Article reminds us what school pride really means

By: Wayne Gilmore, Team Kong Editor
Sep 24, 2013

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His column from "The Chanute Tribune" from today 9-24-13 is first, my email reply to him and his publisher is second.  More on the Gorillas in a blog later this week. Go Gorillas.  

View from the Sports Desk: Gorillas game not exactly a thriller

Brian McDowell, Sports Editor  
After celebrating last Friday night’s Homecoming with a big win over Parsons, the Chanute Blue Comets football team will be traveling to Pittsburg this Friday to take on the Purple Dragons. Despite having a team name that sounds like it was created by a committee of seven-year-old girls, the Purple Dragons are currently undefeated and are trying to become the best team in the SEK.
Pittsburg actually makes for a much more appealing football rival for Chanute than Iola, because unlike the Mustangs, the Purple Dragons have a legitimate chance to win the match-up every once in a while. When these two teams meet on Friday night, it should be the Comets’ biggest challenge so far this year. It will be interesting to see how Chanute responds.
In preparation for this big showdown, I went and checked out a Pittsburg State Gorillas football game last Saturday to learn as much as I could about the athletic scene in that area.
I am sure that Pitt State is a perfectly fine institution of higher learning, but as a college town, Pittsburg is a bit like Lawrence without all of the bothersome culture, scenery and nightlife. Still, spending time in Pittsburg is tolerable, if only because it has a much better selection of fast food outlets than Chanute.  To me, one of the weirdest parts of living in this community is finding myself defending nearby towns with statements like, “But they have an Arby’s.”
The college football team there repeatedly claims to be the winningest NCAA Division II program of all time. This is a bit like bragging about being the youngest senior citizen, the tallest midget or Chanute's most fervent Obama supporter. It is not an accomplishment that anyone should be hanging their proverbial hat on.
I dragged my girlfriend to the game with me because nothing says romance like watching Division II football.  We discovered that Pitt State’s stadium is old, cramped, and offers a lovely view of a local cemetery.  It is appropriate because the seats at this venue have about as much legroom as the average casket.  
The stadium is referred to as “The Jungle,” which gives the college a cheap excuse to play that Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” tune 382 times during the course of the average game.  The royalties that the original members of that band must get from the constant playing of this song at this venue through the years could probably fund their collective drug habits for at least an hour.
If attendees are smart enough to not pay any attention to what is happening on the football field, Pittsburg State games do offer fans most anything they could possibly want on a Saturday outing: bands, cheerleaders, fireworks, overpriced concessions and souvenirs, gratuitous commercials being played at maximum volume on a Jumbotron. It would be even more ideal if some good football could be seen in the midst of this spectacle instead of a season’s worth of dull blowout Gorilla victories against a series of inept opponents.
Last Saturday, that inept and inevitably blown-out opponent was Southwest Baptist, which is apparently the intellectual center of Bolivar, Missouri. This team featured a bunch of players who seemingly lacked the ability to either move the ball or tackle effectively.  If I walked into any decent-sized Baptist church in the country and picked out a random assortment of able-bodied men, that group would stand a greater chance of actually winning a college football game than Southwest Baptist does with its line-up right now.  Maybe Southwest Baptist coaches should consider trying that approach next year. Then their college team might be good enough not to have to serve as regular-season cannon fodder for the likes of Pittsburg State.  Southwest Baptist suffered a predictable 59-7 defeat at the hands of the Gorillas.  
 Apparently three hours of boring football, cemetery views, and too-frequent playing of that Guns N’ Roses song drives the Gorillas fans to the kind of euphoria it takes to  gallantly tried ignore the ineptitude of the visiting team, and to pretend that their team of choice accomplished something admirable. 
I expect that the high school match-up on Friday night in Pittsburg will give area football fans the chance  to witness a more competitive and fun-to-watch game than any that will be seen at Pittsburg State.
Please send all questions, comments, hate mail, marriage proposals or invitations to be your travel buddy to the next Pittsburg State football game to 
My reply which was also emailed to his Publisher, Shanna L. Guiot (, is below:
I read your recent column and was less than impressed with the quality of the work.  I first thought it was written by a local high school student, but then realized it had to be written by someone not from here. In fact, there is absolutely no way you have a college degree in journalism.  None.  I am amazed that someone who dislikes this area so much, would live in southeast Kansas.  It is a very safe estimate that at least 50% of your readership either attends PSU, has a family member who attended PSU, or has a neighbor with a Bachelors degree from Pitt State.  In addition, I would guess a large numbers of the advertisers in your newspaper have ties to PSU.  
The quality of your writing tells me you do not have a college degree, and the tone of your article screams to me you have absolutely no idea what it means to have school pride. I was a first generation college graduate.  My parents, and grandparents were blue collar folks, who worked hard to provide for us. They did everything they could to make sure I went to college.  Thankfully I did, and excelled when I got there.  At PSU, I realized my potential, and went on to St. Louis to earn a Doctorate in Optometry. I owe a lot to PSU and will never forget that fact.  My reason for saying this is people hold their alma matter close to their hearts and pieces like this quickly become personal.   Again, something you might never know.  
Another clue as to you not being from this area, is Pittsburg State University and Gorilla Football is pretty darn popular in Southeastern Kansas. While its only "small college football" it is a major deal in Pittsburg, KS.  If you were a real journalist, you would do what Tony Adame from the Wichita Eagle did a few years ago before his first feature; come down and spend some time talking to the Head Coach, the University President, the players, and the fans.  You would have walked through the tailgating, you would have called PSU Athletics's Dan Wilkes and asked what you needed to see on game day.  You would know that the NCAA sent a film crew a few years ago to document the best gameday atmosphere in small college football.  You obviously did none of that.  
There is absolutely nothing wrong with critical journalism, when it is appropriate.  In 2009, the Tony Adame's trip I am referencing resulted in a scathing article on then Head Coach Chuck Broyles.  It was tough, but it was fair.  It was responsible.  The difference is that he is a professional.  You are apparently an hourly employee who has very little journalistic training who specializes in childish humor.  
The Parsons Sun is so very lucky to have Jason Peake covering our local sports.  He works hard, is responsible, and cares about his readers.  I feel sorry for my family and friends in Chanute who have to read your work on a daily basis.
By the way, PIttsburg State has an excellent communications department.  Many PSU graduates have great careers in television, radio and newspaper.  You might make another trip to Pittsburg, and have lunch at the Mall Deli, and Dinner at Jim's Steakhouse.  In between go visit the PSU Admissions office and they can give you a tour of the University and the Communications Department.
Wayne Gilmore, O.D.
Parsons, KS


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