Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chinook: Maybe Cold, But Not Crooked


Stroh & Company
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. —Billy Wilder

There’s no arguing that I’m not a controversial person, but the one thing I’ve always strived for is to avoid controversy when it comes to this particular blog. That said, I have come up short a couple times—last week would be one of those times.

I’ve had plenty of time to consider this, but earlier this week (you might say) brought me to my knees.

First, I learned—attributed to a couple of unsolicited phone calls from disgruntled Chinook fans—my boss, Northwest College Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bob Krenz has decided to break the link from the college web site to this blog in an attempt to deflect any “harm” that might find the college. Admittedly, I’m hardly crushed. After all, as far as this project goes, I suspect there are few people in the sandstone towers of NWC who really give a toss whether or not I travel 300 miles to a small town high school football game in Montana or Wyoming via icy and snow-covered roads. My impression over the years has always been that the NWC powers-that-be see little-to-no benefit in the extracurricular activities of its employees—and thus, prefer to have the public only know of its “esteemed” faculty in a sterile, unimaginative, one-dimensional plane. So be it and so much for "shared governance (again)."

Second, and more importantly, I received a phone call from a Chinook football mom who wasn’t satisfied with leaving only a comment on this blog. She clearly went out of her way to speak to me personally, so as soon as I heard her voice, I was determined to hear her out and keep my interruptions at bay—or at least to a minimum.

I learned that despite my damage-control efforts in the comments section of the previous blog, her biggest concern about the entry was that I had come across as doubtful or critical of the Chinook state football title because some of the players (including her son) were painted as employing non-regulation equipment (i.e., illegal cleats).

That is unfortunate and regrettable.

Hoping to not re-open a sensitive wound here, I can say that if I could do it all over again, I would have delayed the post until I heard back from my sources regarding my query on the rules and regulations of cleats. Had I done that, there would have been no need to use that two-sentence parenthetical text that said, “(More importantly are those even legal? Click on the image below to see for yourself.).” However, I was concerned (and impatient) that no one would reply promptly, so I posted the blog knowing that I could follow up later with the details of cleat regulations in the comment section once I heard back from my sources—which is exactly what I did. Yet, for whatever reason, that didn’t cut the mustard.

So, persuaded by this recent Sugarbeeter lobby, I believe it’s important to go a little out of my way here to acknowledge the legitimate title won by the Chinook Sugarbeeters in Class C eight-man football—which I’m happy to do and humbled that my input even matters. Further, it was never my intention to dispute the Chinook victory either, but rather to consider the validity or gravity of a few of the variables in the game that showed up that particular day.

Lastly, I think many have given me way too much credit for the things I’ve said here, whether they agree or disagree because, in my mind, once the dust settles and blogs like this vaporize, nothing speaks louder or truer through the years than a state championship trophy sitting in a school’s trophy case.

Congrats to all the fine folk in Chinook and their state championship football team.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Ron said...

Just keep up the good work. Been following here for years now and have always loved the work you do.

Anonymous said...

This article is much better than the last one. However, your first article has caused much heartache in our Chinook community ever since this was written, especially over the Thanksgiving holiday. Your snide comments are unexcuseable! Please never come to Chinook EVER AGAIN! We hate you!!! You are a man of distruction. I do appreciate your last article. It is just a little too late and I wonder if you were co-hearsed into writing it.

Tess said...

Morgan-
thank you for your comments. I spoke to "said" mom last night and she told me about the new blog. I'm glad you were able to understand our heartache and re-visit this topic with a little more understanding. Be careful in the future, as your words hurt more than you may have ever thought. I love your photography and hope you continue with that. Perhaps you should let the pictures speak for themselves though.
I think this was a lesson learned for everyone. Good Luck to you in the future.
Tess- Life Long Chinook Resident

oopipip said...

haha, morgan is now "a man of distruction" !! keep on publishing, this is one of the best blogs out there.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't think that it is a matter of your opinion mattering or not to any particular induvidual or group; rather a dissapointment that someone would post an opinion discrediting a team that clearly worked hard to earn a state championship. Making an arguement without factual evidence is poor journalism... There was an implication that a team member of Chinook cheated. There are more legitimate facts of the game that probably would have made for a better "unbias" post. I hope that you realize these kids tried their hearts out, and to imply cheating is outrageous. I would hope that you would appoligize directly to the kids that you discredited. You evidently have a longstanding following, and I would urge you to consider your posts carefully. You posted quickly to get a quick response, but think of how you would feel if you were a member of the Chinook team.. especially the individuals your accused of possibly cheating. They have to defend their actions to others. I hope you know know it was an act of team unity and sportsmanship rather than an act of cheating. Maybe you should write a blog about that.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are good, your words usually stink! I agree with Tess, keep shooting, but keep your thoughts to yourself!

marinda said...

wow, in no way do we "hate you"

we still one, and morgan is right, in 20 years, that's what people will remember

marinda said...

excuse me "won"

Anonymous said...

Being a resident of Chinook for only a short while I have come to admire and envy the close-knit ties between these people. So for a single 'OUTSIDER" to point a very sharp pencil at such a soft paper is grossly disturbing. I personally (as well as Tess) know the coaches and any form of cheating, chiding, or illegal acts would not be tolerated in any way by them FIRST. I have never seen kids so dedicated to family, friends, and sports. So for you to scrutinize a glorious victory for a story is infantile. One might as well walked up to these excited young men and said “oops our bad, we have to take your title away.' I will say i was slightly touched by your halfhearted retraction, but where's the IM SORRY BOYS???? It takes a strong man to point out a short coming, takes an even stronger man to apologize. So to conclude this, I think that maybe the boys deserve a formal PERSONAL apology. Please remember this is a VERY prideful community before you pencil out your next diatribe. Married to Chinookian

Anonymous said...

Morgan your still a putz who has a disconnect between your brain and your fingers. You need to think before you type because much of what you type causes issues that you seem to live in while making excuses. I am glad your link was taken down, it serves you right. If your going to cause problems for your employer why dont they have the right to take your link down. Nobody took your blog down, they just severed their connection with you on their equipment. As for football, will you be going back to Chinook next year, i am sure they will have a warm welcome for you. How many other towns do you plan on pissing off because you wont shut up, better yet, how many towns do you think will even welcome your presence when you write about teams like this. Truthfully, I hope none of them do. Why, many folks love football, and you have the ability to put a damper on things at a minimum because of your inability to see how you effect people, or ability to care.

Anonymous said...

Very well spoken! Amen!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that a good article was finally written, I have been the starting varsity kicker for chinook for 3 years now, and because of the field conditions i was not able to kick as a Senior in the most important game of the year, which was very heart crushing... i gave up the starting spot to a "straight ahead" kicker which is better suited for the conditions. At the end of the day i may have been a little down but i still can say i was part of the championship BEETERS!!

-Taran Huestis-

Anonymous said...

Taran,
Your "what is best for the team right now" attitude is what has made the Sugarbeeters so strong this year. I appreciate your candidness. You are (and been for 4 years) a very vital part of the team, and you did what was best for the team on that given day. You should hold you head up high and be proud!

As Melanie would shout (though the megaphone), "We Love You, Taran!" Go Beeters!

L.S.

Anonymous said...

Wow ... clearly, there are a whole lot of people in Chinook who need to get a life. Talk about small-town provincialism and narrow-mindness ...

Anonymous said...

If your team was wrongfully accused, I think you would react the same way. We are just trying to set the record straight. In my opinion, the entire article which was full of inaccuracies should be deleted and Morgan should apologize to the team. Is it too hard for him to just say, "I'm sorry! I messed up!" When people are wrongly accused on the web, it has very far-reaching implications which is incomprehensible. If you don't like what we have to say, don't read the blogs.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like what we have to say, don't read the blogs."

Maybe you should take your own advice ... and maybe you should remember that folks are entitled to have (and express) opinions that aren't congruent with yours.

And maybe if you reread all those juvenile, hateful, and shallow Chinook comments, you'll have a better realization of why all of the Hi-line's dour little towns are dying so remarkably fast.

Lisa Stroh said...

People! People! People! I really think we need to let this subject drop. We, as parents, have good kids -- most of which have moved on to wrestling matches or basketball games by now. Mr. Tyree was made aware of the ramifications of his first article. He wrote a rebuttal and tried to set the story straight. Would it be better if the first article was removed from his website? I agree that it would, but it is his website so he determines that. I believe Mr. Tyree is a reasonable person. We must be reasonable also. All of the players, on both sides, should be proud to have played in the championship game. We, as parents, just need to move on like our kids have already done.

Lisa Stroh

Anonymous said...

People like morgan don't care whose lives they hurt and for how long. Its amazing how the dysfunctional mind can type something not realizing that the digital age will archive it for many years to come. No matter if it is rectified or not, the damage is done when the submit button is clicked, and all the work is on the person or people being falsly accused. You now have a burden for years to come while he moves on to the next argument, lie or whatever he decides to write with those vile little fingers. I hope i never see him come to my town, my son is attempting to get a football scholarship and bad publicity from a lying sack of crap could damage his chances.

Anonymous said...

If your child is truly worthy of a football scholarship nothing written in an "opinion" blog will hurt his chances. Seems to me like everyone is looking to point a finger!

Tess said...

Let's all just let it go. What was said, was said. Today is a new day and a new season. We need to move on.
Tess

Anonymous said...

I am a coach, and Opinion websites do effect players, especially ones that depict cheating as it shows a possible lack of integrity. I want a player who i can trust, not one that will get my school in trouble with the NCAA due to their bad habits. Nothing is worse than someone putting doubt into a coaches head about a player.

Anonymous said...

Morgan, given all you have heard and read about this topic, I graciously ask that you honor our Sugarbeeter athletes by removing both articles from your website. Will you do that? If you do, we will know you are truly sorry and know you are a humble individual who does what is right for kids.

Respectfully submitted

Anonymous said...

I think the author of this blog was only saying the same thing as "Dandy Don." From the obit on Don Meredith...

"In both 1966 and 1967, Meredith and the Cowboys advanced to the NFL Championship Game but would lose to Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. The latter year was the infamous Ice Bowl game, in which game-time temperatures hit minus-13 degrees. Meredith would say later that he thought the game wasn't a fair representation of football due to the extreme temperatures."

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Dandy-Don-Meredith-Cowboys-hero-and-MNF-legend-?urn=nfl-292332

Anonymous said...

I like your quote and I agree with it. However, we Chinook people would have been fine with the author saying that--plain and simple. However, this quote doesn't go to the unethical extreme that this blogger resorts to by saying one team cheated by questioning the legality of the cleats. The weather WAS a factor. Why is his article written with such bias to say, "Are these cleats even legal?" I think the wrong team won for this blogger. I agree with previous posts that encourage him to just say, "I'm sorry," to the boys. If he is VERY sorry, he will remove the two articles from the blog because the first one's tone was not about the weather, it was about Chinook players--which was not in a very good light. I also agree with previous posts which really wants the blogger to just stay away from any Chinook games in the future. Trust me, it will not be pleasant for him. Saying the weather was bad wouldn't make us so mad. These kids have so much spirit and it is just WRONG for another adult to run down teenage kids. He needs to pick on someone his own age (and just stay south of the Montana border).
--Not so impressed football dad

Morgan said...

I questioned the legality in the use of steel-tipped cleats which was followed up the next day with a statement from MHSA that answered the query... still, after all of this back and forth that included an additional entry to clarify what I wrote, my query continues to be interpreted as an accusation of cheating against the Chinook team. Had I really believed cheating was practiced, I would have said it without hesitation and used the word "cheating."

Beeter Football Mom said...

Please let's just let this go.

Anonymous said...

As Morgan's friend, I'd like to edit the spelling and grammar of the very badly written comments you critics have sent. I actually hate football, but I like Morgan and I respect the work he is doing.

You angry folks should go Christmas shopping and buy a grammar book while you're at the mall.

Professor Feemster said...

Ron Feemster here. I worked with Morgan Tyree at Northwest College for two years and have worked as a professional journalist for 25 years.

I've been to couple of six-man games with Morgan and read his blog for three seasons. He's written good, honest reporting and commentary on the fall sports of small towns in seven or eight states. He has no greater or lesser motivation than loving football and loving small towns.

He's not a "hometown" reporter and has no bias for or against any team.

He's a cultural treasure.
Appreciate him. If he gives this up, you aren't going to get another reporter like him anytime soon.

A few notes about this debate:

The score of the game was lopsided. The big difference was footing. That's the report in a nutshell. Well observed and commented. Chinook's coaches, parents or players went out of their way to get the proper cleats for the field.

Why not say that the Chinook team was well coached, well prepared and well shod for the big game? Why whine because a smart reporter noticed it and wrote about it?

Sooner or later parents let their children enter a big world where their actions are subject to public scrutiny. The kids learn that not everybody will appreciate them, even on their best day. When they learn to hold their heads up and keep doing what they believe is right even after they suffer criticism they think is unfair, they are on the way to becoming adults.

Why not see this as a growth opportunity for the fine players on that championship team? Why pretend that a team tough enough to beat Wibaux needs Mommy and Daddy to make a blogger go away?

Most of the comments from Chinook are anonymous. If if were my blog, I would write to each of you before I approved your comment and ask you to sign your name. If you didn't stand behind your comment in public, I wouldn't print it.

Grow up folks. If not for yourselves, then for your very courageous and talented children.

Anonymous said...

hys·te·ria – Definition of: a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability; behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess ...

... such as when a colleague of mine decides to maintain a commentary about his love for small town football, and normally decent, patriotic, lovers of country and their local football team, begin reacting to said colleague's highly observant comments, with the very definition of the word above ... "It's unexcuseable!" the anonymous football mom exclaimed in a fit of hysteria, "You are a man of distruction."

Morgan stated in his first letter about the game, that he never meant "to take anything away" from Chinook's "convincing victory."

What's IS inexcusable is the level of illiteracy coupled with the hysteria that the supposedly concerned parents of these young men have exhibited. What IS destructive, is the arrogant, ignorant demands to somehow curb an unbiased man's journalistic opinion of one particular game and its outcome by suggesting that he's hurt little Johnny's feelings.

Unbelievable. Grow some hairs where it counts folks. Your boys are fine and no one is questioning their abilities.

The conditions of the game in question, were obviously unusual. Sport fans never go to a championship game expecting a blowout such as this one. It's only reasonable to discuss it and to ask the hard questions. Morgan never once denigrated anyone. He has the spine to put his thoughts out there with professionalism and articulation and never attacked a soul. He simply spoke to the conditions as a possible factor in such a dramatic outcome.

continued...
d. vaughan

Anonymous said...

So D. Vaughn do you have children?

Anonymous said...

to previous anonymous blogger -- "Well said."

All I have to say at this point, is that Mr. Tyree has made the bed in which he must sleep. He has burned so many bridges with Chinook and many other small towns that I wish him to stay south of the Montana border from now on. So far as I'm concerned, he should
forget about his power trip of preying on high school athletes who now have their reputations tarnished by his idiotic and very inaccurate writing. His photos are great. He needs to give up his attempt to have a blog site (unless, of course, he doesn't want to be welcome at any games). He has cooked his goose with the people of Chinook. All he would have to do is remove the last two articles from this site and Chinook could maybe start to heal. When he starts messing with potential scholarships our boys are competing for, that's when we just don't need his little "opinion" about the game.

Anonymous said...

"...power trip of preying on high school athletes who now have their reputations tarnished by his idiotic and very inaccurate writing."

omg, the hysteria keeps on coming.

Anonymous said...

do not remove any content. no one is losing scholarships over this blog. you're lucky this guy morgan drives around to these games & shows the beauty of montana to people all over the world

Anonymous said...

He needs to just stay away from Chinook. He has not brought much "beauty" to us! If he can't report accurately, he needs to just stop his writing. He is certainly a disgrace to real journalists, because I am one! Morgan, "Hear me! Stop writing! Just take pictures! That is what you do best! Leave the writing to others!"

Morgan said...

Real journalist are you... and you can't even leave your name here so we can check out your work?

Anonymous said...

If your community is lacking beauty, look no further than several of the comments left by your own members.

Anonymous said...

Trust me! Chinook is not lacking beauty. We like our community the way it is. What I am saying is that we don't need an outsider coming to our community and then going home and writing accusations about us. Get it . . . just stay away, Morgan. Chinook does not need you!

Scott said...

As I posted on the original article, no one accused the team of cheating. Asking if a certain cleat is legal is the same as wondering if it's legal to play with your shirttail hanging out (no). A technicality, a bit of trivia that came to mind as Morgan was writing.

As strong and dedicated as the team is, its supporters are coming off as thin-skinned hayseeds. I read the original article as a tribute to Chinook in every way: Good enough to make the championship, smart enough to play the conditions, and far more deserving of the trophy than the opponent. The article's tone of surprise wasn't so much directed at Chinook as at Wibaux: why on earth didn't they take field conditions into account too?

Chinook fans and the rest of Montana's HS football community need to recognize the quality of Morgan's coverage of your game over the years. He's a true fan of the game itself; more than can be said for most of you, I think. Once your family and friends no longer play, will you attend games in distant towns? No. You'll read about them in the papers... or in Morgan's blog.

Anonymous said...

Morgan just keep up the fascinating blog, the chinookers can be uppity if they like. You were making an observation, if they can't seem to get over that its their problem. You're very welcome in absarokee any time and I hope to see you!

Anonymous said...

Are you saying Absarokee could possibly be in contention for the finals? You've got to be kidding me!

Morgan said...

Absarokee certainly has a solid history in Class C eight-man titles. Not much more far-fetched than any other perennial power winning it.