As a sports editor I just suffered one of my most catastrophic weeks.
Every mental prediction, every team I secretly hoped would win, every sports event attended, every possible application of deep heat and atomic balm... they all went in the opposite possible outcome anticipated.
In order to cheer myself up I have posted these photos of the 1977 Petersburg High School Vikings basketball team as we attended the state tournament in Juneau.
As you can see we were pretty fashion friendly with horizontal striped shorts and socks which accented, and seemed to “lift,” our excellent hairstyles.
Yes, our hair, if you compare it to our accompanying cheerleaders, was a bit longer in spirit.
As a matter of fact those lovely lasses with the pom poms borrowed our curling irons on road trips. Well, so that was one of the rumors of the season.
Truth be told (no, really, no fingers crossed), I believe 1977 was the year of the Lutefisk Harvest And Pickled Herring Festival in Norway and the town barbers all were over seas harvesting, chopping, slicing and dicing, and burying the lovely little herring and assorted fishes involved in that aromatic taste treat. The concoction was also an insect repellent, dandruff preventer, scalp revitalizer, and hair thickener... so it was only natural our hair would flow like Norse gods (err, goddesses?).
Accompanying the barbers were many of the town’s Scandinavian mothers who were raised with the knowledge of the traditional Lutefisk and pickling recipes.
The hope was that a year’s worth of tasty treats would be brought back to Petersburg, or “Little Norway” as we are referred, and the whole island would eat like kings until the next festival, which, due to a protest by neighboring Denmark (Ludfisk) and Finland (Lipeakala) would be now part of a rotational championship. The next festival was to be held in Italy, the country of barbers, so the whole town was attending the current harvest to bone up on techniques.
This left Petersburg with little more than motherless Norwegian (Lutefisk) and Swedish (Lutfisk) lads and their hard working fathers who believed that longer hair protected the head better on winter trapping and fishing excursions.
It seemed to also project excellent mental foresight, as we never seemed to be wrong, at least that is what I remember.
We never saw our beloved Seahawks come from behind to lead and then lose; never watched the JDHS girls split with Kayhi; never heard the Falcons boys lose in the championship or the girls miss a free-throw; never saw Peyton Manning be let down; never watched Duke lose; never listened to unruly fans and wanna-be punks attending local high school events making fun of village athletes (oooooo, don’t get me started on what I witnessed last weekend).
Now my mother, before she headed to Sweden and then Norway with the whole lot of town consummate chefs, said she had the perfect yearlong coiffeur for me.
Taking a can of paint from my father’s sanctuary in the back shed, she held it aloft in the light to study the Dutch Boy face on the label.
She sat me in a chair, put my grandmothers cast iron Swedish pot on my head, and niftily trimmed me to fit.
Other teammates were fated with smaller pots, or just left to a free vegetation type of growth allowance.
Only one Vikings player wore a headband because, he said, “It makes me look tough.”
I do not remember any hair lashings striking my eyes or being zipped up in jacket fronts.
I only remember the feeling of air-blown bangs flowing free in the wind as we raced up and down the court.
And the extra hour it took to dry, curl and perm after games.