Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lacrimae Rerum

State Championship game in Grand Forks Saturday afternoon. The wind is howling out of the west, Century puts the youngest team ever to appear in the tournament on the field (2 seniors, 3 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 4 freshmen) and play to a 1-1 tie after regulation.

In the first 10 minute overtime there weren't many chances to score and you could really see the fatigue setting in on both teams. They were almost 8 minutes in to the 2nd overtime and 2 minutes from a shootout when West Fargo put in the game winner. Our boys certainly felt bad - they knew they had had some opportunities they hadn't been able to take advantage of - but they kept there heads up and were good sports through all the celebrating and awards.

I was sad for the Seniors who had worked so hard and trusted all those young players to help get them a championship, but the underclassmen get another (or two, or three!) shots at it and will have incredible experience under their belts.

Coach Jahnke got this team to perform at an amazing level and helped them keep their heads even when they were under pressure. He can probably think of dozens of could have, should have, would have scenarios over the season, but you've got to play with the team and the players you have, and he sent several clear messages about expectations and consequences. I believe that all those young men are the better for the experience.

Human beings are driven to succeed. Our culture places great value on "winning," whatever the situation, but there are other great words to describe (in this case high school soccer) behaviors - Perseverence, Teamwork, Dedication, Trust, Fearlessness - that I think Hunter and his teammates brought to the pitch and took back home to their families last night.

2010 Patriots, congratulations on a fine season, this fan enjoyed the ride.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I just tried uploading a video of the play before the "choke." I'll see if it will take in a new post. If nothing else, here is a photo of Luke and Will each with their first goose.

Semifinal #1 2010 Boys State Soccer

Weirdest soccer game I've ever seen in my life. Century had one of the Captains - a central defender - the goalkeeper and the backup keeper all suspended for hazing one of the freshman players Friday night. Jon Rings, one of 4 seniors on the team, volunteered to go in to goal. He has not played keeper since he was a U15 summer soccer player. He did an admirable job and helped hold a huge Fargo North team to 2 goals. The fireworks started early when Jon's twin brother Jason got two yellow cards in the first half, as did a player from North. Two yellows are considered a "soft" red in high school so you have to leave this game and sit out the next - 2nd end of high school career of the day. North had a 1-0 lead late in the half when Century captain Tom Keller clears a ball to prevent the North player from getting to it. Most soccer fields in North Dakota have no bleachers so the (few) fans usually line up in lawn chairs 8 feet off the sideline. Keller rips the ball which hits an 80 year old woman square in the forehead and knocks her out. They work on her most of the halftime and she insists on staying, but left about 10 minutes into the 2nd, I hope to get checked at the hospital for a concussion. With the wind (30 mph from the south) in their favor, Century scored three goals in a 20 minute span. After the 3rd goal was scored by Tom Keller, he was walking from inside the goal back onto the field when the North Keeper grabbed him by the shoulders and tripped him over an out stretched leg. The biggest problem with that was that the Referee was standing about 10 feet away and saw the whole thing. He immediately pulls out the red card and sends off the Keeper. At this point North is down 3-1, playing with 10 men and into the wind. They persevered and managed to score one more when a Century defender took a bad touch in a ball in the box and set up a prefect shot for a North Player. For the rest of the game Century continued to push the ball upfield and kept pinning them back in their own zone. As time was winding down Tom Keller (again!) clears a ball 40 yards out of bounds with just seconds on the clock. as he turned to run up the sideline a North player grabbed him by the back of the neck and proceeded to attempt a choke hold. The Referee was not impressed. Another red card, another very embarrassing case of poor sportsmanship on the part of Fargo North, and probably lucky if charges aren't filed. On the other field, undefeated Shanley built a 1-0 lead with the wind. In the 2nd half West Fargo tied it, took the lead, and then Shanley tied it again. Finally West Fargo put in a winner to advance to the Championship game tomorrow at 3:00 against the ever younger Century team.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Patriots victorious in overtime.

First round of the State Tournament today up in Grand Forks. 60^ and a pretty good wind out of the north northwest. We got here in time to watch Bismarck high lose to West Fargo 2-1, and St. Mary's lose to Shanley 2-0.

In the second games of the day Minot lost to Fargo North 1-0 and that left Century as the last great hope out of the west region. Despite an early 1-0 lead and controlling the ball most of the game, we let one in at the 70:00 minute mark, and then couldn't score so to overtime we go. Again we controlled the ball and got the shots and finally put it away with about 30 seconds left in the first overtime.

The team looked good, lots of nice individual performances, Hunter played left defender for about 10-15 minutes in the first half and then played about 5 minutes in the 2nd half before he went up for a header and a GF Red River kid rammed him with a high elbow to his hip. He limped off and didn't return but he says he'll be ready to go tomorrow.

They will meet Fargo North in the one semifinal while Shanley takes on West Fargo for the other Championship slot.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

West Region Champions!

Today Mandan was the site of the West Region boys soccer tournament. Hunter and the Patriots got a bye to the Championship for finishing with the second best record at 7-1-2. Bismarck jumped out to a 1st half lead when 2 of the defenders tried to dribble a ball out of the box instead of passing it out.

CHS came back with a vengeance in the second half with a lot of pressure on the ball and really good possession. T.J. got the first goal on a nifty rebound, and Tom Keller scored the winner with a header that was almost a chip shot that sailed over Kessler's head and in.

This picture is of the BHS and CHS coaches before the game- needless to say- the rivalry on the feild is far grittier than it is between the coaching boxes.

Friday, August 06, 2010

More DC Pix

We were just finishing up our Capitol Tour courtesy of Senator Conrad's office when the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court. We were standing near the bottom of the escalator where the Senators can get on the mini-subway for a ride back to the Senate office buildings just as they finished the vote.

We saw Independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman, Democrats Kerry, Dodd, McKaskill, and Durbin, and most of the Republicans who joined them in approving the nominee like Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lynsey Graham of South Carolina. It was amazing to be in such close proximity to the legislators you see on the news shows, etc.

We never did get to see Senator Conrad as he had just started a meeting with Treasury Secretary Geithner as we got to his office for our tour, and then he didn't come back right after the vote as some other Senators had. Wonderful people working for Conrad who made us feel really welcome.

This one is for Monte, so that he can see that even Democratic Administrations rely on John Deere.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My Other Summer Vacation

We flew to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning hoping to help the President celebrate his birthday (in person). Alas, no luck, but celebrate we did.

What a great country despite the ongoing prejudice, sexism, poverty, and political parties who are so ignorant that they can see neither the stupidity nor the lying it takes to equate this President - MY President - and his policies - with Nazi F--king Germany and the horrors they systematically forced on the world. How do you explain to the 13 year old that there is no "good" war; that noble causes are rarely as noble as put forth; and that human beings are capable of such an extraordinary range of evil and good.

I spent half of the day choked up or in tears because of -get this - the juxtaposition of WWII and the Vietnam War and whatever it is we are calling Iraq and Afghanistan, and then seeing an exhibition of Norman Rockwell drawings and paintings and then spending 3 1/2 hours at the Holocaust Museum.

This is the most astonishing place. Revolutionary War, Founding Fathers, Civil War, War, War, War, and scattered in between the remarkable stories of fellow human beings who want to live freely.
Tomorrow we tour the Capitol itself, and will spend most of the rest of the day at Smithsonian sites.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

After the crappy weather this spring, it it nice to see a little summer weather.

Hunter is doing his full year of Sophomore Biology over 8 weeks this summer. He is doing really well despite the ridiculous pace of the tests and projects. He's been doing lots of the work with his pal Mason Kleinjan.

2 weeks ago we went to Grand Forks for a soccer tourney. Luke and Will had to play up to U14 and managed to go 1-2 so no championship game. Hunter's U19 Mens team went 2-1 and took the championship with a 1-0 revenge win over the Grand Forks team. The weather was typical Grand Forks crappy- windy, cloudy, rainy, etc.

Last Weekend we heard of the death of my Father's favorite Auntie, Esther Sturgeon of Grand Forks and Lincoln, Nebraska. She turned 97 on April Fool's Day, and was still sharp if infirm at the end. The funeral was Thursday afternoon in Jamestown with burial at Highland Home Cemetery in Jamestown which holds most of the Towle side (including Koehns and Freys)so after the service I showed Sue the graves of Joe and Martha and Bobbie Joe Towle, and our great grandparents Ferdinand and Augusta Koehn. It was as joyous a funeral as I've ever attended as Esther lived a long full beautiful life. Sue and I talked about pooling some Towle money and making a donation in Esther's name to the International Music Camp, which she helped found.

This weekend we are in Fargo for the Tri-Cities Soccer Tournament. Luke and Will's U13 team got rolled twice and had a rainout, which went down as a 0-0 tie. Hunter's team went 3-0 with two shutouts so they should come out of their pool #1 and get to play the number two team from the other pool at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow. If they win it would be on to the Championship game at the Pepsi Fields in Fargo tomorrow afternoon.

Spent last night in the Vista Inn which is a dive at the intersection of I-94 and University Ave. in Fargo. It used to be a Best Western whatever, and was a dive 33 years ago when I was a student at NDSU. Needless to say, we switched to the C'Mon Inn as soon as a room became available.Tami is looking for school clothes for the boys at West Acres. They have grown out of absolutely everything that fit last year.

I did get a call from Hubie last night, and he's trying to put together another "Guys Weekend" when they do their fantasy draft in late August. We would try to play a couple of rounds of golf and reconnect with those important men from the past.

I'll try to post again tomorrow with soccer results, and whatever else happens here in Fargo.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Freshman baseball tourney in Minot

Hunter's end of season tournament was a double elimination affair up in Minot. St. Mary's no-showed, so the original bracket was scrapped for this format. This meant that they played the Bishop Ryan Freshman at the Burlington Sports Complex. There had been rain earlier in the day, but it was sunny at game time. Century's starting pitcher was friend since grade school Evan.

Hunter was his battery mate. Hunter caught all five innings of this game, and then came back and caught all five against Dickinson.

Hunter was 2 for 2 in the first game, and went 1 for 2 in the second.

I got this shot of his second hit, a single to center, which got his friend Grant over to third so he could score on the next play which was a suicide squeeze.

If you look closely (click on the picture to make it larger) you can see the ball he just hit on the left side of the panel, not bad for the little Canon Powershot.

Eventually he stole second and scored on a single to the gap. They ended up winning

They moved to the Jack Hoeven diamonds in Minot for the next game, which was against Dickinson. Hunter struck out in the first but beat out an infield single with two outs and plating the tying run.

Disaster in the top of the fifth when a combination of bad decision making, errors, and solid hitting by Dickinson allowed in 5 runs for an 8-3 final score.

This afternoon they scored in the top of the first against Williston but the game was called because of lightning. 10 minutes later it hailed and then dumped 3 inches of rain in less than 1/2 hour.

End of tournament, end of season. Hunter was pretty happy with his performance for his first baseball in three years. He hit well, caught well, needs to work on the arm during the off season. He also pitched three times but was 0-3, this despite having easily the team's lowest ERA. He got beat 1-0, 2-1, and 5-2 but in that third game 4 of the runs were unearned.

He is already looking forward to next year and a chance to move up to the JV team, and then the Varsity if all goes well. Tam and I had a lot of fun watching baseball, but I have to admit that I'm officially a soccer fan- way more action and way more team play, and games won and lost by players not by coaches.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


So the place to be on Friday April 23rd was the clubhouse at The Hawktree Golf Club in Bismarck. There 65 of the greatest friends and family had gathered to celebrate the Earthgirl's 50th Birthday.

The preparations had been long in the making, but the secret was kept (and covered) by timely phone calls and polite conversations. Earthgirl had no clue when we walked in to a raucous "Happy Birthday" cheer.

It was a magnificent setting with sunny skies and a great view of the golf course. The boys and friends could run off a little steam outside, the food was great, and the company could not have been better.

The boy's got her a gift of a beautiful Mother's ring which she was not expecting (thanks Sandi!), and despite their shy ways you could tell they were happy for their Mama.

The Bud Light was cold and flowing, the conversations were wide ranging and interesting, and I think everyone had a pretty darn good time.

After the big party had moved on we met old friends Mike & Rita, Hubie, Terry & Julie, and Pat & Sharon at BWW for trivia. Unwisely, I didn't stop drinking and paid for it with a vicious hangover on Saturday. Needless to say, another teachable moment for the parent of teenage boys.

It was a truly great evening, thanks to all of you who were able to attend, and to all who were there in spirit. If anybody reads this and wants to email me your best pictures I will gladly post them. Anybody get a good shot of the Cake?
I can hear you now Terry- "There was Cake?"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy EARTH DAY Birthday, Earth Girl!!!!

So at our house the big deal on April 22nd is not 40 year old Earth Day but 50 year old Earth Girl. The boys and I will be taking her out for a very nice dinner tonight to celebrate but since it is a school night (and Hunter has to be on a Bus to Jamestown at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning) any serious Birthday partying will have to wait for the weekend.

Not to get all somber but 50 really is a big deal: a lot of life lived, but lots (we always hope) left. From those humble beginnings in towns like Niobe, Four Buttes, Wolford, and Rolla this beautiful girl got herself an edu-ma-cation at Minot State University and went forth unto the world. The resume is diverse: Television news, academic administration, Airline agent, and most importantly MOM.

All the hard work, all the joys, all the pain, all the uncertainty (what do you mean they don't come with an owner's manual?), the days you couldn't be prouder vs. the days you wonder if human beings do spontaneously combust: Life can be pretty but it is sure as hell messy, too.

I can only tell her that I love her, that my life would not be anything like it is now without her, that "WE" are the best and most important part of my life, that our family makes it all worthwhile and worth waiting for.

I hope to enjoy all the rest of your birthdays with you darlin'.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Baseball Begins

Hunter had a fine start to his JV baseball career. Century beat Mandan 11-4, and he had 2 singles and a walk and caught all five innings (and 4 different pitchers). This was his first game in almost 3 years as he skipped Babe Ruth ball because it interfered with summer soccer, so I think he is really excited to play again.

His 1.000 batting average only lasted until the top of the fifth in the 2nd game when he hit a broken bat liner to the shortstop. Mandan won the 2nd game 4-1.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Snow/Slush Day

The Living Museum

Thursday, April Fool's Day, was "The Day At The Living Museum" for the 6th graders. I had the distinct honor of chauffeuring both a young Winston Churchill and notorious mass murderer and despot Josef Stalin to school.

And there who would we meet? Not one but TWO Jesus Christs, Galileo, Leonardo, John Lennon, and on and on. On the whole most were very well done and the kids knew their characters well.

A certain percentage were "mystery characters" and you could get up to three clues as to the person's identity. I was rolling at 6 for 6 until I met an obviously young Egyptian woman who turned out to be King Tut's wife (and half sister) the ever popular Ankhesenamun. How is that for a trivia stumper.