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Perspective: by Jerry Pyle
Perspective: Woody wants to liven up MIAC
It was a pretty good week for Cobber sports. Both the men's and women's basketball teams kicked off their seasons with wins. And four Cobber student/athletes received Academic All Conference honors. But Woody called again.
Woody used to be a student writer in this office. It was once said of Woody that, "Not all his rooms are painted." He took that to mean he was something of an unfinished masterpiece.
Woody is still trying to find his niche as a free-lance writer. "What Minnesota needs is a candid look at the athletic reputations of MIAC schools." he started.
Woody's ideas about what is needed have always been a little twisted.
"No, listen. The whole MIAC reputation is too whitebread. The MIAC schools all want to sound like the same thing to the public. `Academics first, fine scholarly tradition in intimate private college setting.' All that baloney. They all give the same rap.
As far as the public can tell, MIAC athletes don't even burp without saying `excuse me.'"
I agreed there was a certain sameness in the public image of the MIAC schools, even though I had not considered the burping angle.
"The piece I'm doing will change the face of MIAC athletic competition." Woody was excited. "We need the MIAC's teams to have individual identities. Like Notre Dame being known as muggers and Miami as felons. And UNLV being known as a school for pro athletes. And BYU being known as a bunch of 25-year-old missionaries out to prove that white boys can still play basketball. You know, distinctive images."
I suggested that MIAC schools might want to define themselves rather than leaving it up to some writer.
Besides aren't there libel laws to take into account?
"No problem. I don't think whole schools can sue me. And I ain't got no malice since I'm just trying to promote MIAC sports."
I'm sure you'll get all kinds of thanks.
"Me too. You wanna hear what I got so far?"
"OK, here goes. These are still just rough concepts but I'll be able to smooth them out. I start out with Carleton. `Rudest basketball fans in the MIAC. Whole school hung up on being the Harvard of the Midwest. They publish their athletes' SAT scores in the game programs.
And they got all these East coast kids with no sense of Midwestern politeness.' These are just metamorphs, of course."
You mean metaphors?
"Ya, right. Anyway. `St. John's. Abusers of confession.
While the Protestant kids in the league are tentative, not wanting to do anything that might cause them guilt, St. John's kids are beating the crap out of opponents, knowing they can get a clean moral slate that night in a quick trip to the confessional booth. MIAC coaches want to outlaw confessional booths or make them mandatory throughout the league.' What-da-ya think? Pretty snappy stuff huh?"
Let's keep this phone call just between you and me, OK Woody?
"No problem. `Augsburg. A contradiction in terms.
Inner-city Lutherans. Really just a wrestling school.' Woody, I think Lutherans consider Augsburg part of their effort at being more `inclusive.' "Ya. Right. Well here's some more stuff I'm including, `St. Ben's. Upstart over-achievers. Promised when they came into the league three years ago they would be a doormat for ten years. Now they double-cross everybody and win the league in basketball and volleyball.'"
It's not necessary that you mention that you graduated from Concordia when you publish this, is it Woody?
"I'm proud to be a Cobber, Jer. Listen. `Gustavus.
Jock school run by the golf team. Facilities are so nice they have unfair recruiting advantage. Other schools jealous. Any school that cared about academics wouldn't have an AD named Moose.' "`Macalester. The MIAC's melting pot. Students from all over the world who have trouble taking Minnesota provincialism seriously. The MIAC's hard core lefties.
"`St. Olaf. The opposite of Macalester.
"`St. Thomas. Working-class Catholic. The last kids in the MIAC who really think they will do better than their parents. Beating St. John's or St. Ben's makes their season.
"`St. Cate's. Still ticked off about St. Thomas going co-ed in late 1970's.
"`St. Mary's of Winona. Soccer school that shuns the Twin Cities to recruit in Chicago. Riverboat mentality in a farmer's league.'"
"`Hamline. In-your-face basketball tradition."
"`Bethel. The conservative wing of the MIAC. A lot of bible talk and then they go out and kick butt in the name of Jesus."
You haven't mentioned Concordia, Woody.
"That's going to be the tough part, Jer. Alma mater and all that. But here's the general idea. `Last northern stop before entering the Buffalo Commons and its hedonistic Bison worship rituals. The one overnight road trip in the MIAC, known as the journey to an arctic hell. Small-town Lutherans coping with big-city life in Fargo-Moorhead.'"
Woody, you're really distorting reality.
"Hey, compared to George Bush saying there is democracy in El Salvador I figure this is pretty harmless stuff.
At least my hype isn't going to get six priests killed.
I'm just promoting interest in some harmless games."
Thanks for the call Woody.
"No problem. Glad I could help."
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