The best of TVFury in 2013

Posted: December 31, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Everyone else does it, so why not us? It’s an editorial mantra that always proves successful. So following the trend, today we’re presenting some of our favorite pieces that ran on TVFury in 2013. Our interns put in a lot of hours tracking this stuff down, digging through the archives, debating — sometimes with raised voices and blunt weapons — their choices. As a reward, they get New Year’s Eve off, once they’re done with some minor housekeeping around 11:30 p.m.

So as the year ends, let’s take a look back at some old favorites. Read them again or read them for the first time. There will be a quiz. As always, thanks for reading us at all. We appreciate it.

We only had three Q&As this year, but I think all three were really enjoyable (disclaimer: I’m the Fury of Fury Files and am biased).

The first was with longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse, a writing hero of mine. My favorite parts of this included the story behind the Turkey of the Year, Reusse on his writing style and his stories about his dad, Richard. This continues to get several hits a day for us. Why? Because a lot of people — more than you would think — search “Patrick Reusse weight loss.” A lot of folks either see Reusse on TV and head to their computer or see him in person and are impressed by his new look.

Veteran magazine writer Peter Richmond talked about studying under John Hersey and David Milch and his classic profile of Tommy Lasorda’s son. And I loved his words on writing, including, “Master the craft, then you’re allowed to try out your art.”

Finally we chatted with Seth Reiss, head writer of The Onion. Actually, Seth is leaving The Onion to be on the writing staff of Seth Meyers’ Late Show. But Seth (Reiss) is an Onion guy for life. Reiss spoke about comedy writing, why The Onion is so good, why Studio 60 was so bad and how a changing media world has changed The Onion.

We’ll hopefully have a few more Fury Files in 2014, provided I can sweet-talk folks into participating.

Despite my immature jabs, Terry solidified his position as TVFury’s soccer expert. No, that’s not a tough accomplishment when I’m the competition, but even as someone who knows nothing about the sport, I enjoyed his takes, written from the perspective of a relative newcomer but someone who’s quickly picking up on the history, nuances and rivalries that make the sport great.

He wrote about Gus Johnson’s reign as a future voice of the World Cup.

In August, our guy from North Dakota wrote about his excitement over the approaching Premier League.

Finally, in October, Terry traveled to Kansas City for a World Cup qualifierStuff like that is out of character for me; I prefer to quietly observe before putting myself out there when it comes to meeting new people. Yet in these circumstances, camaraderie seemed to be the rule, a part of the experience. It was all-inclusive; no soccer snobbery here.

This oral history of the Cleveland Indians from the movie Major League rightfully got a lot of praise. But…TVFury was there first! Not with the Indians, but with other fake movie teams and they were probably my favorite things to write all year. And rightfully deserve a place in The Best American Sportswriting. Anyway.

First up: The 1952 Hickory Huskers, immortalized in Hoosiers. Find out how in the hell a high school hired a coach who’d been on a ship for years and punched players. Why exactly did Norman hire Shooter? Was Norman a bad in-game coach? Could Jimmy Chitwood read?

Then we examined the 1939 New York Knights, who you might remember from The Natural. Why did Roy Hobbs’ girlfriend forget about him for a decade, a night after they made love? Just how bad was Pop as a manager? How did the Pittsburgh manager not intentionally walk Hobbs with the pennant on the line?

Finally, the 1984 All-Valley Under-18 Karate championship, documented in The Karate Kid. Find out how John Kreese motivated by pretending to be a cobra. What did Daniel say about the rumors surrounding Mr. Miyagi? And for the love of god, how big was the rulebook for the championship?

The NBA playoffs were a showcase for…the old Fargo-Moorhead Beez? Terry spent time covering the occasionally bizarre team earlier in the decade and wrote about the squad and the league, all while Chris Andersen was winning an NBA title.

Mostly, Andersen was a skinny pogostick added midseason, apparently from a junior college. He stood out more than Udoka and for non-cosmetic reasons – the dude could fly, but mostly took one-way trips. That is, he seemed to get unusually winded after just a few trips up the floor. This being the IBA, I figured he was a smoker (of some sort) rather than an asthmatic.

The St. John’s football team had a pretty good year, going 7-3 and defeating St. Thomas. But it was unlike any season in 65 years because John Gagliardi was not on the sidelines. And for me, it wasn’t the same. I’m still adjusting. 

Then, in the fall of 1992, I saw Gagliardi on the Sports Illustrated cover, read the story and started learning more about the man, but also the campus. I eventually spent two years there and am grateful for them. Looking at it objectively, it’s absurd that an SI cover played a key role in forking over $40,000 for an education. I’m just glad once I got there my experience fulfilled my expectations.

Both of your humble TVFury correspondents graduated from MIAC schools but both of us have somewhat-detached feelings toward our alma maters (my SJU football fandom aside). Terry wrote about his time at Concordia College in Moorhead, and why he feels like an AWOL alumnus.

Yet I don’t feel any real connection to it. I haven’t been to an alumni event. I don’t follow the sports scores. I don’t buy my kids Cobbers gear or try to pique their interest in the place. I’ll occasionally flip through the quarterly magazine that shows up in the mail – it was cool to find out that Bill Gates spoke there in May. And I haven’t made any donations.

We again benefited from the work of several guest writers and we are very appreciative of their contributions, even from Celtics fans. Rich Jensen — the Celtics fan — wrote several pieces, including one on the Richie Incognito mess.

Dan Frasier wrote about Chip Kelly after his debut and was not impressed. We stand behind our writers at TVFury. That said, all letters of protest — and mocking ones — will be sent to Mr. Frasier.

And Kolbe Nelson, who grew up in South Dakota but now lives in New York City, told us what it was like to be a standup comedian, at least for a few nights. No response. The silence was deafening. I heard someone cough. Oh dear God there is nothing worse than hearing silence pierced by one guy with allergies clearing his stupid throat.

Terry travels a lot for work. Fortunately for TVFury, he always brings his diary as well as his work notebook and writes about the cities he visits, the restaurants he enjoys and the different experiences he dives into.

Terry only stopped for a cup of coffee — and a waffle with granola — in Flagstaff, Arizona. He came away slightly confused after a trek to Spokane, Washington. And he was really out of his element when he visited Outdoor World in Springfield, Mo.

I got old this year, or at least that’s how I felt for a few months earlier this year when I felt my knees aching during basketball. First I dreaded what was wrong with them. And then I got the diagnosis. And this fall? I was back, again, ready to sufferI also need to play because giving it up — whether that’s in two years or 30 — means giving up on something that’s been part of my life since I was 5. It means giving up on something I used to do really well and still do pretty well.

Someone needs to sit down with Terry, give him some coffee to make sure he stays awake and go over how you’re supposed to take vacation. As he wrote in July, vacation is really nothing but a myth when he takes it. 

I took another trip to Cape Town in February, although that one was only for a week. I learned what it was like to have no idea what was going on in the United States. Then I went to my brother-in-law’s wedding on the beach and took some pictures. 

Terry grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota — home of Darin Erstad, FYI — but hadn’t been back in three years. He visited in June.

I was surprised to find memories at every spot – they weren’t all good, of course. But this time they felt more like bygones than open sores.

Tiger Woods will win his 15th major in 2014. Maybe more. Yes, that’s right, my blind belief in an aging, injured, depleted, reduced Tiger Woods remains. But my optimism about Tiger’s game is nothing compared to the true believers on They’re a passionate bunch.

And in August I saw Tiger play in person for the first time. It lived up to my expectations, even if his 72nd-hole magic didn’t.

What if the NBA held a draft with every player in league history eligible? And draft order goes by the franchise’s all-time record? You’d pay, like, $49.99 to watch that, right? This was fun to put together, although controversy still rages. I’ve got the Toronto Raptors taking Magic with the fifth pick and I do not want to see him playing in the north country. But some teams never learn:

Reporter: Lot of concerns about Walton’s health. Played 35 games as a rookie, 51 in his second year. Missed two whole seasons, then played 33 and 55 games. And obviously the franchise hasn’t had the best of luck picking centers. Bill, Bowie, Oden, even LaRue Martin if you want to go back that far. And there are a lot of good players on the board still — literally hundreds of other players you might want to pick instead. Why Bill?
G.M.: Our doctors examined Bill and think he’s going to be healthy for us. Great passer, dominant rebounder and defender. Can’t believe he fell this far in the draft. We really feel lucky and think he’s going to be injury-free.

One day someone’s dog did its business on Terry’s lawn. And then the dog did it again. And then Terry wrote a rant.

This conversation is not about dookie — at least, not really. It’s about the most basic social code, common courtesy. We have to be able to count on one another not to leave animal feces outside our doors. Have. To.

Not much to write about the purple and gold this year — other than the near total-destruction of the franchise, of course — but I did find a scrapbook of mine from 20 years ago that had a bunch of Lakers clippings and childish handwriting.

TVFury got lucky this year when a Minnesota sports dad agreed to share his thoughts.

Barry Wohler might have been the best athlete this state ever produced.
NFL Films still show that Hank Stram matriculating down the field clip? No way that Vikings team should have lost that game. And to lose to that cocky SOB…
No one had stronger hands than Joey Browner.

My mom worked in manufacturing plants basically from the time she was 18 until 63. She finally retired this year and I wrote a few words about her.

I still carry grudges against baseball players who destroyed my dreams 20 years ago when I played Strato. It’s not rational or healthy, but it sustains me, this dislike of Tim Burke, Jack Clark and Alan Ashby.

DEVON WHITE: Speedy centerfielder in a fake league that had no use for speed. Early proponents of Moneyball, we had an unwritten rule — enforced through verbal degradation at offenders — about stealing in Strato. It just wasn’t done, just like you didn’t bring girls down into the basement when we were down there playing Strato. Mike violated both laws.

I missed my 20th high school reunion in September, just like I’ve missed every other one.

I’m always amazed when Terry tells some tales from the Vandrovec household. Through heartbreak and medical traumas that continue, they keep plugging along, all six of them.

Terry wrote about his twins turning 1.

He wrote about Daddy Daycare getting downsized.

And there was the memorable family trip to Lake Okoboji.

And his day spent running with his oldest daughter, Mya.

As 2013 ends, Terry and his wife Jessica’s 3-year-old daughter Kailey is again in the hospital, fighting as always.

2013 was a tough year for all the Vandrovecs. I’m hopeful 2014 is better, safer, calmer, more restful.

As for TVFury, we’ll still be here. We hope you will too.


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