Map of the Week Update: Turner Responds
|January 16, 2012||Posted by ReubenFB under Map of the Week|
A week or so back, I took a rather cheap shot at Turner, Montana: the town in the contiguous US furthest from a professional baseball team. As an extremely dorky baseball fan, the 647-mile trip to the nearest team would be tough for me, but obviously it doesn’t make Turner the “Saddest Town in America.” Well if you happened to read the comments section, you’ll know that the people of Turner heard about the article, and they were understandably not happy. Like not at all.
I followed up with these commenters to offer an apology, and a few of them got back to me. Ladies and gentlemen, the fine people of Turner (and Hogeland), in their own words:
Cindy C. of Turner chimed in with a deeply touching story about the strength of Turner’s community:
Our “town” is small, but the surrounding community is not. We are very close to the surrounding 100 mile radius of communities, and I personally have experienced what happens when a person is in need. My husband is a recent bone marrow transplant recipient, where we spent 4 months living in the heart of Seattle, and yes, too close to the well known SafeCo Field. Our community hosted a benefit for our family, with well over 100 people attending, all contributing thousands of dollars to our cause. Not only did people donate, but since December of 2009, our community has been there to help and support us as we fight the battle of cancer. There is nothing like it.
Cindy was also kind enough to chip in on the sports scene in her town, which I asked about specifically:
Sports is a big factor in todays world, but our numbers do not allow us to offer football, volleyball, tennis or some of the other fun sports. Instead, we have basketball and track… we may not have huge stadiums to host the “big” games, but we feel our kids are subjected to much more. Our baseball teams consist of all ages, 2-80. Our baseball field is native prairie grass, yet groomed and fenced to allow family fun nights.
[Turner and Hogeland] are part of what is known locally as “The Big Flat”. This area was so named by the homesteaders, about 90 years ago, because it’s, well, big and flat. Whomever came up with the name would probably be addressed as “Captain Obvious” today. Almost everyone who lives in this area is either a farmer or rancher. A grain bin is a structure where farmers store their grain. Grain in the bin is the same as money in the bank. So, a community grain bin is an apt description for a fund to be used for economic development.
On the other side of things, Heather D. of the Chinook Area Chamber of Commerce was not going to let me off the hook so easily:
I am sorry, I am not going to accept your apology. I am in the field of media as well and I am absolutely disturbed by people like you who do not take constructive journalism seriously. It is EXACTLY what is wrong with this entire country.
While I am flattered to be officially included in the field of media, I am truly sorry that my article was insensitive enough to illicit responses like Heather’s above, and I’d like to take this final opportunity to offer my sincerest apologies to our readers from the Big Flat region.
On a related note, I’d like to see if I can try to salvage just a tiny piece of constructive research out of this whole ugly mess. The map below – which I assume from the title came from reddit.com/r/nba – charts the (general) territories of NBA fandom in the US. Unfortunately, the lazy cartographers left out a big chunk of Montana:
Citizens of Turner, Hogeland, and the entire Big Flat region: if you’re reading this and you don’t hate me too much already, please help me further the field of sports cartography by actually finishing this map. If you know anyone around you who follows the NBA, who do they root for? The Trailblazers? The Timberwolves? The Nuggets? Someone else?
Let me know either in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and once again my apologies for any and all disrespect. Maybe we can make some headway on turning this guy’s idea into a reality.