Monday, January 27, 2014

1965 Basketball Tournament Memories from Small City (Town) Faribault - The evolution of the English Meaning of "Gay"

Celebration and Rememberings of Small City Faribault in the Minnesota State Basketball Tourney

Faribault High School 1965

"Tom Weaver lives in the schoolboy celebrity's gay world of lockerroom nonsense and tournament championships without being tilted by either." Jim Klobuchar 1965 March Minneapolis Tribune commenting on MN Basketball State Tournament

This quote is from the 7th paragraph in this article by Jim- hope it is legible.  The paper is deteriorating with the acid inherent in the paper. So I scanned it....grateful there is so much better understanding about gay men and gay athletes today.  Less fear and terror for being attacked and losing our lives.. 


Back to 1965 ------

  To set the stage, Faribault won the Region One Title the week of March 17- 20th 1965, with first a victory over Rochester John Marshall who had 17 straight wins, and were the Minnesota State Runner up in 1964, on Wednesday March 17, at Mayo Civic Auditorium.  Final Score Faribault 71 Rochester JM 65.   Back in Rochester Saturday March 20, Faribault played perennial powerhouse, Austin whose Big 9 Conference leading scorer, Wayne Lerud was held to 21 points by defensive ace, Jim Ohnstad  Final Score Faribault 61- Austin 55.

During the weekend leading up to the State Tournament, some interviews happened in the town of Faribault. 

It has been 48 years since I played center in the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament for Faribault High School.  Jim Klobuchar, the sports writer for the Minneapolis Tribune in 1965, had a lot of colorful words as the result of his interview with me as an 18 yr old senior. Interesting that his daughter Amy Klobuchar is now a US Senator from Minnesota.  Roots in the Minnesota Iron Range.
How prophetic his words land on me now, as I look back with clearer eyes on that time in rural American history.  He certainly used the word "gay" in the context of the times   
This may well be on the same day, Jim Klobuchar was in town with Fred Zahn, Tom Weaver, Todd Andrews ---Don Somers? --Paul Dragsten and Jim Ohnstad with George Boosalis of the Olympia serving us sundaes!
 Back in 1965, I sense this was the time that Maynard Siemers was around coach of the 1945 team and this guy with us at the soda fountain with George Boosalis may have been Don Somers.  Hard to say...

In my dad's handwriting March 23, photos of the team being feted at the Olympia.
Faribault Daily News Sports Section Covering the build up to the. State Tournament in March 1965 I am cutting into the blueberry pie and the bromo selzer must be hidden.

Coming to the big city of Minneapolis.  We stayed at the Curtis Hotel which was next to the Lemington Hotel back in the day.  Here is the flyer that greeted us in the room, as kids from rural Minnesota.  Note the skyline, where the Foshay Tower is still the tallest building in town.
Note the skyline, where the Foshay Tower is still the tallest building in town. 
 And on the back side
Notice the venues for culture in the day...outdoor Baseball at Met Stadium before it was imploaded!

 We played three games, three days in a row, Thursday March 25 against undefeated Virginia from the Iron Range, then, Friday March 26 in the semi finals, Luverne, the 1964 state champion with 35 straight wins, and in the finals Saturday March 27  Lake Conference power Minnetonka.

In the first contest, Faribault won 60- 50 over an undefeated team couched by Richie Olson who had coached the famous small town tournament champion, Egerton in 1960.

Most memorable to this player, was our victory over the state champion of 1964 in the semi-finals, something I could not quite believe at the time.  Here is how our local Faribault Daily News captured the headline.....that Saturday morning. 


One of the fun benefits was the ongoing celebration in Faribault.
Here are some of us at the local Chicken Koop restaurant. Note the classic juke box record player in the background.

This was published for the Sunday paper, which is traditionally a larger paper for families to read on the weekend.  Jim Klobuchar had come to visit my hotel room in the Curtis that I shared with Paul Onkka our manager.  
Jim K did talk about my relaxed demeanor and how I fend off stress.  I was rather embarrassed by my thin frame at age 18, and it has taken me a while to fill out and have my center of gravity move down ward.  Have felt a lot more "grounded" in my body for the past 10 years or so.....
A lot of friends seemed to remember this photo, as it makes my legs look even more out of proportion...and they have served me well over the years.  I am very grateful for my current sense of humor has me quipping "Kareem Abdul Jabbar and I are the same age.  He has been a millionaire and I still have my knees". Very grateful I played Div III NCAA and for the balance that Carleton College provided me to play varsity sports and prepare in a balanced way for a very interesting arc of my life........

I I so remember the voice of Jimmy Lundquist, who I believe is the L, in the DHL, Dragsten, Hyde and Lindquist who own the local AM station back in the 1950's. 

Al Wold and me having a steak training meal together.   He was a great mentor and coach.  I very balanced and level headed guy. 

Addenda Here on Aug 21, 2014.   I visited the Faribault Parks and Recreation office yesterday and talked with Jeff Jarvis who writes about Faribault History.  He mentioned that Pat White, now 90 yeaers of age, lives in the senior living building nearby which has been the Armory when I was a kid and went to Cub Scout and Boy Scout events there, in the 50's and 60's. Pat White taught me wood working in the old Junior High Building and was a fire starter for our 9th Grade Basketball team, as with the recent addition of Jim Ohnstad moving to Faribault from Montevideo, he challenged us that we could aspire ot make it to the Minnesota State BB Tournement. Well, history did show we made it.  Thanks Pat White, for seeing in us, what I sense we did not see for ourselves. 

No comments:

Post a Comment