Category Archives: plainview MN

Reprise: “Bust A Move”…

(Note:  I’ve been searching for some of my favorite blog posts fro the last year and reprising them if it makes sense.  Since many (most?) of my readers experienced some old-fashioned cold and snow this week, this post from October 4, 2016, seems appropriate.  Happy Christmas! JT)

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Spending time writing about winter outdoor activities got me thinking about the real-world adventures my indestructible running buddies and I attempted/found ourselves in the middle of/were stupid enough to try back in the day. Some of these events have never been described or recounted outside our tight little group, but I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out on all of them. Or at least most of them. I think.

The sport was simply named, “Drift-Busting”. Participants in town needed to be 16 and a licensed driver, although many farm kids started building their skills much younger. All you needed was a big US-built four door family sedan from the late 60’s through late 70’s. The early 70’s Chevy Impala and Ford LTD were ideal, although exotica like the “roomy” Plymouth Fury III, Buick LeSabre, Ford Country Sedan station wagon or Ford Ranchero or Chevy El Camino with extra weight over the rear axle added variety.

The ideal crew for Drift Busting included: 1) The Driver; 2) The Navigator, front seat passenger window who was the lookout for other cars and plows, snow-covered obstacles and law enforcement, and 3) An attractive and animated young lady front-seat middle to supply appropriate shrieks, support and laughter such as you might hear on a roller coaster or in a Steve McQueen movie. You went with just Driver/Navigator if circumstances dictated, but the “three wide” configuration was definitely preferred.el-caminobronco-under-tree

There were three disciplines in Sedan-class Drift Busting. The first was “Classic Drift Busting”, where during or after a big snow ( 6-7inches and up, but more snow and wind is better). you busted unplowed drifts right where God dropped ‘em. “Classic” tested your behind-the-wheel skill to keep from getting stuck or high-centered, and your ability to negotiate a mid-storm corner. The second was “Post-Plow Busting” where you could pick up speed on plowed streets before busting through man-made piles. The heart beat a little faster with this one. The third discipline was “Free-style”, with the car on an unplowed parking lot or playground that was paved and flat, had lots of snow, and fewer things to hit. Free-style tested your artistry with rear-wheel drive V-8 skids, drifting and a set of various consecutive circle-spins and overheated engines referred to collectively as “shitties”.

There were many good Drift-Busters, too many to mention, but as a Navigator my favorite pilot, hands-down, was Thomas P. Harlan. Today Tom is a high-powered lawyer in the Twin Cities, but back then he was a wild-eyed pilot of a classic Dark Olive 1970-ish Chevrolet Impala v-8 equipped four-door sedan. The car was sparsely optioned, but did have a solid AM radio allowing for a long-distance “Boogie Check” with John “Records” Landecker on 89-WLS Chicago. The secret weapon of that car is that it came pre-dented, so when Tom took it home with some fresh dimples no one was the wiser. If you measured pilots solely on driving skill, Tom was well above average but not a savant. His gifts were a total lack of fear, the willingness to thread even the smallest needle, and a happy-go-lucky cackle even in the face of certain disaster. Call it the “Luck of the Irish” if you like.

The demise of the rear-wheeled sedan, improved plowing techniques, fewer monster snow storms and a general distaste for such reckless activities make today’s Drift-Busting the winter equivalent of cock fighting, run by seedy gamblers swilling cheap peppermint schnapps and betting on strung-out adrenaline junkies piloting rusted-out Plymouth K-Cars. But I’ll remember when young princes like Tommy slung around that Detroit iron with a comely lass like Lou Ann Erickson or Susan Arnoldy in the middle, all of us singing “Sultans of Swing” at the top of our lungs, just for the fun of it all.

 

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Playing The Game The Right Way

Jarvis lifetime award

Sunday around bedtime I received a Facebook post from friend Jon Anderson.  His dad, Jarvis Anderson, had been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission for 49 years of teaching and coaching baseball to thousands of kids and young adults in and around Plainview, MN.  I was one of those kids. Starting as a 7-year-old in T-ball in the summer of ’68, through 12 springs and summers of Peewees, Midgets,  high school and American Legion baseball, there was one constant…a single coach and teacher, Jarvis Anderson. I doubt there’s any kid anywhere who has played 12 years of baseball for a single coach, except of course the hundreds of Plainview kids over nearly five decades who all learned the game from Jarvis.

 

Jarvis pee wee

I was on many teams with outstanding players, and we won more than we lost.  Jon Marshman made hitting, running and playing shortstop look effortless.  Mark Bodurtha showed me you win as many games with your head as you do your arms and legs.  Twins Bill and Bruce Kruger grew up maybe 200 yards from the ball field. They could run, hit, field and throw with the best, but were even better leaders.  David Arnett brought style, sass and speed.  Ed Jacobs brought heart.  And Brent Wohlers was simply the best athlete and competitor I ever played with.  There were also guys like my best buddy Jerry Anderson, Steve Mueller, Roger Timm, and me, who had more moxy than skills.  There were many more, too many to name, but what we ALL had in common was knowledge of the game of baseball.  Regardless of skill level, we and countless players over 49 years all learned to play the game the “right way” from one man, Jarvis Anderson.

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I was a minimally talented member of Jarvis’ 1978 PHS State Champions. We were a long-haired, high energy and rebellious bunch, and I think we tested his patience and tolerance more than we should have. I suspect both we and he were going through a lot of changes that year, and not necessarily in the same direction.  However, we found common ground and pulled it together.  The summer of ’79 we had another kind of team all together. We had one real player (Dan Moore, a splendid athlete from Elgin), some scrappers playing our last months of organized ball, and a bunch of kids not old enough to shave.  We lost a lot, and often big.  But we kept digging, and somehow caught fire in the tournament upsetting teams a lot better than us, and winning our Sub District playing Jarvis’ brand of “small ball”.

 

There were other teams before and after my meager tenure that won more than they lost.  Through it all was one guy who taught us all how to play the game the right way, and along the way how to play life the right way. All those great players, and the many not-so-great players like me, owe Jarvis a lot.  None of us ended up perfect, but we won more than we lost.

jarvis ed jacobsJarvis Brent Dan LJarvis larry fix