Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Football team gets monkey off its back

September 15, 2004

The McLouth Bulldogs bid farewell Friday night to a longtime companion with a funeral of sorts.

The ceremony, however, was far from mournful.

After MHS outlasted Wathena, 13-12, MHS coach Harry Hester, his players and Bulldog fans migrated from the football field to a hill between the game and practice fields.

With Friday's win, the Bulldogs snapped a five-year losing streak at home. In week 1, MHS defeated Horton to end a 20-game losing skid.

After that first win, Hester told his players they ripped one monkey off their back and were looking to dismiss the other Friday.

When that became a reality, the purple faithful trotted with shovels in hand to the burial site.

"Somebody just brought it up," Hester said. "Hey, you've got a monkey off the back."

So Hester ran with it.

He went to a local store and purchased two toy monkeys. The first one was buried during one of the team's practices before the Wathena game. The second was everywhere last week -- the practice field, the locker room, the high school hallways and even around Hester's neck.

"It made noises like a monkey," Hester said. "I told the kids it was people laughing at us."

Every time players made mistakes in practice, Hester would push a button and the laughs would ensue.

Hester admitted the team didn't have the best week of practice, so the monkey got a bit of a workout.

But on Friday, after the Bulldogs held off a Wathena rally, it was time to celebrate.

Players and fans pitched in with Hester to bury the second monkey next to monkey No. 1.

After seniors dug the hole, fans dumped dirt on monkey No. 2.

"There was closure," Hester said. "He's done, he's dead."

Or is he?

The second monkey wasn't buried as deep as the first. Hester said that the something occasionally triggers the noisebox in the toy.

"Children of the corn or the walking dead, or Jason," Hester said with a laugh, referring to some horror movie characters. "I guess he never dies.

"That's good because we need to be aware of where we came from and be aware what can happen if we stop working."

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