Tag Archives: brent wohlers

There’s Snow Business Like Snow Business

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Sioux Falls K-12 closing schools the day before a weather event is as rare as a coherent “Victory Speech” following an Iowa caucus.  Days like today bring back specific memories of Snow Days gone by.  I can say with concrete certainly that during my K-12 days I was the very first kid in the entire district to know school was cancelled that day.  My Dad was the Superintendent of Schools at Plainview, MN for 20 years. On days like today, my Dad was up very early (4am?) and on the kitchen phone calling his bus drivers for driving conditions in the country.  After deciding to close he’d start making calls to the area radio stations, giving each their special “code word” (so renegade students wouldn’t call in false reports) and details on closing.  The kitchen phone was one of two in the house.  It also happened to be right next to my bedroom. I didn’t even have to get out of my nice, warm bed.  This was long before TV scrolls, or texts, or web pages or weather radar.  I wouldn’t have needed them anyway. My info came straight from the top.

Our house in Plainview was on a corner.  That meant we only had one next door neighbor, the Sparks family.  Lowell “Red” Sparks just happened to be the John Deere dealer in town.  When the blizzard snow and winds were at their worst, Red would find his way down to Sparks Implement and return at the wheel of a state-of-the-art JD with a loader on the front.  Before long the streets of the entire neighborhood were cleared. Since he used a loader there were BIG piles of snow strategically placed like mountain ranges on both our western and northern borders.  Snow forts, caves and tunnels of epic scale were quickly built and manned, guaranteeing the neighborhood’s safety from attack.

Randy Breuer

 

Randy Breuer, Noted big person

My last memory today was from my junior year in high school.  It was March and the Minnesota State Boys Basketball tournaments were underway at the long departed St. Paul Civic Center.  Lake City, the perennial powerhouse from our conference and district led by 7’2” Randy Breuer, was playing.  Breuer was the first round pick (18th overall) of the Milwaukee Buck.  He played 10 NBA seasons.  I had to play against him for 6 years.  Guess who won?  Anyway we knew many of the Lake City players and they were our rooting interest.  Normally the first round games would happen when we were at school, but we had a blizzard and went home early.  Two of my friends (Brent Wohlers and Dave Arnett) worked after school at Kings Grocery downtown. Without incriminating anyone, the boys had “liberal access” to all the Mountain Dew, chips and whole cooked chickens they could carry. Doug Marcotte’s parents were working, so we holed up at his house watching basketball and gorging the way only 16-17 year old boys can do. Lake City won that game and the entire tournament.  That afternoon might not sound like much, but it was grand…grand enough to remember 38 years later.

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What’s your favorite Snow Day memory?  Consider sharing it here, and consider sharing this post with your friends.  You can also guarantee perfect attendance by having these posts automatically delivered by clicking on “follow” below.  Happy snow removal!

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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.

Jarvis color state champJarvis state roster

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