'There is not much to brag about here. Except the Bulldogs.'
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'It is eerise to see over 100,000 people tie up their fate in 20 local heroes of UMD, and pathetic to see a town so consumed over so little.'
--Excerpts from THE article by Mick Wurf, Harvard Crimson reporter.
THE ARTICLE was by Nick Wurf, a Harvard sophomore, who wrote his impressions of Duluth and Bulldogmania. They were, well, say, uncomplimentary, the work of a junior Jim Murray, a noted columnist who has taken on larger cities than Duluth and bigger teams than the Bulldogs.
Wurf's observations appeared in The Crimson, Harvard's student newspaper, and reprinted in this paper Friday. It was the talk of the town, and what people were saying wasn't nice.
Quipped Bulldog Coach Sertich: "When I got up I was alone in the house, except for the dog. And the dog was barking at the newspaper."
"How did the article get into the Duluth paper?" Wondered Cleary. "I mean, why? These student newspapers feel they can write anything they want. I haven't talked to them for eight years. Now, it'll probably be at least another eight before I do."
Well, Bill, Harvard is a big school and draws student from all over the world, as you know. Even from Duluth. And at least one of those on campus was upset about the article.
JOE WRIGHT, a Harvard senior, had been bolting down his ears flakes at his at his dormitory cafeteria Thursday morning, about to head for class, when a headline in The Crimson caught his eye.
"Buldog hockey mania: only show in town." Screamed the bold letters.
"Hey, the Buildings," he thought to himself. "Must be something about my hometown." Wright is the son of John and Peggy Wright, 4621 Cook St., Duluth, and majors in German at Harvard.
He said he read the story and didn't digest his breakfast too well. The more he read, the more upset he got, he said.
"I'm pretty offended by some of the things this guy wrote." Wright said in a call from Cambridge. Mass. "We both know that Duluth hasn't had the greatest luck in the last few years, but to go this far overboard and abuse the city when he's there to see a sporting event is unacceptable.
"I just wanted to lot somebody at home know about this. I'd like the (Harvard) hockey team to know about it. I was thinking about rooting for Harvard, but I'm loyal to Duluth, too. For someone to go into a town he's never been to before and write something like this without provocation is incredible. This part kills me, where he says: The lack of support for the (Harvard) hockey team is sometimes frustrating.
"No kidding. I played hockey when I was a kid and when I was a freshman the Harvard team wasn't that good, but I used to go to all their games. I was one of only a few hundred fans there," said Wright. "The next year they make the NCAAs and it's crowded all the time, but I've got people in front of me asking. "What's icing?" 'What's off-side?'
"He (Wurf) says, 'It is the richness of the Harvard community that fosters thedisinterest.' But it's the same thing that goes on at football games out here," Wright said. "The fans sit on their hands. I don't understand why it upsets him that a town could back its hockey team like Duluth does, rather than not be able to sell tickets to games.
"When I left Duluth. I thought I was going to the big time at Harvard, but I've come to appreciate home a lot more since I've been out here," Wright said.
Why publish Wurf's story in Duluth? It seemed like the thing to do. It sure got people's attention, and maybe added something to the rivalry, too.
Bennett is associate sports editor of the News-Tribune & Herald.