Shanley baseball coach of 14 years says contract not renewed due to parent complaint about text message

As a parent of a young baseball player, I am appalled.

I think the message that the Coach sent out is awesome and struck a nerve.

FARGO – When the Fargo Shanley baseball team hits the field this spring, it will do so with a new coach.

Joel Swanson, who started the Deacons program in 1999, was informed by school administrators Monday that his coaching contract would not be renewed for the 2014 season.

According to Swanson, the reason for the nonrenewal is a complaint from a parent of one of the players in the Shanley program regarding a text message he sent to players last week regarding preparations for the upcoming season.

Swanson told The Forum that he met with Shanley activities director Randy Nelson and Dr. Michael Smith, the Superintendent of Blessed John Paul II Catholic Schools Network of Fargo on Monday to discuss the text message. In the meeting, Swanson said he was told a complaint had been issued by a parent.

“They told me the text message was considered threatening in tone and wording,” Swanson said. “They went on to say that it violated Shanley’s values and that my contract would not be renewed.”

Nelson confirmed Wednesday that Swanson’s contract was not renewed, but declined to comment on what prompted the decision, citing the matter as a personnel issue.

Swanson, who teaches alternative education at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo, coached 14 seasons with the Deacons and was coming off of a 10-12 season in which Shanley won the North Dakota Class A state championship.

Defending that championship is what prompted Swanson to send his players the text message.

Swanson provided The Forum a letter he sent Nelson and Dr. Smith in response to his dismissal, which included what he says is the transcript of the text message he sent to the players.

The text goes into great length about Swanson’s expectations for the 2014 season and his displeasure with players having poor attendance at non-mandatory open gym sessions.

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

“If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Swanson has received hundreds of emails and text messages of support following the decision, which he cites as unjust due to the lack of opportunity to defend himself.

Swanson said he was afforded no challenge to the complaint nor was he allowed to meet – in a mediated setting – with the parent that issued the complaint, which he considers to be standard practice.

“It seems like something is missing here,” Swanson said. “If they want me to step down from my position, then fine, but it was done in an unprofessional way. I was released without ever being able to talk to this parent. I wasn’t able to defend myself as far as what the content of the text message was.”

In May of 2013, Minnesota passed a law preventing parent complaints as being the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract in its high schools. No similar legislation exists in North Dakota.

“It is just too bad,” Swanson said. “We have a large senior class this year and they are a good group of kids. We didn’t have the best record in the regular season last year, but they were fun to coach. … It is tough to leave that. As a coach you want to help kids and share your knowledge, but there always is somebody who seems to think that is not good enough or they can do better.”

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 Now that it's apparently so taboo for a coach to flip out now and again does anyone else look back fondly on some of their coaches when they would just explode? Myself as well as darn near everyone I played with over the years laugh our asses off every time we think of that stuff. Out loud screaming curses, off color insults/jokes, fits, someone taking a clipboard over the helmet or ass,booted chairs, veins almost exploding out of a coaches face, and once the rant was over that was it. The correction came out much calmer but the attention getters were priceless, still hafta lol when thinking about them.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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DirtyMike Said:
Quincy, you're the one that wanted to start pulling your sack and wiggling it in other men's faces.  That's concerning.  As far as you being a little bitch about working hard, well we all know where you're coming from.  If you're in Bismarck, why don't you meet me for a beer and we'll figure this all out. 

Dude again, stay away from children.

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curtikins_bac Said:

Thanks for the warning; now people will know you're threadjacking by posting insults of other users. *Thumbup*

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Also, I do coach.  Multiple sports in fact.  I push those kids hard because in the end, it's not about a sport.  Are any of these kids going to make it to the show?  Absolutely not.  But they might get college paid for, or a portion of it at least.  And when they've put their glove and cleats away, they're going to have an appreciating for what they accomplish through hard work and dedication.  That means they they might not get to go ice fishing with daddy.  That also means that they don't get to go hang out with the boys anymore when they have a child.  Sacrifices are made for a reason.  Sometimes the benefit doesn't always stand out in the open for you, but one day you'll know why you gave something up, ran one more lap, or said no to the last drink.  Quincy and Allen, you guys think you're above everyone else because you wouldn't have done this.  Maybe he could have been more tactful in his message to his players.  But he didn't cross the line.  The fact that one parent complained and the school decided to walk away from a coach that started the program and ran it successfully for 14 years is sad. 


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Allen Said:

DirtyMike Said:

Both of you need to grow a sack. 

On a personal note, it's kinda creepy knowing guys on here are concerned about the status of my sack.

Could be that's how he got his name?

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jester7_7 Said:
I played hs sports 1998-2002, football, basketball, track, baseball. Loved the lessons I learned, cherished the friendships and lifelong connections. I also showed up for the 'voluntary' Sunday practices. You know what, they didn't make me better. Off season workouts did, oh wait what off season. But even the kid in only 1 sport doesn't deserve to get the rest of his life consumed. 99.9% of HS athletes won't go on to play collegiate and don't deserve to have their weekends taken away. I would have rather been ice fishing with my dad because now I'm an adult and I don't have those memories and we live far apart. Let kids be kids and enjoy their families in the offseason. Yes, be 100% dedicated during the season but don't pretend it's something that it's not. The stud athletes will find their way to the top and put in the work to succeed at the college level if they want it. I was no scrub but looking back I didn't gain as much from giving up Sundays to run crushers as I would have gained in the outdoors with my Dad. And on this site I would hope people would agree with that.

I coach and I totally agree with you.  HS sports are in many cases far too consuming, there's no reason that a kid has to donate their life to a sport (and I don't think that the shanley coach was asking them to).  Problem is the same parents and players who complain about you having too much going on in the offseason would be the same ones who call for your job when you don't win as much as they think you should. 

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After having five kids in every high school sport and summer program offer.

I would side with Alan.
In the summer my kids took part in all the programs to improve, we play basket ball on the driveway, i would play catch and pitch the ball to them, my wife spent time doing the same ect. And yes in was important to me that my kid made ME look good by their perfomance on the floor. Or so i thougth.
I have seen the kids spent all the hours at the practice and then sit on the bench the whole game or play the last 30 seconds.
I have seen the back slaps on the coach or the parent for how great they are and the other kid, well not a thing said.
However in time i learn.  I remember the vo-ag instructor keeping my kids till midnight at the school to prepare for Kansas,  The head cheerleader coach telling my daughter she could not play volleyball if she was going to cheer.  There only two cheerleader at the time and on and on.
First off, the greatest enjoyment i had with my kids was playing club hockey and gymnastic.  Yes the parents were the coach, drove the kids, sat up the schedule and so forth with no interference from the school.  Parents were involve and did not just sit on the sideline.
For me my kids goal in life was not to make some coach famous by devoting all their time to the coach.  My kids did the best they could and give their 100%.  In certain sports they gave more than a 100%.  Some maybe not but they were having FUN.  If that was not good enough then i guess my kid was not good enough for the coach to have.  The kids did not play for one sole reason of the coach.  They took part becasue they enjoy and wanted to be there.
But there is more to life than being the stud and making your parent/coach look good.  It took a while but in my book the coach can kiss my ass.  So if he feels he can tell my kid to spent all their time for him, well i quess we as a family will find time to do other things.  In the end the memories will be much stronger than some trophy sitting on the wall or store away somewhere.  My kids have gotten trophies.  But what is on the wall?  Picture of deer and horns.  Not the trophies.
Yes based on what i see the school screwed up.  There should of been conversation between those involved.
But do not tell me that the right thing to do is devote your life to a coach for a few years while growing up.  I am not interest in seeing his/her name in the paper for how great he is.  I have seen the coaches when all that matters is winning.  They have no ideal what sports is about and how they can mode my kid. Winning is great but in the end there was more important things taught by being involve.
Fine, spend the time if that is your passion but do not forget to devote yourself to what you want to do and enjoy and to your family.
How many of you can tell me who was at the state volleyball tournament this year? So what is important, the winning or the memories of being apart of sometime were it is not all about being on top. There us a lot more out there than just playing baseball.  Open gym, well maybe there was somethng going on more important than that open gym  db

 

Db

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DirtyMike Said:
Also, I do coach.  Multiple sports in fact.  I push those kids hard because in the end, it's not about a sport.  Are any of these kids going to make it to the show?  Absolutely not.  But they might get college paid for, or a portion of it at least.  And when they've put their glove and cleats away, they're going to have an appreciating for what they accomplish through hard work and dedication.  That means they they might not get to go ice fishing with daddy.  That also means that they don't get to go hang out with the boys anymore when they have a child.  Sacrifices are made for a reason.  Sometimes the benefit doesn't always stand out in the open for you, but one day you'll know why you gave something up, ran one more lap, or said no to the last drink.  Quincy and Allen, you guys think you're above everyone else because you wouldn't have done this.  Maybe he could have been more tactful in his message to his players.  But he didn't cross the line.  The fact that one parent complained and the school decided to walk away from a coach that started the program and ran it successfully for 14 years is sad. 

That's the problem with assumptions, you make yourself look like an ass.

NO WHERE did I say that I wouldn't have done this (Allen didn't either) or that I'm looking down on those that did. If you want to go the extra mile and better yourself for the team, great. However, there are players that don't want to and they don't need an a-hole coach insulting them because they choose not to participate in voluntary workouts or only play a single sport.

And hell, the fact that one parent (supposedly) complained and the school got rid of him is TELLING. WTF else was happening with him that the school was so quick to get rid of him. Shouldn't that tell you something about the coach?

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golfer Said:

Could be that's how he got his name?

Have you seen The Other Guys with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.  Watch the movie and you'll get it. 


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Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

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To shorten up my last comment.
The coach can kiss my ass.
As i do not know how to text i would tell the kid to text that message back to the coach as we have some deer plots to seed and stands to build along with planting a few hundred trees this summer.
db

Db

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Quincy05 Said:

DirtyMike Said:
Also, I do coach.  Multiple sports in fact.  I push those kids hard because in the end, it's not about a sport.  Are any of these kids going to make it to the show?  Absolutely not.  But they might get college paid for, or a portion of it at least.  And when they've put their glove and cleats away, they're going to have an appreciating for what they accomplish through hard work and dedication.  That means they they might not get to go ice fishing with daddy.  That also means that they don't get to go hang out with the boys anymore when they have a child.  Sacrifices are made for a reason.  Sometimes the benefit doesn't always stand out in the open for you, but one day you'll know why you gave something up, ran one more lap, or said no to the last drink.  Quincy and Allen, you guys think you're above everyone else because you wouldn't have done this.  Maybe he could have been more tactful in his message to his players.  But he didn't cross the line.  The fact that one parent complained and the school decided to walk away from a coach that started the program and ran it successfully for 14 years is sad. 

That's the problem with assumptions, you make yourself look like an ass.

NO WHERE did I say that I wouldn't have done this (Allen didn't either) or that I'm looking down on those that did. If you want to go the extra mile and better yourself for the team, great. However, there are players that don't want to and they don't need an a-hole coach insulting them because they choose not to participate in voluntary workouts or only play a single sport.

And hell, the fact that one parent (supposedly) complained and the school got rid of him is TELLING. WTF else was happening with him that the school was so quick to get rid of him. Shouldn't that tell you something about the coach?

I didn't assume anything.  Have fun in powder puff land.


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golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?


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DirtyMike Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?

Close to the truth?

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 Only thing he did wrong was text. 

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 I do agree that things can go to far though. I got to hear a little bit about what kids who grow up playing hockey in MN and I have never seen anything like that . Those kids seem to have their entire lives managed for them, almost every minute year-round revolving around hockey activities. I don't blame kids for getting burned out. Granted if the kids honestly love the sport that sort of environment does help them succeed but I have never seen an environment quite like that.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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I would say there is about a 99.9 % chance that the parent that filed this complaint, also stated under no condition did he want his name released to anyone , even the coach .

What a chicken shit parent and administrators

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Well, this has been fun. 

Now what exactly were we arguing about again?  Oh yeah, the right of someone else to be a jackass to kids under their tutelage.

DM, I would hope you don't send texts like this to the kids under your care.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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jester7_7 Said:
I played hs sports 1998-2002, football, basketball, track, baseball. Loved the lessons I learned, cherished the friendships and lifelong connections. I also showed up for the 'voluntary' Sunday practices. You know what, they didn't make me better. Off season workouts did, oh wait what off season. But even the kid in only 1 sport doesn't deserve to get the rest of his life consumed. 99.9% of HS athletes won't go on to play collegiate and don't deserve to have their weekends taken away. I would have rather been ice fishing with my dad because now I'm an adult and I don't have those memories and we live far apart. Let kids be kids and enjoy their families in the offseason. Yes, be 100% dedicated during the season but don't pretend it's something that it's not. The stud athletes will find their way to the top and put in the work to succeed at the college level if they want it. I was no scrub but looking back I didn't gain as much from giving up Sundays to run crushers as I would have gained in the outdoors with my Dad. And on this site I would hope people would agree with that.

I played from 93-97 and fished and hunted all the time with my dad when I had a chance.  I will remember this for ever I was a freshman and he said you have your whole life after high school to fish and hunt take advantage of having the opportunity to play sports and give it 110%.  I did kind of  but the only thing I would do over is work harder and put some more time in because I feel I left some thing on the table and the what ifs haunt me till this day.  If I would have added a little more work ethic with the god given talent might have gotten school paid for or something more.  Basic training was a great wake up to the real world and the reasonings behind some of the ass chewings I got were really understood.

 Adn

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yes there is limitations in high school sports. i was a coach also    but he didnt call anyone pathetic.   whats wrong with a coach wanting kids come to gym and play catch for 20 mins or take a bucket of balls.   these kids not working are gonna whine when they cant pitch cause there arm is sore.   yes high school sports isnt like college   but a coach is brought into the system to win.   name a school that brings in coaches not to win.    coaches put in hours to coach.  if i was a parent i would say why arent u at practice instead of playing videos games.    i bet every single one of u on this site can go back into their high school career and say if i could have made that shot or made that one extra block or pitch.  thee might be more to story none of us know but what he texted kids was fine.    my 2 censt

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i had the pleasure a being coached by this man for football in my early high school years and will always hold him as one of the best

KurtR Said:
the wrestling coach in watertown would have expected as much and more and if you did not perform you would know and I guess proof is in the results....

http://www.sdshof.com/inductees/marv-sherrill/

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The only reason I commented on this is because I coach baseball as well.  We are having voluntary workouts on Sunday afternoons.  It is also a christian school.  If the kids aren't doing anything, we expect them there.  If they're family says they won't make it, we won't hold it against them.  But that doesn't mean the kid who shows up for these workouts and impresses us wont get the start.  It isn't the kids fault that his parents won't let him come to these workouts.  We know that.  But we intend to put the best team on the field, regardless of seniority or who their parents are. 

golfer Said:

DirtyMike Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?

Close to the truth?


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Only thing Joel did wrong was send a text and not do a meeting in person with the team telling them to get their a** in gear (but not sure if he could due to rules)!  I had HS coaches who threw garbage cans across the room, threw a hockey stick in the bleachers, grabbed people by the facemask and drug them across the field.  Was it appropriate?  Maybe not, but it sure as hell taught me to respect my coach/teacher and push myself to be better!  For those saying HS sports shouldn't consume all their time, I agree.  Joel wasn't asking for that.  All he wanted was these kids to get into the gym an hour a week.  He wasn't asking for it to be every single night.  And for those saying most in HS sports won't ever play at the next level so you shouldn't expect kids to work at it, you obviously don't get it.  HS sports isn't just about going to the next level, its about teaching kids life lessons about hard work and dedication no matter what it is they are doing!!  Maybe Joel sees potential in a couple of these kids who aren't working as hard as they could.  Maybe by the coach pushing a little harder, these kids WILL make it to the next level!  And I'm not just talking about HS sports, I'm talking about HS activities in general.  A parent's job is to teach their kids to commit to things they choose to participate in and work  hard at being the best they can (whether thats the football team, speech team, or drama).  A coach's job is to do the same.  Joel was just trying to push these kids to be better by saying they probably won't play if they don't put in the effort.  What the hell is wrong with that??!!??!!  Maybe it shouldn't have been in a text.  Maybe he couldn't have a team meeting due to rules??  Or maybe he should've had the captains put pressure on the other kids.  I have no idea.  But the coach was just trying to motivate his players and one whiny parent who made a stink just blew it for 99% of the kids and parents who didn't.  It's sad and its the reason why most choose not to coach anymore and the reason why kids thinks things should just be handed to them. 

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golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

If there's more to the story, then please share. 

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It simply could have not been said better, KurtR. 

KurtR Said:

I played from 93-97 and fished and hunted all the time with my dad when I had a chance.  I will remember this for ever I was a freshman and he said you have your whole life after high school to fish and hunt take advantage of having the opportunity to play sports and give it 110%.  I did kind of  but the only thing I would do over is work harder and put some more time in because I feel I left some thing on the table and the what ifs haunt me till this day.  If I would have added a little more work ethic with the god given talent might have gotten school paid for or something more.  Basic training was a great wake up to the real world and the reasonings behind some of the ass chewings I got were really understood.


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DirtyMike Said:
 If they're family says they won't make it, we won't hold it against them.  But that doesn't mean the kid who shows up for these workouts and impresses us wont get the start.  It isn't the kids fault that his parents won't let him come to these workouts. 

This right here sets your message apart from the one we were discussing.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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bigbrad123 Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

If there's more to the story, then please share. 

Yes, I would really like to read it as well.

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DirtyMike Said:

Quincy05 Said:

DirtyMike Said:
Also, I do coach.  Multiple sports in fact.  I push those kids hard because in the end, it's not about a sport.  Are any of these kids going to make it to the show?  Absolutely not.  But they might get college paid for, or a portion of it at least.  And when they've put their glove and cleats away, they're going to have an appreciating for what they accomplish through hard work and dedication.  That means they they might not get to go ice fishing with daddy.  That also means that they don't get to go hang out with the boys anymore when they have a child.  Sacrifices are made for a reason.  Sometimes the benefit doesn't always stand out in the open for you, but one day you'll know why you gave something up, ran one more lap, or said no to the last drink.  Quincy and Allen, you guys think you're above everyone else because you wouldn't have done this.  Maybe he could have been more tactful in his message to his players.  But he didn't cross the line.  The fact that one parent complained and the school decided to walk away from a coach that started the program and ran it successfully for 14 years is sad. 

That's the problem with assumptions, you make yourself look like an ass.

NO WHERE did I say that I wouldn't have done this (Allen didn't either) or that I'm looking down on those that did. If you want to go the extra mile and better yourself for the team, great. However, there are players that don't want to and they don't need an a-hole coach insulting them because they choose not to participate in voluntary workouts or only play a single sport.

And hell, the fact that one parent (supposedly) complained and the school got rid of him is TELLING. WTF else was happening with him that the school was so quick to get rid of him. Shouldn't that tell you something about the coach?

I didn't assume anything.  Have fun in powder puff land.

Your entire post is an assumption as to what I (or Allen) would or wouldn't do. Hell, even your last insult is an assumption. I seriously hope you don't act like this to the kids you coach and this is just some online machoism you're trying to portray.

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I don't have one phone number that belongs to the kids I coach.  IF I did, the only thing I would text is time and place of meetings/games or cancellations.  I think we're all in agreement, don't send texts to kids.  I'm not arguing that position. Dropping a coach because he called some of the kids' work ethic "pathetic" is ridiculous.  Even if these workouts were voluntary, kids that are just sitting at home owe it to the team be better.  If they can't handle that little bit of responsibility, don't play. 

Allen Said:
Well, this has been fun. 

Now what exactly were we arguing about again?  Oh yeah, the right of someone else to be a jackass to kids under their tutelage.

DM, I would hope you don't send texts like this to the kids under your care.


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Quincy, I offered to meet you in Bismarck.  That isn't online. 


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