Unheralded

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — The Fresh Rinse of Bull Air

Jimmy Butler earned his basketball bravado playing for the Chicago Bulls. Unfortunately when he joined the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was mostly just full of bull. Oh, there’s no doubt Butler is a baller. But sometimes there’s addition by subtraction. When the disgruntled dribbler was finally traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, along with injured rookie Justin Patton, the Wolves …


Unheralded

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — October Optimism For Old-Timers

Minnesota’s average temperature in mid-October is just short of 60. So when it’s been raining for a week, we’re already covering our plants, and there’s 6 inches of snow in parts of North Dakota, depression can set in easily. For the baseball fan, October is supposed to be a happy time. Play-in games followed by playoff games followed by the …


TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Still Working To Improve My Punmanship

I’ve never bothered to heed the warnings: Samuel Johnson described the pun as “the lowest form of humor.” John Dryden concurred, calling it “the most groveling kind of wit.” OK, I’ll admit that those two may be among the greatest literary figures of all-time. But what did they know? Then again, I guess I’ve had my fair share of more …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Baseball: Best Of Times Or Worst Of Times?

The All-Star Break has come and gone and baseball junkies can go back to their daily fixes this weekend as a full schedule of games resumes Friday. But the annual downtime in mid-July has again ramped up discussion about the general state of the game. Just by chance, I attended the Minnesota Twins’ final game before the break. It seemed …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Making Sense Out Of Our Futility

As I drove across town Thursday on one of the first lovely afternoons in an otherwise lousy spring, I attempted to put a positive spin on life in Minnesota. Sure, we’ve had April temperatures 30 degrees below normal. And yes, I could still see, out of the corner of my eye, those dirty, lingering snow piles along the side of …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Living A Sheltied Life

It’s been a long, cold winter. I know. … After all these years of living in Minnesota and North Dakota, I should be used to it by now. In fact, I freely admit to having sneered with derision at those overmatched out-of-towners who complained all the way to the airport, upon spending a few moderately cool days here for Super …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Living In Denial

They call them “gawker slowdowns.” Delays caused by curious spectators unable to resist checking out a major accident. While we may shake our heads and feel bad for the victims, there’s often a bit of relief, maybe even some sadistic satisfaction it wasn’t us involved in that car wreck. I grew up in the Twin Cities, earned my degree from …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — What’s In Your Wallet, Viking Fans?

It’s been nearly 41 years since the Minnesota Vikings last played in a Super Bowl. We’ve had seven presidents in that time. The price of gas has risen about two bucks a gallon since the Purple fell to John Madden’s Oakland Raiders back on Jan. 9, 1977. While the Vikings played in relative splendor that day in Pasadena, Calif., Twin …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Can Teddy Bear Up Or Is Case Your Ace?

Super Bowl LII is only 80 days away. It’s coming to Minnesota before you know it.  But if you follow pro football, you know a lot can happen in much less time than that. To properly illustrate this point, let’s go back just 65 days. It’s late Monday night, Sept. 11. Your Minnesota Vikings have just disposed of the New …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Walking, Writing and Wondering

When I don’t know what else to do, I like to take walks.  Or write.  Yesterday, I did both. The walk had to come first, because I find it helps me think a bit more before attempting to just pound out random thoughts.  That’s always a good thing. And the cool, cloudy conditions were definitely a factor in my brisker-than-normal …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Purple Pain Just A Part Of NFL’s Bane

A chilly Sunday morning gradually blossomed into a gorgeous, late summer afternoon. But being a golfer of marginal talent and fully aware that our local football team had an enticing matchup in Pittsburgh, I still wondered if I’d made the right choice. Our annual fraternity scramble was on tap at the University of Minnesota course, and I’d reluctantly agreed to …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — As Hopes Peter Out, Twins Become Sellers

The dog days of August have arrived and our favorite baseball team is apparently “rebuilding” again. For the better part of four months, the Minnesota Twins teased local fans with a brand of ball just good enough to make us believe there was hope. In fact, as recently as July 20, the Twins were within a half-game of first place …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — The Bittersweet Experience Of Growing Old

It’s been a busy last few months, as a part-time job has become more “full” than “part.” At 64, there’s this ever-growing struggle between the need for self-worth and the realization that it might not be wise to put off retirement too long. Senior discounts and AARP notices have already become staples for several years. At this age, we begin …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Walking The Twins’ Tightrope

The Minnesota Twins lost 103 games last year. Their pitching has been among the worst in the major leagues for several seasons. Fan interest has plummeted, as they approach their eighth season at beautiful Target Field. So in the offseason, the club made significant moves in the front office, hiring young and promising executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — OMG! Gophers Becoming A BFD

Pay a visit to TCF Bank Stadium sometime and you’ll think you’re entering a time warp.  University of Minnesota football fans know what I’m talking about. Those banners waving in the wind atop the facility pay homage to the Gophers’ proud history. Seven national championships. A whopping 18 Big Ten titles. Sounds impressive, right? There’s just one problem. That last …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — More News Isn’t Necessarily Good News

My love of journalism began with my local paper. The largest newspaper in Minnesota, it originated as the Minneapolis Tribune in 1867 and the competing Minneapolis Daily Star in 1920. A few years later, the two consolidated, with the Tribune published in the morning and the Star in the evening. Eventually, they merged in 1982, creating the Star Tribune. A …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — The Pain Of Being A Gopher

It’s listed on my Facebook and Twitter pages. “Long-suffering Gopher fan.  Hopeless Gopher fan…” I admit to owning worn-out maroon slippers with the gold Minnesota logo. They’re so old, the stitching has come loose. Minnesota merchandise is everywhere. My fading gold T-shirt. The heavy Gopher jacket for cold weather games. The lighter, maroon version for early fall. Even the snazzy head gear that makes me look like I’m …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Is It Senseless To Seek A Consensus?

It’s been just over one week since Americans went to the polls to elect a president. Somehow, it feels like much longer. In the hours and days that followed, some have despaired. Others rejoiced. There have been protests in the streets. We should have seen this coming, regardless of the outcome. For months prior to the election, there were articles …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Are We Allowed To Get Excited Yet?

If you bleed purple, then you know the feeling. Just about the time you think your favorite football team is finally ready to win the BIG ONE, something happens that only a Minnesota Viking follower would understand. 65 Toss Power Trap.  41 Donut.  Wide Left.  12 Men in the Huddle. If you not only make sense of these phrases, but …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Trending To The Back In The Front Office

As another steamy summer slips slowly southward, I’ll remember this one for two reasons: monstrous Midwestern mosquitoes and batches of bad baseball. Yes, our lawn has never looked greener in late September,  but I’m looking forward to the fall. I would imagine the Minnesota Twins are, too. It seems we’ll both be eager to get the bugs out. While the …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — A Stand For The Brand Or The Need For Greed?

About 20 years ago, I was teaching a Television Editing class at the then Brown Institute. The focus of the class was to help students learn how to use video cameras, edit tape and put together short commercials or news stories. One of the challenges was to identify newsmakers and line them up for interviews. As the years progressed, our …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Empathy And Respect Are Lost Virtues

I woke up today feeling sad and depressed. An aging, white guy nearing retirement, I probably don’t deserve to feel this way. After all, I’ve had the tremendous fortune of living in a free and powerful country. We weren’t rich, but our family had enough money to live in a relatively safe neighborhood, I attended a good school and eventually …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Regarding Reunions

The e-mail was friendly, but firm. My high school reunion was coming up in August and the organizers needed a check. Never one to rush into making payments of any sort, unless absolutely necessary, the temptation to ignore the message for a few more weeks was admittedly strong. But upon reading further, I caught the line about the “five dollars …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Missing The “Win” In Twins

Did you hear the one about the four Minnesota sports fans who walk into a bar? The Minnesota Wild hockey fan is bragging to the others about his team’s good fortune. “We just hired one of the winningest coaches in NHL history!” he crows with glee. Unimpressed, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ fan is quick to respond. “Well, we just hired one …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Trying To Make Sense Of The Wild

As a college professor, every so often I would encounter a student who left me perplexed when it came time to determine their final grade. A strong score on the last test was encouraging, but their overall numbers were still barely good enough to pass the class. Were they struggling to comprehend the curriculum or simply putting in just enough work …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Watching Mom Grow Old

Impatience. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my childhood years. Well, maybe even my older ones. It’s just that there always seemed like there were a million things to do and never enough time to do it. As a Baby Boomer, we had more choices than our parents. And now, our kids have far more …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — A Wild Week, While Wondering Why

On Valentine’s Day 2016, Minnesota Wild fans probably felt heartbroken. For the third consecutive year, their hockey team had slumped in midseason. But this dry spell had become so extended,  so desperate, that Head Coach Mike Yeo was given a pink slip instead of a red box of candy. Eight consecutive losses. Thirteen of 14 defeats shortly after the new …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Purple Pride Can Be Painful

After Sunday’s still painful Minnesota Vikings’ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, most of us who follow the Purple are again left shaking our heads. How can such a proud and storied franchise continue to have so many historic heartbreaks? Amidst the aftermath of that frigid football finale, it’s time to accept that this is simply a part of our …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — The Last Chance To Be Cold … And Love it

When my cellphone rang the other day, I was tempted not to answer it. After all, I was comfortably relaxed on the couch, cuddled up with a blanket, watching another ballgame on the big screen. Not to mention, our gas fireplace was hard at work nearby, making it extremely difficult to move more than an inch, let alone respond to …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — The Need To Listen

As a broadcasting instructor, I teach a studio class that offers tips on how to become a better interviewer. Some of the advice is just good common sense. If you’re using a hand held microphone, don’t ever give the mic to your guest because you might not get it back. Avoid asking questions that might only elicit “yes” or “no” …

TOM COYNE: Back in Circulation — Baseball Can Be Worth The Wait

The major league baseball playoffs are in full swing and if this year’s early games are any indication, we could be in for a memorable fall.  There have already been masterful pitching performances, monstrous home runs, odd plays and plenty of drama.  Toss in the fact that the four teams still alive haven’t won a World Series in at least 22 years …

TOM COYNE: Back in Circulation — “MNF,” “TNF” Or “MTNF”?

When “Monday Night Football” made its television network debut on September 21, 1970, the National Football League was hardly the ratings juggernaut it has become today.  In fact, CBS and NBC wanted no part of then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s pie-in-the-sky plan to expand the professional game’s coverage.  Only ABC, the network with the last-place ratings, reluctantly agreed to try this experiment. …

TOM COYNE: Back in Circulation — Another Day in America

I watched the “CBS Evening News” last night.  Not surprisingly, the lead story was about another shooting.  But because this one involved journalists, in a small market, covering an everyday story about a worthwhile community activity, it resonated a bit more. No, this wasn’t KXMD in Williston, N.D.  Or KXMB in Bismarck.  Or KXJB in Fargo. But the faces of …

TOM COYNE: Back in Circulation — Sources of Confusion

In 1981, I was a young broadcaster at KXMD-TV in Williston, N.D.  Although the station had hired me to be their sports director, it became clear early on that I would wear many hats, due to the small staff and limited resources.  That included shooting video and doubling as a news reporter from time to time. One afternoon, our News …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Grading The Twins

As a college broadcasting instructor, it’s my responsibility to give each of my students an update on his or her performance about halfway through each semester.  The report is designed to praise students for their positive achievements, offer suggestions on how they might improve in other areas and, maybe most importantly, catch any trouble spots before it’s too late. While …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — Brainerd or Bangkok?

It was the morning after Labor Day, 1962.  I was a shy, nervous fourth-grader, attempting to fit in with my classmates on the first day of school.  Having moved from southeast Minneapolis to suburban Golden Valley, Minn., just a year before, I was slowly building friendships but still a little gunshy. Mrs. Larson, who eventually would become one of my all-time …