Thursday, November 26, 2020

I miss the Old Met

Back when men were real men, women were real women, and the Minnesota Vikings were as crazy as the real vikings.

1969, halftime show at a Vikings game: "More than 40,000 watched in disbelief as a hot air balloon carried an 11-year-old boy over the light towers, and eventually dumped him in the icy Minnesota river."

Wait... WHAT? 😳

It was, indeed, a tough act to follow. They say don't mess with Texas, but I don't know if anyone outside of sub-Saharan Africa or historical Sparta ever treated children with such blithe indifference for their survival as Minnesotans of a certain era did. I was awarded the Zero Hero patch as a 11-year-old Boy Scout, which involved being given a saw, a sleeping bag, a box of matches, a pound of hamburger, and a loaded .38 revolver and being abandoned in the wilds of Northern Minnesota for 24 hours in sub-zero weather. Sub-zero Fahrenheit, to be clear.

No tent, no flashlight, no company. Should probably get your lean-to built before it gets dark, ya know. And if anything goes wrong, just fire three shots in a row. We should be able to hear you from the cabin. Good luck, kid!

I don't think they have the Zero Hero in Florida. Frankly, if it weren't for the patch - a polar bear on a light blue background - I'd wonder if I was remembering it all correctly.

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Blogger Yukichi Sensei November 26, 2020 11:11 AM  

God is good, and linear growth or decline shift at some point. Here is to those old vikings, a drink to the hard men and to their God.

Scots-German here...hard trads for hard men. The ease stripped some of it, but down deep the mad barbarian lives. Lineage of men who pick hard work, hard sports, hard war. The women are better fit than most of the other sides men. Give it 50 years and we win.

Blogger Johnny November 26, 2020 11:17 AM  

I had a thing for the Minnesota Vikings back when Bud Grant was the coach. How unfortunate they never won a Super Bowl.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 26, 2020 11:17 AM  

Any 10 year old that hasn't gone hunting with his father wasn't raised right. The generational hatred of the boomers won't end when they die because everyone man will remember whether or not they went on a hunting trip with dad. Tough love breeds strength, not hugs and kisses.

Blogger Unknown November 26, 2020 11:18 AM  

-18 not a joke. I hope you had a good parka on.

Blogger tuberman November 26, 2020 11:28 AM  

Shield Wall, shield wall, if you haven't fought on the shield wall, then you're still a boy. A Viking rule of thumb.

Blogger Qualitarian November 26, 2020 11:28 AM  

I can assure you we did not have Zero Hero in Florida. I compensated by getting the BSA Snorkeling patch in an icy mountain lake, rather than our balmy local waters.

By the late 1980s, leadership was sufficiently squeamish that getting the rifle and shotgun merit badges was an accomplishment that required waiting for an amenable scoutmaster, as the first one thought guns were a no-no. Handguns were right out.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd November 26, 2020 11:28 AM  

Unknown wrote:I hope you had a good parka on.
He still has ears and nose and fingers, so he did.
Vox, were you able to get enough branches beneath the sleeping bag to stay warm enough to sleep?

Blogger AgiS November 26, 2020 11:29 AM  

Good times. I have a feeling these folks wouldn't be freaking out about Coronka.

Blogger Dafo November 26, 2020 11:30 AM  

Back when boys were men... ;)
The falling in a frozen river thing is no joke, but for me the hard part was how to go home soaking went and prevent my parents from noticing.

Blogger Winter is coming November 26, 2020 11:37 AM  

Reminds me of my childhood. Fantastic!

Blogger Independent Baptist November 26, 2020 11:39 AM  

Whenever a Minnesotan complains about the cold I remind them to embrace their culture. We are a collection of wimps.

Blogger Zaklog the Great November 26, 2020 11:44 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Appropriate to the day, maybe you should spend some time with Gratitude and Love to God or Gratefulness.

Blogger Daniele Grech Pereira November 26, 2020 11:48 AM  

"Hey kid! Make sure you fire those three shots BEFORE hypothermia sets in."

Blogger Steve November 26, 2020 11:52 AM  

The thread has a link to the video of the backstory. Worth watching, great story.

Blogger [Redacted] November 26, 2020 11:54 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving Vox! Always I am thankful for your reminders of what once was, the examples you show, and the ease with which we can rebuild the standards that were discarded. God willing, it is going to be a lot of fun.

Blogger John November 26, 2020 11:56 AM  

Whoa. The Scouts had fallen far by the time I earned my "polar patch" by sleeping in a tent 30 paces from the cabin.

Blogger Gianna November 26, 2020 11:57 AM  

Walking to school in a midwestern sleet storm was one of my best memories of high school. Buses were canceled, school wasn't. Negative degree (Fahrenheit) winds blowing off the four lakes as we walked to school dressed in black Hefty bags, taking 2 1/2 hours for a 25 minute walk. About half the school showed up and we all boasted about it for years. Good times!

Blogger R Devere November 26, 2020 12:03 PM  

In FLA, the Scouts now have a "Just say NOA to the BOA!" badge!

They leave you overnight in the Everglades with a bag of Skittles and some "purple drank", a patch of mosquito netting and a machete!

Blogger Billy November 26, 2020 12:13 PM  

I reckon publishing the classics, making media platforms and starting a coffee company occupy enough of your time that others will have to create the new Boy Scouts alternatives.

Blogger glueballs November 26, 2020 12:14 PM  

You likely earned your mile swim badge, red seahorse against white background, like I did in fifth or sixth grade. Frigid lake fed from an iron-laced spring, two older boys rowed a dingy in case we needed help.

I also took a solo survival course in my twenties. The only food was a box of Dunkin Donuts they carefully bungied atop our day pack.

End of day at objective I built a fire, collected water, made a shelter, and treated myself to the donuts. Except when I opened the box a newly-born bunny on hay presented itself to me. Its eyes weren't even fully open.

I understood what the instructors wanted. So I snapped the bunny's neck, singed and rubbed its fuzz off, roasted it, and ate the thing pretty much whole. Can't say that dish agreed with me.

Blogger RedJack November 26, 2020 12:18 PM  

Nebraska biy, but I remember that. Except we had a flare if I remember that right.

Not sure when that stopped, but my brother in law didn't do that in 5he boy scouts

Blogger RedJack November 26, 2020 12:19 PM  

I remember being snowed in at school. Principal said since we are here, continue school. Dad picked me up in a tractor because the roads weren't plowed out

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( *autistic screeching* ) November 26, 2020 12:41 PM  

4. Unknown November 26, 2020 11:18 AM
-18 not a joke.

oh you sweet summer child.

0F is when it's time to play basketball in the hayloft in tshirts.

8. AgiS November 26, 2020 11:29 AM
Good times. I have a feeling these folks wouldn't be freaking out about Coronka.

a good portion are still kicking around, even if they are in nursing homes.

Blogger The Depolrable Podunk Ken Ramsey November 26, 2020 12:47 PM  

I was one of those kids in Texas (Doomsday FTW, baby!), but also one who would try to watch the Minnesota Viking games on television. For the sheer challenge of it, because a lot of times you couldn't see what was going on down on the field through all the snow. And Fran Tarkenton was a righteous dude.

Fun times!

Blogger Doktor Jeep November 26, 2020 12:47 PM  

Florida's Zero Hero is running through the swamps with a pork chop tied to your neck.

Blogger 1683Bear November 26, 2020 1:09 PM  

NFL films took too long to load. Was Joe Capp the QB? Did Carl Eller lead the Purple People Eaters? The NFL used to be a racial unifier, who or what changed it? I remember players on the Washington Redskins doing the hands up don't shoot bit during Obama 's administration, so I think that a lot of the blame lies on him and the leftist identity politics in black culture today. But honestly I have not thought that deeply about the problem, I do know what the solution is: stop watching! Admittedly, I had to go cold turkey by living overseas for 12 years starting before the internet, but watch and buy as little as possible. Take baby steps, your manhood is not tied to watching football. Find other masculine activities to do: go to a gun range, go camping, hiking, hunting etc. Go to the gym more. Maybe you will lose weight, get in better shape, and actually be more manly rather than watch some links who have been pampered their whole life play a game. If you want to see a violent sport, you should check out the International Medieval Combat Federation, Battle of the Nations, the History channel game show format special on the same, a short decent Vice special on the same, and lots of other Eastern European specials on YouTube including one called "Knight of Hope" from the Czech republic. As I saw in a funny meme, President Trump should come on the Jumbotrons before the Star Spangled banner is played and say something like Kneel before your President. The kneeling problem would be solved instantly. And there is college football, although I think that leftist Humanities and Social Studies professors are a big part of our cultural problems. But I think that it is clear that the Universities are funded mostly by the Federal student loan program. I'm not sure what happened to this country in 50years, but I think that a lot of it can be traced to the upheavals of the 1960s and to what a lot of young conservatives call boomers. I who was ten years old when the 1960s ended and never voted for a Democrat in my life, think of them as leftist hippies (as General Douglas MacArthur is rumored to have said: "Old hippies don't die, they just SMELL that way!" ). (The caps is to make sure that you don't think that smell was a misspelling). Well, I am starting to think that maybe all of that playing football without a helmet has gotten to me with a migraine and the treating medication making me feel sleepy, but I am in good company: Slinging Sammy Baugh, Jim the Grey Ghost Thorpe, Presidents John Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. And if Gropey Joe Biden manages the greatest election fraud in world history, we know that dementia Joe must have taken a lot of shots to the some back in Scranton. Oh wait, bumbling Biden who will be managed by the Bolshevik wing of the soon to be named Red house ( ;) ), left Scranton to move to the "northern" (vis a vi D.C.) swamp of credit card central AKA Wilmington, DE. If the Democrats had their way, the only games of the (toxic masculinity sport of) football would be flag - red flag. Thank God that he's in control!
From today's lectionary psalms: But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon it's mother's breast; my soul is quieted within me. Psalm 131:3 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (BCP) Psalter
Even if you don't believe in God, think of something to be thankful for. It's good for you to have a thankful attitude and healthy!

Blogger Fishslinger_Bear November 26, 2020 1:12 PM  

Gone are my youthful days... and nights of wondering the countryside of Arkansas with only what I had on and could carry armed and hunting for game and adventure. Trespass laws, city limit expansions, and hunting clubs have reduced our children to confinement or having to drive hours to public lands to have any resemblance of the freedoms we once knew. The greed and selfishness of adults to hang trophies on every wall and blast limits of ducks into oblivion daily have ensured our doom.

Blogger Doug Cranmer November 26, 2020 1:15 PM  

glueballs wrote:You likely earned your mile swim badge, red seahorse against white background, like I did in fifth or sixth grade. Frigid lake fed from an iron-laced spring, two older boys rowed a dingy in case we needed help.

Never did the scouts thing myself when I was growing up. This did remind of the butcher who worked at the grocery store I part-timed at during high school. He was a young boy in Germany during the Second World War and was involved in some youth program. He would tell us a bit about the activities and swimming in freezing water was one of them.

He was kind of an asshole but then he was a Nazi I guess. He was good with knife throwing and one of his favourites was waiting until a new boxboy was standing just right in front of the wooden door of the meat freezer. He'd drill the knife into the door from across the room between the guy's legs, just below the important bits. Har har. Like I said, kind of a dick.

The store owner was also a navigator in Lancasters bombing the shit out this guy's cities during the War.

Small town Ontario in the old days. Everyone seemed a bit fucked up looking back.

Blogger Chip Hazard November 26, 2020 1:36 PM  

"...[as an] 11-year-old Boy Scout, which involved being given a saw, a sleeping bag, a box of matches, a pound of hamburger, and a loaded .38 revolver and being abandoned in the wilds of Northern Minnesota for 24 hours in sub-zero weather."

I went through the same gambit as an AOA candidate, as well as silence and on working party digging ditches.

Blogger Homo Insidious November 26, 2020 1:38 PM  

Billy wrote:I reckon publishing the classics, making media platforms and starting a coffee company occupy enough of your time that others will have to create the new Boy Scouts alternatives.My oldest is getting to the point where, as an Eagle Scout seriously pissed off about the direction BSA has taken since I got out in 2006--when it was already severely watered down from previous eras--I am thinking hard about how to resurrect the old spirit of Scouting in evidence from the original manuals. I'd call it something like True Scouts, which happily shares an acronym with Tough S**t. Firearms and quarterstaffs and all.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz November 26, 2020 2:00 PM

Blogger Skillet November 26, 2020 2:06 PM  

For Florida Zero Hero I nominate the guy who jumped into a lake and wrestled a gator to rescue his puppy and didn't even drop his cigar:

Blogger Virgil November 26, 2020 2:18 PM  

That first year of winter camping is the worst. You can't get close enough to a campfire to keep warm.

Blogger Pseudotsuga November 26, 2020 2:24 PM  

Shane Bradman wrote:Any 10 year old that hasn't gone hunting with his father wasn't raised right.
My father grew up hunting -- sometimes it was the only way there was meat in the house. Nearly every year, come deer or elk season, he was out with friends trying to fill their tags. But I never went hunting with him. I never asked to do so, and in truth I never was interested.
Yet my defense, our family spent a lot of time in the woods, camping and such. Dad was also my troop's Scoutmaster for a few years (a number of decades back, before the BSA jumped the shark). We were a pretty active outdoor troop. That one winter camp, in light tents in the snow ... brrr! That was cold. Nothing like Vox's experience, though.
We also cut our own yearly supply of firewood, Dad falling the tree and cutting it, and the kids splitting and stacking it in the truck. So maybe I was raised only half right!

Blogger Qualitarian November 26, 2020 2:51 PM  

That's not too far from the conditions when I did my Wilderness Survival overnighter. No bug net or machete though.

Blogger Ahărôwn November 26, 2020 2:52 PM  

Small town Ontario in the old days. Everyone seemed a bit fucked up looking back.

Probably the PTSD. My grandfather never talked about his time liberating Holland, at least not with his family. He was always active with the Legion, though.

Blogger Jack Morrow November 26, 2020 3:00 PM  

This explains Bud Grant appearing in short sleeves outdoors in January at the age of 88. He was a perfect fit for Minnesota and Manitoba.

A polar bear on a light blue background sounds like the logo for my old stomping grounds of the Northwest Territories; even up there I don't remember boy scouts being given such survival tests.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd November 26, 2020 3:37 PM  

Pseudotsuga wrote:But I never went hunting with him. I never asked to do so, and in truth I never was interested.
Hard to fault him for not dragging you into something you didn't want. He probably saw it as more chore than pleasure - I know I do. I'd rather buy a cow from a rancher every year than have to drag a dead moose out of a swamp.

Blogger sammibandit November 26, 2020 4:59 PM  

The boys in my dad's troop used to have to build snow shelters. They're called a quonset (pronounced kwansay. Most English speakers butcher the word pronouncing it kwanset. It has other meanings like a semicurcular shed but this meaning must post date the ice/snow meaning). You pile snow up and pour hot water on it to make a hard ice layer like the whole thing is a gobstopper with a snowy, soft interior. Then you dig your way into the quonset. You pack snow over the hole when you sleep. Apparently it's quite refreshing. Some would make lean-tos but quonsets were the real prize, especially before nightfall.

Blogger Nostromo November 26, 2020 5:24 PM  

Growing up, Dad took us to deer camp every weekend. Every one. There would be a dozen older men, me, and my cousin as teenagers. But the foog was good, the water ice cold, and the cigars smelled wonderful. We would have a dozen deer hanging from trees, waiting to be butchered. We did the butchering. Sometimes it was so cold our jeeps would freeze to the ground. There was a multi-hole latrine 50 yards away. And there was always one weirdo who would come in and sit beside you while you were taking a dump, and you could feel the heat waft up. You just wanted to shout "What the HELL is your problem!! Use one of the other holes!!"

Blogger VD November 26, 2020 5:39 PM  

Regarding the quonset - what hot water?

The lean-tos were actually very warm. You cut down a small pine tree, strip all the branches off one side, and prop it up against the crotch of another tree. Use some of the branches to make a floor, then weave the rest of them into the tree so that you can pile snow on top without it falling through. Even in below-zero weather without a fire, it's warm enough that you'll be too hot to wear heavy clothes in your sleeping bag.

Blogger Noah B. November 26, 2020 5:45 PM  

Kids still need and crave this kind of test to prove themselves, and when they don't get healthy varieties of it they resort to stupid stunts like the tide pod challenge.

Blogger xevious2030 November 26, 2020 7:22 PM  

That’s awesome!

Blogger sammibandit November 26, 2020 7:47 PM  

@VD they were given tools like water, pots, hatchets. Nor were they unsupervised. The Zero Hero patch you did is way beyond what I recall my peer Cubs did in the 90s. That was winter camp patch and shooting a gun was at the range, not outside. I frankly can't imagine my peers doing what you and yours did.

I should also say after looking more into it, quonset is an Algonquin word loaned into French and English with a plural 's'. An absolutely massive language speaking area they once had from Alberta to Newfoundland and Carolinas. So I imagine the technique might have been learned from them as well.

I didn't realize lean-tos could be so plush. I thought they had an open side like horse shelters do. And now I see how ridiculous that would be in a Minnesota winter.

Blogger Reprehensible Adam November 26, 2020 7:48 PM  

I want to abandon my kids one day. Lol

Blogger sammibandit November 26, 2020 7:58 PM  

Please excuse me, the word is Quinzhee of Athabascan origin. Their language territory is on the Pacific side of the continent going into the northern prairie provinces. I apologize for my confusion.

The snow for a quinzhee need not be of the same quality as required for an igloo. Quinzhees are not usually meant as a form of permanent shelter, while igloos can be used for seasonal habitation. The construction of a quinzhee is much easier than the construction of an igloo, although the overall result is somewhat less sturdy and more prone to collapsing in harsh weather conditions. Quinzhees are normally constructed in times of necessity, usually as an instrument of survival, so aesthetic and long-term dwelling considerations are normally exchanged for economy of time and materials.

Blogger Iron Spartan November 26, 2020 8:28 PM  

Did something similar in Northern Iowa, but it wasn't 24 hours.

A lot of the things I did as a kid would now have Karen's calling every single authority that would listen.

Blogger Jack Tanner November 27, 2020 12:06 AM  

Go watch the 1978 Bucs at Vikings for some hilarity. And Doug Williams had the heart of a Lion.

Blogger Linda Fox November 27, 2020 1:35 AM  

Today's kids (and more than a few adults) have NO idea just how cold the world of us old people was in our youth.
I taught science, and kids were coming in complaining about having to attend school "When it was freezing".
I pointed out that they couldn't say that - it was only in the low 40s (this was in South Carolina).
Also told them I used to go to school when it was 18 below zero. Realized that they thought that was 18 below freezing.
I did the math on the board - they were stunned.
Well, until a few kids essentially said that I was making it up.
Went onto's historical data, and proved that I was right about the temps - AND that the schools hadn't closed.
We WALKED to school, ya' little wimps!
At about 50 degrees below the freezing point.

Blogger MarkyMark November 27, 2020 3:54 AM  

When they played at the Met, the Vikings were a different team. They were mean and tough! They were the Purple People Eaters back in those days. Going there in winter was a daunting challenge, especially for a warm weather team. The winter weather in MN was a twelfth man all by itself...

Blogger Unknown November 27, 2020 6:20 AM  

We did that the last 24 hours of the military cold weather survival school, it was just your individual cold weather gear, sleeping bag, saw and 550 cord, and one more cold weather MRE.

It was not a lot of fun. Everyone knew to bring fire starter blocks or fire paste, though.

Blogger Jeff November 27, 2020 11:11 AM  

When I was 13, as part of a Miami BSA troop, in July -- that's the summertime -- we went on a survival training trip in the Everglades -- again, in July -- with nothing except equipment to get our own food. Our Scoutmaster came along, but he made it clear he was only there for medical emergencies. We did have sleeping bags, but they were useless, as the heat inside quickly made them unbearable. We got up at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning, took a bus to one of the entrances to the park (i.e. Everglades National Park), hiked about 12 miles to our campsite, then started to look for food. Over the course of the weekend, and with much intense labor, we had a few fish and a fair amount of palm hearts hacked out of palm trees. Saturday night, our Scoutmaster cracked and gave us each a candy bar. As the mosquitoes were too thick to sleep at night and the heat and humidity too much to get sleep during the day, the only hour or so of sleep we got on Friday and Saturday was during the afternoon thunderstorm (there was an open-air shelter). Came home Sunday afternoon covered in mosquito bites and absolutely exhausted. Ate an entire pizza and proceeded to sleep straight through for 14-and-a-half hours. Nobody's parents said a word.

And we didn't get a fancy patch either.

Blogger sammibandit November 27, 2020 4:45 PM  

VD, did you use the hamburger as bait or make kebabs?

Blogger Latigo3 November 30, 2020 11:34 AM  

Okay, this has to be the funniest and most enjoyable post in a long while. I enjoyed the balloon boy story and your story, so much there. Thanks again Vox

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