20th Century, Catholic, football, History, Intercession, Minnesota, sports, Uncategorized

Smith Wins Heisman

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Bruce Smith’s number, 54, became the first officially removed from the roster in 1977.**

December 9, 1941
Halfback Bruce Smith (1920-1967), a college football sensation, becomes Minnesota’s first and only Heisman Trophy winner, then goes to Hollywood to play himself in the film Smith of Minnesota.

Smith was born in Faribault, Minnesota, where he excelled in high school football under the legendary football coach Win Brockmeyer. He then attended the University of Minnesota where he played halfback for the back-to-back national champion Gophers in 1940 and 1941. He received the Heisman two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.*

In 1910, the Minnesota Gophers lost the championship to Michigan 6-0. Tackle Lucius Smith, somehow, blamed himself for the loss. He vowed, allegedly, to have a son who would correct this wrong. Bruce Smith was that son. **

The following excerpt is an amplified account of his infamous “Run of the Century” from the Minneapolis Star Tribune written by Joe Christensen.

“That November battle for the Little Brown Jug needed no hype, pitting No. 2 Minnesota against No. 3 Michigan in Minneapolis. Eventual Heisman winner Tom Harmon threw a touchdown pass, giving the Wolverines the lead, and a crowd of 60,481 shivered beneath wind-swept rain.
“I just remember it was a wet day,” said Smith’s youngest sibling, June, who watched with her family at Memorial Stadium, where tickets cost $2.75 apiece.

Her brother’s No. 54 was barely visible with the mud. He stood in his leather helmet in the days before facemasks, a 6-foot, 195-pound force in Bierman’s single-wing offense.
On the play of the day, if not the century, Sonny Franck took the snap at Minnesota’s 20-yard line, heading right. Franck finished third in that year’s Heisman voting, so the Wolverines crashed toward him. But he quickly handed the ball to Smith on the reverse.
Smith hit the hole, jetted through two linebackers, and made a breathtaking cut left to avoid another tackle, sprinting the final 60 yards untouched. The Gophers held on for a 7-6 triumph.
“Some seven Michigan players took their shots at Bruce … yet he kept those hard-driving legs churning and scored,” Harmon later said. “It was a run that would have to be rated as one of the finest football has ever seen.”
Afterward, instead of hanging around campus to bask in the adulation, Smith followed his postgame ritual — jumping in the family car for the 50-mile drive south to Faribault.” ****
In effect, Bruce received the greatest honor in American college football, the Heisman Trophy, yet he contextualized the relevance of the sport in light of the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.
“I think America will owe a great debt to the game of football when we finish this thing off,…”. “If 6 million American youngsters like myself are able to take it and come back for more … and fight hard for the honor of our schools, then likewise the same skills can be depended on when we have to fight like blazes to defend our country.” ***

Mr. Smith maintained a certain heroism at the end of his life also. Struck with cancer, he refused self-pity as he went from 200 to 90 pounds, but sought to encourage and pray with others in the same struggle. He made the rounds with Paulist Fr. William Cantwell who nominated Bruce for sainthood after his death on August 26, 1967. ****,*****

Holy One, the life story of Bruce Smith strikes the author with a sense of awe at his example of servant leadership. Throughout the Scriptures we find this archetype written in the lives of its’ authors. We see patriarchs who form and lead tribes because they have practiced following You in obscurity, total dependency, and want. We see the judges who are both human and erring, and yet reflect Your divinity in superhuman moments of brilliance. We see kings succeed because they continually revere and serve You, therefore, are equipped to rule equitably and wisely lead their nation. We see prophets whom You have broken and humiliated externally, often at the hands of their own foolish authorities, yet live as champions of Your conscience and unfailing love. What will You teach us today, Holy Spirit? What lessons are in the life of this amazing football player and human being for us today? How can this Heisman-winner lead us into rest and repentance?

We thank You for his example of redeeming his father’s sense of failure and shame. We freely confess that we sometimes want our kids to succeed for selfish motives. We should be feeding our kids’ souls regardless of outcomes, not them padding our fragile self-concepts. In spite of the motives of Lucius Smith, You allowed his son to succeed in almost the exact conditions where his father failed?! We thank You for this moment of triumph between father and son. Will You give us a passion for the success of our children like Lucius, but detach their lives from our vows, shame, and egos?

So often, heroism is defined in the blink of an eye. Perhaps this is why your Word constantly calls us to character training. The disciplined mind does not waste time in crisis, but instinctually has chosen beforehand how to respond. Maybe this is a part of Smith’s momentary greatness in his “Run of the Century”? His training overtook his consciousness so that he could simply be in the moment! We thank You that a few moments of his serendipitous action blessed his generation of Minnesotans; both on and off the field! We give You thanks for the supreme beauty of seeing a person being themselves; of fulfilling their purpose so completely that it looks easy! Will You help us remember, right now, this day, that no act of momentary greatness can surpass Easter: Your Passion, Your Crucifixion, and Your Resurrection! Will You inspire our youths’ in Minnesota to actively train their total beings so that they can intuitively and instantly respond with authority to moments of dilemma?

It’s notable that Smith, after this astounding battle against Michigan, responded to victory by just going home. He subtly demonstrates to us that a hero already has a life, and does not attempt to get life out of accomplishments. He defined his own success instead of success defining him. Lord, thanks for his example of fulfillment: he came, he saw, he won, and then he rested. Will You bless us to do the same? Will You help us to choose what success looks like to us, and to relax in it?

Eternal Father, Smith is beloved for many things, but another noteworthy attribute of his was a lifestyle of teamwork. He related to the Gophers as he related to the team of Minnesota as resident, and as a team member of the United States to the threat of World War II. He saw that the principals of winning a football game applied to our American team standing up to existential threats. Jesus, thank You that this young man practiced a lifestyle of teamwork. He saw the necessity to rally his neighbors the same way he rallied his team. He chose to believe that winning is possible, therefore, it is. Will You give the same sense of integration and encouragement to our team’s leaders both present and future?

Bright One, thank You for the light shone through the life of number 54. He realized some brilliant insights early in his walk. Conceivably, the greatest moral of this event in state history is that experiencing heroism makes one want to call out other heroes.

Even as he was dying, he sought opportunities to lift up his team to be cancer survivors. He went out under the spiritual authority of his elders, Father Cantwell, and under You!He wanted share Your heart, the heart of a champion; the heart of faith. Thank You for Bruce Smith and his life of faithful servant leadership! Thanks for Cantwell and the ministry of the Paulist Fathers to: reach out, bring peace, and seek unity. Will You release our generations to: live the same heroic life of faith, to choose our response before a trial, and to be prepared for momentary greatness? We really can win this game! Amen!

“But God gave him back to life, having made him free from the pains of death because it was not possible for him to be overcome by it.” Acts 2:24 BBE ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://gophersports.com/sports/2018/5/21/sports-m-footbl-spec-rel-heisman-html.aspx
*** Written by Joe Christensen for Minneapolis StarTribune, December 12, 2016. http://www.startribune.com/bruce-smith-among-the-greatest-gophers-lifted-a-heisman-trophy-and-american-spirits-75-years-ago/404527966/?refresh=true
**** https://www.paulist.org/who-we-are/bio/fr-william-cantwell/
***** https://www.heisman.com/did-you-know-the-1940s-heismans/
****** https://biblehub.com/acts/2-24.htm

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19th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Social Studies

Reestablishing Dakota Communities in Minnesota

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1865 to 1895
About 150 Dakota who assisted in the punitive expeditions are allowed to remain in Minnesota after the war. They take refuge on lands at Mendota and Faribault owned by Henry Sibley and the Faribault family. As the decades pass, more Dakota find their way back to traditional homelands, living near old villages at Prairie Island and the Upper and Lower Sioux Agencies. In 1889 Congress passes legislation allowing the Dakota to establish communities at Lower Sioux, Shakopee, and Prairie Island. A similar community at old Upper Sioux lands is established in 1938. These four communities are all that remain of federally recognized Dakota land in Minnesota. In addition, several Dakota communities are established in Canada.*

Amazing! This is exactly the type of stuff that I have looked for during this effort. Here are layer upon layer of opportunities for the enemy to build his evil networks to break the society that You have intended in this state of Minnesota. I’m blind apart from You Holy Spirit! I will tell You what I see. Will You guide my prayers and observations? Will You forgive my errors and move me to what is in Your heart?

Lord, is this an attempt to divide and create unforgiveness among brothers? Is this a task that is understandably messy because we are human beings? Proverbs 6:15,19 NIV tells us “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:” one of them being “ a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Holy Spirit, we see the fruit of dissension sown among the Dakota people. Will You forgive the offense of the judgments these two groups had towards each other? Will You forgive this offense? Will You re-establish good faith and trust among the Dakota nation? Will You establish good faith and trust between present Dakota nations and Minnesota nations? Will You bless and restore them to You, the land, and their generations? Will You break the power of the spirit “who stirs up dissension among brothers?”

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, education, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Deaf School 1863

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A state-supported school for the deaf opens in Faribault. Instruction for blind students begins the next year.

Classes are aimed at making students productive members of society: boys learn trades such as printing and girls learn homemaking.*

“Bear in Mind!”
“I. This is not an asylum, but an Educational Institution, and is specially designed to give every deaf and dumb, and every blind child in the State a free education and a knowledge of a useful trade.”

“II. The Common Schools and the University are not looked upon as a public charity, neither should this Institution be so regarded. And education is even more important for these children than for those who can see, hear and speak. Without it they are doomed to a life of ignorance and dependence, but with it they may become intelligent, useful and independent citizens…”
-From Application, 1884. Minnesota School for the Deaf.
Minnesota State Archives Collection, 117.J.9.2

G-d, I’m proud of this moment in my state, and its choice to act in accordance with Your profound interest in every detail of every life! I relish that both our government and individuals saw the hope and promise in these sons and daughters! How good it is when we see through the eyes of our hearts, and commit to the work necessary to fulfill those visions!

Will You bless the city of Faribault for their faithfulness in donating the land for this school? Will You bless its time of waiting, five years, during the Civil War? Will You remember the individuals like Rodney A. Mott and Roswell H. Kinney who had both the vision and persistence required to actuate this delayed dream?
http://www.msad.state.mn.us/About/history/thebeginning.asp

Lord, we are Your creatures! We are Your people! We have sometimes assumed that because someone does not have a gift that we hold dear that they are limited and defective. Help our unbeliefs and misbeliefs! In You, truly, we are all perfected within our imperfections! Help us to view each other as fully worthy of love and respect!

Further, sweet Ruah Ha-Qodesh, because we are in covenant, I ask this day of April 25th, 2016 that you bring glory to Yourself in bringing mass healings of deafness and blindness in Minnesota. Will You open the people of our state for mass healings or restorations of any kind whether: mental hearing loss, emotional astigmatism, spiritual tinnitus, or historical cataracts? Will You forgive our shortsighted hearts? Will You forgive our deafness of soul to Your kind voice? Will You bring revelation to Minnesota in a way that only You can get the honor?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

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