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

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn
Our school in Morris is a hub of community activity and enrichment. (B.W. photo)

Monday, February 29, 2016

First half makes difference as girls beat YME

Tigers 54, YME 42
Now it's the MACA girls' turn to travel to YME (Granite Falls). YME is a hotspot as a neutral court site for Section 3AA-North hoops action. The boys played there last Tuesday and had their season end.
Tonight (Monday, Feb. 29) has the girls slated to face sub-section rival New London-Spicer. The Tigers and Wildcats are engaged in the North semi-finals. I needn't remind you that New London-Spicer is historically a strong post-season team in GBB.
This past Friday saw the Tigers play at YME when that court was not neutral. We played the Sting of Yellow Medicine East. Showing a rugged defense, coach Dale Henrich's squad had matters in hand, up 27-15 at halftime. The teams played even in the second half, each scoring 27 points, so the 12-point margin held up at the end. The Tigers advanced on the strength of this 54-42 win. We climbed over .500 in our overall season fortunes, to 13-12.
I assume the Wildcats will be a formidable foe tonight (Monday). It's our second-round game. The boys fell to Minnewaska in their second-round game. The boys played a miserable first half.
Re. our GBB win: Moira McNally and Correy Hickman gave lots of fuel for the Tigers' offense, each scoring 14 points. Becca Holland put in nine points, then we have Ashley Solvie (7), Jenna Howden (4), Riley Decker (3) and Nicole Solvie (3). Holland and Decker made the Tigers' three-pointers.
Paige Steffen led an anemic YME offense with her eleven points. Here's the rest of the Sting's scoring list: Jordan Hinz (10), Makayla Dyrdahl (8), Anna McCosh (6), Kate Mortenson (3), Sam Anderson (2) and Kenzie Dyrdahl (2). Hinz put in two 3-pointers while Mortenson made one. McCosh and Steffen each went up to grab nine rebounds. Mortenson and Steffen each each had two assists. Hinz had five steals and Madison Hagert had three.
Will MACA fans make a happy return trip from YME tonight? We'll see. Let's try to blunt NL-Spicer as a post-season force.
Click on the link below to read my current post on "Morris of Course" entitled "H.S. post-season games not what they once were."
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2016/02/hs-post-season-games-not-what-they-once.html
 
Tigers 62, Montevideo 61
What a savory win it was, for our Tigers last Tuesday as they played on the same night the MACA boys had a post-season game. I opined that it was hard enough getting a substantial number of MACA fans to make the trip to YME for the boys game. The girls played too, at Montevideo.
The good news is that the girls won a very interesting game, hanging on to defeat the Thunder Hawks of Monte. Let's emphasize "hang on." The Tigers cooled to score 20 points in the second half compared to their output of 42 in the first. Monte played a more even game but they were done in by being outscored by ten in the first half. The Tigers won 62-61.
We got past a foe that had a superior won-lost mark. That's an encouraging sign, now that we're into the post-season.
Correy Hickman was a clutch performer helping keep MACA in position to win. Correy calmly made two freethrows with 12 seconds left to play. Monte had a last-gasp offensive opportunity but came up short.
Becca Holland spurred the MACA offense with three 3-pointers, garnering some most essential points. Riley Decker and Correy Hickman each made one '3'.
It was Ashley Solvie topping the scoring list with her 19 points. Four total Tigers broke into double figures. Holland had a point total of 13. Hickman's total was eleven while Nicole Solvie scored ten. Decker added six points to the mix. Jenna Howden scored two and Moira McNally had one.
Ashley Solvie collected nine rebounds while McNally had six. Holland produced four assists while Hickman had three. Holland and Hickman each had three steals.
Abby Olson was Monte's top scorer with 20 points. Ashley McKee put in eleven points for the T-Hawks. Lexi Quigley and Reidinger - first name not available - each scored eight. Molly Reeves and Niki Erickson each added five points to the Monte mix. Schmitz - first name not available - scored four points. Erickson made a three-point shot. Olson and McKee each grabbed seven rebounds while Erickson had six. Olson led Montevideo with six assists and Olson paced them in steals with four.
 
Tigers 62, Benson 18
The Tigers took care of Benson in a home game against a struggling Braves team on Friday, Feb. 19. Correy Hickman had the reins for the MACA offense as she put in 19 points in this 62-18 win. Correy was in fact all over the court as she had five rebounds, nine assists and eight steals to complement her point total.
Becca Holland was sharp as usual in her long-range shooting, putting in three 3's, building her personal point total of 17. Hickman and Riley Decker each made two 3's. Ashley Solvie scored nine points. Then we have Decker (7), Nicole Solvie (6) and Moira McNally (4). Holland led in rebounds with six followed by Hickman with five. Hickman's nine assists led that category, while Holland and Decker each had three assists. Hickman stole the ball eight times, and Decker performed three steals.
The struggling Benson offense was led by Addie Forbord with eight points. Victoria Pagel put in four points. Two each came from Kaitlyn Knutson, Presley Gonnerman and Grace Lee. The Braves had no three-point shot makes. Amundson - first name not available - had four rebounds as did Danielle Himley. Lee and Dana Rud each had one assist. Himley and Lee each had a steal.
Benson is paying some dues this season: they had no wins as of this Friday game. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another deflating end to a BBB season

I'm looking at Page B1 of the Willmar paper, which unfortunately I have to buy once in a while. There's a photo from the MACA vs. Minnewaska playoff game. Do you see any fans in the bleachers? This can sometimes be embarrassing: a high school or college basketball photo that has hardly any fans in the background (or in this case, none).
The game was played in Granite Falls. It was just a second-round tournament game, so why the heck couldn't it have been played somewhere closer to the teams involved? It's not like it's prestigious to play at game at YME. It would be more prestigious to play at a college venue like our U of M-Morris.
I think the Minnewaska fans would have been happy attending the game at UMM. But no, fans had to trek all the way south to flood country of Granite Falls, once the home of the "Kilowatts," remember? I remember when Granite Falls was a football power all by itself. In recent years the combined "YME" entity has struggled to be competitive in football. How times changed!
One thing you can always count on: Mark Torgerson coaching the MACA basketball Tigers. I often wonder if he has held the position long enough. It is my opinion that his coaching regime has trouble getting the burners lit under the players for the post-season. Is this a radical statement to make? Oh, I know it isn't, but in this town it's sometimes difficult to perceive what's real or valid. How can you criticize someone who's on the park board?
Well, our Tigers of 2015-16 may have won a fair number of games, certainly bringing some nice memories for the parents and fans, but is this good enough to bring total satisfaction? Those fans can judge by whatever standard they want. I assume they took the trouble to drive to Granite Falls - no Interstate available - Tuesday night, which is more than I did. I was in the warm comfort of our living room checking in on the score via radio - apparently not a Morris station - from time to time.
We battled 'Waska hard late in the regular season. If I remember correctly, 'Waska needed a shot at the end to put us away. Well, it wasn't so close in the re-match. It reminded me of when we took New London-Spicer to overtime at the end of the regular season 3-4 years ago, only to get killed by the Wildcats at St. John's in the post-season, on a night when travel was difficult due to a winter storm having just ended. I blogged at the time that "fans deserved to see a little better ballgame."
I have been an outlier with my sports opinions in this town for a long time. There has been a prevailing "clique" that I have never wanted to concede to. I prefer just having unvarnished vision.
I wonder if the athletic director thinks everything is going just beautifully. I think post-season success means something. If you have a player like Taylor Witt who can score 50 points in a game, you should be able to advance to the third round of the tournament, shouldn't you? We needed double-overtime to win in the first round that year, then we lost in the second round. That was the first season after my departure from the Morris newspaper.
Dennis Rettke wanted to appoint someone named Chris Baxter as head boys basketball coach once. I know because he told me.
Enough with the retrospective thoughts. The Tigers lost to the Minnewaska Lakers 69-49 Tuesday at that desolate southern town. Let me assert that there are actually safety issues posed here. The game was on a weekday, meaning that fans went through their arduous paces in a workday, then they had to get on their wheels to make the not-minor trip south - no Interstate - to Granite Falls, where the game started a little later than scheduled. I tuned in to the radio - apparently not a Morris station - at 7:45 p.m. and the lineups were being announced.
Here's my point: when the time came to return home, in the pitch dark of night, the hour was getting rather late. A fan might get drowsy at the wheel. This is unconscionable when you consider that the game could have been played at UMM or at Morris or Minnewaska. What gives?
The Tigers and Lakers played in the semis of Section 3AA-North. We got buried by 20 points. Yawn. Sigh. 'Waska fans will have to travel to Southwest State University for the sub-section finals on Saturday (a very late 8 p.m. start). Get your sleep the night before, 'Waska fans.
I think this whole arrangement is ridiculous. Look for more newspaper photos with few fans in the background. Another point to be made or question to be asked: Why did the MACA girls team play a regular season game on the same night the boys were in the tournament? This cut into the fan turnout, both ways in fact.
Yes, the Lakers shot very hot Tuesday night at our expense. Sometimes a better-coached team just shoots better, eh? MACA fans sat chagrined at halftime, looking up at a scoreboard that showed a 38-12 score. Wow! Maybe go home early, eh? Was there a fan bus?
The Willmar paper heaped all sorts of praise on Minnewaska, as if that was the whole story. Is it possible MACA went flat? Is that an acceptable alternative theory? Is it? We outscored 'Waska in the second half, 37-31, but who cares? It's too bad the MACA fans had to make this trip to see this disaster. Yes, throw a pie in my face if you want.
Four different Tigers each made one three-pointer: Mitchell Torgerson, Robert Rohloff, Cam Arndt and Eric Staebler. Staebler grabbed eleven rebounds. Jacob Zosel produced six assists. Connor Koebernick had two steals.
Here we go with scoring: Eric Staebler (13), Jacob Zosel (8), Connor Koebernick (7), Robert Rohloff (7), Cam Arndt (7), Philip Anderson (4) and Mitchell Torgerson (3).
Jake Peters and Matt McIver each scored 13 points for the winning Lakers, while Austin VerSteeg scored 12. Let's continue: Greg Helander (7), Matt Gruber (6), Michael Gruber (5), Brandon French (4), Dennis VanDyke (3), Garrett Jensen (2), Collin Richards (2) and Riley Kinney (2).
McIver and Peters each sank two 3-pointers. Michael Gruber made one. At the fore in rebounding were McIver and Peters each with six, while VerSteeg grabbed five. Matt Gruber helped lubricate the 'Waska offense with five assists. McIver had four assists. VerSteeg, the hero in the previous game played between these teams, had impact in this game too, stealing the ball three times.
Reminder: The Tigers beat Minnewaska Area 37-36 on January 7 at 'Waska.
If you look at today's (Wednesday) Willmar paper, you'll see more coverage of efforts to get the Appleton prison open again. This is totally politics. As a nation we are making a concerted effort to reduce our prison population, aren't we? How would re-opening Appleton be consistent with that? Hey, maybe Appleton could volunteer to take those prisoners from Gitmo if that facility were to close as President Obama wants. How about it? All those prisoners want to do is kick around soccer balls. Come on out to beautiful West Central Minnesota.
Reminder to all: Be sure to buy Girl Scout cookies from the local Girl Scouts. Our late dog "Sandy" was a big supporter of the Girl Scouts: He ate their cookies! I'm sure that helped him live to about 17 years of age (two weeks shy).
If Donald Trump can criticize the Pope, I can criticize Morris Area High School.
Is it true there was some sort of incident at a Hancock vs. W-H-N basketball game where a couple fans were ejected? Interesting.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tigers thump ACGC, now 'Waska is foe in 3AA

The Tigers were dominant in their first-round post-season game of 2016. It was our 16th win of the season. It was achieved with a commanding flair, 84-67 over the Falcons of ACGC. The score was 38-26 at halftime.
Now it's on to the semis, tonight (Tuesday). The challenge might be a little tougher this time. ACGC was the No. 6 seed. The challenge now is to face Minnewaska Area, the No. 2 seed, at 7:30 p.m.
The site is Granite Falls (YME). Why Granite Falls? Why not here in Morris at the UMM P.E. Center, or simply at the "higher seed?" I wouldn't even care if the game was played at Minnewaska. The short trip to 'Waska would ensure that the full compliment of MACA fans would be there. The longer trip to Granite Falls could cut down on the fan numbers, unless the sheer enthusiasm overcomes that. We'll see. Is there a fan bus?
Seeding positions don't necessarily mean much. Remember, Morris Area Chokio Alberta lost in the first round last year as the No. 2 seed.
The Tigers coasted in the second half Saturday, outscoring ACGC 46-41 en route to the 84-67 final. The game was played here. We own a 16-11 season record now. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City closed out its season at 11-13.
Jacob Zosel soared with his offensive capabilities, putting in 24 points. Three other Tigers reached double figures: Eric Staebler (14), Camden Arndt (13) and Philip Anderson (10). Continuing with the list we have Lukus Manska (9), Robert Rohloff (7), Connor Koebernick (5) and Taylor Carrington (2). We were 33 of 57 in field goal shooting.
Manska led the three-point shooting department with three makes from long-range in six attempts. Zosel used two 3-pointers to build up his team-best point total. Jacob was two of five in 3's. Connor Koebernick made one of his two 3-point tries. Robert Rohloff was one of two also in 3's. MACA was a proficient seven of 21 in three-point shooting. In freethrows our numbers were 11 of 17.
Zosel was eight of ten at the freethrow line. Staebler snared eleven rebounds of the team total 28. Arndt contributed nine rebounds. Philip Anderson blocked a shot. Staebler topped the assist list with five while Arndt had four. Anderson and Zosel each dished out two assists.
Colton Minnick paced the Falcons offensively, putting in 21 points. Adam Johnson had an output of 15. Gabe Eisenbacher had a double figures evening with 12, then we have Erik Belgum and Jaren Kaddatz each with six points, Jake Mueller (3), Ryan Amdahl (2) and Brendan Hedtke (2).
Kaddatz and Mueller each made one 3-pointer. Johnson pulled down eleven rebounds and Minnick pulled down five. Minnick had seven assists and Belgum executed four. Minnick and Kaddatz each had two steals.
I'll ask again: Why can't tonight's game, a semi-final round game in Section 3AA-North, be played closer to the two communities involved? Remember the glory days of our UMM P.E. Center when so many Morris fans could take in adrenalin-fueled post-season games there, boys and girls?
Remember when Wheaton came here to play in their extended heyday for girls basketball (with the likes of Sondra Weick, later to be a UMM Cougar)? Their fans could be described as a "sea of red." Remember that little novelty song their fans performed? Remember Tom Grosland as their band director? He was Eleanor Killoran's nephew. I would take photos of Tom, publish them, and then his colleagues at Wheaton would needle him about it: "You must know someone at that Morris paper. . ."
Oh, and remember those very grand and glorious days when the Hancock girls played in front of packed houses at UMM? Remember the relentless running and pressing style of those Owls under Dennis Courneya and later Jodi Holleman? Courneya reached some bumps in the road in his career and life, didn't he. We are so human an animal. Holleman had a good start coaching at Ridgewater College this past winter, but then fell into a swoon with several consecutive losses by a wide margin, and then I stopped paying attention.
The Courneya chapter in Stevens County sports history was amazing. A book should be written, other than the book written by Courneya himself. I'm not sure I would have wanted a daughter playing in that program. It was too intense, IMHO. When those girls finally graduated, they went into a world where those skills would mean nothing. Meanwhile the coach gets to build up his resume.
Hancock was divided after the criminal trial of Courneya, as I recall. A well-placed Morris source told me the reason he wasn't caught and convicted sooner was that "he won (games)." America and winning: they're synonymous, aren't they? Maybe we all need to take a deep breath.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, February 20, 2016

How about a poem about Alou brothers?

Brothers have not been uncommon in major league baseball. What's uncommon is for three brothers to not only make the bigs, but to excel there. We were blessed seeing the Alous perform. You remember: Felipe, Matty and Jesus.
Jesus came along when his name made many people feel uncomfortable. It seems quaint now. His name is pronounced "hay-SOOS." Still, it seemed America wasn't quite ready in the early 1960s for a player whose name was spelled the same as the Christian Savior.
The Alou brothers were from the Dominican Republic. They should have been known by the last name "Rojas." The San Francisco Giants scout who signed Felipe thought that "Alou" was his surname. It was his matronym. Felipe, eldest of the brothers, became the first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues. The name never sprouted as a matter of contention, evidently, and everyone went on happily with  "Alou." As for "Jesus," America needed a little time to adjust. Other players with that name would filter into the majors.
Today the non-Anglo names are totally accepted in the U.S.
All three Alous distinguished themselves. The boomer fans grew up seeing the Alou name frequently in boxscores. Those guys helped us adjust to the flow of non-Anglo players into our newspaper sports sections. Remember when Minnesota Twins fans made a big deal out of the name "Bombo" (Bombo Rivera)? It was disrespectful. Today any sports journalist who chooses to make light of such a name, implying that it's against the grain - perhaps worthy of a chuckle - would be dismissed immediately. It's not just political correctness. It's just sound thinking.
I recently wrote a post focusing on Jesus Alou on my companion website, "Morris of Course." click on the link to read:
Today I have a poem I wrote about the great Alou brothers. Here we go:
 
"My Three Sons" was on TV
Let's turn to reality
Three strong boys with baseball gloves
Playing in the game they loved
 
They had bats with lots of juice
Felipe, Matty and hay-SOOS
Quite the trio by the Bay
With the Giants and "Say Hey"
 
Jesus loves me, yes he does
We cheered hay-SOOS scoring runs
He was youngest of the three
His name from divinity
 
Wait a minute, that's not true
Even if the spelling fools
"Jesus" has the Bible ring
hay-SOOS is another thing
 
It's a common Latin name
Just like Tom or Sue or Jane
But the times were not real ripe
For the foreign-sounding type
 
Baseball had an Anglo cast
But the times were changing fast
In due time the game evolved
Foreign athletes got involved
 
U.S. boys saw "funny names"
In the boxscore for their game
hay-SOOS was exhibit 'A'
Of the men who came to play
 
We loved that triumvirate
Siblings who were wholly fit
For the game that spanned our land
Whacking balls and pitching grand
 
Felipe was the oldest one
Quite the strong Dominican
He played as a pioneer
For his country, quite in gear
 
Matty was the middle boy
With a bat that brought fans joy
He would play for 15 years
In the majors, winning cheers
 
Then came Jesus, youngest one
We said "hay-SOOS" with aplomb
Little brothers are the fave
(That's what we're supposed to say)
 
Their last name is etched for all
In the stone of our baseball
We embraced the name "Alou"
Taking on a world view
 
Players with a brownish tint
Giving no real racial hint
Came into the baseball fold
Making racial notions old
 
Now we loved the major leagues
With our eye for style and speed
No more ethnic judgments made
Our U.S. had turned the page
 
No it wasn't overnight
That our new ideals took flight
We all learned from Branch Rickey
Progress can be rickety
 
Branch transformed the diamond sport
From an ugly racist sort
To a new day with an eye
To the future, vistas wide
 
'50s were a time of trial
For the rich and rank and file
As we saw the Jim Crow South
Stay alive with their big mouths
 
We heard those with wisdom say
Rome was not built in a day
Those who said we had gone wrong
Would end up just dragged along
 
To a place of destiny
Where all colors could be free
Now we'd see exotic names
Building up that baseball flame
 
In due time it got routine
Seeing names outside the mean
Even hay-SOOS had its charms
When he hit that baseball far
 
Jesus is the Bible man
He lived in a foreign land
He was Jewish, not a WASP
But our churches deem him tops
 
Odd how we put up that fence
When our culture was hell-bent
To present our rules and norms
Tilting toward the native born
 
Those three men from foreign shores
Helped break down our tattered norms
Felipe, born in '35
Made his island come alive
 
His son Moises carried on
As a whole new chapter dawned
No more burden bringing fear
As an ethnic pioneer
 
Though it's just a mem-ry dim
"Alou" was their matronym
Thus it should have been eschewed
For the "Rojas" name, we heard
 
Rojas was their family name
It was in the preferred lane
For the way they should be called
If they ever made the Hall
 
But the name "Alou" just stuck
'Cause a Giants scout screwed up
That old rube assumes the blame
Getting wrong on that surname
 
"Rojas" was the way to go
Like that fellow Cookie, bro
Never mind, not much ado
We all loved the name "Alou"
 
Those three guys could mesmerize
With their hitting, fielding eye
Pitchers feared their lumber, yes
With their talents we were blessed
 
 
Addendum:
Moises with his Cub cap on
Was the fielder who was wronged
When that fan named Steve Bartman
Showed his mischief from the stands
 
Bartman was escorted out
To the sound of taunting shouts
Moises tried to stay composed
Though he knew his team got hosed
 
Cubbies could have won in fact
So to keep their soul intact
They were leading three to zero
Not in need of any heroes
 
Moises and his mates were primed
To continue with their climb
Would the Bartman play just fade
As a blip in their parade?
 
No, the play would seem a hex
With the things that happened next
One by one the Marlins scored
Moving up on that scoreboard
 
Moises had to feel chagrined
Pondering the might-have-beens
Through the years his family knew
How this game could torture you
 
Even when you give your all
In this pastime called baseball
Sometimes you just hear the boos
Unless your last name is Alou
 
© Copyright 2016 Brian R. Williams

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Boys turn back Pelican Rapids, Benson

Four games in six days! Wow, the pace is demanding. I would say not just for the players, but with fans and people like me who write about it. I'm happy to do some journalism on behalf of MACA athletics. It's hard to appreciate the outcome of any given game when the next one might come two days later, or the next day. Play on Presidents Day, a holiday? I can't believe it. But play they did on Presidents Day. We won.
 
Tigers 66, Pelican Rapids 39
MACA turned on the jets to lead 45-20 by halftime. Fans at Pelican Rapids were quieted except our own of course. We cruised through the second half, outscoring Pelican Rapids 21-19, so we got our 15th win of the season against 11 losses.
It was another day at the office for Eric Staebler as he went to work scoring 23 points. Jacob Zosel broke into double figures with his 15. Ryan Dietz and Robert Rohloff each put in five points. Philip Anderson added four points to the mix. Three each came from Denner Dougherty and Lukus Manska. Taylor Carrington, Tate Nelson and Camden Arndt each scored two, and Ryan Bowman and Tim Travis each contributed a point.
Staebler made nine of his 13 field goal attempts. Zosel's shooting eye was sharp long-range as he sank four 3-pointers in six attempts. Staebler was three of five in 3-pointers. Rohloff and Lukus Manska each made one '3'. We were 24 of 56 in total field goals, and in freethrows the numbers were nine of 14.
Dietz topped the rebound list with seven. Zosel and Arndt each had five assists, and Bowman led in steals with three. Anderson had two steals. Bowman and Anderson each blocked a shot.
 
Tigers 77, Benson 61
This game marked the end of the regular season for coach Mark Torgerson's Tigers. Can MACA perform better in the post-season this year, than last? Remember, we were second-seeded last year and lost to the No. 7 seed in the first round. I was somewhat distressed by that, but hardly anyone else was, it seemed.
After all the time we invest following this team all winter, it would be nice to climb a little ways in the post-season, IMHO. The volleyball team satisfied our desires for that this past fall.
Eric Staebler had a monster game against the Braves of Benson. His double-double night included 33 points and 13 rebounds.
Our frequent wins have given us the No. 3 seeding position this year. We'll host No. 6 ACGC, a familiar opponent, on Saturday.
We led the Braves 37-33 at halftime. At the end we were on top 77-61. Staebler was followed on the scoring list by Camden Arndt (19), Tate Nelson (7), Jacob Zosel (6), Connor Koebernick (6), Robert Rohloff (4) and Tim Travis (2). Staebler was dead-on from three-point range, making four such shots. Nelson and Koebernick each made two long-rangers, and Arndt made one in this strong department for the Tigers.
Staebler's 13 rebounds were followed by Arndt's five. Zosel led in assists with nine while Rohloff had three. Nelson had three steals followed by Zosel and Staebler each with two.
Benson faded despite their Adam Lindahl scoring 28 points. Josh Manzke put in 14. The list continues with Layton Connelly (9), Zack Sonnabend (6), Dylan McNeill (2) and Max Peterson (2). Connelly made three 3-pointers while Manzke sank two. Sonnabend led in rebounds with nine. Connelly dished out four assists, and Lindahl set the pace in steals with five.
Prior to the wins on Monday and Tuesday, Morris Area Chokio Alberta didn't fare so well, dropping contests to Minnewaska and Breckenridge on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. My post reviewing those two games is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Click on the link to read, and thanks for visiting. - B.W.
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2016/02/austin-versteegs-3-wins-for-minnewaska.html
 
Girls: Tigers 62, Melrose 20
MACA pummeled its Tuesday foe in hoops action: Melrose. My, it was no contest as our orange and black prevailed 62-20. A blow-out! It was over at halftime as we were up 33-8. Coach Dale Henrich could relax.
Three Tigers each made two 3-point shots: Riley Decker, Becca Holland and Correy Hickman. It was Hickman pacing the Tigers in scoring with 18 points. But Ashley Solvie was right on her heels, putting in 16 points. Becca Holland made double figures too with her ten points. These three Tigers each scored six: Riley Decker, Nicole Solvie and Moira McNally.
The game was played on the road, so MACA got on the Interstate en route to Dutchmen country. Maci Blommel with her modest point total of seven led Melrose's scoring. Brooklyn Loxterkamp made Melrose's only three-pointer. Blommel collected eight rebounds.
 
Whither Morris' economy?
Maybe it's time we started having a frank discussion about the Morris economy. We all sense something is amiss, I think, but we keep such thoughts under a shroud. A community is all about people. We need businesses that attract a decent amount of people traffic. Coborn's was one such business, open 24 hours. If I realized I was out of dog food at 5 a.m., I could hop over there.
Coborn's closed. This void has never been filled. Thrifty White Drug made the drastic downsizing move that we are now grappling with. It's a tiny fraction of its former self in the Morris community, and it has left a gaping void on main street. We lost a major auto dealership in Morris Auto Plaza, now comfortably in Alexandria which is a haven for so many of us.
Morris could use another restaurant. We could use a basic "main street diner" of a restaurant with a hot beef sandwich special every afternoon with an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes with gravy. I'm not interested in all these new ethnic restaurants. I want basic American food. (Sorry if sound like Donald Trump.)
Last time I checked, Paynesville had two basic main street diners: "Tuck's" and "The Wishing Well." "The Wishing Well" had a super Sunday buffet.
I heard someone say: "Why would anyone want to stay in Morris?" We are quite challenged in comparison to Alex with its lakes and big box stores. Yet we have a highly aggressive police department that harasses people, in my view, with trivial citations for such things as seat belt, plus we have a City of Morris that appears to harass people with vehicle-towing after modest snowfalls, and assessments mailed to grandmas for failure to shovel sidewalks adequately - rather remindful of "traffic cams" in their onerous nature. And the City did a terrible job of snow removal downtown on Monday (2/15), rendering the situation very problematic for people who simply wanted to park their cars (like by the senior center).
This community has some very real issues. Too many people just seem to  shrug. Del Sarlette has long said that Morris should have an "apathy festival." Problem is, as Del points out, "nobody shows up for the organizing meeting." Rimshot!
Oh, and Cullen's left Morris too!
OK, let's all of us support the ShopKo pharmacy. ShopKo was quite the step up for Morris, as it remedied the horrible pothole situation at the old Pamida. Bravo!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Battle of Birch Coulee: MN tragedy in 1862

"Coulee" spelled as "Coulie"
I remember driving past Fort Ridgely State Park on my way to and from Mankato in the early 1990s. The MAHS softball team was in the state tournament at Mankato. I remember missing the state tournament being in St. Cloud, a more convenient place to visit. Going to Mankato wasn't a "straight shot." A big headache was no availability of an Interstate Highway. You had to keep a map handy.
I remember thinking it would be neat to stop and spend some time at Fort Ridgely State Park. It's located on the Minnesota River south of Fairfax. It preserves Fort Ridgely, site of the Battle of Fort Ridgely during the Dakota War of 1862. It is the one Minnesota state park with a nine-hole golf course, which overlooks the Minnesota River and goes along Fort Ridgely Creek.
Why did we need this fort in southern Minnesota? The largest Indian war in U.S. history took place around there.
History is a quite malleable thing in our minds. For over 100 years, Minnesotans - to the extent they were even aware of the war - saw it as a good vs. evil thing. The meme was "settlers defeating treacherous bloodthirsty savages." It was called the Sioux massacre.
Such a meme hardly seems palatable or practical. The Dakotah Indians had a civilization on this continent first. The situation was not like what we saw with Nazis in Europe. The conflict was profoundly sad. It was another exhibit from history of how the inexorable movement of a stronger civilization leaves tragedy in its wake.
The Battle of Birch Coulee was on September 2, 1862. Yes, it was a summer when the U.S. Civil War in the east was at its apex. The development of the North American continent was going to be accompanied by incredible bloodshed. How weak and cowering us human beings are in the face of our maker. The Birch Coulee battle came after the battles of Ford Ridgely and New Ulm.
We can learn much about the Battle of Birch Coulee from a book written by the late Bernard Ederer of Morris. He was a dentist. He often went by "B.F. Ederer" or "Bernard Francis Ederer." He had four total books published. He was an adventurer as well as author. He probed the expansive undeveloped tracts in Alaska. He served a term in the Minnesota legislature while in Morris in the 1940s. He was in the U.S. Naval Reserve for World War II. I got to meet him in the 1980s.
Ederer wrote a fine historical novel based on the Battle of Birch Coulee. Let's attach an important asterisk here. Ederer used the spelling "Birch Coulie" for reasons he thought were viable at the time. He explains this in his preface. He quotes another writer, Chas. Flandreau, in addressing the spelling question.
Had Dr. Ederer known the Internet was coming along, I think he would have gone with "Coulee" with the two e's. Not only has this spelling taken over as the standard, this is the spelling people use when researching using search engines.
Ederer titled his book "Birch Coulie" with the "i.e." approach. I hope people are still able to locate this fine book. Our librarian Melissa Yauk located it in the back room of the library recently.
I wrote another post on this subject recently for my companion website, "Morris of Course." You may read it by clicking on the link:
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2016/02/lets-revive-memory-of-doc-ederer-gifted_2.html
 
We are no longer encouraged to think of the Dakotah War as a good vs. evil thing. Today we promote harmony of the races/ethnicities in our rainbow culture. It was like pulling teeth, but we finally accomplished the eradication of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname at UND. Not only was the name unacceptable on its face, it used a tribe name - "Sioux" - today considered unacceptable. "Dakotah" is the proper term. Where did "Sioux" come from? "Sioux" comes from the language of these Indians' traditional enemies, the Ojibway. It translates to "snake or serpent-like." It is intended as a pejorative along the lines of "schmuck" or "raghead" - intentionally disrespectful.
When the early French traders arrived, they latched on to the name "Sioux." The name stuck and is used to this day, as the uncomplimentary nature of the term has been lost to our culture over the years.
We must read "Doc" Ederer's "Birch Coulie" in the context of when he wrote it: the mid-20th Century. Notions of political correctness hadn't yet built up. Ederer was obviously a gentle, scholarly and sensitive person. He does, however, have a rough edge or two in the terminology applied, as you'll find "Sioux" used in a standard way along with "squaw" and perhaps some other impolitic language. I urge you to just overlook this and apply context.
I was well aware of Ederer and his writing when I was a child. Our family acquired "Birch Coulie" from a local library. Because Ederer left Morris for California, our awareness of him faded, unfortunately. One of his children recently passed away and the obituary was published locally.
The "good vs. evil" meme about the Dakotah War was discarded at the time of the 150th anniversary of the conflict in 2012. We realized that in the final analysis, there was enough blame and blood to go around for everyone.
Many Minnesotans today may not have even heard of the Dakotah War of 1862. The main battleground was the entire Minnesota River Valley in southern and central Minnesota. The uprising spread into the Dakotah Territories and sent panic into Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. In Minnesota, Indians did mass attacks on a fort and an entire town, both twice. Contrary to what folklore and Hollywood tell us, this was almost unheard of in any of the Indian campaigns.
When the fighting ended, 500 settlers and 100 soldiers were dead. Over 200 people were killed the first morning, as many as Custer lost at the Little Bighorn. To this day, that number of civilians killed on American soil as a result of hostile action is exceeded only by the attacks on 9/11.
It is perhaps understandable that we don't want to dwell a whole lot on such a horrific episode of our Minnesota history. Certainly we must never forget. I consider B.F. Ederer's "Birch Coulie" essential reading for anyone wanting a better understanding of the conflict. He had a fine touch for descriptive or fiction-style writing as you can appreciate by reading this passage:
 
The boom of cannons was now heard. Again and again the deep-toned roar of the big guns could be heard, always moving closer. This was more than the Sioux could take. They turned and fled.
Not a man moved in the corral. The poignant memory of the preceding day was still fresh in their minds.
"Listen, everyone!" a soldier cried. "I hear men singing."
"Poor fellow is delirious," a nearby comrade growled.
But was he?
From the distance the breeze carried the chant of a marching song to the straining ears of the weary men.
"I know it now," the soldier cried again. "I was at Fort Snelling when they mustered the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Minnesota. It was their rally song."
Everyone listened. Faintly they heard:
 
"We are coming, Father Abraham,
   Three hundred thousand more,
From Mississippi's winding stream,
   And from New England's shore;
We leave our ploughs and workshops,
   Our lives and children dear. . ."
 
Then the chant faded away, returning again with a surge as the wind changed.
"By God! There is the song of the Sixth Minnesota, 'The Battle Cry of Freedom.' We're saved!" yelled a soldier, struggling to his knees.
"Stay down!" bellowed Captain Anderson.
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, February 12, 2016

What kind of future for hockey here?

Here's an MBA hockey scene in Morris
A check with the local media shows hockey not to be doing well for us this winter. In the old days I'd have connections helping me understand the background. Today I'm just left to sort of wonder. Losses mount. Is it just an aberration? Is it a low point that will fade as a new wave of skaters comes along?
We were all bursting our buttons when the Lee Center first opened. I was amazed we were blessed with such a facility. It came along to displace the long-time system of modest outdoor hockey. I covered that previous system for a long time in the print media. I was an old high school acquaintance of a prime hockey supporter: Ron Sharstrom.
There were forces trying to resist the advancement of hockey. Could Morris sustain this along with our other sports? Would basketball suffer? Paul Watzke thought if any program would suffer, it might be wrestling. Herb Brooks came here and adamantly said we should have no fears of any type.
I wrote one of my rare editorials for the newspaper saying hockey deserved a positive look. Wally Behm came into my office and just said "hockey?" And then a pause, and then "hockey?" again. Wally could be kind of a glass-half-empty person.
I made a bus trip with the hockey kids of Morris to a Northstars game. I was armed with a camera, naturally, ready to record the event in a positive way. A school administrator or quasi-administrator, whatever he was, made a snide reference to that in a letter he wrote to the publisher (not for publication). OK, so I was already being an insurgent, in this case fanning the flames of enthusiasm for hockey, a sport which I had to admit I really didn't understand.
I had made efforts to appreciate the sport. When the Vikings season was over, I tried turning to the Northstars as a substitute.
"It's all luck when they score," I heard Jeff Arnold say. I had to nod in agreement.
The Vikings attracted my interest in an emotional sort of way through the 1970s - a typical attachment, one that I now regret. Ken Stabler (among others) broke our hearts in the Super Bowl. Today we learn Stabler had advanced signs of CTE (brain injury) when he died. Mike Webster of the Steelers helped beat us in another Super Bowl. His story is now among the most famous in terms of the pathetic health state of former pro football players.
I was bewildered as I tuned in to Northstars hockey and just couldn't see the appeal. None at all. We had the "Minnesota Fighting Saints" at the pro level too. The evening TV newscasters, out of the Twin Cities, took hockey so seriously. Hal Scott would lead with a story about the Fighting Saints and I'd want to nod off. Ralph Jon Fritz, he of the "Lutheran looks" as he was so famously (and appropriately) described once, droned on about the Northstars.
My high school classmate Ted Schmidt was tremendously enthusiastic about hockey. I came upon some rest room graffiti one day: "Jesus saves, Esposito scores on the rebound." We were charmed by Gump Worsley, the old-time goaltender who eschewed the facemask.
I watched hockey like it was a curiosity, not something I could wrap my arms around. I wonder if someday, our Lee Center in Morris will be little more than an extension of the fairgrounds. It sure serves the interests of the fair nicely. In Morris and many other communities, we put up with buildings on fairgrounds that have negligible use. It seems an oddity of our culture. Such buildings would greet you as you entered Glenwood. I found that a little depressing.
As a writer I immediately made shorthand reference to our hockey building as "Lee Center" without the full names of the benefactors. I got a little pushback at the newspaper internally on that. I'm not sure I like the name of the building. Purchasing the naming rights to a new building doesn't mean the building has to be named for you, it just means you have the right to name it. Such things, in my view, should be named for individuals who were iconic with their contributions to the community's welfare, particularly to the community's youth. I'm skeptical of having such things named for people simply because they had money. It's too naked a tribute to our ethos about money, how we tend to feel money greases everything. OK it probably does in our present day and age. I'm skeptical of worshiping at that altar too much.
So, whither our local hockey programs, boys and girls, who at present are losing a lot? My gut feeling is that this partnership of Morris and Benson has never been ideal. There has never been a natural sense of partnership between these two communities. More often there has been a sense of rivalry, and besides, the communities are separated by about 26 miles.
There was a time when Benson had its own very nice boys hockey program - I've seen the team pictures - and Morris Area too had its own orange and black squad. I was very disappointed to hear that the original system was going to give way to this perversion called "Morris Benson Area Storm." It was a Frankenstein-like creation.
"We wanted to be more competitive," Ron Sharstrom told me.
The Morris parents were split on whether this was the way to go, an informed source told me. It was about 50/50 with some parents feeling we still had enough players. Others went the Sharstrom route. I'd be disappointed if the main reason was to "be more competitive." There's an irony here: by staying separate, Morris actually had a good chance for a post-season win because we might get to play Benson!
Many people scanning the Willmar paper would have no clue what "MBA Storm" is. I associate those initials with "Master's (Degree) in Business Administration."
I wonder if hockey is in danger of being phased out in West Central Minnesota. Why? Stable as the MBA program was for a long time, maybe there's a dropoff in enthusiasm for something called "Morris Benson Area Storm." Is it true that the kids of one town can't start practicing until the kids of the other town arrive?
There are other considerations: Maybe kids are less inclined to want to play an intense contact sport. Why risk your health? It seems ludicrous. I was always an outlier, but I always felt the eight hours in school on a given day was enough. I will readily admit that I enjoyed simply watching TV when I got home from school. I can now be thankful that I never even tried to play football, to try to show how "tough" I was etc. What an outmoded way of thinking.
And maybe the new enlightenment, freeing boys from the shackles of having to show their masculinity in such sports, is causing the rosters to shrink for such sports. There is a danger here: communities that have invested much to develop their new artificial turf football stadiums are going to want to push their boys to keep playing football. There is a movement afoot to actually take football out of high schools and reorganize it as a club sport. It should happen right now. This would eliminate peer pressure as a factor getting boys to play football. 
Hockey can be pretty brutal too. I had not one ounce of interest in playing hockey. It seemed cold and painful to me.
If you think such sports promote some notion of masculinity, just read about Mike Webster's last years. We read about Joe Montana's litany of health issues. It goes on and on. I should have ceased all my positive online coverage of local football two or three years ago. Obviously it is hard letting go. At present I am ready to totally let go.
Hockey is odd because of all the fighting that happens. It's a culture totally beyond what I can comprehend. Maybe my attitudes are starting to filter into the minds of area young people. Maybe interest is dissipating. Maybe that's why we see the losses mount. Kids have better ways of spending their time like with all the electronic gadgets. They can gain an entire education from the Internet. Facebook is a safe pastime. (I'm not on it.)
Crashing into the boards with other hockey players? I just don't understand it. I think insurance companies would appreciate that kids back off from such reckless competition. Unless of course you can fork over prohibitive premium $ amounts.
Whither hockey in Morris? Right now it doesn't look too good.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota -bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wheels come off for boys in second half

Monte 53, Tigers 39
Montevideo came to our MAHS gym Tuesday (2/9) and took charge in the second half. The game took on an ugly complexion, from the viewpoint of our home fans, as the Thunder Hawks outscored our Tigers 32-16 in the second half. Ouch! The final horn sounded with the visitor up 53-39.
Some Monte fans had their evening meal at DeToy's Restaurant before the game. That's how I knew we were playing Montevideo. It's nice to see the restaurant back to serving top-notch hash brown potatoes again.
Those Monte fans went home happy. In my youth this team was known as the Mohawks. There was a neat mural painting at the gym showing an Indian with headdress silhouetted. It was nice art but I guess it had to go. That painting was a trademark I associated with Montevideo. I used to enjoy going to Montevideo to run in the Fiesta Days 10K. Today? Walking a couple blocks is just fine.
Monte's win was its 16th so they're having a fine season. Our Tigers emerged still over .500 at 13-9, but fans had to feel a little discouraged. A second half collapse does not bode well. My goodness, we actually led at halftime by two, 23-21!
We're all familiar with Troy Diggins of the T-Hawks. It was Troy who did a lot of the second half damage. For the game he posted a team-best 17 points. Riley Emery and Preston Herfurth each scored ten. Isaac Douglas and Travis Dreyer each put in seven points. Nate Heig added two points to the mix. Diggins made both of Monte's 3-pointers.
Derek Kilibarda was the top T-Hawk in rebounds with five, followed by Dreyer and Jared Saue each with four. Emery dished out four assists and Herfurth had two. It was Herfurth topping the steal list with four followed by Diggins with three.
It should be noted that Sean Amundson was no-go for MACA due to injury. Is it important to emphasize that? From my background, I can say that sometimes parents resent the emphasis on a sidelined player because it implies the other players can't cut it. I wrote an article for the Hancock Record that suggested it was good news that a suspended player was coming back, and I caught absolute hell from a parent.
Eric Staebler's efforts weren't enough to stop the second half bleeding. But he did score 17 points. Jacob Zosel put in 12 points. Then we have Lukus Manska and Ryan Bowman each with three points, and Philip Anderson and Ryan Dietz each with two. Zosel, Staebler and Manska each made one 3-pointer.
Staebler collected nine rebounds and Cam Arndt seven. Arndt had two assists.
I wonder if the Monte coach gets some of the credit for Monte's second half dominance. Is that possible? Is coaching important? I have learned through the years that coaching is important when MACA wins. When we lose, the rhetoric seems different.
 
Tigers 62, Sauk Centre 51
Back last Friday, the Tigers presented a much more encouraging performance. We came out on top over the Sauk Centre Streeters, 62-51. Eric Staebler was in his usual primary role, coming at the Streeters with 28 points. We upped our conference record to over .500 at 6-5.
We asserted ourselves in the first half, outscoring Sauk 37-20. We had things well in hand. Jacob Zosel was a force with 18 points scored. Sean Amundson scored seven points, while these three Tigers each scored three: Robert Rohloff, Lukus Manska and Cam Arndt. Staebler made three shots from 3-point range, while Amundson and Zosel each made one long-ranger.
Staebler had the team-high 13 rebounds. These three Tigers each had three assists: Amundson, Zosel and Staebler. Staebler stole the ball three times.
Jay Friedrichs was the top Sauk Centre scorer with 16 points. He along with Riley Primus and Tanner Rieland made the Sauk three-pointers.
 
Girls: Sauk Centre 52, Tigers 38
It was a bleak night for the orange and black in GBB play on Friday (2/5). The home gym didn't help as we took it on the chin vs. Sauk Centre. Sauk kept surging, upping its stellar record to 18-1 and staying unbeaten in conference play.
The Tigers fought to get a halftime lead, 20-16. But in the second half, Sauk Centre took off to outscore the Tigers 36-18. So the final score was 52-38 as the Tigers slipped to two games under .500 with a record of 9-11.
Hats off to the Streeters, the No. 2-ranked team in Minnesota Class AA.
Sauk Centre took off with its fortunes thanks in large part to three-point shooting. Five players together produced eight 3-pointers. Three Streeters each made two of these: Madi Greenwaldt, Jill Klaphake and Maesyn Thiesen. Victoria Peschel and Morgan Gamradt each made one long-ranger. Klaphake was the Streeters' top scorer with ten points.
Ashley Solvie topped the MACA scoring list with 17 points. Moira McNally put in ten. The list continues with Correy Hickman (5), Riley Decker (2), Becca Holland (2) and Nicole Solvie (2). Here's a rarity: we didn't make any 3-pointers.
Holland had eight rebounds followed by Hickman, Decker and McNally each with six. Hickman had five assists and Holland had four. Holland stole the ball twice.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, February 8, 2016

Poetic tribute to John Callison and the Phillies

The National League seemed like a foreign country when I was young. In the days before inter-league play, those N.L. teams existed in some ethereal world, from the standpoint of us American League fans.
Some of the N.L. stars would come to the Twin Cities for exhibition games. We could only see N.L. players on the NBC Game of the Week occasionally. I watched with great interest, realizing what a scarce commodity this was. It's an important principle in marketing: scarcity or the perception of scarcity.
I developed an interest in the Philadelphia Phillies in the mid-1960s. They had a 1964 rookie named Richie (or Dick) Allen who seemed a mirror reflection of our Tony Oliva that year. Then there was John Callison. He was an outfielder with multiple impressive skills. He became a favorite player of mine. He was a favorite of Samuel Alito, today on the U.S. Supreme Court.
I have written a poem in tribute to the late Callison. It begins with the setting of the 1964 All-Star Game. That all-star showcase was in Queens, New York City, at the new Shea Stadium. It's a subject close to my heart because our family was in Queens for the New York World's Fair in the summer of 1964.
Callison was at the apex of his career: he hit a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth to win the game for the Nationals. Does it get any better than that? What a moment of glory for this young man who had grown up in desolate Qualls OK, with parents who used Native American tools.
Here's my poem, beginning with that all-star game. Thanks for reading.
 
Close your eyes and visualize
Baseball stars in Queens
All the best would thump their chest
There in NYC
 
The N.L. team assumed that gleam
Taking charge at Shea
In the ninth they really climbed
It was "bombs away"
 
Score was tight there in the ninth
Each team with four runs
Could the bats reach Dick Radatz?
Could they be like guns?
 
Pitcher Dick was awful slick
In his Red Sox prime
Never cowed when on the mound
He was like fine wine
 
So the N.L. fought like hell
Getting two men on
Now the stakes are really great
For John Callison
 
Johnny had a launching pad
For his Phillies team
He looked at that Dick Radatz
Resolution keen
 
Here's a pitch that scratched the itch
Johnny found his stride
There's a drive hit long to right
Given quite the ride
 
Past the fence that ball was sent
Off that Phillie's bat
Radatz frowned out on the mound
Fans said "How 'bout that?"
 
N.L. grinned with its big win
Walk-off homer style
7 to 4 was the score
On top of the pile
 
Twice before in all-star lore
A walk-off homer rose
Off the bats of two strong cats
Musial, Williams those
 
Now the bat of Callison
Joined the hallowed ranks
Of the guys who mesmerized
Pounding hard like tanks
 
Callison with those big runs
Shone in '64
Fans at Shea proclaimed "hooray"
As the N.L. roared
 
Phillies had a real good chance
Toward the N.L. flag
With Gene Mauch they were the talk
Of the N.L. fans
 
They could see a first place team
From that Philly base
Could that red stay out ahead
In the pennant race?
 
A choke was all that could forestall
A Philly title "whoop!"
Fans would say, just no way
They could get the boot
 
Then that slide materialized
Nothing like before
Like a man adrift from land
Caught without his oars
 
Legend says a Cincy Red
Gave a horrid curse
With a steal of home he breezed
Nothing could be worse
 
Could we blame just one big play
For the Phillies' woes?
Legend grew that it was true
Phillies' hopes got froze
 
A book was penned with that legend
Such was that belief
Chico Ruiz went and seized
Phillies' destiny
 
Oh my God, it seems so odd
With that blame ascribed
To that guy who just realized
He could run and slide
 
So alas the Phils collapsed
Cardinals stood and crowed
with Dick Groat the Redbirds spoke
In a surging mode
 
Phillies fans were left aghast
Singing loud the blues
Even with such fine talent
They attracted boos
 
Callison with Dick Allen
Were a 1-2 punch
Hitting hard and looming large
They could eat your lunch
 
Dick was black and had a knack
Hitting where they ain't
John was white and showed his fight
In that All-Star Game
 
'64 was years before
PEDs and such
JFK had passed away
How we grieved so much
 
Would that we could just believe
Baseball meant it all
It's no jest we would be blessed
Eyes on that baseball
 
That's because the decade was
Tarred by hellish war
Viet Nam and our Napalm
cursed us to the core
 
We could seize a time machine
Try to change the course
Strive to free humanity
From the din of war
 
Close your eyes and visualize
USA at peace
'64 could be transformed
Wisdom in the breach
 
America that we all love
Sea to shining sea
Hear that buzz with peace and love
And those red Phillies
 
© Copyright 2016 Brian R. Williams

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Boys overcome Trojans' box-and-one defense

Weather loomed with potential to nix the high school sports events on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The thumbs-up was given for the home MACA boys game.
Ortonville is an annual non-conference opponent. The game gives us an opportunity to renew our acquaintance with the Fellows family. The Tigers hosted and defeated the Trojans of Ortonville in this hoops play. The score was 63-56.
Coach Mark Torgerson was pleased to see an upped caliber of play from when his team fell to Lac qui Parle Valley. Four days after the disappointment vs. LQPV, MACA was solid in its execution, solid enough that we overcame the mere three points scored by our Eric Staebler, typically a scoring standout!
Senior captain Staebler had gotten the attention of Ortonville in pre-game preparations. The Trojans came at the Tigers with a box-and-one defense targeting Staebler, the center. Staebler's three points was his career low, but surely he was happy for the winning outcome.
"It was up to the other Tiger players to step it up for the win," coach Torgerson said.
Robert Rohloff helped pick up the slack for Staebler's diminished scoring. Robert put in 16 points, his career-best. But it was Sean Amundson posting the team-best point total: 19. Camden Arndt, freshman forward, gave spark with his nine points and ten rebounds. Torgerson was quick to note that Staebler was hardly dormant in this game, as he contributed 13 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. These three stats were team highs.
The first half had a close complexion until the closing stages when MACA went on a nifty run. We led 32-23 at the halfway mark.
"Fast-break points were a key to the Tigers gaining the lead going into the locker room," Torgerson said. "In the second half the Trojans battled back in the game with an abundance of three-pointers."
Britton Conroy emerged as a Trojan with real impact. Conroy is a junior forward and he was quite dead-on with his long-range shooting. Four of his game-total six 3-pointers were in the second half. Close to the hoop it was Nate Treinen having impact for the visitor. Together, Conroy and Treinen spurred an Ortonville comeback effort that had our home fans a little nervous. Oh my, the score was tied 50-all with just under six minutes left!
"From there, the Tigers' Sean Amundson led the way with his drives to the basket, and the Tigers held on for the win," Torgerson reported.
Conroy had a game-total 19 points while fellow Trojan Treinen had 18. Here's the Morris Area Chokio Alberta scoring rundown: Amundson (19), Rohloff (16), Arndt (9), Jacob Zosel (7), Philip Anderson (6), Lukus Manska (3) and Eric Staebler (3). Three Tigers each made one 3-pointer: Rohloff, Amundson and Manska. We made ten of 18 freethrow attempts.
 
Goodbye to "The Snake"
Ken Stabler has gone to a better place. The old lefty quarterback doesn't have to worry about getting splitting headaches now. His brain was examined after his recent death. Add his name to the sad list of former football players with advanced signs of CTE. It's the result of brain trauma resulting from playing the game of football.
Are we getting the message? Let's all boycott this coming Sunday's Super Bowl game. How can we continue supporting this barbaric sport? It's unconscionable. I was in denial for a while about this. It is hard letting go of a sport we have enjoyed for so long.
Let's fight the addiction. Plan something special to do on Sunday, so you aren't even tempted to watch it. How easy it would be for all of us to live without football. Once we have accomplished this recovery, and found better ways to spend our Sunday time, we will wonder how we ever fell under that spell in the first place.
Ken "The Snake" Stabler, RIP. You picked apart our Vikings in the Super Bowl. I could not care less about that now. It's sad you became a casualty.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Girls upstaged by Lund, Eagles at LQPV

LQPV 54, Tigers 40
The Tigers were in the background Monday night (2/1) at the Lac qui Parle gym. Not only were we on the short end of the score, we were upstaged by a LQPV player who reached a significant individual milestone. She's just a sophomore! Her name is Kelsea Lund.
Lund is already at the 1000-point career scoring plateau. She reached that plateau Monday at the expense of our Tigers. She came into the night needing four points to reach the magic number. She got far more than that. 
Putting in 24 points, Lund boosted her team to a 54-40 win over the Tigers. She made 14 of 16 freethrow shots. Her Eagle team was 27-for-32 at the freethrow line. Meanwhile the Tigers had just 12 attempts at the line.
The Eagles led 29-22 at halftime. Their win was their tenth of the season. MACA slipped a game under .500 with this setback, to 9-10. Lund with her 24 points was followed on the LQPV scoring list by Kelsey Kuechenmeister (8), Haley Wollschlager (6), Lindsay Kranz (5), Taniah Tosel (5), Katyln Gades (4) and Sidney Gerdes (2).
Lund
made two 3-pointers and Wollschlager made one. Tosel was the Eagles' top rebounder with seven. Lund dished out four assists.
Ashley Solvie was the only Tiger scoring in double figures with ten points. Becca Holland put in eight points. Riley Decker and Correy Hickman each scored seven. Moira McNally's contribution was six points. Karly Fehr and Jenna Howden each added one point to the mix.
Holland kept her sharp eye in long-range shooting, making two 3-pointers. Decker made one. Holland led in rebounds with five followed by Hickman and McNally each with four. Hickman and McNally each had three assists. Decker had three steals.
 
Girls: Tigers 69, ACGC 32
Becca Holland was a terror with her long-range shooting, giving key spark as her MACA Tigers disposed of ACGC. Riley Decker connected twice from three-point range. The offensive firepower lifted the orange and black to a 69-32 win over the ACGC Falcons.
This success was on Friday, Jan. 29, at home. We got up 30-17 by halftime. The one-sided nature of the game was more in evidence in the second half: a 39-15 advantage.
Holland's barrage lifted her point total to a team-best 24 points. Correy Hickman put in 14 points and Moira McNally 11. The list continues with Decker (9), Ashley Solvie (6), Nicole Solvie (4) and Liz Dietz (1). McNally with her nine rebounds was tops on that list. Next came the Solvies, Ashley with six and Nicole with five, and Holland collected five rebounds.
Hickman had four assists and Holland had three. In steals it was Hickman leading with six while McNally had four. Morris Area Chokio Alberta came out of the game with a 7-3 conference record. In overall we reached .500 at 9-9. ACGC is having a struggling campaign.
The ACGC scoring was led by Hannah Wilner with ten points. Kendra Miller made a three-point shot.
So many sports summaries in the Willmar newspaper do not state where the game was played. I have to check the school calendar or Pheasant Country Sports.
 
Boys: Tigers 74, BOLD 50
Thursday action (Jan. 28) had the Tigers of MACA vanquish the Warriors of BOLD by a healthy margin. The 74-50 win was our eleventh of the season. We led by ten at halftime, 33-23.
Fans at the home gym saw Jacob Zosel at the fore of the team's scoring, with 17 points. Right behind Jacob were Camden Arndt and Eric Staebler, each with 16 points. Sean Amundson put in nine points. Then we have Lukus Manska and Robert Rohloff each with five points, followed by Ryan Dietz with four points and Taylor Carrington with two.
Zosel got his edge on the scoring list with his two 3-pointers. Three Tigers each made one '3': Amundson, Rohloff and Manska. Staebler snared eight rebounds and Arndt had six. Zosel and Amundson each dished out five assists.
Five Tigers each had one steal: Rohloff, Philip Anderson, Staebler, Arndt and Ryan Bowman.
The top BOLD scorer was Ethan Weis with ten points. He made two 3-pointers. Once again the Willmar newspaper did not report the location of the game.
 
Boys: Lac qui Parle 67, Tigers 59
The Tigers experienced a down note with their loss on the road to Lac qui Parle Valley on Friday, Jan. 29.
The Willmar paper tells us this game was played in Madison. Actually the game was played out in the middle of nowhere, wasn't it? Where you can probably near coyotes howl at night?
LQPV shook a three-game losing skid with its 67-59 win over the Tigers. LQPV got up 30-24 by halftime. Their win was their ninth of the season. They got a big lift from the 24 points scored by Noah Jensen. Lucus Strand scored 15 points and Connor Ole had 13. The list continues with Tom Witte (8), Ross Olson (6) and Isaac Gerdes (1).
Jensen led in rebounds as well as points - in rebounds he had 16. Strand and Witte each had four assists. Witte stole the ball twice.
Eric Staebler had another monster night with 25 points, not in line with victory though.
Staebler recently passed Kevin Loge to top the all-time rebounding list for MACA. But career stats don't float my boat. Loge had a bittersweet hoops career. He committed to the U of M Gophers but ended up not really playing college basketball. UMM coach Perry Ford once told me that Kevin made a bigger impression with his play in the summer than in the real basketball season. That really made me shake my head. I wondered if Kevin was getting the best possible coaching for post play. Any rational person would have to wonder that. But in Morris it's only politically correct to say certain things about our high school basketball programs. That has never changed. Are we a town of zombies? Well, I'm not one.
Sean Amundson scored ten points against Lac qui Parle Valley. Jacob Zosel and Camden Arndt each scored eight. Lukus Manska scored five points, Robert Rohloff two and Philip Anderson one. Amundson and Staebler each made two 3-pointers.
Another editorial comment: Sometimes I think these basketball teams play too many games. They have been playing on Saturday. It's hard to appreciate a given game when the next one might be played two days later. The flurry of games makes me weary sometimes. We had to wait a long time for the first band concert of the new school year.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com