This blog was to be published just after the girls basketball state championship last week, anticipating a Loramie-Minster finals. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic wiped out that possibility. Had it occurred, it would have been the high point of a storied rivalry between these two neighboring schools. To have played in a state championship would have fulfilled every players dream, and to play against your neighboring rival that you’ve literally competed with since elementary school would have been very special. I feel so bad for the players, their coaches, parents and fans from both towns.
Having witnessed our son (#1 below) win a state championship (lacrosse in 1997), that day was one of the happiest moments in his and our lives. Below that picture shows how the boys celebrations differ so much from the girls! Loramie boys baseball state championship photo from a few years back is my all time favorite.
So clearly these girls were unfortunately robbed of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Maybe we can take solace from our Founding Fathers in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, promising only the "pursuit of happiness”, not happiness itself. The long season and preparations that went into reaching a state championship should be considered mission accomplished for both teams.
The Loramie-Minster rivalry was every bit as intense in my day, but unfortunately, boys football at Loramie and girls sports at both schools did not yet exist, so that may have lessened the rivalry to some extent. However, I had literally 21 cousins who lived in Minster among 4 families, so at a very young age, the playground rivalries began during our visits. Plus our family farm, even though in Ft. Loramie, was just a short bike ride through the back roads to Minster, so connecting up with our cousins occurred regularly. Through those visits, we also got to know their friends and neighbors, and in turn they got to know ours. Had the coronavirus existed back then, it would have spread like wildfire among that group. Apparently herd immunity existed back then since we all survived the epidemics of the day as described in this previous blogpost.
Even though the girls didn’t have school sports back then, I can vividly recall my oldest sister holding her own in our playground games with our cousins. At that age, she was about as tall as me and no doubt would have been a great athlete had there been girls sports back then. To this day, she and our younger sister still play tennis as they could always beat me in that game. For all the other sports, I’d let them win occasionally!
Speaking of my sister, the rivalry between Minster and Loramie was also evident during dances at Eagle's Park just north of Minster. Kids from the various towns would hang out in separate sections of the large dance hall, with Loramie and Minster naturally next to each other. Practical jokes and petty jealousies prevailed.
For example, during one of the Friday night dances, I overheard some guy mention the word “skunk”, which didn’t hit home until the next morning when my sister said she had been asked home by a dance goer but they had to catch a ride with friends as someone (from the rival town) as a prank had put a dead skunk in the guy’s car!
Just before big games between the rival teams, respective fans would typically paint the Indian statue mounted in front of the Loramie high school or spray paint rivalry-related graffiti onto the steps and abutments in front of Minster’s high school. There was a town uproar one year when the arm of the Indian was literally broken off. Appropriate retribution was taken and the arm repaired. As shown above, the Indian statue is now protected safely inside the high school (that’s my cousin, Harry in the photo) and the old abutments still show some remnants of the graffiti if you look closely.
One 4th of July, for the umpteenth time, the mail box at the end of our long farm lane was blown up by kids setting off M-80’s and cherry bombs. Dad and I happened to see the culprits this time so we chased them down - yep, kids from that town up north. Dad had them give up their remaining fireworks in exchange for not reporting them to the police or their parents, whom Dad knew. The confiscated goods provided some fun entertainment for the family later that evening.
The rivalry does not relent with age, as my 90 year old Dad while spending his last years in Minster’s Heritage Manor assisted living center, had a room right next to legendary Minster fan Paul Stukenborg as documented in this previous blogpost. Paul would brag that Minster’s St. Augustine's church had two steeples and Dad would return the jab by telling him Loramie’s St. Michael's was taller! God bless them both.
For generations to come, the Minster-Loramie rivalry will forever be bolstered by this year’s state championship runs by both teams and all the speculation of what could have been! Relish the memories and congratulations to both teams.
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