Interesting Stuff

Bush Leaguers in National Spotlight

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and other local cheerleaders wanted to get some national publicity for the MPC Computer Bowl. They were successful. Here is a sample of how Boise fared in the national media:

BOISE, Idaho — After an 8-3 regular season, Boston College thought it deserved a better destination than the MPC Computers Bowl. And once the Eagles got out here, they felt more than a little disrespected at some over-the-top homerism surrounding the game that was supposed to be, in theory, at a neutral site.

BOISE, Idaho — Monday he quietly sat through a banquet for the MPC Computers Bowl where he felt his polysyllabic last name was not only mangled, but disrespected by a chorus of civic speakers who turned the Beyond the Game dinner into an impromptu Boise State pep rally. Last night, after Boston College’s 27-21 victory over the Broncos, Mathias Kiwanuka rose up in his own defense, taking to task Boise’s mayor, Dave Bieter and Mike Adkins, chief executive officer of MPC Computers, for their remarks. (Ed note–“MA-THIGH-US KEY-WA-NOOKA.”)

Game notes: It’s a home game for the Broncos, playing their final game under Coach Dan Hawkins, who is headed to Colorado. Boise State brings the nation’s 15th-ranked rushing attack against the Eagles’ fifth-rated run defense. A pertinent question, though, might be if Boston College will be motivated to play — there was some griping in Chestnut Hill that finishing 8-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference was worth more than a December date on Bronco Stadium’s famous blue turf.

A national sports radio talk show also took the locals to task for their inept diplomatic and hospitality efforts.

Folks, this is just football, but it should serve as a reality check. None of those who committed the faux pas (French for screw ups) had any intention of being boorish. They just need to realize that it is easy find yourself in the Bush League when hometown boosterism overcomes common courtesy and common sense. It is just a game, but it would be nice to be regarded as winners off the field as well as on.

Forty long years ago the GUARDIAN editor attended the Rose Bowl as the offical photog of the Michigan State Band. EVERYONE from Michigan felt like a special guest in Pasadena at every turn. The band was a big hit, but the Spartans still lost to UCLA, 14-12.

Before you jump on the GUARDIAN, beware there have been several letters of apology already sent eastward from Boise.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I only half payed attention to the game and the commentary during and after, but I am surprised that the local guys, including the mayor, would have trouble with pronouncing “Kiwanuka”. Break it out into syllables, guys, there are only four. It didn’t seem too difficult for the game announcers.

    Boise is home to a large Basque community, some of whose members have much more challenging names, but I suspect Mr. Bieter doesn’t have any trouble with those.

    Making fun of people is a behavior most parents try to discourage by age five or so. Weren’t there any Moms in the crowd? Just thought I’d ask.

  2. According to the story in the Statesman today (and assuming it’s accurate), the MPC Bowl Big Cheeze was doing a “top ten” list of what Boston and Boise have in common, and one of ’em was “No one in either city can properly pronounce Mathias Kiwanuka” (with him deliberately mispronouncing the name, for effect).

    Perhaps I’ve been desensitized by living in this age of rudeness and cynicism, and/or by watching Letterman deliver 20 years of top ten lists… but my first reaction is, “Lighten up, Mathias!” Dude… it’s just a joke!

    Frankly, the “Go Broncos!” salutations, in what was supposedly a neutral venue, seem more out of line to me.

    (Evidently it backfired on the Bronco faithful, if it truly motivated BC to play just that much harder.)

    “Huh-huh-huh… huh-huh… he said Kiwanuka… huh-huh-huh…”
    – Beavis (or was it Butthead?)

  3. Perhaps the greatest irony in all this is the ESPN commentator has consistently mispronounced Zabransky as Zambransky in every game he has announced, including the bowl game. I wasn’t present, but if Hawkins recognized it as inappropriate, as he has stated in interviews, then surely others did as well. Beiter should have known better, and the CEO most assuredly should have known better.

  4. And you–TAM– just mispelled Bieter’s name. Nice work.

  5. Hold on people– I know bashing the mayor is the thing to do around here, but Bieter did NOT make any comments about Kiwanuka’s name. The sole jibe was made by MPC Computers chief Mike Adkins. All Bieter said that could possibly be construed as “inappropriate boosterism” was that he hoped BSU could “eke out” a win. Not exactly a fist waving, crotch grabbing taunt. And when did football players and fans get so damn sensitive? It’s OK to hit the stands, paint your face up like an idiot, scream and yell like a drunken fiend and perform all manner of histrionic seizures in support of your team, but when we’re all together in a room we must hold hands and sigh in happy harmony, with no whiff whatsoever of the rivalry between us? Please. People need to chill out about this non-issue. I, for one, am sick of east coasters rolling out the criticism of our state and town like we’re boorish primitives when the truth is that we’re one of the nicest and most civilized cities in the nation. You want rude a–holes? My wife just came back from a city where she said practically everybody she met was insufferably rude– except, that is, for the men who felt entitled to make suggestive and inappropriate comments to her. What was this paradise of decorum and fine feelings? Boston, MA.

  6. Hey TG–isn’t Boston where “everybody knows your name” at CHEERS?

  7. The kids played great. I think some folks had a chip on their shoulder
    because BC should have gotten a better bowl venue. This incident was used to
    “smack” their frustration.

    Unfortunately, these games are more about money than student athletes (few
    of which will sign a big contract). Money for the conferences, schools,
    promoters, advertisers, broadcasters; and we can’t forget room taxes and
    parking citations.

    On the other hand, those in our community concerned about growth might find
    comfort with the negative pub. A few downeasters may be dissuaded from
    moving here. Cheers!

  8. I hope the good Mayor won’t take offense at my mistake. I know it is probably the first time anyone every misspelled his name. But, HAHA, you my dear, misspelled “misspelled”…that may be one for the books. Mine actually was a transposition as opposed to a misspelling, but that aside, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Even nicer work!

  9. For Bieter the initial news account was a bum rap. An Idaho Statesman correction was obtuse and shoe horned into the bottom left corner of the sports section on Friday. Nonetheless, like Ray Lewis he was at the scene and initally implicated with the mispronouncing the DE for Boston College and the “Go Broncos” cheering, neither of which is his style. Doubly ironic as one brother is a recent Ph.D. graduate of Boston College.

    I’m bummed this happened and Mr, Guardian illustrates a valuable lesson of how quickly word can spread and tarnish our image. Something of an antidote for the handfull of interested readers, an excerpt from a Washington Post column in March 2001:

    * * *

    But the best story of this week, here or in any other region, was Idaho’s love affair with Hampton. It might be the warmest, fuzziest, feel-good relationship I’ve seen develop in 20 years of covering the NCAA tournament.

    Thursday night, a house full of people at The Pavilion (11,250) fell in love with Hampton’s underdog of a basketball team, its foot-stompin’, head-boppin’ band, and its cheerleaders who say to hell with stunts, let’s dance. Hampton is a historically black university; Boise is 98 percent white. Their two worlds — trust me on this — have never ever intersected. Until here and now. The basketball team brought Boise and Hampton together, and because the house was full to the rim, the band played on. The people of Boise, who bought all the tickets for this event months ago, stayed and partied.

    They were so taken with the Hampton people, they invited the band to play between periods of Friday night’s Idaho Steelheads West Coast Hockey League game at Bank of America Center. Carpet was rolled out so the cheerleaders could dance . . . on the ice. Another full house, 5,800, greeted Hampton’s band — called The Force — and made them stay and play on, and on. Folks quite literally danced in the aisles. When the arena cleared, band director Al Davis took his band members across to The Grove Hotel, where they started another set.

    It seemed as if all of Boise was there, boppin’, swinging. Hampton turned Boise into Bourbon Street on Friday night. People came in off the street to hear the band play.

    So Saturday afternoon, in the middle of the Maryland-Georgia State game, the damndest thing happened. This mighty roar went up as the Hampton band members, sans instruments, walked to their seats in the stands. When the Hampton team was introduced to the crowd at Boise State Pavilion, it was as if the old Celtics had walked into Boston Garden. The Hampton
    cheerleaders held up signs that spelled out, “We Love Boise!”

    Asked to talk about this instantly formed relationship between this Northwest city and Hampton University, guard Marseilles Brown said emotionally: “No words, man. . . . Sorry.”

    Merfeld, clearly stunned by everything that had happened here this weekend, from the upset of second-seeded Iowa State on Friday night to the reception his team got before, during, and after the game against Georgetown, had some words.

    “The recognition people gave us has been very, very special,” he said. “It’s very obvious to us why the tournament is in Boise, Idaho. We didn’t know that when we were assigned this region, but we do now. Thank you.”

    * * *

  10. Okay, okay… Regardless of who did what, the fact is these teams, play a lot of games and go a lot of places and suddenly Boise gets singled out as the bad guys… We’re not hearing about the players getting out of hand, it was Boise’s Mayor Dave Bieter, MPC Computers chief Mike Adkins and apparently other such noble cheerleaders. Maybe Bieter didn’t do the name game, but was he there cheering Adkins on? Some how, I think there was more than just the name game at issue here.

    They went out of their way to include Boise’s Mayor as part of the problem; I would have to say that there are some that don’t see the Mayor as innocent as Bieter himself would like everyone to believe regardless of his role in this.

    Just correct the mistake and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Life goes on…

  11. In regards to Mr.”MAH-THIGH-US-KEY-WA-NOOKA” and his hyper sensitive feelings,it’s just a case of phonetic or is it phonic correctness gone terribly wrong???

    He got more pub’ for his hurt feelings than he did for his sub par, lack-luster play during the MPC Bowl!


  12. I still wonder where the Moms were. Apparently this was much ado about nothing, but the “semi-roast” format is actually mostly tacky – someone is bound to get their undies in a knot.

    My family says it was a great game – too bad for the last play on BSU’s part but, oh well. By the way, I really wish guys would go back to the John Wayne standard of never crying in public, keeping the old chin up, you know? I suppose Hawk is into the new standard sensitive model of male behavior, but geez!

  13. However one feels about our mayor, whom I like personally, the fact is that public speaking has never been his forte. A gaffe by him, if it had happened, would’ve been forgiveable, in my book. Obviously the MPC boss should’ve known better, being a CEO of a major corporation who has responsibility to SELL himself and his company to the world. Those who say that this is about BC’s oversensitivity are missing the point. Any speech in which somebody from Idaho has the temerity to compare themselves favorably to Boston or Massachusetts is going to be highly offensive to the brahmin bluebloods who finance, and cheer for, Boston College teams. This has nothing to do with players being thin-skinned. It’s all about those, in the media, and around the nation, who see Boise as far, far beneath BC. If we’d have just put the ball in the endzone on that one play, none of this would’ve been mentioned, of course.

  14. Tomato, tomato. Potato, potato. Let’s call the whole thing off.

    Sticks and stones….

  15. Thank you guardian for addressing an issue that has been ” hidden” for years.Real sportsmanship ,as shown by the Boston College Eagles has nothing to do with being macho, or would be local super-men ( and psuedo super-coach?) It ‘s all about respecting your opponent and fair play,on and off the field, which apparently BSU has yet to learn. My kudo’s go to the All American spirit of sports, on all levels at all times. The eagles showed that simply because it is a part of their life style. BSU can learn and grow from their example.

  16. A favorite American past time…..
    a football game and half time…not a silly high paid advertisement…. a salute and a thank you to the 116th brigade whom have just returned from Iraq to fight for our freedom!? And all that can be done is rude remarks to the mayor? What about a thank you for the time and thought that HE put into it and not a mis pronounced word…for FUN!! I believe you all missed the real message that was put out at that game. All American.Think about it and maybe put your selfishness aside and thank him… he only was honoring the very friends,neighbors, brothers sons daughters and wives that are giving their life so you can attend a good old fashioned game.

    How sad we Americans have become. My personal thank you to Mayor Bieter , the 116th Brigade and Boise and Boston for a wonderful time.

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