As of late I’ve been experiencing some writer’s block. My remedy? A wiggida, wiggida WAC throwback!
My junior year at Washington College I got in trouble at soccer practice (surprised?).
During warm-ups one day – mixing in a geography lesson – my coach had the team continually do high knees until someone could tell her the capital of South Dakota.
I don’t know, maybe she believed exercising would increase the blood flow to my teammates’ brains and suddenly –
by divine intervention – one of them would recall this random fact they probably heard at one point in their lives (perhaps fifth grade?).
That day I happened to be running late for practice because of class – and arrived at the turf just in time to hear her proclaim that the capital of South Dakota is Bismarck.
Everyone seemed to take that fact at face value. Good thing I was approaching…
Of course, I didn’t want anyone on the team to leave that day with that bit of false information, so I jumped in and said, “I’m pretty sure Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota.”
Ugh – what an insolent little heathen* I was. And as punishment for my bold, revolutionary defiance? I had to write a report on not only the grand ole’ city of Bismarck, North Dakota, but also the lovely land of Pierre, South Dakota. And luckily – since, as an English major and a History minor, I never, ever had to write any papers, I managed to pull together a few facts (actually I probably spent far more time on this than I should have).
*My coach was actually really cool, and I was – admittedly – being a bit of a smart ass that day at practice (shocker!).
Here, in all it’s glory, is the report I gave to the team the very next day at practice. I hope you learn as much as I did.
Bismarck, North Dakota:
According to Wikipedia.com “In February 2007, Bismarck broke the U.S. world record for most snow angels made in one place.
A total of 8,962 participants showed up at the capitol grounds for the event.”
Bear attacks run rampant in the great city of Bismarck – population around 50,000 as of 2000 – and children are taught at an early age to go limp whenever confronted by those fluffy balls of fury.
Also nobody leaves the house without bear repellent – which is properly applied every hour on the hour. Wikipedia also shares that “The top six ancestries in the city are: German, Norwegian, Russian, Irish, English, and Swedish.” The city, founded in 1872 under the name of Edwinton was later renamed Bismarck after the chancellor of Germany, Otto Von Bismarck, in hopes of attracting a German populous.
Of course, shoe making thus became a popular trade in Bismarck, and stories began to circulate about little elves running around the city at all hours of the night.
In all actuality, the citizens later discovered, it was the city’s large underground left handed dwarf population that was, in my opinion, unfairly forced to convene in the wee hours of the night because of distrust from the staunchly conservative sect of right handed dwarves who lived on the west side of the city. Thus the story of the shoemaker and the elves – although a misnomer – still survives today…all thanks to the great city of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Pierre, South Dakota
The capital of South Dakota is often mispronounced as “pee-air”—the correct pronunciation is pier. Wikipedia.com, the consummate epicenter of information to our technological generation, shares that “Pierre is the only state capital city that does not share at least one letter with its state.” Also according to my friend Wiki,“in the 1990s, Pierre was known as Suicide City for having a large cluster of suicides during time.
According to my roommate, Trish McCarthy, who seems to be pretty smart, this is because of the secluded nature of the city and it’s harsh, long winter months—which often elicit feelings of depression. My other roommate, who wishes to remain unnamed, agrees. I guess that sounds about right too. So… carry on Pierre. Carry on.
Oh WAC athletics – I learned so much about life (and geography) from you!