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Published December 23 2010

Clark: Priorities differ between Texas, Minnesota

What’s better? Minnesota high school hockey or Texas high school football?

That’s a question people ask me a lot when they find out I moved here from Texas, where I covered high school football.

I covered a few high school basketball games in Indiana and it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.

But when it comes to here or Texas and who does it better, that’s hard because they are so different.

Take Texas. Down there you have stadiums that hold 20,000 people with artificial turf and high-definition video boards so you don’t have to look at the field itself.

Sometimes, the stadium is the symbol of the community.

There are places like Beaumont, where I just left, where the school district gets money from a bond issue and would rather build a stadium first than classrooms.

Then there’s Minnesota. Here the rinks are nice, they’re filled with thousands of people and they don’t have video boards.

Ice is just ice so there’s nothing real or fake about it, and here the rink really isn’t the symbol of a community, unless you live in Roseau or Thief River Falls.

What it comes down to isn’t the sports but the people.

Texans are good people. An extremely proud people, but good nonetheless.

They are also pretty sports smart, too.

Tell them you’re leaving to cover hockey in Minnesota and even they are impressed.

Minnesotans are good people but they’re quiet about it. They call it being Scandinavian. I just see it as letting what they’ve done speak for itself instead of bragging ad nauseam about it all.

The qualities you find in each sport are reflected from the people in the states they live in.

Much has been said about Minnesota’s financial woes while Texas is comparatively rolling in the dough.

But Minnesota is doing it the right way when it comes to hockey because there’s more to life than just hockey.

The book and movie “Friday Night Lights” shed light on what happens down there and sadly people have this romanticized version of it.

A lot of your big, big football communities are these small towns where football is the only way out.

That’s not the case here because if you don’t play college hockey, chances are, you’ll still go to college.

Texas football is amazing but there are so many communities that put athletics over school and it shows because there are so many talented kids that don’t have a chance because they don’t learn.

Here, however, that can happen but it doesn’t because people stress that education is more important.

So if we’re talking about the pageantry of it, yes, Texas football wins.

But if we’re talking about everything else, including the right way to do things, Minnesota hockey wins.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548