Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pnuemonia, Fuel Pumps and Football

Distracted Mechanics by mdt1960
Distracted Mechanics, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
A year ago this weekend, the weekend of the Montana quarterfinals, I had just started to consider which quarterfinal game I would attend for the upcoming weekend when I fell ill to pneumonia that progressed into septic shock—ultimately preventing me from seeing the completion of the 2011 season. The weekend before I had attended the first-round playoff game in Fairview where the Warriors had their way with Centerville. My travel plans for the following weekend were likely either Twin Bridges and their showdown with Chester-Joplin-Inverness or a long drive down I-94 to Savage and their matchup with Hot Springs.

This past Friday, I set out for a motel in Glendive that would serve as a base camp. Saturday morning I would wake up in Glendive and drive to Grenora, North Dakota to take in a Montana Class C six-man quarterfinal game between the upstart co-op MonDak (Westby, Montana and Grenora, North Dakota) and Big Sandy to finish what I started last season.

And like last year, the universe had other plans for me, only this time I wouldn’t fall ill, my truck would—in particular, the fuel pump.
First Fumble by mdt1960
First Fumble, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.

The gasoline prices in Bridger, Montana are often cheaper than in my hometown of Powell. As a result, I fuel up in Bridger as I make my way to some far-off football game. This past Friday was no exception only when I started my engine after topping off the tank, it refused to fire. I’d experienced this before and it wasn’t long before I started suspecting the fuel pump.

From behind the Maverick store where I pushed my dead-in-the-water pickup, Fremont Ford in Powell informed me over the phone of an operation in Bridger that purchases parts from them on a regular basis so, they gave me the number to Carbon Equipment Repair, LLC. And at 4:15 on a Friday afternoon, Steve (one of the three mechanics) informed me that despite having six other calls on this late Friday afternoon (“Breakdown Friday” as he called it), he was going to try to squeeze my truck in. By 5:00 when most businesses are hurrying to shut down for the weekend, my truck was going up on CER’s lift.

On a side note and small plug for CER, their shop is an amazing snapshot of today’s American mechanization as they repair almost anything—from the small jobs like my pickup to semi trucks and farm tractors.

As it turned out, my truck needed more than just a new fuel pump as there were other complications with the wiring to the fuel pump and those parts weren’t readily available.
Beater by mdt1960
Beater, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.

Despite the grim news that I wouldn’t be making it to Grenora, I had two reasons to be hopeful: first, Donovan, Dustin and Steve had an old beater Dodge Stratus that they would lend me until my truck was repaired. Secondly, Bridger was hosting one of the other six-man playoff games the next day. And despite attending two Bridger games already this year, I felt pretty lucky to have this option on the table.

As it turned out, I walked away from the weekend feeling that not only is small town high school football still a viable and rewarding sport for kids from such communities like Bridger but, small town America is still a great place to visit or live (if your lucky enough)—starting with the hard-working and tireless mechanics at Carbon Equipment Repair, LLC.

Footnote: This week’s semifinal lineup for Class C (both 8-man and 6-man) is quite unusual in that it resembles a Wyoming playoff scenario where in every matchup the teams have already faced each other during the regular season. Fairview thumped Ennis at the Brawl in the Beartooths during the first week while Superior was downed by Drummond in a two-point shoot-out back on September 21, Hot Springs defeated Geraldine-Highwood on August 31 to the tune of 45-13, and Valier topped Big Sandy by two points as well on September 28.

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