Friday, November 19, 2010

Never Humiliate Your Opponent

It probably doesn't happen anymore, but when we were in school we always got a ride home after football practice from the local businessmen. I don't think it happened for basketball or the spring sports, but there were 5 or 6 business owners who would swing by after practice, then deliver the farm boys without their own transportation to their homes. Apparently it was a good business decision to keep the farmers happy.

It was also a business decision not to humiliate an opponent, specifically the good folks from Glenville. As I recall we only played Glenville in our freshman year, when Glen Jensen was one of them, in fact their star running back. It was about the last game of the year, and had been talked about early on when the upperclassmen told us that we'd all play that game, and Coach LaVerne Rohlfson would stress the importance of not running up the score.

Glenville was a smaller school and may have been in the formative stages of their football program. With a number of their community coming across the border to shop in Northwood (and that probably doesn't happen much anymore since the community doesn't appear to be the humming business center it once was) the businessmen didn't want to offend anyone.

Sure enough, we all dressed for the varsity game - for the only time that year - and in the pre-game talk aboard the school bus, Rohlfson pointed out the importance of good community relations so we would all play. And the score would be managed. My recollection is that we scored about 45 points or so and I don't recall what Glenville scored but it wasn't much. Glen was a tough runner but without a team to support him there was only so much he could do.

Last weekend Wisconsin whomped Indiana 83-20, clearly indicating the business owners from Madison are not expecting much business out of Bloomington. A different environment, I guess.

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