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February 3, 2010     Sentinel Tribune
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February 3, 2010

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE flewpolnt Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Page 4 BETWEEN :S i  8, By Tom Merchont - Sentinel Tribune -- THE LINES To many award shows Do you think there are to many television award shows? I remember growing up in the days of black and white TV when the Academy Awards program and the Emmy Awards were the only award shows on television. Now in addition to those, we have Grammys, Golden Globes, People Choice, The Rusty Bucket awards, (I made that one up), and a raft of country music awards. I really don't know how many award shows there actually are, but I would be willing to bet on average you could watch two or three of them every month. Of course the quality of the shows has vastly improved and they definitely have become more entertaining. On the negative side, some of the recipients have become somewhat disgusting in their behavior. I sometimes wonder why most of the watchers give them a pass, and continue to support their lavish life styles by purchasing their music and watching their performances. It seems to me bad behavior should never be rewarded. It really sends a negative mes- sage to our impressionable youth. Here is a cute story an e-mail pal of mine sent me the other day. Enjoy. Amazing Grace for a funeral As a bagpiper, I play many gigs, Recently. Iwas: asked by a funeral director to play at a grave side service for a home- less man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back-country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a typical man I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evident- ly gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no fam- ily and friends. I played like I've never played before for this home- less man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low my heart was full. As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "Holy cow, I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."-- , Have a good week! LETTER TO THE EDITOI! Sara Palin response In response to last week's letter to the editor asking the questions regarding Sara Palin and "Why does she make the left so nervous?" I don't know about the left, but for me, per- sonally, she makes me rather skiddish because, according to her own political handlers, she had to be pre-schooled in the basics about the history of Korea and how it became North and South Korea just prior to her vice-presidential debate. In Ms. Palin's defense though, her ignorance may, of course, stem from the fact that she probably does not have a clear view of the 38th parallel from Alaska. Todd Dibble Teachers are "unsung heroes" Teachers are the "unsung heroes" in the lives of our chil- dren. On a daily basis, they continue to meet the challenges of teaching in a variety of set- tings. The WEM Foundation and the Center for Academic Excellence invite you to help recognize and honor the out: standing K-12 educators who help make Minnesota a national leader in teaching and learning. Nominations are accepted until February 15. Awards will be presented in three categories: Academic Challenge Coach of the Year (for outstanding coaches of activi- ties endorsed by Minnesota's Academic League Council, such as Knowledge Bowl, Math League, Business Professionals of America, Student Inventors Congress, FFA, One Act Play, Speech, etc.), Teacher Achievement (for teachers who excel in advancing student learning in challenging or alter- riative settings), and Ethics in Education (for promotion of ethical behavior in school cur- riculum or policy and personal practice). Currently-practicing educators from public and non- public schools, including pub- lic charter schools, are eligible for nomination. Nominations are particularly encouraged from students, parents and col- leagues. The SW/WC Service Cooperative works in part- nership with the Center for Academic Excellence and the WEM Foundation. The SW/ WC Service Cooperative deliv- ers a variety of programs and services on a regional basis to school districts, non-profits and governmental agencies, and will be part of a blue-ribbon judg- ing panel to name the six state honorees and regional final- ists to help showcase academic excellence in Minnesota. Each state honoree will receive an unrestricted $10,000 prize from the WEM Foundation. Last year, we had two teachers in I // AI Bait... "Stories from the Bait: Cave" Football 'q'he NFL is.the biggest religion in the United States." That's what the minister told me. He was bemoaning the low numbers in churches on Sundays compared to the magnitude of people who will watch the Super Bowl. His comment brought back memories of The Hill. I tell everyone that it was during a time when my family was too poor to be able to afford water. We stood by the sink and stared at the drain. That's how we rolled. It was a time when I first heard rumors that Playboy magazine had thought-provoking articles. When rap was something teach- ers did to knuckles. A Tweet was a visit with other loafers at Tweeten's gas station. Facebook was a comfortable book that you opened on your desk, put your head down upon, and fell asleep on during study hall. My football teammates and I were well-read if you counted comic books. We were smart enough, but no one asked us to do his income taxes, even though some of us had taken the same math class more than once. We were unbeaten and unscored upon--and getting ready for our first game. We were offensive and we were defensive about that. If zero is a number, it would be factual to say that our team had won a number of state championships. We had to run The Hill. It was near the football field upon which we practiced. It was like many hills--it had an uphill and a down- hill. We ran The Hill in full gear. Hostility in numbered uniforms with helmeted heads in the cen- ter of wide shoulder pads. Some of the heads were slightly off- center. The shoulder pads and helmets were to us what a phone booth was to Clark Kent. Looking back, the helmets weren't that safe--no turn signals, rearview mirrors, or airbags. We ran The Hill at the end of each practice. No player did a celebratory dance when arriv- ing at the top of The Hill. We ran until we could run no more and The Hill had become Mount Everest. I think the object was to make us too tired to misbehave after practice. Exhausted play- ers stumbling up and down The Hill became ill and anyone could make a good guess as to what the school lunch had been that day. It was our way of marking territory. The Hill was made for the likes of me. It didn't require much thinking, a GPS, or batteries. I ran uphill and I ran downhill. Then I repeated it. The coaches screamed at us as we ran The Hill. They called us clowns and girls: They told us to toughen up and that we wouldn't amount to a hill of beans if we didn't run faster. A coach was like Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and we were a bunch of Jim Fowlers. We ran up The Hill like Jim trying to perform root canal on a gigantic crocodile in Australia while Marlin attempted to sell insurance from the safety of an office ifi Nebraska. The coaches encouraged us with tales of Three-Fingered Finley. He was the greatest player ever to don the Cardinal uniform, until he enrolled in that woodshop class. A class he flunked. I thought fondly of the player, weary of the climb, who had dashed to the top of The Hill and kept on going. He didn't stop run- ning until he got home. The cross country coach recruited him the next day. He was all conference three years and all-state twice. "How lazy can you be?" asked a coach who remained a station- ary object. We didn't answer. We were waiting to see if it was a multiple- choice question. Each roundtrip was followed by a coach saying, "Just a couple more." Our exertions caused us to make more faces than Joan Rivers has had. High school football games were well attended. There weren't many TV channels in those days. The coaches kept an eye out for parents who occasionally strolled by the practice field. If one was sighted, the whips were quickly dropped into the tall grass. There are two kinds of foot- ball--the kind you play and the kind you watch. I liked playing football..much, more. than ,I .like watching the NFL. I enjoyed play- ing basketball and baseball, too, but it was harder to foul out in football than it was in basketball and it was easier to get a hit in football than in baseball. I thought about running The Hill again. I'm trying to shed a couple of pounds that I put on over the holidays--of 1989. I decided against it. Running The Hill was no joy, but having run The Hill is bliss. AI Batt 2010 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 our region who received this state honor: Mark Schleisman from Murray County Central and Adeline Miller from Tracy Area. We also had one region- al honoree who each received an unrestricted award of $1,000: Donna Day Beck from the Red Rock Ridge School in Windom. Let's have more Southwest and West Central winners this year!!! Please take time to nominate your "unsung hero" by February 15. Visit, click on WEM Educator Awards and follow the links to make your nomination online. Sincerely, Cliff Carmody, Executive Director SW/WC Service Cooperative, Marshall, MN Subscribe to the Sentinel Tribune Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Office & Production Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $38.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $42.00 per year. Out of the state $48.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscription will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. 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