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Today's word on journalism

Friday, January 20, 2006

Variations on "truthiness":

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

-- Mark Twain, author, newspaperman and humorist (1835-1910)

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IMA scores touchdown with annual Turkey Bowl

By Joseph Sheppard

December 20, 2005 | Thanksgiving is a time for giving, eating, and football. Every year the Institute Men's Association at the Logan L.D.S. Institute combines the three for the annual I.M.A. Turkey Bowl, a football tournament with a charitable kick.

On Nov. 19 each team showed up with their skills and an entry fee of all the makings of a Thanksgiving dinner, minus the turkey. They came to play football, enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, and then deliver Thanksgiving dinner to 12 families in Cache Valley, said Ryan Werner, president of the IMA.

Twelve teams showed up this year, Werner said. There was a married team, a fraternity team, and several teams that consisted of groups of friends, he said.

Chris Yerka said he heard about the tournament and decided to put together a team for guys under 160 pounds.

"I said to myself, 'Self, what about all the small guys?'"Yerka said. "I thought of having a buck-fifty team, but then I couldn't find enough guys who were under a buck fifty and upped it to a buck sixty."

Buck-Sixty showed up on the Hyper Field Saturday morning with the makings of a Thanksgiving meal. Then they played some serious football. They went 1-2, but competed well, Yerka said.

In their second game, Buck-Sixty played against 2nd place winning team "Los Gallos Que Cantan," Spanish for "The Roosters that Sing," Yerka said.

"I will say we stuck with the other team. We had the ball in our possession and were making a drive for the tie when time ran out," he said.

"They would have done better if they would have had a couple more big guys," Werner said.

After the football tournament was over the teams met in the institute building for a thanksgiving dinner, Werner said.

"The dinner was great," said Brad Sorenson, an I.M.A chapter president who helped organize it. "We had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and three types of pie."

After the dinner was over, the food brought by the teams as entry fees was combined with turkeys donated by the institute, Werner said. Volunteers from the teams took the corn, green beans, stuffing, potato flakes, pies, gravy mix, and turkeys to the families that were awaiting them, Werner said.

The name and address of each family was given to them by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bishops, Werner said.

The I.M.A. was just one of countless entities to donate food for the holidays this year.

Angie's restaurant served nearly 900 free turkey dinners to people who had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving, Angie's employee Dave Kirkman said.

The Utah Food Bank collected 12,500 turkeys for Thanksgiving alone, according to a Deseret News article.

Honeysuckle White donated 100 turkeys to the Feed the Poor warehouse in Salt Lake City and donated 116,000 pounds nationwide, according to a Norman Transcript article .

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3.58 billion pounds of turkey were prepared for market in October in preparation for the Thanksgiving season.

It is estimated that 675 million pounds of Turkey are eaten on Thanksgiving Day. Of that turkey millions of pounds can be accounted for as charity in newspaper articles and television reports, yet it is difficult to determine how much of it was given away.

"There is just no way for us to know on a national level how many are donated," John Lange of the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Randy Elliot, former IMA president, said the Turkey Bowl is a tradition going back to when IMA was the Sigma Gamma Chi sorority. He explained its legacy.

"It provides great food for needy families in the neighborhood, a neat service opportunity for those in the community, good clean fun, and great food for those that come and play. It's a wonderful legacy." Elliot said.

"It's a lot of fun," Brandtley Henderson, IMA secretary said. "It really touches all the areas of what I.M.A. is really about. We have sports, food, service, and usually some girls come. It's just a great activity."

"Anyone can be involved," former Turkey Bowl organizer Brad Clark said. "Sports are fun and when it's at a place like the institute great sportsmanship is shown."

Of course, a part of the magic comes in the service, too.

Henderson said of his first experience delivering food from the Turkey Bowl, "When we got to their house, the family was surprised and really happy. They weren't expecting us to come and really needed the food. They were really touched."

"It's a good thing. People really need it. They get emotional and don't know what to say, but the tears say enough," Clark said.

"I.M.A. is a brotherhood," Werner said. "It is an organization to foster brotherhood, promote friendship, and encourage close relationships with the Lord and with each other. It is an organization of service."


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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