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Monday, November 08, 2010


     I don’t know if I am longing for the good ole days of football rivalry or what, but it seems odd to see UND playing South Utah for homecoming, Wayne State traveling to Mary, or NDSU on the road to Youngstown (Ohio) State. It seems like something is missing in our traditional schedules and the anticipation of the time of year when certain teams would play. I watch a lot of college football on TV on Saturday, and the traditions that those teams have are really fun and transcend time. Maybe we are trying to get too big and in the process losing that which was good.

     This month’s look at the US Constitution, takes us to the 27th amendment which is the last one – the end of the line for now. The 27th deals with Congressional pay: “No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” This amendment was proposed in 1789 and wasn’t ratified until 1992. Congress is one of the few institutions where the members have the ability to set their own pay. The President could veto the bill, but Congress can override the veto so that would only be a minor delay.

     In terms of earth shaking amendments, this one is kind of a light weight. Now if they would have passed term limits on themselves or limited the amount of campaign contributions they could accept – that would be earth shaking. But anyway, if they vote themselves a raise, they have to wait for an election to come and go before the raise goes into effect.

     We have been reading two amendments to the Constitution at a time, but since we are out of amendments, I am going to change my format somewhat and add another passion of mine – biographies of Presidents.

     This column looks at our 16th president; none other than the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, from Illinois. Most people know a great deal about Lincoln, which means they know his many nicknames. He was the tallest president at 6’4”. He was the first president born outside of the original thirteen colonies. Lincoln and Charles Darwin (of evolution fame) were born on the same day. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated and the only president to be granted a patent.

     During the election, an eleven year old wrote him a letter stating, “Let your whiskers grow… you would look a great deal better, for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers, and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.” My favorite Lincoln story is when he met with a group of Indian chiefs and  spoke broken English to them, saying things like, “You come Iowa, see many buffalo?” I think one of the best books written about Lincoln was Lincoln by Gore Vidal. It is easy to read, yet very detailed in an interesting way.

.     One time, in what seems to be a long time ago, New England had one heck of a good football team. In 1978, we won the conference championship averaging over 40 points per game. During the regular season, we only gave up one touchdown. It was a big deal back then to go undefeated and un-scored upon. This wasn’t our case because one touchdown had been scored on us, but how it was scored was the interesting story.

    That fall was like most in the 70’s, dry. It hadn’t rained since July, and when I went out to survey the field that October day in Scranton, I noticed that the field was a little wet. In fact, it looked as though someone had turned open the fire hydrant and let it go for a while. At the end of the first quarter, our white uniforms were black and we had done a lot of slipping and not a lot of scoring. We soon figured out what to do. As our second team defense was putting up a good fight, the Miners hurled the Hail Mary and our free safety slipped and fell in a mud puddle. The receiver caught the ball and scored. All is fair in love and high school football. Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit of the Republic,     Coach


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