACA Tigers Friday night (1/30). The Braves are groping to find a competitive stance. Meanwhile the Tigers are showing lots of pluses with their play.
Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers achieved their eighth win at the expense of the Braves. The score was 58-22 in front of an appreciative home crowd. Benson was held to nine points in the second half. The game's complexion slowed down in the second half.
The Tigers own a 6-2 conference record.
We had a share-the-wealth type of offense in the win over the Braves. Liz Tiernan topped the scoring list with her ten points. Lauren Reimers, fresh at the thousand-point scoring plateau for her career, scored nine. Becca Holland was right behind with eight, and Correy Hickman scored six. Four Tigers each scored four points: Courtney Storck, Tracy Meichsner, Kayla Pring and Nicole Solvie. Three Tigers each added two points to the mix: Moira McNally, Lacee Maanum and Madi Wevley. Piper Gibson put in one point.
Here we go again: These point totals add up to 56 points, not 58, but that's how it was reported in the ragged West Central Tribune newspaper of Willmar. 
Holland made two 3-point shots and Reimers made one. McNally was tops in rebounds with six followed by Pring and Hickman each with five. Reimers led in assists with four and in steals with four.
When the final horn sounded, the orange and black had clear command with the final score of 58-22.
Our field goal shooting numbers were 23 of 58. In freethrows the stats were nine of 12. The halftime score was 38-13. The squad has a Saturday game set for today (1/31) against West Central Area.
Benson's scoring was topped by Krista Motzko with six points. Hannah Ricard scored five followed by Amanda Nissen (4), Addie Forbord (3), Danielle Himley (2) and Rachel Lee (2).
Forbord made a three-pointer to give a little feeling of spark in the face of a bleak offense. Programs all go through this sort of thing once in a while. Better days will come.
Samantha Payne was Benson's top rebounder with six, and Motzko had four. Motzko executed a steal. Alas, Benson is winless. The first modest goal will be to get one win. Eventually Yellow Medicine East football won a game. (That was against our Tigers, sigh.)
Eating while driving: an offense?
Did you catch that news item recently where the guy got a citation from police for eating a cheeseburger while driving? I guess this is perceived as a form of distracted driving. I suppose it's possible to get overly involved with a snack while driving.
I wonder if this case is really egregious. Would the ticket have been issued if the motorist were a woman? Or a senior citizen? Males in theirs 20s through 40s - oh heck, into their 50s - seem the most prime target. Such was the status of the driver I'm reporting on.
We're all concerned about distracted driving. Certainly there are serious forms. A big problem here is how broad the term "distracted driving" can be. It's highly subjective. Capricious?
I tend to get my gas at Casey's. Often I'll get a slice of pizza before driving off. And, I'll take some bites as I drive slowly over the 4-5 blocks on my way to the next destination. Often I'll stop at Willie's because that's on the way home. I'll take the last few bites of the pizza slice in the Willie's parking lot. It appears that I will now have to keep an eye out for the police as I'm en route. I wonder if driving with one hand will come to be viewed as an offense. 
There have been rumors going back a couple years about how pets will have to be put in carriers, or else. The rumors have suggested very large fines. Unless we the public rise up to stop such trends - trends of overzealous law enforcement - we're going to develop a complex as we set out to drive. Aggressive law enforcement spells money that supports the agencies who give out these tickets, often in an onerous way. I mean, many of these citations in a previous age would have been seen as nit-picking.
Oh, but we must maximize safety, right? Really? Is that your standard? Well, then we'll have to make requirements more rigid for renewing our driver's license. Make the eye exam more demanding. Do you know how much anxiety this would cause for older drivers?
The simple fact is, there are many drivers out there who for a variety of reasons aren't 100 percent attentive or competent for driving a car. We get old. We can be short on sleep. We can be taking medications. We may have consumed a beer or two with a pizza meal, which means that if police pull you over for some reason, like a burned out headlight, you'll have a heart attack, or maybe you'll be tempted to flee like that assistant Stevens County attorney. That individual is now deceased.
The best example of overzealous law enforcement is the seat belt thing.
Many of us might have to start considering a car-free lifestyle. More senior citizens might have to be forced to consider this. The ideal will be "safety" - that mantra that gives cover for law enforcement to give out tickets as if it's a scourge from god.
Just watch what happens if more seniors are forced off the road. Their children will rise up and scream about how older adults need to be allowed to continue with reasonable independence. But wait, what about "safety?" It's really a bunch of hooey. Eating while driving? Be careful. Pet in the car? Be careful. Most of all, be very careful every time you see a police car (or a school bus). The cops will be looking to get you for some minor reason.
Cash registers ring for law enforcement.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reimers reaches career 1000-point milestone

 WHN 60, Tigers 58
Tuesday brought a milestone for MACA Tiger Lauren Reimers. This spring she'll be pounding softballs. At present she puts in points for the Morris Area Chokio Alberta hoopsters. Coach Dale Henrich had his orange and black squad square-off vs. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross on Tuesday (1/27). Reimers reached the 1,000-point milestone for her career. She scored 12 points on the night.
(Today, Wednesday, Jan. 28, is a milestone for me as it's my 60th birthday. I'll quote my high school graduating class motto, Class of '73: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!")
Becca Holland topped the MACA scoring list with her 15 points.
The game's outcome put a damper on the otherwise celebratory night. OT was required. The score was tied 54-all at the end of regulation. The powerful WHN team, owner of a 15-2 record coming in, found the tools to edge the Tigers. Four freethrows did the trick for the visiting Warriors. Those shots elevated WHN to a 60-58 win in this non-conference game.
MACA and WHN are old rivals from the District 21 days.
There was an element of heartbreak in this loss for the orange and black. We had a chance to win in regulation. The clock showed zero time remaining when a Tiger had a chance at the freethrow line. Oh no, a miss! That's the way it goes.
We'll be hosting Benson on Friday night. We'll enter that contest with a 7-7 record.
WHN had the 33-30 advantage at halftime Tuesday. The Tigers had the scoring edge in the second half, 24-21. In overtime the story was a 6-4 scoring edge for those Warriors.
Becca Holland built her team-best total partly on the strength of 3-pointers. Becca put in three long-rangers. Liz Tiernan sank two from long range.
Tracy Meichsner with her nine rebounds led in that category. In assists it was Correy Hickman and Meichsner setting the pace, each with four. Reimers stole the ball six times.
The Tigers made 23 of 66 field goal tries and were seven of 13 in freethrows.
Four Tigers scored in double figures. Holland with her 15 points was followed by Tiernan and Reimers each with 12, and Piper Gibson with ten. Courtney Storck and Hickman each put in four points, and Moira McNally scored one.
Samantha Lupkes was quite the cog for WHN, putting in 28 points. Jordan Stafford made an offensive statement with her 17 points. Hannah Gail scored six points, Emma Schmidt three and Scout Cronen one. These totals add up to 55 points, not 60, but that's how it was reported in the very fallible Willmar newspaper. Stafford hit a pair of 3's. Lupkes grabbed ten rebounds. Schmidt contributed two assists and three steals.
Boys: Sauk Centre 58, Tigers 54
The MACA boys like the girls were on the short end of a close score Tuesday. In the boys' case, the score was 58-54 and the opponent was Sauk Centre, at Sauk. This was West Central Conference hoops action.
Three-pointers were a department that smiled on the Streeters. Matthew Moritz sank three 3's and Shariff Silas two. Austin Nelson and Carter Kranz each made one '3'. The Streeters were 19 of 49 in total field goals.
The Tigers also made 19 field goals, in 56 attempts. We were 15 of 23 at the freethrow line. We're still over .500 on the heels of this loss, barely.
Eric Staebler was the dominating scoring force for MACA, pouring in 31 points. Maybe a little more balance would be nice to see. Sean Amundson put in seven points. Noah Grove was pretty quiet on this night with four points. Riley Biesterfeld and Jacob Zosel also scored four points, and Andrew Goulet had three. Robert Rohloff added a point to the mix.
Staebler had the only MACA three-pointer. Staebler led MACA in rebounds with 18, in assists with one and in steals with two.
Sauk Centre sails along with a 12-4 record coming out of Tuesday (8-2 in conference). Morris and Sauk Centre were intense rivals when I was in high school.
Cole Neubert led Sauk Centre in rebounds with seven, in assists with three and in steals with three. Silas paced the Streeters in scoring with 17 points. Moritz put in ten points. Tanner Schmiesing scored seven points followed by Neubert and Nelson each with six, Kranz with five, Nick Wanderscheid with four and Jay Friedrichs with three.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 26, 2015

Girls cruise to win on road vs. BOLD

The MACA girls really turned on the jets at Warrior country of BOLD. The Olivia gym was the site. Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers dominated this West Central Conference action.
The Tigers easily carved out their seventh win of the season. They crept over .500 to 7-6. In conference the numbers are better: 6-2. MACA outscored the Warriors 38-23 in the first half and 40-26 in the second. That spells a most satisfying 78-49 win.
Becca Holland had quite the hot shooting hand. Becca connected four times from three-point range. She built her point total to a team-best 24. She was all over the court, stealing the ball four times as well.
Lauren Reimers, Liz Tiernan and Correy Hickman each made one '3'. Seven total three-pointers represents quite the barrage. In total field goals the Tigers were 32 of 88. In freethrows: seven of 16.
Tracy Meichsner went up to snare nine rebounds while Tiernan seized seven. Hickman produced seven assists and Reimers delivered six. In steals it was Holland and Hickman setting the pace with four each. Reimers had three steals.
Let's roll up our sleeves for the scoring list. Holland stood out with her 24 points and then we have Reimers with 15 and Hickman with 13. Tiernan, Meichsner and Moira McNally each scored six points. Four Tigers each added two points to the mix: Piper Gibson, Lexi Mahoney, Ashley Solvie and Lacee Maanum. The offense was quite diversified.
Emily Gass was BOLD's top scorer with 13 points. Whitney Haney scored eight points, and the list continues with Taylor Sagedahl (6), Morgan Flann (6), Allison Krause (4), Makenna Steffel (4), and these Warriors each with two: Ashley Schmitz, Mariyah Stimpel, Peyton Weis and Amanda Tersteeg. (I wonder if "Allison Krause" is named after the country music singer!)
Haney canned a couple shots from three-point range. Gass had one 3-pointer. Haney had the team-best nine rebounds while Krause and Gass each had five. Gass dished out three assists and Flann had two steals.
Viva Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls and boys basketball for 2015!
"Deflate-gate" discussion continues
Of course, no matter what kind of talk is generated about NFL issues, it will only help boost the NFL's profile and bring more money into those coffers.
If the NFL continues exploding in popularity, its leaders won't care a bit about problems like "Deflate-gate." They will only care if such a problem chips away at the sport's popularity. If the problem is just swept under the rug, we can assume that NFL football can take on some of the qualities of pro wrestling, and its leaders won't care. Pro wrestling has always been very popular. Bill Belichick would simply be a "villain," and Tom Brady would be his stooge partner.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC has already proclaimed that the only reason deflate-gate is a big issue, is that people "hate the Patriots," like it's only an emotional matter. Well, there are bad guy wrestlers who people hate. The NFL may become known as a league that tolerates shenanigans. The penalty was never strong enough for "spygate" involving those Patriots.
Do all you fans really want to keep supporting this product?
Whenever the Patriots get "caught," their initial response is to say "even if we're guilty, it didn't give us any advantage." Do they think we're children?
I am going to skip the Super Bowl and I won't even be tempted to check in. We are such lemmings to keep supporting this gargantuan product, this obscene slice of America glorifying all our commercial and capitalistic tendencies. There's no restraint at all. I am going to walk away from it. Please consider joining me.
Never in Morris?
When I was a kid, we assumed that certain types of scandals just couldn't happen here, not in Morris. These things happened in mysterious, impersonal, big far-away cities. Like Boston.
We learn of a doctor in Morris that is being reprimanded in a pretty serious way. It's on the "front page." Will this damage the credibility of SCMC? I hope not.
Years ago we began hearing about all those misbehaving Catholic priests and we figured "things like that just don't happen in Morris, Minnesota." But then we did get a misbehaving priest. Then we got a high school principal who was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct. Now we have a local doctor getting a high-profile disciplinary action.
A doctor! That's scary.
I guess Morris has joined the wider world. At least we don't have a local football team that manipulates air pressure of footballs. Or maybe. . .
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwillly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

Staebler scores 29 in win versus Benson

Boys hoops: Tigers 71, Benson 62
MACA made an assertive statement Thursday with a 71-62 triumph at Benson. The success upped the team's won-lost mark to 9-7. In conference the numbers are 4-6. Benson is having a sub-.500 campaign.
We built a 32-28 advantage by halftime in the January 22 road success. The game's complexion was basically the same in the second half, as MACA enjoyed a 39-34 scoring edge. The Tigers made quite a few appearances at the freethrow line - 32 - and made 22.
I'm good enough at math to report we made 50 percent of our field goal tries: 23 of 46. Three Tigers each made one three-pointer: Noah Grove, Jacob Zosel and Eric Staebler.
Once again the Willmar newspaper didn't report first names in its boxscore.
Staebler was quite the force offensively and scored 29 points. He also paced the squad in rebounds with 15. Grove dished out two assists. Grove's three-pointer was part of eleven points scored. Andrew Goulet joined the double figures circle with his ten. Then came Riley Biesterfeld with his nine points, Zosel with seven and Robert Rohloff with five.
Benson was 22 of 60 in field goals and 14 of 19 at the freethrow line. The top Benson scorer was A. Lindahl with 19 points. I can't report the first name because of the deficiency with the Willmar paper, and I can't clarify if it's Andrew or Adam Lindahl. Obviously even the first initial wouldn't help with these two. I got the two first names from Maxpreps.
The Willmar paper should be more conscientious and realize this info is diminished in value if we can't distinguish brothers. I know high standards would be held for me if I was still in area newspaper work.
Zack Sonnabend put in 12 points for the Braves, while Josh Manzke had eleven, Layton Connelly ten, Aaron Ahrndt six and A. Lindahl (the other Lindahl) four. Manzke connected three times from three-point range. Ahrndt made one long-ranger. Lindahl and Connelly each collected six rebounds. Lindahl stole the ball five times.
"Deflategate" gets more depressing
We saw press conferences with the coach and quarterback of the New England Patriots yesterday (Thursday). I had a sneaking suspicion, going in, we weren't going to gain any real resolution on the controversy at hand. The press conferences were predictably maddening.
The individuals under scrutiny talked around the whole matter. They pleaded innocence without giving any real hints as to where the blame was to be placed. Something happened and we simply want to know how and why. It has been a prime story in the national news, going beyond the usual boundaries of sports.
I'm cynical enough to think the money-drenched NFL will just play rope-a-dope on this whole matter. That's exactly what we saw Thursday: textbook rope-a-dope.
The NFL is hoping the media will become complacent, that the media will just roll over and trivialize the whole matter, largely laughing it off. Some in the media have been inclined that way. We saw Joe Scarborough on MSNBC trivialize the whole thing this morning (Friday). Joe said the whole matter revolved around "everyone hating the Patriots."
Wrong. I'm skeptical about the Patriots largely because of "Spygate." But I'm not emotional about it. I don't "hate" the Patriots. The NFL is nudging the media and trying to remind the media that they are part of this whole golden goose called NFL football. Everyone takes a bite. The NFL is winking to the media and hoping the media will wink back.
The media are interviewing lots of former players and others connected with the NFL. That's like interviewing the president of the teachers union about education issues. The teachers union doesn't represent education issues, it represents its members to try to get the best contract possible.
There is a whole circus around the NFL. The truth-seekers have to penetrate that. Will the truth-seekers be persistent enough?
"The Patriots would have won anyway." I'm not even sure about that. What if some key passes, thrown with a fully inflated football, had bounced off the hands of Patriot receivers in the first half? A game's basic complexion is established in the first half. Maybe you need some experience in sports gambling to appreciate this. Oddsmakers will tell you how pivotal the early stages of games are. Playing from behind is much different from playing even.
I'm determined not to watch one minute of the Super Bowl or its commercials. I'll plan other activities if I have to.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A bleak night, matching the weather, for MACA

The winter blahs weren't made any better by how the MACA boys basketball game turned out Tuesday (1/20). The opponent was BOLD at the home gym. There was no home court advantage as the Tigers were dealt a 68-52 defeat.
Glum, yes. We trailed 37-22 at halftime. It's not as if BOLD is a world-beater. The Warriors are in fact a .500 team. So are the Tigers, even though we were one game over .500 coming out of Tuesday (at 8-7). In conference we're a modest 3-6.
Click on the permalink below to read about the MACA girls' 73-52 win over Yellow Medicine East on Friday, Jan. 16, here. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
The MACA boys will play at Benson on Thursday.
Against BOLD we made 12 freethrows while BOLD made only four. Still, BOLD was able to show its superior sheen. BOLD made 29 of 58 field goal attempts.
Ethan Weis paced the BOLD scoring with 18 points. Plus he had the team-best rebound total of ten. Nick Kubesh had nine rebounds and Austin Weis had five. Ethan Weis had four assists and Thomas Meyers had three.
Two Warriors each scored eleven points: Trent Athmann and Kubesh. Meyers put in seven points to help stoke the winning BOLD effort. Brad Wolff put in six points and Max Buchtel five. Mason Mages had three points. Breckan Ebnet, Austin Weis and Chris McRell each scored two, while Alex Pietig put in one.
Three-point shooting was a factor in how BOLD pulled away. The Warriors looked quite in the groove from beyond that arc. Ethan Weiss made two long-rangers. These Warriors each made one: Meyers, Mages, Athmann and Buchtel.
Let's move on to the Morris Area Chokio Alberta data. Here we see coach Mark Torgerson's crew making 19 of 52 shots from the field. In freethrows the numbers were 12 of 17. Noah Grove made a pair of 3-pointers. Eric Staebler snared 14 rebounds. Eric also stole the ball twice.
In scoring, the duo of Staebler and Grove were at the fore like they usually are. Staebler scored 17 points and Grove scored 16. There's a dropoff after that, as we see Riley Biesterfeld with six, Jordan Arbach and Phil Anderson each with four, Sean Amundson and Ian Howden each with two, and Robert Rohloff with one.
"Deflategate" a serious matter
We learn this morning (Wednesday) that eleven of the 12 balls used by the Patriots vs. the Colts were under-inflated.
Some are disposed to laugh-off this episode. They'll say "the Patriots would have won anyway." Well, besides being beside the point, this assertion may simply not be true. Why do you think sports handicapping is so difficult in Las Vegas? It's because a handful of breaks or special advantages can truly create the decisive momentum for a team. Andrew Luck is not chopped liver.
I'm not holding my breath, but the NFL ought to mete out serious punishment for this. Maybe coach Bill Belichick should be suspended immediately, which means he'd miss the Super Bowl. So what? The assistants could take over the team, like we saw with the U of M Gophers when Jerry Kill had to leave the sidelines for a time.
We still remember "Spygate". The punishment should have been harsher for that. Advertisers for NFL football telecasts do not like blow-out games where presumably a large portion of the audience tunes out. Money will talk, or it ought to. Does the NFL stand for anything else?
And then, we have the Seahawks/Packers game to reflect on. Here's what Spencer Yohe, long-time "famous" Packers fan associated with West Central Minnesota, had to say:
The Packers gave it away. I can't understand why Peppers told him to take the slide (on the interception). It looked like a six-pick. They just showed how much green he had in front of him! Game over then. They played not to lose and made so many critical errors in a four-minute time slot! You go with what got you there. McCarthy's conservative approach cost them big time. That's how they got there - run out the clock against the Lions, Patriots, and Cowboys. Just doesn't make sense! Then rush three people instead of four and drop back into a zone on third and 19! A comedy of errors and the biggest Packer collapse ever! The percentages of a team ahead by 12 with four minutes to go, winning, is 98.8. Maybe it was fixed (ha ha). Nobody to blame but themselves! Why the tight end didn't do his job and block is beyond me. Jordy was supposed to get the ball! I'd make the special teams coach and that player find their own way home, or tell them to pack their bags and give them a pink slip when they got back to Green Bay!
A final aside re. Tigers
I recently overheard a well-known fan of MACA boys basketball say of this year's team: "They only have three basketball players." I won't type the individual's name. His point was that there are only three Tigers with appreciable talent, enough to be considered a real "basketball player."
My reaction? Well, let me assert this, as someone who once worked with a coach who said the only requirement of his players was to have "two arms and two legs": no top-notch coach would ever look at his roster and say "we only have three basketball players."
One can argue that MACA basketball hasn't made any special mark for quite some time. Maybe we're due. Or overdue.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 16, 2015

MACA boys win at YME, girls fall at NL-Spicer

Boys: Tigers 68, YME 58
It was the Tigers who applied the sting in Sting country of Yellow Medicine East Thursday night (1/15). Eric Staebler was an unstoppable force. This rangy and powerful Tiger put in 31 points in MACA's 68-58 win over the YME Sting. He vacuumed the boards for 13 rebounds.
The win was No. 8 overall for coach Mark Torgerson's crew. We're two games over .500. We took charge in the second half Thursday after a halftime situation that was basically stalemated. The halftime score was 28-27 with YME having the edge. MACA outscored the Sting 41-30 in the second half.
YME is having a struggling season: just two wins coming out of Thursday. Their Thursday loss extended their loss skein to eleven.
The Tigers made 21 of 55 field goal attempts and were a precise 19 of 26 in freethrows.
Staebler used three-point shots to boost his point total to over 30. He made four such shots. Noah Grove made two 3-point shots and had a point total of 12. Jacob Zosel made one shot from beyond the 3-point arc. Zosel picked up three assists. Sean Amundson had a steal.
Andrew Goulet added seven points to the winning mix. The list continues with Riley Biesterfeld (six points), C.J. Nagel (5), Amundson (4) and Zosel (3).
Blake Lindstrom was a bright spot for the host Sting, bringing cheers from his home crowd by scoring 24 points. Chase Richter got into double figures with 13. Then came Tyson Velde (7), Garrett Schmitz (6), Grant Lalim (4), Jake Guertin (2) and Ted Sjurseth (2).
Lindstrom connected twice from three-point range while Velde had one '3'. Richter snared six rebounds. Lindstrom had three assists and Velde had two steals. YME did quite fine in freethrows: 17 of 21. They were 19 of 42 in field goals.
Girls hoops: NL-Spicer 59, Tigers 41
It's never a picnic to play New London-Spicer in girls basketball. The Wildcats have an awesome reputation with their program. There was no reason to doubt the resilience of that program on Monday, Jan. 12. MACA girls basketball took the court at NL-Spicer to face those Wildcats.
The game was classified non-conference. NL-Spicer came in on a roll, having won four straight. They made it five at the expense of our Tigers. They shot out to a 12-2 lead. In the end they were the 59-41 winner, thus we slipped under .500 in won-lost, to 5-6. NL-Spicer savored its win No. 8.
Halftime arrived with the score 37-16. Coach Dale Henrich got some momentum established in his team's favor in the second half. MACA outscored the Wildcats 25-22 but the damage had already been done.
I'm very familiar with many of the NL-Spicer names because last year, I "adopted" this team for coverage purposes on my blog sites, after MACA had a quick exit from the tourney in both boys and girls. I enjoyed the experience. NL-Spicer vaulted to state with Taylor Thunstedt at the fore. Maybe MACA can do the trick, if not this year then sometime in the near future.
Becca Holland made a three-point shot on Monday. Moira McNally had six rebounds while Liz Tiernan had five. Lauren Reimers produced four assists while Holland had three. Tracy Meichsner led in steals with three.
The Tigers made 16 of 43 field goal attempts. In freethrows the numbers were eight of 12. Correy Hickman was the only double figures scorer with ten points. Tiernan and Holland each scored five. These four Tigers each scored four points: McNally, Reimers, Meichsner and Ashley Solvie. Lacee Maanum and Kayla Pring each scored two points, and Piper Gibson had one.
Ashlyn Geister - any relation to the former UMM Cougar tight end? - led NL-Spicer in scoring with 12 points. Shea Oman was right behind with eleven, and Alyssa Fredrick was just shy of double figures with her nine. Brooke Beuning had seven points, and Megan Thorson and Erin Tebben six each. Nicole Arnold and Kabrie Weber each put in three points. Lindsay Vagle rounded out the list with her two points.
Oman found the range to make three 3-pointers. Fredrick made two 3-pointers, and these three Wildcats each made one: Beuning, Arnold and Weber. Tebben went up to snare ten rebounds while Geister had eight. In assists it was Fredrick setting the pace with five while Thorson had three. Oman had four steals and Fredrick had three.
Girls hockey: Storm 3, Windom 2
Overtime! That was the setting for MBA Storm girls hockey success on Saturday, Jan. 10. The Saturday matinee had a 3-2 outcome with MBA savoring the win in front of the delighted home rink fans.
The win gave an infusion of optimism for the MBA skaters who have found victory elusive. The matinee win was just our third. Windom similarly has struggled. No one cared about the won-lost record at the end of the Saturday action. Winning was a delight.
We took a 1-0 lead in the first period as Kelsey Rajewsky put the puck in the net. Abby Daly and Nicole Berens assisted. Each team scored one goal in period No. 2. Hannah Lindblad made the score 2-0 with her goal at 3:40. It was an unassisted job. Windom's Molly Boyum scored with assists from Addison Beaty and Jolyssa Higley-Purrington at 9:05.
Beaty's goal at 8:17 of the third tied the score and set the stage for overtime. Abagail Turner assisted on the Beaty goal.
In overtime it was Holli Christians putting the puck in the net as the game-winner. Lindblad assisted. An atmosphere of celebration presided.
The win might have come easier because MBA out-shot Windom 59-17. But a win is a win. Abbey Hoffman had 15 saves as the MBA goalie. Windom's Emily Steen accumulated 56 saves in goal.
Congrats to the smoothly-skating Storm girls.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Do we really need H.S. post-season tourneys?

In a couple months we'll have the post-season for high school sports.
It has been my impression that MACA basketball has not excelled in post-season play over the past few years. In other words, the teams do not tend to surprise on the "up" side. They have tended to do the opposite. I don't take notes but this is what I have gathered.
A matter for concern? I honestly don't know. I often think that post-season high school sports gets too excited and emotional, bringing out the worst traits in people in many instances. I often think Stan Kent was right. I interviewed Stan at the time of his retirement from the Morris school system. He said he did not endorse the concept of post-season play for football. He felt teams out to just be content playing for the conference title. That was incentive enough.
With playoffs, every team except the state champion ends the season with a loss, Stan pointed out. With football we also have the rather huge issue of weather getting uncooperative. The Metrodome used to provide some relief from this. The Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines got lots of glory under that Teflon roof.
We as Minnesotans got tired of the Dome and its roof, for reasons I cannot grasp. It was a blessing. Us sports fans can get impulsive and demanding.
It's a known fact among school superintendents, I'm sure, that you can always go out and hire some maniacally obsessed and motivated coach who can enhance your chances of post-season success. Hancock had a couple of these once. One ended up in prison. The other was a character of the first order who I'm sure caused distractions for administration.
There is irony in post-season success. I was around this environment a lot in my media career. I always acted like I shared the enthusiasm. Deep down I found it disturbing sometimes. These hyper-caffeinated programs seemed to bring out the worst in people sometimes. Jealousies erupted. Coaches and players in the spotlight of post-season success would be hyper-scrutinized. I don't know how those student-athletes could possibly function as normal students. And then after they graduate, all that investment of time in these sports is really rendered pretty irrelevant.
The maniacally-obsessed coaches often flame out for various reasons after just a few years. They have human failings that come out. Also, the fame they instill for their players is such, the parents of the underclassmen all want a piece of it. The parents get desperate for their kids to become "starters" and to obtain that sheen of "celebrity" that comes with being on a "state tournament" team.
Maybe it's all just too much. Maybe we have to take a hard look at the very system of post-season play, how it rewards the wrong traits - the obsessive traits - in many instances.
We have ourselves to blame because we all acquiesce in this. People my age grew up in a time when we really only expected the "big schools" to win state titles in major sports. Then, everybody got the bright idea that we needed enrollment classes to promote "fairness." What this did, is put every school in the state in a position to think the state title was within reach, which it was.
But, this desire to advance in the post-season could become an unhealthy lure. Certain young coaches would come along salivating, sensing they could achieve great glory by making state or winning state. The time investment could become staggering. The travel commitment for post-season games can be very unreasonable. I remember when MACA football played its first-round playoff game in Fairmont, down by the Iowa border. No excuse for this. The first-round game and maybe even the second should be against the likes of Minnewaska Area, Lac qui Parle or West Central Area. Why not? Let's apply common sense. It's not even safe for fans to travel extremely long distances. They can be fatigued for the long drive home.
Maybe Stan Kent was right and we really don't need the post-season tournament system at all. Let's enjoy the regular season and the challenge of vying for the conference championship. After that, let's have a break and let the kids focus on other priorities at school.
Last year the MACA basketball teams made a quick exit from the post-season. One more year like that, and might we have a little sports controversy again?
Maybe not. Maybe Morris has made a conscious decision to keep all this "in perspective" and not get hyper-attuned to winning in the post-season. Would that be a good thing? Maybe it is.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 12, 2015

MACA and Hancock win in boys basketball

Tigers 72, Sisseton 44
Fans got some excitement to take their mind off the cold weather Friday night (12/9). It was a night of hoops excitement at our spacious Morris Area High gym.
Excitement, yes, but suspense, no. That's because the Tigers completely took charge. We were up 37-18 at halftime. We outscored Sisseton SD 35-26 in the second half, so the final score was 72-44. The win propelled the Tigers over .500 in won-lost, to 7-6.
MACA made 29 of 49 field goal attempts and was a sharp 11 of 13 in freethrows. Eric Staebler achieved another double-double with his 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Jacob Zosel came to the fore with his play, putting in 20 points which was the team-best total. Zosel also topped the team in assists (5) and steals (5). Zosel popped a couple 3-pointers. Sean Amundson had the other MACA '3'.
Zosel with his 20 points and Staebler with 14 were followed on the scoring list by Noah Grove and Riley Biesterfeld each with eight. Then came Jordan Arbach (6), Sean Amundson (5), Austin Hills (3) and these four Tigers each with two: Andrew Goulet, Philip Anderson, Nic Solvie and Joey Dufault.
Sisseton got lots of freethrow attempts, 31, and made 16. They were 13 of 40 in field goal shooting. Dominic White scored 18 points for the visitor.
Coach Mark Torgerson's Tigers now have a break in their schedule. They'll resume play on Thursday, Jan. 15, at Yellow Medicine East. The girls will host YME on Friday.
Owls 67, W-H-N 51
Hancock boys basketball came on strong Friday night with a 67-51 win over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. It was victory No. 4 for the proud Owls. They had to escape a deficit on this night. WHN had the advantage at halftime by a score of 36-27. Hancock turned on the jets after halftime, to the tune of outscoring the Warriors 40-15!
Hancock made 28 of 56 field goal tries and was four of eight in freethrow shooting. Noah Kannegiesser was an offensive force for the Owls with his three 3-pointers and 19 points total. Noah set the pace in assists with nine and steals with six.
Bryce Schmidgall set the pace in rebounds with nine. Collin Brown put in 17 points and Logan Kisgen joined the double figures circle with his 12 points. Schmidgall had a point total of seven. Chandler Gramm and Brandon Shaw each added six points to the winning mix.
Brown found the range for a pair of successful 3's. The Willmar newspaper had two players name of "Brown" listed for making two 3's, but there is only one Brown on the scoring list. The Willmar newspaper can be a problem for a number of reasons. Saturday's issue did not include first names of the MACA or Sisseton players, so I had to confirm my knowledge of the MACA names using Maxpreps.
There is no Sisseton player roster on Maxpreps. Is Sisseton too remote a place or what? "Fort Sisseton" sounds like something out of a Western. The old Wadsworth Trail passed by Morris and headed to that fort. That's before "Morris" existed. Mainly coyotes out here, and burrowing owls.
Carson Maudal and Jordan Fischer each scored 13 points for Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. Isaac Wilson scored eleven followed by Jacob Pederson (5), Bailey Anderson (4), Blake Coffman (2), Tyler Wilts (2) and Brayden Lampe (1). Fischer sank a pair of 3-pointers.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An upbeat Tuesday in MACA basketball

Tiger basketball gave us a shot of winning excitement Tuesday night (1/6) to offset the sub-zero temperature blues. I'm writing this on Wednesday morning when the weather isn't fit for man or beast.
The MACA girls got up to .500 with a win over Benson. Meanwhile the boys were taking care of business versus Paynesville. The boys, too, ascended to the .500 plane.
Girls: Tigers 87, Benson 35
What an incredible one-sided win! Coach Dale Henrich's squad came out of Tuesday with a 5-5 season record, 4-2 in conference. There was never any suspense. MACA owned a 49-19 lead at halftime.
The Braves of Benson are having a winless season. The final score of 87-35 builds strong optimism among Tiger fans as we plunge into the post-holidays phase of the schedule.
Click on the link below to read about the Tigers' win over Milbank on Monday. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
The Tigers made 35 of 73 field goal tries in the win over Benson. In freethrows the numbers were 11 of 19.
Three-point shots were a prime weapon for coach Henrich's crew. MACA fans were excited to see four different Tigers succeed from three-point range. Becca Holland and Tracy Meichsner each succeeded twice from beyond the arc. Piper Gibson and Correy Hickman each made one long-ranger.
In scoring, Holland and Hickman topped the MACA list, each with 15 points. Meichsner and Lauren Reimers each put in 13. Four Tigers each had a point total of six: Courtney Storck, Lacee Maanum, Moira McNally and Kayla Pring. Gibson had five points and Sam Henrichs contributed two.
The Willmar newspaper was unable to collect info on rebounds, assists and steals.
Benson has an 0-9 season record. Hannah Ricard broke into double figures with her ten points. Overall the offensive story was bleak for the Braves. Krista Motzko and Amanda Nissen each scored six points. Addie Forbord had three points, and these Braves each had two: Danielle Himley, Presley Gonnerman, Samantha Payne and Rachell Lee. These totals add up to 33 points, not 35, but this is how the Willmar newspaper reported it. Such discrepancies are common in that paper.
Forbord supplied a nice little offensive highlight for Benson, making a 3-pointer. Payne and Ricard each had four rebounds.
The Tigers are on the road versus Paynesville tonight (Thursday).
Boys: Tigers 54, Paynesville 51
The boys' story on Tuesday was quite suspenseful in contrast with the girls. Coach Mark Torgerson's squad really had to earn this win over a gritty Paynesville team.
Noah Grove sank a clutch 3-point shot from the corner with under 20 seconds remaining. The shot put the Tigers up by one point, at 52-51. Grove stayed in his clutch groove, making two freethrows with two seconds remaining after the Bulldogs had committed a turnover. The freethrows cinched the win. It was MACA's sixth win of the season against six losses. In conference the numbers are 2-5.
Grove had a point total of eleven in the 54-51 Tuesday win. He dished out six assists too. The orange and black had 21 made field goals in 53 attempts. In freethrows the stats were six of nine.
Eric Staebler worked to his double-double by making three shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Grove had two long-range successes, and Robert Rohloff had one. Staebler worked aggressively to collect 12 rebounds. Sean Amundson had three steals.
Staebler's 31 points gave lots of juice for the victory. Grove with his eleven points was followed by Rohloff (5), Riley Biesterfeld (3), C.J. Nagel (2) and Andrew Goulet (2).
The Bulldogs were 20 of 46 in shooting from the field, and four of eleven in freethrows. Mitchell Weidner made three 3-pointers and finished with the team-best 17 points. Tucker Wendroth and Hayden Hengel each made one '3'. Brandon Schleper and Matthew Quade each scored eight points.
Three Bulldogs each scored five points: Wendroth, Toby Flannigan and Hengel. Travis Hieserich scored two points and Alex Kranz one. Quade had nine rebounds and Schleper seven. Quade set the pace in assists for the Bulldogs with seven. Weidner led his squad in steals with two.
Coach Torgerson's Tigers will visit Ortonville tonight (Thursday). Viva Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys and girls basketball for 2015!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 5, 2015

Do newspapers have to get paid for obits?

There was a time when the obituary department at newspapers was a low-status job. The poor soul who wrote these had to deal with the saddest news possible. They say funerals are a "celebration of life" but we know what they're really about.
Anyone who ever got paid for writing obituaries should have simply appreciated it. Why? Because over a short period of time, newspapers ceased having an obituary department. What I mean is, no longer do newspapers have a writer whose job it is to process obituaries. There was a sea change.
Many years ago you couldn't have troubled most funeral homes to submit completed, polished obituaries. Your typical obituary writer at a newspaper would grumble about the difficulties, having to piece together obits from unevenly-submitted information. Today that system is all gone with the wind.
Writing is no longer a specialty. Let's re-phrase that: It's no longer a specialty associated with people employed at newspapers. But really it's not a specialty at all. Everyone today grows up learning keyboard (typing) skills. It's so taken for granted, we're hardly conscious of it, but when I was young, writing was not only a specialty, it was considered a chore by most people. Males in particular shunned it. We used manual typewriters.
Obituaries in the year 2014 are handled completely by the funeral home. These businesses must have someone on staff who is proficient in typing and compiling information.
Through all the time I handled obituaries at the Morris newspaper, these articles were presented as news, as a public service. Not long after I left the Morris newspaper, this sea change of which I write happened. The funeral homes took charge. The only "work" by the paper would be to copy/paste onto the pages.
More significantly, money got involved. Now the newspaper would get paid for running an obituary. The money would come from the funeral home. The funeral home would then get the money back from the family. It seems rather unseemly to me. I could argue that the newspaper ought to be paying the funeral home rather than the other way around. The funeral home should be compensated for doing the work of compiling the obit. This has saved the newspaper the trouble of having an obituary department at all.
How have newspapers been able to swing this? Maybe they're whistling past the graveyard, so to speak.
I suspect that the funeral industry is under intense pressure to keep prices where they are or to reduce them. The percentage of people requesting cremation is going up steadily. I have heard a local clergyman say "people don't go to funerals anymore."
My mom and I are at an age where many people we know are passing on. We have discovered we are weary of funerals, and it doesn't mean we don't hold the departed in the highest esteem.
As time goes on, I become more convinced that when a person dies, there should simply be a dignified disposal of the remains and only a modest ceremony - perhaps just a private family gathering at a banquet room - to mark the person's life.
Increasingly I'm bothered by the whole idea of an obit in the newspaper, making that death a public community spectacle rather than the private family tragedy it is.
The price of a traditional funeral is way too high. Is it possible that the traditional funeral is starting to become a vestige of the past? One reason I ask this, is that people are living so much longer today. Medical science has become like a miracle. We're all thankful for this. However, lives can be extended to the point where, by the time a person dies, their quality of life has become substantially diminished. They no longer have a vibrant circle of family/friends, all in their prime and active. Their contemporaries are like them - frail and perhaps in an institution. Death is accepted in a more quiet, subdued way, and oftentimes even with a feeling of relief.
Think of the "old days" when people died younger. There was much more outwardly expressed grief back then. For many funerals today, it's hardly necessary to have those boxes of Kleenex (for tears) distributed around the reviewal room.
I find it totally unnecessary to view an embalmed body. I find it shocking and depressing. The person has passed on - let's remember him/her as they lived.
As funeral homes feel increased pressure to economize and lower prices - and don't tell me they don't feel such pressure - obituaries will come under the microscope like everything else. I suspect many families have members who can simply write an obituary. If not, it's reasonable that they might pay a small fee to the funeral home for this. Still, they have to feed all the info to the funeral home.
I'm not sure the newspaper needs to extract any money in this process.
What if the funeral home decided to play hardball? For example, tell the newspaper the following: We'll write an obit, put it on our website, invite other online-based entities to link to it, but we'll affix a copyright notice and won't allow you to publish it on your pages unless you pay us a fee.
What would happen then? It's very interesting to ponder. As time goes on, people gravitate more and more to funeral home websites for information about someone who they learned has died. Five years ago you could have said "not everyone is online," or "people wouldn't know how to find it (online)." That argument is getting progressively weaker as online gets woven into our lives.
The same situation exists with legal notices in newspapers. There is a constant pull to get this stuff established online-only - no more payments by government entities to newspapers. Logic may dictate all these changes. Change can be a slow process, though, as old habits are ingrained (to a degree).
Ever wonder why you feel a more warm feeling looking at "Senior Perspective" as compared to "the town paper?" "Senior Perspective" is a fresh view toward how locally-oriented print journalism should operate. It's feature-oriented and uplifting all the way. Large-size print. No obituary department. No district court report - that disgusting section of the town paper where local citizens who have received minor citations from law enforcement get hung out to dry - subject to public humiliation (like getting teased at church).
I know of a former Morris pastor who was incensed at getting his "name in the paper" for a speeding ticket. Legally it's "public information." Well then, go to the courthouse and ask to see it.
The local paper has way, way too much space designated for youth sports coverage. We all know this. In the old days, the days when "coach Dale" coached at the fictional Hickory High, the paper would provide comprehensive coverage of "the basketball team." But then came girls basketball, wrestling, hockey, gymnastics and swimming - all now totally organized. While these programs may be quite enriching for the young people, we don't need to see all the printed coverage.
"Senior Perspective" is thus such a breath of fresh air.
Frankly, when it comes to all those sports teams, I say let them all find their online homes and share all the info they want from there. It troubles me that the Willmar newspaper has the effect of glorifying student-athletes, putting them on too much of a pedestal relative to other kids who have other interests. These athletes are not "heroes."
One reason that sports gets so much attention is that it is so structured.
So, we have the depressing obits, the embarrassing district court news and the superfluous mountain of sports news in each week's local paper. Oh, and not to mention the mountain of ad circulars for Alexandria businesses. Maybe I'm in the Twilight Zone.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com