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Finding Tim

A Fourth Alternate Reality

by Charlie
With editorial assistance from Dix and John


Thanksgiving of 1982 had been spent in Minneapolis, and we celebrated the birth of Max. Thanksgiving dinner had been at Norman and Betsy's house, and had involved all the Gang, plus both Tina and Merle's parents. They'd decided to share most of the story of Max's conception with Merle's folks, and they were surprisingly understanding. Once they accepted the fact that Merle was medically unable to be a father, the idea that it should be Tim rather than some anonymous donor didn't seem too outrageous. Thus on Thanksgiving we were able to be open and honest, and congratulate both Tim and Merle on their coming fatherhood. Tina was as big as a balloon, and eager for the trip to the hospital, which would come in three days.

Christmas was back in Grand Forks. We hosted almost all of the Gang at Dakota House. Phil, Franklin, Jerry, and Judy were the guests of Peter and Norma, who decided that a more intimate family gathering would be nice. They'd insisted on inviting Phil's brother Jerry as an important part of the family.

We still had a big group at Dakota House and we had a wonderful time. We'd long since banned Christmas presents within the Gang (it would get totally out of hand), but we exchanged good cheer with the same gusto that we would've given to gifts. Afterwards, Tim and I snuggled into bed and talked about the year just past and the one to come. I asked Tim, "How does it feel to be a father, and did you ever think it'd happen?"

"Wonderful, and yes. And I'm betting that you'll get your chance. Tina's going to want a second, a girl if possible. Think you can father a girl, Charlie?"

"What makes you think me, not you?"

"Simple, I'm betting that that's what Tina will propose, and if she doesn't I won't make my sperm available until she's tried yours."

"Don't you think that should be her decision?"


"Just, 'No.'"

"Just, 'No.' Tim continued, "What shall we do for New Year's this year?"

"Get off by ourselves. Someplace remote. Someplace exciting. Someplace where we won't be recognized."

"Hudson Bay, maybe?"

"Very funny."

"I was being serious."

"Very funny."

"I'll repeat: I was being serious."

"I'll repeat: very funny."

"Charlie! Listen up."

"To what? Your wild ravings about going to Hudson Bay for New Year's Eve?"

"Absolutely. Churchill, Manitoba, is on the south shore of Hudson Bay, you can reach it by train, and it actually does function in the winter. Let's go. The train ride will be fun, the town will be interesting, I'll get winter cold out of my system, and climbing into bed with you on cold nights will be exciting. Remember tenting in the snow?"

"You're really serious, aren't you?"

"Of course. Let's do it, Charlie. Please."

"You must really want this badly to beg like that."


"Are you sure it's possible?"

"I make a final check tomorrow. If it can be worked out, will you come with me?"

What could I say? The kid was flat out crazy, but I already knew that-especially when it came to things like cold, snow, winter, and ice. And Hudson Bay offered all of those, in spades. And I knew we weren't going to stay inside warm buildings. Like a fool, I said, "OK."

I got a big kiss, and later a wonderful suck. But I knew I was in for it at New Year's!

It turned out that there was one hotel in Churchill open in winter. There was a train three times a week from Winnipeg-and it was a thirty-five hour trip! We quite easily got reservations for both; it seems the demand isn't very great in the winter-even at New Year's-I wonder why? Sadly, Churchill isn't known for wild New Year's Eve celebrations. No ball, no ragtime band, not even Lawrence Welk. We were booked on a train that would arrive on December 31. We'd spend two nights in the little hotel, leaving in the evening of January 2. We'd be back in Winnipeg on the 4th and back in Grand Forks on the 5th-if we hadn't frozen to death somewhere along the way.

Tim was excited and happy as a lark as we drove to Winnipeg, Wednesday, December 29. We'd board an evening train, and spend two nights on it before we got to Churchill. We drove around Winnipeg and found a good outdoor store. I insisted that Tim buy himself a good, warm coat. The coat he had was once a good, warm coat, but it depended on a zip-in lining that Tim had long since lost. Tim resisted, but I told him that if he didn't have a decent coat, I wouldn't board the train with him. He got the coat. I also insisted on long underwear, better gloves than we owned, and balaclavas.

We headed for the train, where we planned to eat dinner to help while away the time. It had no fancy accommodations, just seats, upper berths, or lower berths. We'd had our choice and had chosen to share a lower berth. The berths weren't made up as we boarded the train, but we headed to the diner-more of a snack bar, in reality-and found our berth made up on our return. The porter told us, "You don't have to share. I'll be glad to make up a second berth for you. No charge."

I'm sure that he was hoping that the money saved would provide him a big tip, but we weren't sleeping together to save money. I assured him that we wanted to be together, but that he needn't worry about getting a decent tip for the trip. We headed to the bathroom and washed up, and crawled into our berth. It was plenty wide, and very comfortable. We'd kind of assumed that the train would head north out of Winnipeg and go near or by Lake Winnipeg. Not so. We headed west along the main line about fifty miles to the little town of Portage la Prairie. Then we headed northwest through the forests of Manitoba. With the early sunset of winter and almost no human settlements, we looked out the window at darkness for most of the night. We know that we passed within view of Lake Winnipegosis not long before dawn, but we didn't see it. We pulled into The Pas midmorning. The town of The Pas is the last point on the trip that we could've reached in an automobile-at least we could have in summer. I really don't know, but I think they keep the road to The Pas open most or all of the winter. Then we had a day of looking at the subarctic scenery, as forest gave way to tundra. Early nightfall took us back to our berth.

I'd told Tim in no uncertain terms that if I was going to go on this crazy trip with him that I expected all the sex I wanted, when and where I wanted it, any way I wanted it. He agreed, but refused to tell me where he'd hidden his chastity belt! I wouldn't have wanted to use it on the trip anyway. We took full advantage of the privacy of the lower berth, and didn't keep track of how or how often we took that advantage! I can't say that it was the best part of the trip, but it was certainly the best part of the train trip.

The porter was an interesting fellow. In the US all Pullman porters were African-Americans. No so in Canada. This man was a French Canadian, who spoke English with a considerable accent. He was intrigued that we wanted to sleep together in the bunk, having just assumed that we'd booked that way to save money-evidently a common practice on this train. We assured him that we liked to sleep together, and he got the message quickly. His eyes lit up and he said, "Oh, you're queer. How stupid of me not to figure it out. That's kind of neat. You're the first pair I've had on the train-at least the first pair that told me. Who knows about the others that I thought were just saving money." He winked.

At first, we were a little put off by his use of the word queer. But as the conversation went on and he used it again, we realized that he didn't think of it as a pejorative term at all. His English wasn't native, and he'd learned queer for homosexual man, and used it like we used gay. I think he appreciated it when we told him that most queers would rather be called gay. He got his nice tip.

We arrived in Churchill on New Year's Eve, having spent the whole of the 30th on the train. We weren't in the land of the Midnight Sun (or midnight darkness in winter), so we could expect some daylight, and by nine in the morning there was a sunrise. But the sun hangs low in the sky all day-well the day is about six hours at that time of year-and never gets very bright. When we first contemplated the trip to Hudson Bay, we were thinking it was farther north than it is. It's just below 59 deg. north latitude, which means that it's south of nearly all of Alaska. We would've had to go a lot further north in summer to see the Midnight Sun, which occurs only above the Arctic Circle.

We walked from the train station to our hotel and settled in-there were more guests than we expected, explained by the fact that it was winter and this was the only hotel open. Then we headed out to walk around the town. Tim had to admit that he was glad that I'd insisted on the heavy coat. It was well below zero and there was a pretty strong wind off the bay. In fact, we learned that Churchill was known for that wind out of the north, and it caused an early and large ice buildup that made Churchill harbor only usable for shipping three months out of the year. It was well before weatherpersons did a lot of talking about wind chill, and I think I'm glad. I don't really want to know what the wind chill was those three days in Churchill.

We were told that there'd be a midnight bonfire on the edge of the bay to usher in the New Year. We joined the crowd, if the whole of Churchill in the winter could be called a crowd. It was a huge fire, they sang a little, drank more than a little, and dispersed quickly after the stroke of midnight. We left as well, tired of stamping our feet to keep them from freezing. Bed, under a huge pile of blankets, was wonderful. Tim and I hugged like we hadn't since we were out snow camping in Minnesota's Northwest Angle.

There were two feet of snow on the ground, but none coming down. The days we were there were cold, but sunny-to the extent that it ever really got sunny in the winter that far north. We rented snowshoes and ventured out of town on both land and bay ice. Believe me, we needed more than tee shirts! We were well bundled up and had a lovely day snowshoeing through the area. We were gone almost six hours, and that used all of the daylight for the day. We had dinner in our hotel and spent the early evening chatting with other guests in the lobby. With the early darkness the evenings were long. That tended to bring the hotel guests together in ways not seen in southern climes. People come north in winter for odd reasons, at least odd to other people. Our visit as tourists in winter was considered the oddest. A couple of the men were involved in sea ice research. Another was winding up the season's polar bear studies. Two were salesmen for snow equipment and commercial kitchens respectively. One was sure that he'd found a place where legal process servers would never find him. Others avoided that conversation, choosing not to give their reasons for being in the north country. And, for two or three, this was a warm southern clime, since they'd come down from camps much farther north.

The next day, our last in Churchill, we walked around town, visiting every open store and public building. Most were closed for the season, but we had an interesting day. People had time to chat and be friendly. Soon it was time to head over to the station and start the journey back. It was long, slow, uneventful, and loving. Even Tim seemed to enjoy the forced relaxation, before we were forced back into the hustle and bustle of exams, a new term, and all of the other pressures of academic life.

We arrived in Winnipeg on the second morning and headed to the antique store run by Bill and Art, whom we'd visited on our last trip to Winnipeg. They couldn't believe that we'd just come down from Hudson Bay, and insisted that we stay with them that night and tell us the whole story. They told us of the visit they'd had from Harry and Lida, and of a return visit they'd made to see Harry and Lida in Minot. Tim and I knew that they'd let down their sexual barriers on the visits with Harry and Lida, but we made no moves in that direction. We knew that we had to keep faith with the Gang and not expand our sexual partners at this time. We were pretty sure that Bill and Art were safe, as were Harry and Lida. But we knew that if we started making assumptions like that, eventually the Gang would be penetrated. We had all agreed on a rule, and we were pretty sure everyone was following it. Certainly Tim and I were.

The next day we were off to Grand Forks, and back to the routines of university life, and Tim's routines of diving and gymnastics. He was relentless in following his standard regimen. I still don't know where he gets his determination.

Sharon invited us over for dinner shortly after our return from Canada. She, Ronnie and Kyle had been to a major high energy physics conference sponsored by the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society in Snowmass, Colorado, the previous summer-1982. It'd been a major gathering of high energy physicists from around the world. All of the fellows at the Institute for Advanced Physics had attended. He reported that the buzz was about the need to build a much larger super collider than presently existed. Interest in the idea had begun in 1978 and 1979 in a series of International Committee on Future Accelerators (ICFA) workshops.

The reason for the invitation this evening was that as a result of a paper he'd delivered at the conference, and his significant contributions to the work at the conference, Ronnie had been appointed to the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP), a joint advisory panel of the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation-a very prestigious appointment for both Ronnie and UND's Institute. In addition, Sharon had been very active in the planning going forward to make the Snowmass Summer Study an annual event. She became part of the planning team of the American Physical Society. Our dinner invitation was to give us advance notice of these two forthcoming, very prestigious announcements. The UND Institute for Advanced Physics was gaining deserved recognition.

I'm going to jump ahead of the story a little. HEPAP produced a report later in the year which called for "immediate initiation of a multi-TeV high-luminosity proton-proton collider project with the goal of physics experiments at this facility at the earliest possible date." This large leap forward in the scale of accelerator technology was agreed to be necessary to elucidate the physics of electroweak symmetry breaking, and hence necessary for continued progress in high- energy physics. We were glad that Ronnie, and a few others at UND, actually understood that.

Fred understood the implications of the report immediately. He gathered Tim and I, along with the senior fellows at IAP, at a meeting in Tim's office. He put his cards on the table right away. "Look, they're getting serious about building this super collider thing. It'll be huge and take a lot of real estate. North Dakota has a surplus of flat real estate. We have top level scientists at the IAP. I'm suggesting, very strongly, that right now we toss our hat in the ring to have the super collider built right here."

We were picking our jaws up off the floor. We knew that many much more prestigious institutions would be competing, and that politics would be very influential in selecting the site at which so many dollars would be spent. "We don't have a chance," was the unanimous response.

"Oh, yes we do. We have a number of things going for us: First, we're ahead of the game; I'll bet nobody else is thinking this far ahead. Second, we, especially Tim, but not limited to him, play politics very well. Third, I think that we can gather a political consortium of the northern tier, stretching west, to demand that they get their share of the financial goodies, and only the IAP can be in the running for this prize. And last, we have Ronnie, Sharon, Kyle and the others at the IAP. They're smart, savvy, and getting recognized. We can parlay that."

Our jaws hadn't left the floor. But it was exciting. Fred was thinking and talking like Tim at his best. Tim looked at Ronnie at the others from the IAP. "Is this even remotely doable?"

Sharon said, "Remotely." Ronnie nodded.

Kyle said, "The whole idea is exciting. We certainly do have the real estate in North Dakota, and that would lower the cost. I'm not sure that we have the needed technical work force, but they are available in Minneapolis. I don't know the politics, but that seems problematic."

I said, "OK, we can agree that if we launched this effort, and succeeded, it would be a fantastic coup for the IAP, the university, the state, and the region. But what's the downside? If we pour all of the needed effort into this and the super collider gets built in Texas, or doesn't get built, what have we lost?"

Fred said, "That's what's sweet about this deal. We still win. By making a serious case, we establish the university and the IAP as serious players in the world of the advanced sciences. We strengthen the IAP, and well as the physics and chemistry departments. It forces us to build bridges with NDSU in Fargo, especially with their College of Engineering and Architecture. We'll have to raise and spend a lot of money, but it'll all be spent in North Dakota which can only help the economy. Sure, losing will be a big disappointment, but we'll get over it. In the meantime we'll have built up tremendous confidence and learned a lot. It's win-win."

Tim sat quietly, clearly thinking. I knew what he was thinking, and what came out of his mouth next didn't surprise me at all. "Let's do it." Had I not agreed, I would've interrupted his thoughts and perhaps spoken with him privately. But we were on the same wave length. Fred was a good salesman.

Tim turned to Prof. Will Carleton of the IAP, "Will, you're the man who put together the IAP. And you did a magnificent job. Are you ready for another assignment?"

"Me? You're kidding. You're talking about a mammoth undertaking. It'll take a full time manager and a staff to put together a bid to build the super collider, not to mention a lobbying staff, design staff. My God. The scope of the job is staggering."

Tim said, "I'll take that as a, 'Yes,' since you clearly understand the scope of the job. Kyle will arrange for you to set aside all other responsibilities at the IAP as you need to to take on this job. Work out staffing with Fred; his foundation will be providing the start up funding." He turned toward Fred, "Right, Fred?"

"Of course. I need to keep reminding you that you and Charlie control expenses from those funds, not me."

Tim ignored that and just kept on going. "We need to meet right away with Liddy. I suspect that this may be the biggest project of her career. This thing's just going to eat money, I know."

Will caught the spirit of the day. He said, "I'll set up the meeting with Liddy right away. I think you'd better be there for the first meeting, Tim, so that she knows you're backing the effort. Kyle and I will put together a planning team right away. We'll have to keep Ronnie at arms length, because he's part of HEPAP and might have a conflict of interest."

Both Tim and I were aware that Will had never said that he'd do the job; he'd just started doing it. Tim wouldn't have it any other way. We had no idea at this time, and wouldn't have for years, of the major impact that this meeting would have on all of our lives.

Jumper opened summer football practice with a bang. He had the number 41 plastered everywhere he could find space. He was determined to have another undefeated season, and he wasn't keeping his ambitions secret in the least. The fact that he had a game scheduled with the Michigan Wolverines, one of the top teams in the nation, didn't seem to faze him. His comment in that regard was always, "They only get to field eleven men at a time; it's our eleven against their eleven. When you consider that our eleven are from way up north where they grow the likes of Paul Bunyan, and our eleven are led by the fearsome Nate Hallen, coached by Jumper Wilson, I don't see what all the fuss is about."

The "41" patches on the uniforms this year were much bigger, and the numbers were candystripe pink and green. This led Tim to talk with Jumper about what would happen when they lost a game-if they lost a game. "Aren't your players going to be crushed?"

"By one silly loss. Hell, no. They know they're good. One game will just be a minor setback."

"But it'll end your streak."

"We'll start a new one."

"You really think your team can bounce back from a loss like that, after the big buildup around the number 41?"

"Sure. You have to have faith in these guys. But we've talked. They know all streaks come to an end. We'd all rather it was on next year's watch, or the year after. But it'll come. And they know, absolutely know, that I'll think just as highly of them when they're in a streak of one as I do a streak in the thirties. In the meantime, we're on a roll. Look out Michigan. Look out number 41. Do you want to talk about next year?"

This guy made Tim look like a piker. No wonder Tim had liked him from the very beginning. Together they just might be dangerous.

In the second game of the season, at home against St. Cloud State University-only in its second year in the North Central Conference--Jumper finally got his 77 to nothing shutout. The team and the fans went wild, as they watched Nate and Johnny Cross, the back-up quarterback, dominate the games, marching relentlessly down the field, eleven times almost in a row. Only one possession didn't lead to a touchdown. They made nine of the extra point conversions, missing on the sixth touchdown. The next attempt Nate passed into the end zone for the two point conversion. The eleventh touchdown came with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. They kicked to St. Cloud, who started their most successful drive of the game. It looked for a minute like they might score and deny Jumper his 77-0 dream score, but the clock ran out on the 16 yard line of the Fighting Sioux, and bedlam took over the stadium.

For once, Tim was caught totally unprepared. We'd expected to win over St. Cloud, but nothing like this. They'd won their first game of the season, and we expected them to put on a pretty good show. But for some reason their defense had simply fallen apart. So Tim was just part of the crowd rushing onto the field to cheer the team. However, Nate was not unprepared. He led the team in grabbing Jumper and carrying him off the field ahead of the crowd roaring down from the stands. As they headed into the locker room, Nate stayed behind and greeted the fans coming to the door. Somehow he got enough quiet to be heard.

"Folks, thanks for your support. This is a really special time for the team and for Jumper. I think we'd like to be alone for a while."

By this point Tim had joined Nate. He hugged him and said, "Nate, we'll be glad to give you all the time you want. But at seven this evening, outside the athletes dining all, we're all going to gather and give this team a big cheer. Enjoy your dinner, and then join us at seven."

"Thanks, Tim," said Nate, and he was gone into the locker room. Tim stayed behind, knowing that the team really did want some time alone with Jumper.

Nate's depiction of the events inside was emotionally wrenching. Jumper was totally in tears, crying like a baby. He simply couldn't get over it. He finally got out, "It's always been a joke. You don't win games by 77 to nothing. But you did. You did. I can't believe it."

Johnny, who had three of the touchdowns to his credit, replied, "You don't joke with the Fighting Sioux. Jumper, you've done so much for us, this was the least we could do for you."

Then Jumper found himself being ushered to the showers, followed by the entire team. Everybody got soggy wet, dirty, naked, soapy, and finally clean, in that order. Nate led the crowd to their lockers where they all got dressed, letting Jumper go to his office to get dressed as well. Then they all headed for the dining all, dinner, and the rally Tim was organizing outside. There wasn't much to say or do at the rally. A few huge cheers, a reminder that the goal for the season is 41, and a rousing, "Look out, Wolverines!" and everybody was ready to head home.

A largely unknown event took place on Sunday. Jumper got up, ate a good breakfast, picked up Nate and Johnny, and set off for St. Cloud, Minnesota. This was a meeting that had to take place face to face. Five hours and two hundred and fifty miles later they arrived in St. Cloud, and drove directly to the home of the football coach. A good many of the St. Cloud team were there, Jumper was greeted warmly by the coach-they had known each other only a year, since St. Cloud was new to the conference. Nate and Johnny were also greeted warmly. The greetings from the St. Cloud quarterback and other players had the right words, but were clearly less warmly offered.

Jumper had already told his colleague the reason for the visit, but none of the St. Cloud players knew. Nate and Johnny had been thoroughly briefed in the car. Jumper began, "Guys, the three of us are here to apologize for our entire team. We ran up the score in yesterday's game in a totally unacceptable manner. You guys're a good team having a bad day. You deserved better by us."

Nate took over, "It's my fault. I pushed too hard. But there's some background, an explanation. We've been asking Coach Jumper what score he wanted in a football game and he always says 77 to nothing. We decided to deliver it to him. He was always joking, and we took it as a real challenge."

Jumper continued, "So, it's my fault. I never should've talked about 77 to nothing. But I did, and there it is. We're sorry."

Johnny said, "I did my share, and I'm equally guilty. You guys deserved better."

Their coach responded, "You're damn right we were having a bad day, but we got what we deserved. There's no need to apologize, you won the game and the points fair and square."

Their defensive co-captain continued, "I can't believe that you guys drove all the way down here to tell us this. We on defense were the goats yesterday, and we don't deserve this apology. But it is accepted, and appreciated."

Their quarterback smiled and said, "Wait till next year!"

The coach and his wife served sandwiches and Gatorade. Nate took one swallow of the Gatorade and said, "God that stuff's horrible. Do people really drink it?"

Someone said, "Give him some Coke." It broke the ice, and soon everyone was talking about the terrible game, the trips that both groups had between Grand Forks and St. Cloud, and how they liked their coaches. It turns out that it would've been hard to say who'd the worst trip from Grand Forks to St. Cloud, the St. Cloud team on the bus, having suffered their worst defeat ever, or Nate and Johnny who felt the unexpressed disappointment of their beloved coach.

Jumper summed up the afternoon by saying, "OK, now hear this. From now on the perfect score is eleven to nothing: one touchdown, one two-point conversion, and one field goal."

Nothing was said to the press, or anybody outside the two teams, about the Sunday meeting. But it slowly leaked. First, was a story in the University Chronicle-the St. Cloud State student newspaper. It had most of the facts straight, but made it sound like the whole UND team had come. This was corrected in a couple of letters to the editor in the next edition, and finally the coach felt the need to tell the full story. His version made Jumper out to be a saint. This was picked up by the Grand Forks Herald, which called Jumper and demanded the full story. Jumper wasn't enthusiastic about the story becoming public-that hadn't been the reason for the trip. But he thought it was best that it be told accurately if it was going to be told. So he invited the reporter to his office, brought in Nate and Johnny, and they gave an interview. The story in the paper the next day was featured on the front page, rather than the sports section. Jumper was already a hero in town, with a reputation growing to mythic proportions. This just added to it. Now he wasn't just one of the winningest coaches in the country, he was also the humble sportsman. The paper loved it; the university loved it; the team loved it; the town loved it; and most of all Liddy Lidholtz loved it. She said to Tim, "My God, raising money for athletics at UND is a cakewalk with stories like that running in the papers across the state."

Tim hadn't known anything about the trip to St. Cloud until it appeared in the newspaper. When he read it, he immediately walked over to Jumper's office in the gym. He grabbed Jumper, kissed him, and said, "I always knew I had the right man. You're wonderful, Jumper."

By the time all this had gone down the football team had won its first five games of the season, extending its streak to 33. There were three more conference games to play, and then the big game in Ann Arbor. The team was beginning to get nervous about the Michigan game, and I think quite a few of them were thinking that the streak would likely end at 36. Jumper insisted that they not even think about Michigan, "Just concentrate on this Saturday's game." They did, and they won three more. They'd head to Michigan with a streak of 36. Michigan was also undefeated that year. They'd been to the Rose Bowl the previous season and been beaten by UCLA., so their winning streak was just at six. For somebody, the forthcoming game was going to be a big loss.

Tim negotiated for 2000 tickets in a block on the fifty yard line. He arranged for a special Amtrak train to Ann Arbor to take 2000 lucky students and faculty that had won a raffle for tickets. The train left at 6:00 p.m. from Grand Forks. It was 23 cars long, each one crammed full. To find that many coaches meant calling in some pretty old ones, but Tim had prevailed upon Amtrak to do it. Everybody was warned to eat before they boarded the train and to bring blankets and pillows. Breakfast box lunches were distributed about 8:00 on Saturday morning, and the train arrived in the Ann Arbor Amtrak station at 11:15. University of Michigan busses were on hand to shuttle everyone to the stadium, where they were to fill themselves up with hot dogs and hamburgers. The group was tired, not very well fed, but excited as Hell over the idea that the University of North Dakota was actually going to play Michigan. It was the universal consensus that UND would loose, but nobody seemed to care.

That universal consensus did not include Jumper, and he was doing his best to make sure that it didn't include his team either. His coaching leading up to the game didn't vary from any other week, or any other opponent. They looked at films of Michigan, talked about their plays and strategies, and didn't worry about their reputation.

However, at the last practice before they left by chartered airplane for Michigan, Jumper finally addressed the issue of playing the Wolverines. "OK, guys, we all know that these guys're different. Most of their first string will play in the NFL. Michigan can choose the best of the best of the high school teams. You guys at UND come here for many reasons, but usually football isn't the most important. Honestly, that's what makes you fun to coach. Michigan is different, and they're different from all the schools in the North Central Conference. So what do we have to do differently to win this? What've we got going for us against Michigan that we don't normally have?

"The answer to that is simple. They're absolutely certain that they're going to beat us. The press has told them so. All their friends have told them so. The teams they've been up against this year have teased them about taking on such a soft opponent. Good. That's our edge. It's our only edge, so we need to make the most of it. What does that mean?

"Quite simply, we can't afford to let them think any differently of us until it's too late. Specifically that means two things: It is absolutely essential that they make the first touchdown. Second, they absolutely must be in the lead at the half. Not too much in the lead, but in the lead. If we lead going into the half, Bo Schembechler is going to tear that team up one side and down the other in the locker room, and they'll come out crazed giants. That must not happen. They need to spend halftime thinking about how high they might run up the score.

"Now, don't get me wrong. We need to be on the boards in the first half. We need to be close. I'd love it if they got a touchdown and a field goal in the first half and we got two field goals. I really want field goals. You get score but the other teams feels you've accepted second best by not getting a touchdown. Nate and Johnny will keep this all under control. But you defense men need to understand, no matter what, no matter if they throw the ball right into your hands, North Dakota must not make the first score. Not even by accident.

"In the second half we beat the shit out of them."

Running into the Michigan stadium with more than a hundred thousand fans screaming was the thrill of a lifetime for the Fighting Sioux. It was an experience not one of them even dreamed of when they arrived on the Grand Forks campus and joined the football team. They were so excited they could hardly run straight. But they managed to come into the stadium with their heads high and take their places on the sidelines for the National Anthem. Nate and the Michigan quarterback that he'd met when this was all planned joined the referee in the middle of the field for the coin toss. Nate won and elected to kick. Give Michigan the ball first in the first half and get it first in the second half-all according to plan.

They kicked and Michigan ran it back to the Sioux forty. In seven plays Michigan had a touchdown, and everybody assumed that the game was essentially over. The rest of the first quarter neither team accomplished anything. Each would make a few first downs and finally have to punt, and the other team would do the same thing. This continued into the second quarter when Michigan managed a field goal. The Fighting Sioux came to life a little then and got their own field goal. Then Johnny hit on a long pass and they had their first touchdown. It was 10 to 9 in favor of Michigan, and the half was running out. The extra point would put them in a tie, and Johnny understood that that must not happen. He called for a charge through the middle to make a two point conversion that would've put them a point ahead at the half. The shear bulk of the Michigan line doomed the play, and Michigan led at the half by one point-never suspecting that Johnny had chosen the play to insure that no points would be scored.

A lot of people remembered the half time show that Tim had put on years before. In fact, Michigan had been drumming up interest in the game by printing copies of the famous picture of Tim sticking his landing on the trampoline, along with the question, "He's back. Can he top this?" They figured they could sell Tim at half time easier than they could sell football against UND. They were right.

Tim had been an active participant in the planning of the entire show. It began with the University of Michigan Marching Band coming on the field and doing an abbreviated show since they'd done their full pre-game show. They ended their show formed up at the end of the field and watched the UND Band come on to the field for their show. Musically, UND was almost as good as Michigan. Most of the band were music majors, and they were good on their instruments. They couldn't march and play like the Michiganders, so they didn't emphasize the marching. They came in, marched around the field, stopping in front of the Michigan Band and dipping their instruments in salute, and then stood in formation and played, while Toppy, his co-drum major, and his group of flags and batons strutted their stuff. They were good, but they didn't steal the show! Then the two bands marched together, filling the field with a united band. The two drum majors (Toppy for North Dakota) came together at the front and worked in tandem directing the combined band. Toppy and his counterpart at Michigan had worked hard all morning getting their routine down pat. They stole the show from the bands as they moved in tandem as perfectly as Tim and Billy dive, except they added in quite a bit of humor. One would deliberately make a wrong move, and the other would struggle to match. That kind of stunt, with many cute variations, continued through several numbers. When they were finished their received wild cheers as they took a bow. Then the bands separated and made formations at each end of the field, facing each other. UND had changed drum majors to give both a chance.

They started with a medley of Sousa marches, but as the medley proceeded from march to march the music shifted from band to band. Back and forth, a perfect blending of the two. The shifts from band to band weren't abrupt, with one stopping and one starting, but they quickly blended and then one would fade out, only to have this repeated as they moved to the next march. Considering that they'd only had the morning to practice, it was amazing. This was followed by a most improbable pair of numbers. The Michigan band played a band rendition of "In an English Country Garden" followed by North Dakota playing their version of Dvorak's "Humoresque." This was followed by Michigan again starting "English Country Garden" immediately followed by North Dakota taking up "Humoresque". In turns out that the meter of the two is compatible, and they play together magnificently. As they went through the piece first one band, and then the other, would become louder and lead. This was followed by what appeared to be a competition between the two bands to dominate the piece. It ended in a grand crescendo that almost split your ears.

Quiet. Then a trombone from North Dakota played a few notes, followed by a trumpet from Michigan. Back and forth, till everyone realized that we were hearing a band version of "Dueling Banjos" from the movie "Deliverance" and the very popular recording that followed. North Dakota, leading with the trombone, was playing the guitar part, and Michigan, leading with the trumpet was playing the banjo part. Back and forth, louder and louder, faster and faster, till both were blending together, just as the two string instruments had done in the original. They finished with a grand climax, followed by the two drum majors facing each other, bowing, and shaking hands. With that the two bands ran together and mingled, shaking hands, hugging when possible with their instruments, and generally befriending each other. It had all been choreographed, and eventually they ended up as a single band, in a single formation. While this was going on two trucks had come onto the field. One unloaded platforms which were quickly assembled to hold gymnasts' rings, but fifty feet in the air. The second truck carried a huge clock that had faces aiming in four directions. As soon as all was ready, in came the fire engine with Tim riding the ladder. He pranced just as he had years before, and ended up in a flying leap onto the bar from which the rings were hanging. He played there a little, treating it like a circus trapeze rather than a gymnastics high bar. Then he slid down the ropes to the rings and got them swinging, again like a circus performer. This went on for a few minutes, and then Tim stilled the rings and hung quietly. The Michigan announcer informed the crowd that no one had ever held an Iron Cross (Tim had agreed to using that term as it would be understood more easily) more than 48 seconds, and that had been Tim. The bands provided a huge drum roll, Tim pulled himself up into the Iron Cross position, the clock started, and the bands played "The Syncopated Clock" by LeRoy Anderson. An d we waited. And waited. It seemed like forever. At 48 seconds, Tim's current record, the music faded and a drum roll began again. And we waited. At one minute and three seconds Tim pulled himself up so that his hands, and the rings, were at his waist. With that the fire ladder was swung under him and he stepped off onto the ladder. It swung around so that he was exactly at midfield. He took a gracious bow, to positively thunderous applause. He came down the ladder, ran over to the drum majors-now a group of three-and thanked them, shaking their hands, and then moved out amongst the bands, shaking hands, and thanking them for their performance. Then he joined the drum majors again and the four of them led the two bands off the field, to the beat of the University of Michigan fight song.

The kid was simply unbelievable. I hadn't known what was coming-it'd been a closely guarded secret. He'd have shared it with me, but I liked being surprised. I'm still in a state of disbelief when I think of the entire performance, the bands, the drum majors, Tim, and...the Fighting Sioux.

What had Jumper said to do in the second half? Beat the shit out of them? Well, we beat the shit out of them. They kicked off, Nate caught the kick, ran a short ways, and lateraled to our best runner. Touchdown. Extra point-no two point conversion attempts in this half! We led 16 to 10. Michigan got two more field goals, and we got one. The clock ran out with North Dakota in possession on Michigan's 30 yard line. Final score, North Dakota 19, Michigan 16. Jumper and the team had their 37th consecutive win! There were over a hundred thousand people in a state of total disbelief. Jumper and the Fighting Sioux weren't among them. As Jumper had always said, "We're a bunch of cocky sons of bitches." Well, they'd pulled off the upset of the decade! They had a right to be cocky sons of bitches. But in fact, they weren't. They were wonderful kids, who'd learned how to play football from a coach they could respect, learn from, and love. Tim would always believe that the last was the secret ingredient. Maybe Bo would become a believer.

Tim, Bo, and Jumper did have a chance to talk, after all of the commotion had died down. Tim said that Bo took it well, warmly congratulating Jumper, and saying to Tim, "I guess I was wrong. It was OK to let you get hold of a football team. Do we get a rematch?"

Jumper said, "Never."

Bo said, "I didn't think so."

They both understood that this was an upset not likely to be repeated. They could both imagine what Bo's pre-game pep talk would be like at the rematch. Jumper didn't want to play the team that had been through that!

Jumper insisted that the team ride the train home with the fans. To make room, seats on the plane were given to those that had some kind of need to get home early. Amazingly, most wanted to ride the train with the team and the band. The train was moving by 7:00 p.m. and got everyone back to Grand Forks by noon on Sunday. It had been an incredible weekend.

Back on campus every television had been on as almost everyone watched the game. When the Sioux scored the go-ahead touchdown in the first play of the second half the campus had exploded. The noise and excitement hardly abated until the train arrived at the Grand Forks station, where 8,000 people gathered to welcome home their heros. Monday was declared a holiday, and the celebrations continued until everybody was totally exhausted about mid-morning on Monday. Most of the students, and nearly all of the faculty, were able to get out of bed on Tuesday morning and get back to work. Of course, Thursday was Thanksgiving-the start of a four day holiday. Tim hoped that things might get back to normal the following Monday.

It's almost an anticlimax to note that Jumper's 41 came true, and the team returned from the NCAA Division II championship with "48" on their jerseys. Jumper declined to answer questions about the significance of the number 48. However, our old friend Mick Jacobs from Sports Illustrated let that cat out of the bag. He'd been in Ann Arbor for the big game, had been in Texas for the Division II championship game, and had ridden the plane home with the team at Tim's invitation. Bill was with him. Both had said, "When it's a Tim show we always get the assignment."

In the midst of everyone crowding Jumper and the team on their arrival, they'd tried to answer a few questions from the press. There were several questions about the "48" numbers, but Jumper had sidstepped them. Mick had said, fairly loudly, "Boomer, Sooner."

Somebody tumbled. "Oklahoma's streak in the fifties was 47 games. 48 would be the longest major team streak on record!"

Jumper just smiled. But he admitted he was worried about not having Nate, even though Johnny had proved himself to be pretty good. We would see.

Did I mention that Tim's smiling face was on his twelfth Sports Illustrated cover following his Iron Cross record? It was an inset photo; the featured picture was of Nate passing for the go-ahead touchdown early in the second half. A second inset photo featured Jumper-almost high jumping as he watched the same play.

After last year's adventure at Hudson Bay, Tim and I decided to stay home for the end of year holidays. We went down to Minneapolis at Christmas with Hal and Sue and their two boys Junior and Bud. Betsy and Norman had Christmas dinner for all of us, including Hal's parents and Coach and Phyllis Johnson. New Year's was back in Grand Forks. Franklin had a small group over for New Year's Eve. We watched the ball drop in Times Square at 11:00 p.m. our time, and got ready to step out on the front lawn to watch the little fireworks show that would be set off down by the river. As we were sitting in Franklin's living room Tim looked at me, but said to the entire group, "This year has been a slam-bang year. A grand slam. A slam dunk. Thanks to Jumper, Nate, Ronnie and his gang, and Liddy. And in about fifteen minutes we enter 1984, the year of George Orwell and the Los Angeles Olympics. Look out world, the University of North Dakota is just getting into high gear!

Author's note: Michigan ended their 1982 season with a Rose Bowl loss to UCLA. Nothing about their 1983 season matches what is described here. They have never played the University of North Dakota.

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