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Weather ... or not/The Red Line

June 23, 2011
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

On the way into Norway (the town, not the country) Saturday for the U.P. All-Star Classic, there is a very large ship of what appears to be Viking origin.

After the events of this week, I think it could have been an ark.

The good news is that at least there was enough advance notice for this storm that everyone could just stay home.

This is the U.P., however, and that means the next monsoon could be around the corner and arrive with just a moment's notice. I suppose that's the risk inherent with the possible reward of a summer night in late July hanging around the campfire with friends and family. I'm overdue for one of those myself, provided the wood at camp's not wet.

The Tigers played in sunny Los Angeles this week, which only served to make things a little more intolerable. But no one has ever written about the sunny tundra. Your parents probably told you that bad weather builds character when they sent you outside to play on that snowy day. It builds character for sportswriters, too.

I think it started during Homecoming of my junior year at Gwinn High School. We could tell a front was coming in while we worked on our floats, and when we got up Saturday morning, the ground was covered in snow and more was coming down. I was in the band and we couldn't march, as water does all sorts of nasty things to the moving parts of wind instruments.

However, someone has to play the national anthem, and so the brass section trundled out to do the honor. I had nothing to fear in terms of equipment - I was playing a fiberglass sousaphone. A snowstorm can't touch that. However, a sousaphone is basically a giant sail in these conditions, so I planted my feet as firmly as I could. Even a song you've played hundreds of times before can be an adventure if you don't know if that next gust of wind is going to catch the bell of the horn and throw you down the field for a first down.

The signature moment of that day was a Gwinn punt (happened a lot in those days). High up into the air and landed with a plop. No bounce, end of play. We won. That's all that matters. I'm pretty sure our next home game was in the Dome that year.

Next scene: I'm on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan, trying to take pictures of FLW Walleye Tour anglers. The driver charged with bringing me to those anglers is barely opening up the throttle, but we're hitting waves head-on, and thanks to the wind, those waves are blowing back into our faces.

He turns and yells, "This sucks!" Not what one wants to hear from the man keeping you from an unscheduled swim. My notepad reverted to the pulp state. My phone (in my breast pocket) died before I got back. I think I just dried out.

Of course, there have been all sorts of interesting weather evenings during my tenure in the Keweenaw. My personal favorite may have been a Saturday afternoon football game at Warner Field in Lake Linden between the Lakes and Houghton, when I learned what 'graupel' is - namely, little snow BBs that sting like the dickens when they're blown into your face at 30 miles per hour.

Of course, for all the football games played in the rain and 40-degree May track meets, there are sunny nights at Stanton Ballfield and crisp fall evenings on the gridiron. I'd like to think it's a fair trade. Just remember, it could always be worse. Winter is just five months away.

The Red Line will return July 7. Brandon Veale can be reached at



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