Wednesday, May 7, 2003

The Last Person to Talk to Me

For the past several years one of my greatest fans, "Darlin," has been sending me email asking me to explain the excesses of and rumors surrounding the Duluth East Hockey team. I've always been in the position of sticking up for it much to Darlin's chagrin. Today Darlin sent an email asking me me how our Administration could possibly treat Mike Randolph so shabbily.  Et Tu Darlin? I asked in my return email which I sent with a link to this diary. 

I got a second email from one of Mike Randolph's most severe critics. She was beside herself because Mike had made it back on the agenda. She asked Board members if they shouldn't be getting on to the really important things. That, of course, was the primary implication of my recent column for the Reader. Dorothy Neumann must have read it because the Trib's reporter yesterday quoted her saying it was too much fuss over " a coach who makes four thousand dollars per year." That's a rough paraphrase of my comment on the hockey coach in Randolph in the column.

At four in the afternoon I went downtown t meet with a businessman and another past supporter of mine who wanted to bring me together with Larry Traschel, one of Mr. Randolph's assistant coaches.

After admiring the view from the top of one of the down town buildings we got down to brass tacks. I began by reading the letter I just received from Matt Doyle a former unsuccessful 
School Board candidate. It was a high and mighty letter full of indignation and it called for this to be a "teachable moment." 

I asked the businessman if he could guess why I hated the later. "Because its too preachy?" he offered. No, I told him, It was because, as much as I hated to admit it,  I happened to agree with much of the letter

Then I read the  post from  "txhockey", the former East player, that I had found on the Internet hockey forum. I told both men that if the administration had made its decision based on that kind of manipulation of players it didn't seem unreasonable to me.

I then mentioned that if txhockey was telling the truth then it was probably irrelevant due to the statute of limitations since it dealt with events fifteen years earlier. I also commented that if it had once been true that Randolph had encourage his kids to recruit kids from other schools it was probably no longer necessary for him to do so what with his winning record and all.

Traschel expressed some doubts about the veracity of the post but I said whatever its limitations it had the ring of truth as it was directed, not at the school board, but at other East hockey partisans.

We talked for a good hour. Traschel brought out Deep Throat's letter prepared to expose its inaccuracies but I told him that I agreed everything in it should be taken with a grain of salt due to its anonymity. 

Traschel did explain how the infamous wreath sale worked. It seemed pretty logical to me but I pointed out that the Administration was more interested in making sure that kids didn't raise money for something they were excluded from than in getting to keep the money. This is a fine point the Randolph partisans ignore.

I left the meeting feeling that perhaps indeed the Administration had acted hastily without giving Randolph a chance to mend his ways.  I didn't make any promises but by the time I was home I realized that through this whole saga one person has always managed to have the most impact on my thinking - the last person to talk to me!

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