Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tradition: If you build it, they will come.

I had the opportunity to visit South Bend Indiana this past weekend to take in a Notre Dame football game. For me it was an opportunity to view a school and a team that is overflowing with tradition. To them the questions I ask weren't dumb, but seemed to be questions they really don't ask themselves because, well, it's tradition.

The Notre Dame Stadium itself is a portrait of what college football used to look like at the dawn of its creation. Hard wood benches with painted on numbers, a bowl of fans free from cooperate advertising (excluding a single NBC Sports logo on its scoreboard), PA announcements free from advertising injections (ex "That's another Coca Cola first down.").  They do have a large press box/beautiful people seating area, but even that seems to blend into the rest of the stadium.

The band seemed to be the heartbeat of the experience, seemingly directing the crowd and reacting to them at the same time much like your heart does in relation to your activity. They lifted fans spirits when Michigan started to silence their energy, and harnessed their excitement during big plays to unite them in a common experience of singing, clapping, and cheering.

It is that sociological experiment that that drew me to sport to begin with.  That unified feeling of a crowd experiencing the same rises, dips, and turns that is the emotional roller coster of sport fandom.

I was in the Minnesota State University pep band for two years so that may draw me to be a bit bias, but I feel the key to bringing sustained tradition to Minnesota State University Athletics starts with bringing the band back.

I had a great conversation with Notre Dame's director of this past weekend which gave me some insight into how other organizations make it work.
-Notre Dame band members get one credit for being in the band but no financial compensation (MSU used to give out talent grants).
-The Notre Dame Band is made up of very few music majors.
-Notre Dame has a much smaller enrollment to draw band members than I imagined (around 10k undergraduate/graduate students). MSU has about 15k undergraduate/graduate students

The cost of the band was part of the reason for its demise a few years ago when the Athletic Department was facing steep budget cuts.  Resurrecting the band as a recognized student organization (like the a fraternity/sorority)  would possibly bring the band back at a lower cost to the Athletics department and to the students.

The Hymn

Minnesota State has a hymn that most students don't hear until graduation day.  To my knowledge the only other time it's played is at the presidents annual convocation to start the school year.

Here is the Minnesota State University Hymn if you've never heard it.

Other schools use their hymn (or another slower song) at the end of events to create (in my opinion) a prideful environment.  An image of student-atheltes, students and fans swaying and singing a song together, to me, breaks down the barrier between "us" and "Them". I witnessed this firsthand at the Kohl's Center in Madison Wisconsin following a hockey game against my Mavericks and it was an idea that stuck.  That idea was reignited this past weekend when I saw it again after the Irish game.
At Notre Dame that song is "Our Mother"

At my alma mater I've seen only two traditions that have stuck in the past decade: A guy hitting a cow bell, and the Bouncing Souls "Ole" played after Mens hockey goals.

It's time to start a tradition Mankato.  If you build it, they will come.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why I'm Voting No

Most of you who know me know which way I lean politically. That said, I try not to fill my Facebook timeline with partisan spam as we get enough of that from most every other form of media today.

There is one issue, however, that I cannot stay silent on, and that is the issue of the gay marriage amendment on the ballot this November in Minnesota.  The ballot question asks Minnesotans if they want to take an issue in gay marriage (that is already currently not legal in MN) and etch it into our state constitution.

The same issue was brought before Iowans a few years ago, and during that debate this speech by Zach Wahls, who was spoke in Mankato this past weekend, went viral on the Internet and summarizes my feelings pretty well.

Though the issue of marriage equality is often associated with democrats, I don't feel this is a partisan issue as shown by Minnesota State representative John Kriesel (R - Cottage Grove) in the debate leading to the vote to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

I have had the great fortune to be married to my beautiful wife for more than four years now. Through that marriage I've met two wonderful same-sex couples on her side of the family.  One of those couples is currently raising an adopted son. Just like any other set of parents they work hard to provide for their son, struggle with the challenges of raising a teenager, but glow with pride at his accomplishments.
The only thing that separates their family from the family my wife and I wish to someday have is that they are not given the more than 1,000 rights and protections afforded to married couples under federal law because the person they fell in love with happens to be of the same sex. 

Love.  Love is what is all comes down to.  While same-sex marriage opponents often cite their faith as the reason for voting yes on the amendment, I offer this quote from my wedding ceremony, and was or likely will be in many of yours:
"Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love"

1 Corinthians 13:13

Please Vote No on November 6th.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Modesto Fire Department Leaves Resident Burning Mad

Modesto, Calif -  A local fire chief is apologizing this morning after using a flame thrower to attempt to put out a burning home on Stradiford Avenue late on Wednesday evening. Ernesto Sandito, Modesto's fire chief, explained why he aided in burning down the home of the Sanchez family who lived in the home.

"I was always told by my father that you should fight fire with fire, which made me question if I was leading my fire station correctly, said Sandito. "We replaced our water truck with a gas truck and took action to fight the fire. "

Sandito's actions outraged the homes owner.

"All they did was burn down my home twice as fast!", exclaimed Jorge Sanchez, owner of the now destroyed residence. "We'll see if he is smart enough to fight lawyer with lawyer!"

Luckily everyone from the Sanchez family was able to make it out of their burning home unscathed before the Modesto Fire Department showed up to fully burn down the house.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rochester Honkers Slider Tests Positive for HGH

Rochester, Minn - To the surprise of many Rochester fans the Northwoods League front office is suspending Honkers mascot Slider for the first half of the 2012 season following a positive test for HGH.

"This test result comes as a big shock to us in the Honkers organization", said Honker General Manager Dan Litzinger. "I really can't comment any further until I sit down and talk with Slider personally."

"This is the first time anyone has suspended a mascot to my knowledge", said Northwoods League owner Dick Radatz Jr.  "But we want our fans to know we run a clean league, free from performance enhancing drugs from top to bottom, and that includes our mascots.

One person who was not surprised by the positive test was Nick Riviera, a Mayo Clinic doctor and long time Honker fan.

"I got suspious when I started seeing all the telltale signs of HGH use", said Riviera. "The large head size, the increased acne, which I actually initially thought were frayed stitches in his head until i saw him covering it up with whiteout before a game."

The Mankato MoonDogs Muttnik, a fellow Northwoods League mascot chimmed in on the news.

"This news is pretty RUFF", said Muttnik. "If you told me last week that Slider was using HGH, I would have said you were barking up the wrong tree, but now I don't know. His head has gotten more appealing to chase over the last couple of years. I've got a lot to circle around three times, lay down and think about."

Phone calls to the home of Slider were not returned as of the time of this printing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


With the low interest rates and cheaper home prices Carolyn and I have been toying with the idea of "upgrading" to give us more house for less money. I've been looking at houses online and have been amazed by the photos we've seen as I take a small peak into the lives of the current owner.

I decided to post a few photos from what I've seen. These are all currently for sale in Mankato.

 King of his castle needs an elevated throan to gaze over his kingdom.

 Just thought it was funny there was an office chair in their kitchen. Why the realtor didn't move it for a photo I'll never know. 

 Enough room for a beer pong table.  Notable selling feature.
 News paper spread on the ground reminds me of the movie Big Daddy.  Just wondering who peed.
 As seen on hoarders.
I've always wanted to hold hands with my wife as we both take a deuce.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

President Perry would not pardon turkey

Austin, Texas - Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry made a statement today that under his administration he would not pardon a Thanksgiving turkey, a tradition among presidents dating back to George H.W. Bush in 1989.

"I'm from Texas" said Perry.  "We don't pardon, we execute. Heck we've executed mentally handicapped people in Texas. Why would I stop at a turkey? I'm not going to play the role of big government and interfere."

Animal rights groups did not react well to Perry's announcement.

"Its barbaric" said PETA spokeswoman Jessica Martin.  "Execute mentally handicapped people if you want but don't hurt innocent turkeys."

Perry's odd statement comes in the wake of dipping poll numbers and abysmal debate performances and may have been an attempt to separate himself from the rest of the GOP pack.

Nation's airports packed with reporters

Los Angels, Calif - On the busiest travel reporting day of the year the United States airports are expected to be jam-packed with reporters, camera men and photographers. The sharp influx in airport reporting can cause frustration and delays.

"At some of the busiest airports like LAX, we expect to see reporters arriving and departing every thirty seconds" said Peter Gibbons, President of Media Traffic Controllers Association. "Bad weather can really mess things up. Delays and cancellations only increase the number of reporters clogging our concourse, sticking around for hours longer than if the weather were clear."

The frustration is also experienced among the travelers.

"I am appalled" said traveler Marquez Hernandez. Things would be running a lot more smoothly if reporters like yourself stayed home and stayed out of the way. I would estimate 40% of the people at the airport are reporters, not travelers."

Not everyone was upset with the arrival of the reporters. Rahish Ahman, the owner of a convenience store at the airport awaits this day every year.

"This is our Black Friday" said Ahman. "The reporters need hair spray, cell phone chargers, and a lot of other over-priced stuff we sell here because they never plan on staying as long as they do."

The reporters themselves also have to make sacrifices.

"Sure I would rather be at home getting drunk and arguing with my family like the rest of America" said CNN correspondent Jason White. "But this is the career choice and the sacrifice I have made even though my parents have always disapproved and make it clear that I am their least favorite child at every family get-together."