A Riot Before A Riot: The Media, Police and University to Blame in Dinkytown ‘Riots’

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If you head over to Dinkytown, the best-known college village literally steps from the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, at bar close or any time in the later evening, you’ll see a lot of interesting stuff. Primarily, you’ll see a lot of college kids who have probably had a couple too many and are attempting to make their way home. That should have been the case on Saturday night.

At 6:30 Minneapolis time, the puck dropped on the NCAA National Championship hockey game in Philadelphia. Minnesota’s Golden Gophers played the role of Goliath, Union College played the role of David and, as usual, David won. Apparently, the Dinkytown dwellers were supposed to riot.

It was a likely scenario, right? They had just kind of, sort of had done just that when the Gophers beat arch rival North Dakota in the semi-finals. It was a riot full of, well, not a whole lot of rioting. Students were taking pictures with police officers, so obviously the enforcement wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with duties.

Flash-forward to Saturday night, throngs of cops and media showed up in Dinkytown; the former to keep the peace, the latter to report on the pending riot. The funny thing is that they caused the riot.

College students are the biggest group influenced by the theory of monkey see, monkey do. Students walk out of the bars and see police, mounted police, a State Patrol helicopter and a tank, seriously, and it hits them that they should be doing something bad. It’s what they are supposed to be doing, right?! That’s why everyone is there.

I assume there was probably a couple extra hundred people in Dinkytown because it was the National Championship game, but otherwise it would have probably been the typical Thursday-Sunday night on a college campus. Let’s not over-fascinate a common happening.

This brings me to the following example from KMSP, the FOX affiliate in Minneapolis – St. Paul, who had this beautiful piece of field reporting.


It shouldn’t come as a shock that drunken frat boys are the same to a lighted TV camera as a moth is to a flame. Did you seriously think you could go a legitimate live-shot in the middle of what you and your competitors blew out of the water and built up as a riot before the puck even dropped on Saturday night?

The University of Minnesota’s President Eric Kaler stating there would be a zero tolerance policy and announcing the extra police presence just added gas to the barely-lit fire. Let the kids be kids.

Do the police have to be there? Of course they do. Do they need to start attacking and pepper spraying? Absolutely not.

Does the media need to be there? Yes, it is a story. Is it right for the media to force feed a ‘riot’ days before it happens? No.

Drunken kids might have been a little rowdy, but all young people between the ages of 17-22 imitate what they see on their Twitter feeds, movies and TV shows. Say the kids were out of line, but don’t act like the adults in this scenario didn’t overreact.

Monkey see, monkey do.

UConn: Showing The Unexpected Can Happen

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Things are supposed to go to plan, right? Trusted persons and experts should be able to look at something and say this and that will happen and it will. The UConn Huskies proved that sports aren’t for those who follow plans to a T.

If you are not affiliated with Connecticut in some way and said that the Huskies were going to win the NCAA Tournament Championship at the beginning of the year, it probably would have been suggested that you get your head examined. The same cross-eyed look would have come your way if you had said that in the middle of the Sweet 16, too. UConn simply wasn’t supposed to win.

Kentucky was supposed to. The Wildcats were number one in a whole lot of rankings and polls before any college hoops had tipped this season, then they faltered, but started playing well together when it mattered and got all the way to the championship game. It wasn’t a David-Goliath matchup, but it was pretty close.

UConn winning is the reason we watch sports. We watch for the unexpected. We might not admit that that’s why we’re watching or even consciously know that’s why we are watching, but that’s why we love sports.

Twins fans on Friday sat through four innings of baseball and we’re thinking ‘Oh, my God. Mike Pelfrey might pitch a perfect game.’ It fell apart, but that unexpected had us hooked.

We watch sports for that Brett Farve to Greg Lewis moment in the back of the endzone against the San Francisco 49ers. For the Christian Laettner shot. For Blake Hoffarber hitting the buzzer beater from his butt.

American society as a whole loves reality television because it’s ‘unscripted’ and anything can happen. We know that that isn’t always the case in reality TV, but it is in sports. Sports is the ultimate reality TV, anything can happen. The WWE even proved that it doesn’t always go to script in scripted sports.

Congratulations, UConn. You reached a pinnacle that not many reach and when you got to the pinnacle you made it your own. You made the unexpected happen. Any given Sunday.

The Ballad of Sid Hartman: Sadness In The Punching Bag Taking Another Punch

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Usually when I shake my head at Sid Hartman it’s on Sunday nights during The Sports Show, but we all received a special Sid bit on Thursday. Hartman reported in his Thursday column for the Star Tribune that the University of Minnesota would be building a $70 million practice facility for the Golden Gopher football team. Which would be a pretty big story, except it’s not true.

Minnesota hockey godfather Lou Nanne said during his weekly interview on 1500ESPN that it wasn’t true and Chris Werle, senior associate athletic director at the U, confirmed Nanne’s statement.

I wonder who’s angrier: Sid or the poor guy that has to ghostwrite all of Sid’s columns. Does Sid get the information for his columns and has someone write them? Did Sid totally dream this up? There are a lot of questions.

Getting a report on a building wrong is not the end of the world and reading the comments congratulating Sid on the great scoop and then seeing those people realizing that it had been reported as false later in the day is pretty fun, but it’s sad to see. It’s another punchline to the punching bag that has become Sid Hartman.

Sid Hartman had to be pretty good at this journalism thing at one time, he has a statue outside Target Center for crying out loud, but he hasn’t been for a while now. As a 20-year-old Minnesota sports fan, Sid has always been in my life. Since I’ve been conscious of who Sid Hartman is, so about 10 years, he’s been a laughingstock.

I don’t know if Sid actually wrote the column or even if it is his own information, but it’s just sad to see this happen to the 94-year-old man. It appears Sid is probably on the retirement tour with the estate sale and Sid Hartman Day at Target Field and I wish he’d go out on top, at least the best way he could.

The man was the General Manager of the Minneapolis Lakers when he was 27 in 1947, think about how cool that is. I really wish I wasn’t shaking my head.

I Called Philip Nelson’s Transfer Four Months In Advance

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Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t want to claim that I can see into the future, but I might just be able to see into the future. My future sensing might only apply to Minnesota Golden Gopher football, which is not the best thing to be able to see the future of, but I guess that I’ll take it.

On September 21, 2013 I tweeted the following:

I looked up the box score and game story on what game and why I tweeted this. ESPN’s lede paragraph is the exact reason:

Quarterback Mitch Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns to lift Minnesota to a 43-24 victory over San Jose State on Saturday.

If Philip Nelson had his phone on the sidelines, I think he probably would have tweeted the same thing.

Nelson announced he would transfer in late January.

Fred Hoiberg Needs to Stay at Iowa State

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Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A hug can mean a million things. The list expanded to a million and one on Sunday when North Carolina coach Roy Williams embraced Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg signaling the end of the game with the Cyclones of Iowa State advancing to the Sweet 16. The hug told the whole arena and the viewers at home the game was over, not the time running out because the NCAA apparently can’t hire anyone who has ever run a clock before. The clock ran out on North Carolina Sunday, but the advancement of the Cyclones might have again started the clock on their own coach.

A year ago, Fred Hoiberg’s name was quite popular around the state of Minnesota with rumors and hopes of him being Tubby Smith’s replacement at the University of Minnesota. I’m sure that The Mayor’s name will be highlighted once Iowa State’s tournament run ends, but with a different basketball squad in Minneapolis.

It’s more than likely that Rick Adelman will not be coming back as the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach next season. Adelman will be 68 when training camp opens which will follow a third failed attempt at making the playoffs despite having a remarkable Kevin Love healthy for the duration of the season. This leaves a vacant coaching spot on an NBA team that should be in the playoffs given the right circumstances.

Hoiberg will be offered the job. It simply makes no sense not to offer him the job and the Timberwolves would be doing themselves an injustice by not asking the former Wolves player and exec, but Hoiberg needs to stay in Ames. He’s The Mayor for crying out loud.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Hoiberg, here’s a quick rundown: really good quarterback at Ames High School and turned down the University of Nebraska’s offer of a football scholarship, won the Iowa state high school basketball championship as a senior and was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball, played basketball at Iowa State and was beloved, played ten years in the NBA but forced to retire due to a heart condition, worked in the front office of the Timberwolves and now is sitting in the Sweet 16 as head coach in his return to Iowa State amidst their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Mayor is loved in Ames and there’s just no denying that, but he’s also very loved in Minnesota where he was a big part of the last Timberwolves teams that were actually worth a damn. Minnesotans love him so much we really wanted him to be the Gophers coach, but nothing makes the Gopher job better to him than his hometown/alma mater Iowa State. The same should apply for the Timberwolves.

I beg Fred Hoiberg to stay in Ames and coach the Iowa State Cyclones until he can’t coach anymore. There’s something special in being loyal to one team and I believe Fred Hoiberg can be that guy. He’ll never be fired by Iowa State, he’ll have the job as long as he wants and I hope that is a long time.

Loyalty to one team rarely happens anymore, but rarely does one’s town reflect such loyalty back on someone the way it appears that Ames, Iowa does onto its unofficial Mayor in Hoiberg. The Mayor is going to get a lot of calls trying to move him into a bigger pond, but sometimes greatness comes in small packages, kind of like a hug.

The 20th Birthday Poem

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I like poetry. Okay, that’s a lie. I like writing poetry, reading it is not my cup of tea. I wrote the following for my friend on her 20th birthday and now you can share it with your loved ones for their special birthday before the one that really matters.

 

A Very Special 20th Birthday Poem

With every morning a new day it brings

But this day is special, a new year it springs

You’re another year older, another year wiser

Sadly, a year away from a legal Budweiser

 

Take in the day, give it all that you got

All of your friends will say they love you a lot

Your birthday it is grand and splendor

364 days until there’s booze in a blender

 

Sit back, relax and the be the star of show

Close your eyes tight and remember the candles’ glow

Congrats on two decades here on Earth

Now save up your money, you know how much alcohol is worth

 

HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY!

Love, Collin, PhD (PhD in Poetry)

A Tuesday From Hell: From Phone to Fork

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Tuesdays are from Hell or at least one of Hell’s suburbs. I’m not one to cry over spilled milk, frankly, I’m very blessed and have nothing really to complain about, but a very smart woman once told me that we all need to vent sometimes.

It all started with busting my phone. I wake up and I hit snooze about four times, so I’m running a little behind. I typically bring my phone with me in the shower room to use it as a clock to see how much time I have until I have to leave for class. It works, until you drop the phone and it takes a seven foot fall from your outstretched arm to the hard tile floor below.

This kind of thing happens. Charge up the iPad and make it a sub-phone for a couple of days, bite your lip and move on.

After class, I come back to my room and I attempt to print something and my printer suddenly stops mid-job. It’s not out of ink, it’s plugged in on both sides of the equation and it appears that that machine is now dead as well. No power light, just a half-printed underwriting for the radio station sitting in its teeth.

Looking like the day is a little cursed, but whatever, I’m not going to read into it. I’m going to go get my omelet and have a good radio show. Supper is when I knew that is was officially a bad day.

With the omelet, I get a pancake, because when you are given the opportunity to get a pancake, you get a pancake, plus it was National Pancake Day. The omelet was amazing and the pancake was nice and fluffy until three-fourths of the way through and I snapped. Okay, I didn’t snap, but my plastic fork sure did.

It snapped right in half, the head of the fork totally separate from the stem. (I assume there are probably real names for the parts of the fork, but they’re not really that important.) I just sat there for a couple seconds and glared at my decapitated fork and the mostly eaten pancake it was still penetrating.

I look around to see if anyone, preferring an angel or a guy with a fridge full of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, is there to hear my pain, but there’s no one. Like the maple tree my pancake’s syrup is from, I stand alone. But after Tuesday, it felt like I was a maple after a tornado had knocked me down and broken all of my limbs.

You can take my phone and you can take my printer, but take my fork mid-pancake… Well, that’s when I also break.

Here’s to Wednesday and my prayer to just not die.