Humanities Happenings: 09/04-09/06

Still image from "Un Hombre de Exito" film trailer. Trailer courtesy sociedadhidalgo.org.

Still image from Un Hombre de Exito film trailer. Trailer courtesy sociedadhidalgo.org.

Celebrate Labor Day weekend and back-to-school (or, beat the back-to-school blues) with this weekend’s Humanities Happenings!

St. George: “Backyard Brawl”
Watch Wamego High School take on Rock Creek High School in their annual rival football game, “The Backyard Brawl.” This event is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. Sponsored by Wamego Public Library. September 4th at Rock Creek Junior Senior High School at 5:00pm. Click here for details.

Basehor: Tracks
Told in the voices of tribal patriarch Nanapush and young mixed-blood Pauline, Louise Erdrich’s Chippewa saga, Tracks, revolves around the mysterious Fleur Pillager, sorceress, seductress, determined to save her ancestral land at all costs. 226 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Urban Indians: Native American Writers of the 1990s.” TALK book discussion led by Deborah E. Peterson. September 4th at Basehor Community Library at 10:00am. Click here for details.

Topeka: “VOICES & VISIONS”
Exhibition of artwork related to “Visions of Right,” a theatrical performance that explores personal identity, ethics, and tolerance. The exhibition is free and open to the public. This event is part of “VOICES AND VISIONS: A Community Discussion Inspired by VISIONS OF RIGHT,” a series of public programs that examine the social issues connected to the play. Sponsored by Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble. September 4th at Warehouse 414 at 7:00pm. Click here for details.

Lenexa: Bel Canto
An American opera singer, a Japanese industrialist, a French diplomat with skills in the kitchen, and a translator who falls in love with a Latin-American terrorist are taken hostage by revolutionary terrorists in an unnamed Latin American embassy. Low comedy and high suspense, romance and tragedy blend in Ann Patchett’s Orange Prize-winning Bel Canto, inspired by the actual seizure of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Peru by Tupac Amaru guerillas in 1996. 352 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Entangled World.” Marilyn E. Klaus leads the TALK book discussion. September 5th at 2:00pm at Lakeview Village Retirement Community at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Topeka: “Kansas Fish Markets”
Barbara Higgins-Dover, Director of the Kansas Riverkings Museum, presents public programs in Leavenworth, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence that explore the history of commercial fishing and fish markets along the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Sponsored by Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. September 5th at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Overland Park: Un Hombre de Exito
In Un Hombre de Exito (A Successful Man), Javier Arguelles, an opportunistic young man from Cuban middle class, survives all kind of political changes in Havana, from 1932 to 1959, while his brother Dario is persecuted and killed because of his leftist ideas. Louis Imperiale, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Missouri, Kansas City leads the film discussion. The screening and discussion are part of the Latin American Cinema Festival XXIV, which features weekly films with topics that encourage a better understanding of Latino culture and traditions. Each film is introduced and discussed by a humanities scholar. All discussions are bilingual. Sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo, Inc. September 5th at Rio Theatre at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Find out more about upcoming KHC-supported events by visiting our calendar.

 

Not Ready to Bury the Hatchet

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

The rivalry between Garden City and Dodge City burns brightest on the gridiron. Image Courtesy Brad Nading/Garden City Telegram.

The rivalry between Garden City and Dodge City burns brightest on the gridiron. Image Courtesy Brad Nading/Garden City Telegram.

When it comes to sports in Kansas, friendly competition between rivals is the norm.

But as just about every sports fan knows, friendly competition has its limits.

Because there’s always that one team. The team that makes your blood boil. The team you just can’t stand.

Separated by an hour’s drive in southwest Kansas, the Dodge City Red Demons and Garden City Buffaloes have made an art out of that kind of heated rivalry.

The competition between the two teams is so intense, in fact, that in 2012, USA Today voted the annual Garden City-Dodge City game the greatest high school rivalry in Kansas.

The Hatchet Game, as it’s called, is a season-defining event for the Buffaloes and the Red Demons. A win can redeem a string of losses. A loss can cast a shadow on an otherwise strong season.

The game takes its name from the trophy given to the winners, a small hatchet first awarded in 1938, 30 years after Dodge City and Garden City started facing one another on the gridiron.

It’s not just a football thing, either, according to Laura Roddy’s interview with Dodge City sportswriter John Curtis.

“‘Throw quiz bowl out there, and they’ll go after each other,’” Curtis told Roddy, adding that the towns themselves are also regional rivals for development dollars.

Historically, Dodge City has more often been the winner, taking 47 of the 76 Hatchet Games played through 2013. In recent years, though, Garden City has been dominant, winning 13 consecutive games between 1995 and 2007. Before that, Dodge City had the hot hand, taking 17 of 20 contests in the 1970s and ‘80s.

It’s those kinds of long-term win-lose streaks that set up the most passionate clashes on the field.

If the teams were trading the hatchet every year, maybe the rivalry would cool.

But then again, maybe not.

There’s always that one team, after all.

Hello from Tokyo

tokyo

Hello from Tokyo, Japan! Kansans have walked 12,962 miles on our quest to circle the globe for Hometown Teams. We’ve reached Tokyo, home of two great spectator sports: baseball and sumo wrestling. American Horace Wilson is credited with introducing baseball to Japan in the 1870s and today it’s one of the most popular sports in the nation. Tokyo boasts two baseball teams, the Yomiuri Giants, who play in the Tokyo Dome, and the Yakuit Swallows. And then there’s sumo, the 1,500 year-old form of wrestling. Tokyo hosts three sumo tournaments each year, each lasting for 15 consecutive days.

How did we take a virtual walk to Tokyo from Kansas? Kansans tracked their steps when they took walks, went on runs, or just went about their daily routine. KHC collected the step totals and converted them into miles and began mapping our progress around the globe. The best part? You can join us! You can track your minutes exercised on a Walking Scorecard. You can even pick up a pedometer to count your steps at the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition in Perry (on display through September 27) and Humboldt (opening October 3), and at participating Hometown Teams partner sites.

Where will we go next week? Follow KHC’s walking progress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for most Postcards from the Road.

Humanities Happenings: 08/24-08/28

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James Naismith, c. 1930. Michael J. Zogry, Hometown Teams tour scholar, presents “Religion and Basketball:  Naismith’s Game” this Sunday in Perry. Photo courtesy of kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society. Copy and reuse restrictions apply.

 

From west to east: Dodge City, Cedar Point, Perry, and Lawrence host this weekend’s Humanities Happenings events.

Lawrence: “Four Days in Cornville”
Cornhusking – now a relatively unknown sport – was once considered the next big wave in athletic competition. By the early 1900s, after school clubs and county fair contests were started to encourage youth involvement in agricultural activities. Cornhusking combined athleticism with daily chores and drew large crowds in the 1940s. In 1939, a national competition was held in Lawrence. This exhibit supports “Of Two Minds: The Conventional and Unconventional Sides of Lawrence Sports,” a series of public events. The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. Exhibit is on display through December 7th. August 28th at The Watkins Museum of History. Click here for details.

Dodge City: The Worst Hard Time
Timothy Egan’s book, The Worst Hard Time, describes the first of the new storms that would come to define the Dust Bowl: “Wasn’t a sandstorm . . . . And it wasn’t a hailstorm, though it certainly brought with it a dark, threatening sky . . . It rolled, like a mobile hill of crud, and it was black.” Egan provides a masterful overview of the dust storms and their consequences for agriculture and people on the Great Plains. 312 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “The 1930s.” Thomas Prasch leads the TALK book discussion. August 29th at Dodge City Public Library at 4:00pm. Click here for details.

Cedar Point: Prairie Songs
Cowboy folksongs were more than entertainment on the lonely prairie: they told the story of a way of work that has since changed radically. Through trail-driving songs, night-herding songs, and bunkhouse/chuckwagon songs, cattle drovers produced a musical culture that still appeals to today’s ranchers who have traded their horses for four-wheelers and six-guns for cell phones. Join Jim Hoy, Speakers Bureau, as he presents on the important folk tradition of the prairie. Sponsored by Kansas Farmers Union. August 29th at Flying W Ranch at 7:00pm. Click here for details.

Perry: Naismith & Religion
“Religion and Basketball: Naismith’s Game” explores how and to what extent religion played a part in James Naismith’s life. Michael J. Zogry, “Hometown Teams” Kansas tour scholar, will make connections between Naismith’s faith and his creation of the game of basketball, and Naismith’s historical and cultural legacy. Part of “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition on display in Perry through September 27th. Sponsored by Perry Pride. August 30th at Highland Community College, Perry Center at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

For information about upcoming KHC-supported events, visit KHC’s calendar.

It’s the Great Football, Charlie Brown

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

In 2002, the Eudora High School Cardinals earned a regional championship.  Image Courtesy Lawrence Journal-World Photos.

In 2002, the Eudora High School Cardinals earned a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history. Image Courtesy Lawrence Journal-World Photos.

Ask almost anyone what happens on October 31, and they’ll know you mean Halloween—unless you asked that question in Eudora, Kansas, in 2002.

That year, the town of Eudora declared that Halloween would have to wait until November 1. On October 31, the town already had plans, and they involved the gridiron, not ghosts.

Eudora High School officials had scheduled a football game on Halloween night, and it was thought that so many people would be watching the game that the high traffic might endanger trick-or-treaters. So Mayor Ron Conner and the City Council decided to postpone Halloween, instead.

It might seem extreme, but Eudora had plenty of reason to think it was a good move; in recent years, the Eudora High School Cardinals football team has enjoyed a good deal of success, even making back-to-back trips to the Kansas State 4A Title Game in 2011 and 2012. And the community, always supportive, has rallied around their team even more, taking justifiable pride in the growing length of the Cardinals’ win column.

For a lot of years, those W’s were hard to come by. Forget winning the season. Forget even winning a game. For several seasons in the 1940s and 1950s, the team would have been happy just to consistently score a point, said Ben Terwilliger of the Eudora Area Historical Society.

Things really began to turn around in the 1990s. As the northeast Kansas community experienced a population boom, more than doubling in size between 1990 and today, the team started to grow, too, becoming a dominant force in the Frontier League, which also includes teams from, among others, Baldwin, Ottawa and Spring Hill.

And with that long history of L’s to look back on, the Cardinals’ success over the past few years tastes even sweeter.

Eudora’s exhibition will be on display at the Eudora Community Museum at 720 Main Street, Eudora, Kansas, from July 23rd through September 27th. For more information, contact EudoraHistory@gmail.com or (785) 690-7900.

Hello from Seoul

SEOUL,

 

Hello from Seoul, South Korea! While in Seoul, we’re taking a break from our usual sports activities in favor of competitive gaming or “e-sports.” Competitive gaming is the national pastime in South Korea, replacing former favorites baseball and soccer. In 2014, 40,000 fans watched the world championship for the League of Legends video game play out on a giant screen in a Seoul soccer stadium.

KHC has collected Kansans’ step totals to walk 12,243 miles from Kansas to Seoul in honor of Hometown Teams, but we are not done yet. Our goal is to walk around the globe and you can help. You can track your minutes exercised on a Walking Scorecard. You can even pick up a pedometer to count your steps at the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition in  Perry  (on display through September 27) and Humboldt (opening October 3), and at participating Hometown Teams partner sites.

Where will we go next week? Follow KHC’s walking progress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for most Postcards from the Road.

Humanities Happenings: 08/21-08/23

Photo courtesy of Wamego Smoke Signal.

Wamego’s annual “Backyard Brawl & BBQ” event. Photo courtesy of the Wamego Smoke Signal.

Lawrence, Perry, & Wamego are the stars of this weekend’s Humanities Happenings!

Lawrence: “Kansas Fish Markets”
Barbara Higgins-Dover, Director of the Kansas Riverkings Museum, presents public programs in Leavenworth, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence that explore the history of commercial fishing and fish markets along the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. August 22nd at Lawrence Visitors Center at 1:00pm. Sponsored by Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau. Click here for details.

Perry: Race to Gender Equality
Although the wording of the Title IX education amendment is brief, its impact revolutionized sports by demanding equal sports opportunities for female student athletes. With fair access to facilities, coaches, equipment, and practice time, many Kansas athletes were able to overcome gender stereotypes and excel in track and field, basketball, target shooting, and other sports, sometimes even reaching Olympic heights. Laura Hartley, Speakers Bureau, explores the history of Title IX and highlights remarkable female athletes from Kansas, including Margaret Thompson Murdock, whose athletic career spanned both before and after Title IX and demonstrates the camaraderie that exists between competitors, both female and male. August 23rd at Highland Community College, Perry Center at 2:00pm. Sponsored by Perry Pride. Click here for details.

Perry: “Hometown Teams”
Experience the story of sports — the athletes, the coaches, and the fans who cheer them on — in “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. Get up close to memorable artifacts and view over 200 photographs highlighting Americans and their love of sports. Get into the game with “Minute for Movement” sports-inspired exercise stations designed to get you moving. Perry Pride’s companion exhibition “Together We Are Stronger: The Evolution of Sports Along the Kaw” will also be on display. Exhibitions on display through September 27th at Historic Perry Rural High School Gym at Highland Community College, Perry Center. Sponsored by Perry Pride. Click here for details.

Wamego: “Backyard Brawl & BBQ”
This “Hometown Teams” photo exhibition documents the “Backyard Brawl,” a pre-season football tradition that unites the rival communities of Wamego and Westmoreland. Exhibit on display through September 27th at Wamego Public Library. Sponsored by Wamego Public Library. Click here for details.

For upcoming KHC-supported events, visit our calendar.

Eat, Pray, Brawl

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

Wamego and Westmoreland put their on-field rivalry to good use off-field, raising money for both schools' booster clubs.  Image Courtesy Beth Day of the Wamego Smoke Signal.

Wamego and Westmoreland put their on-field rivalry to good use off-field, raising money for both schools’ booster clubs. Image Courtesy Beth Day of the Wamego Smoke Signal.

With just 15 miles separating the small Kansas communities of Wamego and Westmoreland, locals often think of them as “backyard neighbors.”

And just like neighbors competing to have the greenest lawn or the best holiday decorations, the towns’ closeness has given rise to a friendly rivalry.

“We’re very close. The kids have all played together on ball teams for years,” said Kelley Nordberg, Wamego Public Library’s Hometown Teams Partner Site Project Director.

But because the schools are in different classes, they don’t regularly compete against one another. So instead, for the past few years, the towns have taken turns hosting the annual “Backyard Brawl,” a pre-season game and tailgate fundraiser between the 3A Rock Creek Mustangs and the 4A Wamego Red Raiders.

Even in the August heat, the popular event receives lots of hype in the area, packing the parking lots with hundreds of attendees each year.

The idea for adding a fundraising component to the Backyard Brawl came from local restaurant owner Mike Pray. He lives in Rock Creek, but his restaurant, Friendship House, is located in Wamego, so he employs students from both districts, Nordberg said.

Members of both communities donate the ingredients, Pray cooks the food, and hundreds of tailgaters buy meals to support their team and win bragging rights for the rest of the year.

“Your dinner is your vote,” Nordberg said.

Since all ingredients and labor are donated, whatever money the Backyard Brawl earns is pure profit. Earnings are split evenly between Wamego and Rock Creek’s booster clubs, so everyone benefits.

But there is an added bonus for the team who tallies more votes. Results are announced at halftime of the football game, so the superintendent of the losing team has to wear the opposing team’s jersey for the rest of the game—something that’s always popular with the students and fans.

“The kids love that,” Nordberg laughed.

Wamego’s exhibition will be on display at the Wamego Public Library between August 24 and September 19. For more information, contact info@wamegopubliclibrary.com or (785) 456-9181, or visit wamegopubliclibrary.com.

Humanities Happenings: 08/14-08/16

Perry's school mascot, the Kaw. Photo courtesy of Perry Pride.

Perry Rural High School’s mascot, the Kaw, c.1920s. Photo courtesy of Perry Pride.

Perry, Wamego, Colby, and four other Kansas communities are ready to help you savor the final weeks of summer!

Cottonwood Falls: Baseball and the Big Picture
John Dreifort, professor of History at Wichita State University, explores baseball’s influences outside the field of play as well as the effect of external factors on the game. Learn about key issues such as demographics, communities, social mobility, race and ethnicity, baseball as a business, player-management relations, amateurs, gender, and international play. This event supports “Chase County: A League of Our Own,” a partner site exhibit that explores the baseball tradition in Chase County. The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. August 15th at Chase County Historical Society at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Wichita: Ghost Towns
Kansas has nearly 9000 disappeared towns and communities, caused by its unusual and spectacularly fast settlement history. The variety of town types–from colony and end-of-line towns to cumulative and rural communities–is as striking as the stories they left behind. Kansas towns are diverse and contain vital human histories of failure and persistence against the odds. M.J. Morgan, Speakers Bureau, will explore research conducted on lost Kansas places and discuss problems of recovery of information. August 15th at Alford Branch, Wichita Public Library at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

McPherson: Sainted Stadiums
Kansans place a high level of importance on their athletic architecture. From Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence to the Hornet’s Nest in Dighton, Hubbard Stadium in Smith Center to Veteran’s Stadium in Coffeyville, we cheer for our teams in a variety of buildings that commemorate fallen soldiers, lift the spirits of communities, and entertain us with the newest technologies. Jordan Poland, Speakers Bureau, will explore Kansas sports venues through time, as well as the stories of the athletes and fans who have called these places home. Join us as we walk through a timeline of athletic architecture in Kansas, across the spectrum of sports, to illustrate how these places have affected our collective memory and have been the gathering point for generations of fans. August 15th at McPherson Museum & Arts Foundation at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Colby: Preservation Workshop
This public preservation workshop will be led by Cynthia Harris, Archivist at Kansas State University’s Hale Library. The preservation workshop is aimed at helping veterans and their families preserve material related to military service. This event is part of “The Things They Carried Home” grants initiative, and supports “World War II Veterans Memorial Highway: A Tour of Remembrance, A Corridor of Service,” a project sponsored by Solomon Valley–Hwy 24–Heritage Alliance.  August 15th at Prairie Museum of Art and History at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Wamego: “Backyard Brawl and BBQ”
This “Hometown Teams” partner site photo exhibition documents the “Backyard Brawl,” a pre-season football tradition that unites the rival communities of Wamego and Westmoreland. Exhibition on display through September 27th. August 15th at Wamego Public Library. Click here for details.

Perry: “Hometown Teams” Exhibition Opening
Experience the story of sports — the athletes, the coaches, and the fans who cheer them on — in “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. Get up close to memorable artifacts and view over 200 photographs highlighting Americans and their love of sports. Get into the game with “Minute for Movement” sports-inspired exercise stations designed to get you moving. Perry Pride’s companion exhibition “Together We Are Stronger: The Evolution of Sports Along the Kaw” will also be on display. Exhibitions on display through September 27th. August 15th at Historic Perry Rural High School Gym at Highland Community College, Perry Center. Click here for details.

Topeka: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Fannie Flagg’s endearing novel travels from the 1980s back to the 1930s, when Idgie and Ruth’s Alabama cafe offered good barbecue, love, laughter, and even an occasional murder. 395 pp. Anne Hawkins leads the TALK book discussion from the TALK series, Community: The Way We Live. August 16th at Aldersgate Village at 3:00pm. Click here for details.

Wichita: Early Voting
Kansas women gained the vote in 1912, eight years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting voting rights to all American women. To accomplish this feat, Kansas women had to overcome many obstacles, including the indifference of their own sex and the fear many had of being considered “unladylike.” Diane Eickhoff, Speakers Bureau, revisits the women’s suffrage campaigns of 1859, 1867, 1894, and 1912. Presentation sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wichita. August 16th at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

For upcoming KHC-supported events in August and beyond, visit our calendar.

Bloomers and Beyond: The Evolution of Women’s Basketball in Perry

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

The 1924 Perry Rural High School basketball team won the school's first girls' basketball championship, but it wouldn't be their last.  Image Courtesy Perry Pride.

The 1924 Perry Rural High School basketball team won the school’s first girls’ basketball championship, but it wouldn’t be their last. Image Courtesy Perry Pride.

We often talk about sports like they’re unchanging, but the truth is that they’re constantly evolving. New sports grow. Old sports fade. Even the ones that endure aren’t carved in stone: rules and conventions change with time, so Game A of yesteryear may not look much like Game A of today.

That’s the idea behind Perry’s Hometown Teams host site exhibition, which focuses on the way local team sports have changed through the years—a focus that Perry Pride Hometown Teams Project Directors Kathy Youngquist and Megan Cottrell said they hope will boost the community’s pride in their shared sports history.

Take, for example, the women’s basketball team that played at what was once Perry Rural High School. Back then, women’s basketball was a very different sport than it is today.

Forget about a full-court press. When the PRHS women’s team took the court in the 1920s, the players operated under a completely different set of rules than their male counterparts.

Rather than playing the full court, like male players did, players for PRHS and other women’s teams in Kansas had to deal with a three-zone court. Two players were stationed in each section; they could move freely inside their own zone but couldn’t go outside of it. The ball could be dribbled three times and passed once, but that was it.

Why the different rules?

As a 1951 article in the Perry Mirror said scornfully, “[In the 1920s and earlier] there were those, and some still feel the same way, who thought the girls were built too delicately to play basketball….Those same people, though, were not opposed to girls working in the fields in a pinch or hav[ing] them slave in a hot kitchen all day or labor[ing] over a wash tub and board. It was just an old ‘fogy’ idea…”

At any rate, the concerns were taken seriously enough that, in some cases, women’s basketball didn’t adopt the full-court game until 1971. Considering that Senda Berenson came up with the rules for women’s basketball in 1892, just one year after James Naismith invented the game, that means that multiple generations of Kansas women grew up playing a version of the game that was deliberately less challenging than the men’s version.

However, the women’s game was more difficult than the men’s in at least one aspect: the uniforms. The earliest women to play basketball did so in long skirts, resulting in injuries as they tripped over their hemlines. But hemlines rose steadily over the next few decades; by 1924, the PRHS women’s team uniform morphed into bloomers that hit just above the knee—the first uniform of its kind in the county, garnering the team the nickname the “Bloomer Girls”—and eventually into more athletically friendly gear.

Despite those differences in the game, athletes like those on the PRHS women’s team excelled in the sport. They won their first of many championships in 1924 and were particularly dominant in the 1940s, when they won five more.

It’s the kind of history that’s easily lost, but this exhibit is designed to make sure that doesn’t happen. “Together We Are Stronger: The Evolution of Team Sports Along the Kaw” will be on display in the former Perry Rural High School gym at Highland Community College from August 15th to September 27th. The exhibit is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For more information, visit Perry Pride.