Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 06.18.2015

June 16, 2015

Today: Nick Haggenmiller, Northfield City Administrator (Zweifel)

Birthdays: Bob Kuyper (6/15) and David Koenig (6/21) 

Next Week: Leonard Francis Vibbi, Sierra Leone Project (Weber)

Fond Farewell: We bid a fond farewell to three of our four inbound exchange students who were attending their last meeting with us. Philipy, Marcelo and Giulia are heading home soon. Lydia will be with us for a couple of more weeks. Vicki Dilley said these are outstanding students who took the program seriously and were extremely easy to work with. As Marcelo put it, this is not goodbye, more like “see you later.”

Last Week:
No one has written the “great American hockey novel,” David Wee said with a knowing smile. But there are some 400 books published each year on baseball.

That is just one measure of the hold baseball has on our culture, our language, our lore and, for those who count themselves among avid baseball fans, our psyches.

David is a retired St. Olaf College English professor. For 30 years, he taught a course on baseball literature. None of his colleagues seemed to care, he said, that he taught Victorian literature, but they envied his opportunity to teach a course on our national pastime.

He used several stories to illustrate how the game has imbedded itself in the American culture. For instance, his grandfather, a stern Norwegian pastor and seminary professor who taught the Old Testament and Hebrew, canceled classes on fall afternoons so he could listen to the World Series on the radio. He spoke of a 10-year old girl who had an encyclopedic memory for baseball facts and figures. When asked how she acquired her knowledge, she said: “I have books at home and I read them.” He read a piece by Edith Hamilton published by Newsweek in 2000 that spoke to the “ageless pageantry of baseball” and how a small town’s affection for the game revived the spirits of a former minor league baseball player, her father.

Baseball nicknames roll effortlessly off our tongues: “The Clipper” Joe Dimaggio, “Moose” Skowron, “Say Hey” Willie Mays, Virgil “Fire” Trucks, “Pee Wee” Reese. The coded language of the game, such as a Lady Godiva (a pitch with nothing on it), an ancient mariner (a poor-fielding shortstop), a Linda Ronstadt (a fast ball that “Blue Bayou”) illustrates the interplay between culture and baseball.

Numbers are central to the cult of baseball. David said his family teases how telling it is that the biggest book in an English professor’s library is “Total Baseball,” a statistical encyclopedia of all things baseball.

So, test your knowledge. Look up the significance of the numbers 755, .406 and 511. Do your own work or you will be out at first.

(Editor’s Note: For one of the best baseball anthems, rich with religious metaphor, check out Sister Wyonna Carr’s “Life Is A Ball Game” on YouTube.

Scott Richardson announced he is retiring July 1 after 16 years as Director for Community Relations at Northfield Hospital & Clinics. He said it was a rewarding experience being part of building the new hospital, launching a clinic network and expanding the range of specialty services available locally. It was largely indoor work, and for that, he said, he is grateful.

Guests: Scott Nesbitt (Holden); Deanne Weber, Grant Eustice, St. Olaf Piper Center, and Corey Ruder (Weber); Pat Lamb (Prowe); Jen and Russ from Owatonna (L. Dilley).

Scholarship Enhancement: Candy Taylor

Memorial Service: Peggy Prowe’s husband, Dietheim Prowe, will be remembered Friday, June 19, with a memorial service at 9:30 a.m. at Skinner Memorial Chapel at Carleton College. A long-time Carleton College professor, Dieter died March 7.

— President Rich announced a board decision not to offer a “shared membership” to businesses at this time. It had been suggested as a means of getting more people involved in the club. As an alternative, in July each member will receive two tickets and be encouraged to invite friends and community members to a meeting.

— The board also gave conditional approval to bringing the Eagan Rotary Club’s ethics workshop to Northfield High School in the fall. We still need approval from the high school administration. If you are interested in working on this project, see President Rich.

— The Rotary Summer Social will be Thursday, July 23, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Estenson Event Center. There will be a happy hour at 5:30 p.m., catered meal at 6:30 p.m. followed by a club meeting. We will celebrate Matthew’s year of masterful executive leadership and welcome Russ Halverson in as our next fearless leader.

— Dale Ness said the Bike Tour Committee will soon be inviting businesses and individuals to sponsor the 2015 Defeat of Jesse James Bike Tour. Invitations will go out soon.

— Jake Conway needs some helping hands on a Habitat for Humanity project Monday, July 13, and Thursday, July 30, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. See Jake if you can help.

— President Rich shared a thank you note from Leslie Rodriguez-Vazquez, one of our outbound exchange students, for the $3,000 scholarship we gave her for her exchange year. She said she is grateful for our support and is certain the experience will change her life.

— Our musical director, Richard Collman, invited us to attend any of the seven performances offered by the Ninth Annual Northfield Noontime Organ Recitals this summer. They begin July 1 and are scheduled every Wednesday through August 12 at different locations in Northfield.

Outbound Students 2015-16

  • Beimers, Henry – Norway
  • Beimers, William – Brazil
  • Carlson, Samuel -Argentina
  • Estrada, Gabriella – France
  • Hahn, Erin – Thailand
  • Hodel, Christoph – Indonesia
  • Kelley, Caitlin – Chile
  • Lunderby, Jack – Brazil
  • Mandsager, Erik – Zimbabwe
  • Martinez, Odalys – Japan
  • Muir, Mason – Taiwan
  • Olson, Josiah – Colombia
  • Regnier, Eli – Brazil
  • Rodriguez-Vazquez,Leslie – Brazil
  • Scheffert, Jenna – Italy
  • Seitz, Zoe – Denmark
  • Washburn Chapman, AhnaCole – South Africa
  • Woitalla, Jessica – Brazil.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on YouTube

Coming Up

July 2 — Rachel Estrella, Classification, and Changing of the Guard. (Halverson)

July 9 — State Senator Kevin Dahl (Anderson)

July 16 — Nick Stoneman, President Shattuck St. Mary’s School (Cogan)

July 23 — Summer Social, 5:30 p.m., Estenson Event Center.