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Commenter Clarence Swamptown will delight you with his borderline inappropriate takes on just about anything in life. He's been doing this for almost exactly a year now, and we have to think almost everyone agrees his weekly segment has been a great addition to this blog. As always, his thoughts on sports and life in general do not necessarily reflect those of RandBall or the Star Tribune. Clarence?
Yesterday Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany revealed the conference’s new logo, football trophies, and the names of the two new 6-team football divisions. Impressively, each pronouncement was a colossal failure. If I had known they were accepting crude MS Paint sketches for the new logo I would have submitted a drawing I did in 3rd grade computer class (FYI - all of my drawings at that time had dragons and dual exhaust monster trucks). And rather than selecting one historical figure to signify the meaning of each award, the hyphenated names seem to dilute the significance of each trophy. But in the biggest failure of all, the new “Leaders” and “Legends” division names sound like competing gentlemen’s clubs in western Wisconsin. I have yet to hear from anyone who likes any of these choices, and part of me wonders if Mr. Delany is secretly trying to distract individual Big Ten football fans from their hatred of each other to unite them in Herb Brooksian-like hatred of these decisions. You guys can do better than this, so your suggestions for new logos, trophies, and division names are welcome in the comments.
* Country & Western Song of the Week:
In an effort to combine Randball’s terrific Page 2 Top 5 segment, the award-winning “Today’s Unimpeachably Great Song (TUGS)” on randballsstu’s Twitter account
, and the decidedly average Clearance Clarence Country & Western Song of the Week, I have been asking various commenters to provide their Top 5 C & W songs of all time. This week we feature Fasolamatt, the bearded Zeus of Mt. Randlympus:
#5: Tennessee Flat Top Box
written by Johnny Cash, sung by Roseanne Cash. The evening DJ on KFGO played this a lot in the mid-nineties, after Dark Star was done describing the latest failures of the Twins down in the big cities, as I drove home from late night MBA classes.
#4: I Wish My Baby Was Born
sung by my friend Tim Eriksen and Riley Baugus. I'm more into traditional old time music than I am what most people think of as C&W. And I'm not one to save souvenirs, but I do still have my "WORKING" pass from the "Great High Mountain"
tour of 2004 where I got to share a stage with Alison Krauss, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Ralph Stanley and other notables (we sang two Sacred Harp
songs to open the show).
#3 My Little Lady
a Jimmie Rodgers tune covered here by Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Because a top five with traditional country requires at least one tune with yodeling. Of course, the Carolina Chocolate Drops cover Blu Cantrell's Hit 'Em Up Style
which is most assuredly NOT a traditional C&W tune.
#2 Folsom Prison Blues
by Johnny Cash. On Saturdays, I'll frequently take one or both young 'uns on the bus to the light rail to the downtown library, and then return. And I'll frequently start singing this tune when the train approaches the 46th Street Light Rail station. And another random passenger will frequently join in... I love living here. And yes, my kids think I'm nuts. As for Johnny Cash, go rent or buy or stream The Appalachians
and watch one of his final interviews and performances, it's wonderful.
#1 Georgia On A Fast Train
by Shaver. Clarence and I probably represent 40% of the Shaver fans in Minnesota, and it may be higher than that. I discovered Shaver through the music issue of the Oxford American
magazine; I have all of the CDs, and they're all fabulous.
* Surprising Moments in Minnesota High School Sports History:
For the last few weeks we have been exploring unknown and/or extraordinary moments in Minnesota high school sports history. To date we have covered the Tier II Hockey Tournament
and mandatory baseball mouthgaurds
. It seems like most of these decisions occurred the early 1990’s at the peak of our nation’s political correctness bell curve. This week we’ll cover the state’s brief experiment with something called “Ringettes.” (Editor note: This entire series could be known as "how Clarence remembers things
. It all sounds true, but we cannot testify to the veracity of every fact.
In 1991 the MSHSL wanted to add a new girls sport to reduce the athletic opportunity gender gap that existed at the time. As I recall, they considered adding girl’s hockey as an official sport but were concerned about player safety. Rather than simply adding girls hockey without checking (like we have now), a little-known niche sport called ringettes
was adopted. Ringettes was basically a combination of hockey, broomball, and bandy
. It was played on ice with a blade-less hockey stick and a soft rubber ring. Ice rinks were forced to add additional lines of varying colors and shapes to accommodate the rules of ringettes, although nobody - including the referees, coaches and players - fully understood what the lines were for. Many girls throughout the state were raised playing hockey and were very strong skaters, but female youth hockey programs were nowhere near as developed as they are today and a large talent gap existed. If you break your stick blade in a regular hockey game, you must immediately drop your stick or receive a penalty because everyone knows that a broken stick is dangerous
. Player safety was a major reason for adopting ringettes in the first place, but for whatever reason nobody contemplated that giving broken hockey sticks to kids, many of whom were not strong skaters to begin with, and then turning them loose to play a game on slippery ice with relatively byzantine rules might be a bad idea. After a survey of high school girls discovered that most of them wanted to play hockey anyway, ringettes was scrapped and girls' hockey became an official high school sport in 1995.
Please offer your thoughts on the Big Ten, fasolamatt’s list, and ringettes in the comments below.