"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, December 2, 2016

Congratulate Truman Carlson on Noah's honor

The photo by Shari Gross shows Noah Carlson, No. 8 of Rushford-Peterson, carrying the football in the Prep Bowl game against Minneapolis North.
 
Why in heck isn't Noah Carlson a finalist for "Mr. Football?" This magnificently gifted athlete helped to carry Rushford-Peterson a long way. It's a community in Southeastern Minnesota. Our Tigers once made the long trip as we made our climb to Prep Bowl. I was struck by the bluff environment of that part of the state. A magnificent bluff was within view of the stadium. We won that night. We went on to Prep Bowl where we lost to Breckenridge.
This year, Noah Carlson and his Rushford-Peterson teammates made that impressive climb to Prep Bowl. And like our Tigers of that bygone year, they couldn't quite finish the deal in Prep Bowl. But what a memorable season the Trojans had. Carlson, the great grand nephew of our own Truman Carlson, may not be a "Mr. Football" finalist, but he has quite the alternate prize. A panel of sportswriters across the state thinks Noah is the very best! Noah was named the AP State Football Player of the Year after rushing for the second-highest total ever in our state.
Truman smiled as he followed his sterling relative cover 2,785 yards on the ground. Noah produced 41 touchdowns. He supplied the chief fuel as his R-P program reached state for the first time since 2008. Yes, the end came in a 30-14 loss to highly-touted Minneapolis North. We're talking Class 'A' football. The finale was in the Oz-like surroundings of the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
Our Tigers played in the old Metrodome. The Chokio-Alberta Spartans won two state titles at the Dome - I'll never forget it.
Carlson is really all over the field, because in addition to carrying the football he plays safety, kicks off, punts and returns kicks! He has made just as big a mark in track and field as in football. How about five state championships in the spring sport? He obviously is of great interest to college athletic programs.
We learn that Noah got a knee injury in the second quarter of the Prep Bowl game. It was reported that he was "visibly hobbled" as a result. You see, that's the problem with football. We certainly hope that this is an injury the effects of which will pass. But risk is inherent to football. I'm crossing fingers that Noah will accelerate in college athletics, hopefully just track/field, seamlessly from high school.
Noah is an old-fashioned multi-sport athlete in this contemporary era where specialization is more common. He had a big role in Rushford-Peterson's state championship hoops team in 2015. Wow! And last spring, he turned on the jets with the Rushford-Peterson-Houston "co-op" team that won the Class 'A' state track/field team championship.
This stellar athlete has offers from Michigan and Minnesota to compete track in college. Iowa has eyed this young man too. I remember a member of the "Carlson clan" playing quarterback for Iowa State many years ago: Dean Carlson. I seem to recall Dean getting the nod to play in post-season all-star games. Quite the talented and committed family.
Truman was athletic director for Morris High School when I was in school. The happiest days of my sportswriting career might have been when I was just a "stringer" in the early 1970s. I dropped off articles early in the morning at the Sun Tribune office, usually when Art Harren seemed to be the only one there. I remember Ken Harren giving a terrific Memorial Day speech. That was back when Morris High School had its marching band in the parade and the parade used main street.
Truman enjoys retirement these days. I see him regularly at our Senior Citizens Center. Be sure to stop by the Center tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 3) for the annual bazaar. You can have both breakfast and lunch there.
Truman was a well-liked biology teacher who always showed a temperate, reasonable outlook on his job and on life. But I do think he was relieved when his tenure as AD was over. The job obviously has stresses, imposed not only by the community but by teaching peers. The latter pressure may in fact be the worst, or at least it was then.
Carlson was AD when girls sports first got going. What a step that was, in the evolution of our public schools.
I was guilty as anyone of thinking that girls sports could never draw up fully equal to the males in terms of legitimacy and quality. I remember being surprised that the females could make the three-point shot in basketball when it was new. I confess to my short-sightedness.
Back when I was a stringer for the Morris paper, I covered only Morris, not the surrounding towns. It wouldn't have crossed my mind to cover the surrounding towns. Heck, we were "Morris" with the orange and black letter jackets!
I covered Morris back in the old "District 21" days. Back then, the initial stage of all the tournaments involved a number of neighboring small towns in close geographic proximity to each other. The UMM P.E. Center would get filled for the basketball tournament. Today it's quite different. Teams will travel right away in the tournament, more than a token distance, and our opponents might be from a considerable distance away. So, gone are many of the old small town rivalries and their often-unpleasant emotions. That's a good thing.
But I have reservations about the considerable amount of travel. I think it's dangerous, really: the long distance coming home late at night when a motorist might get fatigued.
Had I remained a simple stringer for the Sun Tribune, I might have had to abort this during the 1980s for a couple reasons. Our school's athletic program began to encounter duress in the 1980s, culminating in a full-blown community controversy in about 1988. It would have been nice to step away from that.
The Sun Tribune had a problem of employees who had children involved in the various extracurricular programs of the small schools surrounding Morris. They brought their sports emotions to work with them. Morris athletics had no advocate on the staff. I still lose sleep occasionally as I reflect back on that. I might argue that the person at the top should have rolled up his sleeves, called certain people in and told them to simply check their sports emotions at the door. These people would "get over it" faster than you might expect. I don't want to name names because I'd be beating an old dead horse.
I enjoyed my trip to Rushford-Peterson to cover the football Tigers under coach Jerry Witt back in that Prep Bowl campaign. I'll never forget looking up at the bluff, which the local press person told me was called Magelssen's Bluff. The Tigers had a crowd-pleasing passing game that season. I still don't see how we could have lost to anyone in Prep Bowl. I got our cartoonist Del Holdgrafer to do a drawing to mark the occasion of our Prep Bowl appearance. We miss Del.
Congratulations to Truman Carlson and his stellar great grand nephew, Noah Carlson. We'll be following Noah in his college athletic exploits.
The Minnesota Vikings played Dallas last night (Thursday). I only tuned in occasionally out of curiosity - I never watch football for a prolonged time in real time anymore. The Vikings' uniforms looked terrible. I don't even like the slightly modified uniforms of the recent past. Our uniforms were terrific through most of our storied history.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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