It's 6:44 on a Sunday morning and the sun just came up bright and yellow over the backyard so it's as good a time as any to tell the three or four of you more about My American, Radio Life.
Boy was I wrong on the Andrean thing, by the way. I told you in the last installment that producer Ryan Walsh and I met up with the Whelan family and Ed Anderson on Friday night after the Bishop Noll-Andrean game... and that Shannon told us all about the seemingly anti-Mexican things that the Andrean cheering section was doing.
1. a sign that said "ESPN Deportes"
2. a fathead of Donald Trump
3. chants like "Build the Wall" and "You are racist"
Now I told you before that as far as Catholic rivalries go, this one's pretty deep. Bishop Noll and Andrean pretty much hate each other, and I know that Father Weiss would not have approved of the word "hate." But he's not around anymore. In the end, over pizza and beer on Friday night, I thought that maybe Shannon Whelan, in her fervent dislike of anything Andrean, might be exaggerating a bit.
Boy was I wrong. The next morning, the Bishop Noll-Andrean game made it on USA Today. Here's what the article says.
Allegation of racism at Indiana basketball game with Trump Fathead
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made an appearance at another high school basketball game, this time in the form of a Fathead.
The Trump Fathead and a sign that read ESPN Deportes are part of allegations of racism and hate speech being made against the student section at Andrean High (Merrillville, Ind.) for action during Friday night’s game. The opponent, Bishop Noll (Hammond), has a largely Latino student population.
A report from the Times of Northwest Indiana indicated that both student sections were involved in the taunting.
In a tightly contested rivalry game, Bishop Noll (Hammond) beat Andrean 56-52 to win the Gary Diocese Catholic Cup.
This follows racially motivated Trump chants at an Iowa basketball playoff game earlier this week. It also follows what became a national issue about sportsmanship and chants from the stands after a Wisconsin girls basketball player was suspended for five games for criticizing the state association’s sportsmanship policy on Twitter, including the use of profanity.
In a Facebook post that had been shared more than 2,100 times as of early Saturday morning, Ashley Howard wrote this and tagged multiple media outlets.
“Tonight at the Bishop Noll vs. Andrean (both private catholic high schools) basketball game, the Andrean ‘super fan’ section repeatedly help up a sign that reads ‘ESPN DEPORTES’ and a fathead poster of Donald Trump. Bishop Noll’s student body has a great majority of Latino students. And due to the outrageous and racist remarks made in the media by Donald Trump the sign is extremely offensive (as it is meant to be). I ask you….. What kind of administration allows its students to support HATE SPEECH and RACISM openly at a school sponsored event……. A catholic school at that. The two school are always extremely competitive against each other, HOWEVER when do we as adults, teachers, parents, and principals teach the youth what is inappropriate. Is the bible really the backbone of your catholic school when you allow more than unsportsmanlike behavior, you allow your students to taunt with racism. Like and share this post.”
Steve Hanlon from The Times of Northwest Indiana wrote that the Andrean students chanted “build the wall, build the wall” and that Noll students countered with “we’re bilingual.” He added, “Smiles were on all the faces as this back and forth went on.”
Another report from the Times, however, said that the “build the wall” chants were answered with “you’re a racist. The report also indicated that Andrean students responded by pointing to the African-American students in their own section and the Noll students yelled back, “you’re a token.”
... Andrean is in Merrillville, on the edge of Gary. My daughter graduated from there a couple of years ago. And now that I think of it, she was one of only a handful of Mexicans at Andrean. It's mostly whites and black. Bishop Noll, on the other hand, is in Hammond, which may now be majority Hispanic. Bishop Noll is no doubt mostly Hispanic, with its share of blacks and whites too.
For generations, Bishop Noll - and its predecessor Catholic Central - ruled the roost around here. When my wife went there in the late 1970s, there were more than 400 students per grade, and Bishop Noll had top teams in all sports. For the past 20 years, that has not been the case. Alexis served on the board there for a while and it was a constant struggle to keep the doors even open.
Andrean, on the other hand, has been the powerhouse for the past couple of decades. Andrean attracts more students and often beats Noll badly in all sports, especially football.
Things are circling back around again. Bishop Noll, under the direction of board chair Mike Whelan and president Paul Mullaney, is gaining ground. Yesterday, they had a second entrance exam to accommodate the extras who still wanted to take it. That hasn't happened in a while.
So it's not just the difference in the racial makeup of the two schools. It's also the momentum of each. Andrean has been plagued by leadership problems, with presidents and principals coming and going in the past couple of years - amidst controversy. Morale is down. Even state champion football coach Phil Mason just left a couple weeks ago for a job in Michigan City. Andrean is no longer the favorite son. They're sharing the spotlight with the inner-city Catholic school to the northwest.
Throw in the Donald Trump mania that is sweeping the country, and you have a tinderbox. News crews comb the country for anything Trump. He dominates the television every night, as well as dominating the Republican primaries. It's very possible that Trump will be taking on Hillary Clinton for president... and that could be good for ratings.
But if there's that much Trump stuff lifting ratings, as a news person you gotta be on the lookout for anything that remotely involves Trump. So it goes with a Trump fathead at the Bishop Noll-Andrean game, along with the "Build the Wall" chants. It's not right and not it's not fair. But without the Trump connection, there is no article in USA Today.
Chickens need it
With Alexis in New York City, I drove down I-65 yesterday to watch Purdue eek one out over 4th-ranked Maryland. What a scene. 18,000 Hoosiers screaming at the tops of their lungs in the middle of winter on an unusually warm and sunny day in West Lafayette.
Aren't you freaking glad
you're not of bovine ilk?
For me, it was a no speak day. I woke up, ate breakfast at the counter at Commander in Munster, putzed around, and then drove down I-65 in silence to Mackey Arena. I nodded at the guy who checks your badge at the door and then sat in my normal place on the baseline under the basket with my camera. I didn't talk the whole way down and barely to anyone during the game and then not on the way home. This is a huge thing for a guy who talks four hours a day on the radio and then for several more hours running a business.
When I got home and called for the dog - Henry, come, let's go out - I startled myself with my own voice. The silence felt good. Even now, on a Sunday morning with this really bright sun bouncing off the melting snow into Alexis's and my bedroom.
Prairie, trees no leaves
Even though it's warm in the Midwest, it still hasn't been enough to melt all the snow we've had in the past week. Today should do it. It's supposed to be 60 degrees. That should make for mounds of muck everywhere. I plan on JEDgolfing a few holes... and then over to the station to cut up some tape. Other than possibly talking to some guy in a pro shop who can't believe I want to play on such a wet course, I don't plan on speaking to anyone. Not even the three or four of you.