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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #18—Epochs of other Autumns

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
September 27, 2015

Chronicle #18—Epochs of other Autumns

Fall, the favored time of the Valley, spawns the triumphs of nature's artful skill. The autumn's godful painter, delicately stroking the brush, brings the sight alive, creating abstract colors and unending textures—deeper than the meaning of van Gogh's grass, and more real than ever a Vermeer photo-like masterpiece.

Through our autumn's harvest of life, as the heavens did harvest its share of loves given up reluctantly, we enter the season of celebrations. Autumn, with its feasts of family and kindred souls, can give a sense of the better things done the year through, and sad things, before the gardens, fields, and woods around our Valley turn white snow-bound, and frigid with ice.

Reaching to memory, I recall one era of Osceola, one epoch of true greatness within the life-span. It recalls triumphs large, and some personal sentiment to kids then, emulating the Homeric poems of giants one time, who lived those days, and need to remember the context, if not necessarily the circumstance, of that legend.

From the late-1970's through the mid-1980s, Osceola High School played some outstanding football. An unending series of old Upper St. Croix Valley Conference victories and championships culminated in the 1984 State Division 5 Football Championship. Through those years, the teams benefited from a perfect storm of coaches, support, spirit, enthusiasm, swagger, committed players, and some truly outstanding talent, one of them from the 1984 team a high school All-American-mentioned phenom. The championships happened over a great streak. That championship era ended, though, in a state playoff game in 1985, on the water-submerged field against Colby High School, ultimately because of a failed PAT-attempt with less than a minute to go. All things and heroes must pass onto to new things and different times, and so did that time and those players.

In the scheme of life, the games matter little now except as “a glorious time” in the history of Osceola. They remain in plaques, trophies, year-books, and the Sun newspaper archives. Somethings in memory transcend those times, those autumns of football excellence. Whether at the current field, or the old field before that, in Oakey Park's outfield, the games served as the time and the place to go, the event of the week, in fall, under pleasant skies, under incandescent lights, and in Oakey Park, where the old green press box towered above sidelines overfilled with crowds of several hundred or more supporters and visitors. (Oakey had few bleachers, and none permanent).

Some games, like Osceola's winning performance at Luck in 1985 against a then-undefeated Cardinals team, literally, drew several thousand of spectators. Other schools actually rescheduled their games, hoping to watch us get beat, finally. The games brought context in many ways, with the football only serving as the circumstance of the coming together of the community—for pride, yes; but also to meet neighbors, visit friends, eat food from the old, white, corrugated-tin “chuck-wagon,” and also to simply enjoy the time.

Osceola, and its sports, has had and still has, and will have, many of the similar experiences of an “authentic community.” No doubt, as things change the good things meant to do so will continue. On certain levels, though, in my memory as a student, of that epoch, of our community, the context had nothing to do with causes, revenues, commerce, construction, taxes, or raising money. It had everything to do with football, and so much more. I recall those autumns, fondly, and I foresee even greater times ahead for our community, as long as we keep the circumstance in perspective, and live it in the context we need to define it, for a community experience of good living, and for little or nothing else.

And, for the sake of my re-current memory, “Go, chiefs, GO!”  


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