This Week in Milford

September 14, 2017

Bob Kazinski, Headbanger


No pussyfooting around this fall: Gil Thorp is tackling today’s tough issues head-on. No wannabe junior detectives nosing around about some kid’s mom’s job, no protesters in the bleachers protesting what may or may not have been domestic abuse. Nope, we’re cutting straight to the chase, starting by looking at the life of one of Milford’s earliest concussion victims, Coach Kaz.

Although “accidently [sic*] bang[ing] helmets with Harry Bull” sounds like something that happened not at practice but in the showers afterward, said Mr. Bull is indeed not only a real person but also a school superintendent in Colorado with a lengthy list of career achievements and who attended Northern Colorado, where Kaz allegedly played college football. Whether Harry or Kaz came out on the short end of that collision I leave to the readers.

*BTW Rubin or his letterer needs to invest in a spell checker.



  1. Given what we know of Kaz, the correct question is not “You ever have one?” It’s “How many did you have?”

    Comment by John S. Walters — September 14, 2017 @ 7:42 am

  2. I heard vaganova has had concussions. Maybe he’ll tell us the story sometime.

    Really, really hoping that this is all a smokescreen & the football story will be about a mule that wants to play safety, or repetitive subconcussive trauma.

    Comment by Downpuppy (@Downpuppy) — September 14, 2017 @ 7:59 am

  3. The mule would be fun. And no more bizarre than some other recent plots, such as the “reality” show two falls ago.

    Comment by vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 8:19 am

  4. Anybody in the TWIM community have any experience with concussions?

    Oh, Gil. You’re a card!

    edit: Glad to see you’re back, Ned. Now go clean out the coffee pot. – teenchy

    Comment by nedryerson — September 14, 2017 @ 10:18 am

  5. At this point I’m not sure if you guys are giving me the needle or not. I did post some details about my concussions yesterday. I’d add only that the most recent one was in 1979, well before concussion was taken as seriously as it is today. That one was in a training crash as a ski racer, and the doctors made a much bigger deal of the accompanying– and minor– facial fracture than the concussion. In present day terms it was a grade 3, the most severe category. I was unconscious for about a minute and a couple of hours worth of short term memory never did return. I told a training partner at the time that I had seen a “purple flash” at impact but had no memory of this afterward, and was walking on my heels for a couple of weeks afterward. I thought I had made a complete recovery but it developed that I had a partial vision loss in one eye. So despite my clowning, I do take this subject pretty seriously and hope Rubin educates his readers while telling a good story and does not throw away the opportunity.

    edit – I can’t speak for the community as a whole but we’ve become fairly tightly knit and, hence, I’d like to believe the needle is a very small one. That said I trust you will keep us bloggers in line if we don’t follow the concussion protocol. Carry on! – teenchy

    Comment by vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 10:52 am

  6. This is the thanks you get for sharing, vaganova!

    But seriously, I can’t speak for anyone else. That said, I am glad to have read your various takes be they lighthearted iterations on forgetting about them or yesterday’s more serious catalogue of What Actually Happened.

    Comment by timbuys — September 14, 2017 @ 11:10 am

  7. Teenchy– and timbuys– thanks for your thoughts. “The needle” was traditional in our family and we were all pretty good at it. I remember my father remarking that my mother should have been coaching third base. He insisted that like Jackie Robinson, she could get a pitcher so distracted that he’d balk or throw the ball away. No complaints from me about mild suggestions of “the treatment” here. And I’m not sensitive about my history of concussions either, so say anything, ask anything, and I’ll try to give good answers.

    Comment by vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 11:57 am

  8. TV shows don’t help. People get knocked out unconscious all the time but then two minutes later they “are fine” and whistling Dixie like nothing happened. I had a minor concussion back in 1981 and my memory was totally gone for several hours after it happened.

    Comment by franku2016 — September 14, 2017 @ 11:59 am

  9. I agree with franku2016 about the role of TV, and probably movies by extension. Perhaps because the potential seriousness of concussions has become better understood only recently, they were treated as either minor or comic for a long time. You don’t even have to be knocked out to get into trouble. A grade one concussion can be nearly asymptomatic but still bring serious aftereffects.

    Comment by vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 12:27 pm

  10. Good to be “back”, teenchy. I’m back at work, still without power at home. We got pretty lucky again this time and my family are all okay.

    vaganova, one of these days, I’m going to call on you to do some kind of interview because I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg here!

    Weren’t about half of the plots of Gilligan’s Island about bouts of amnesia brought on by being hit on the head by falling coconuts? That was probably the “baseline” for the layperson’s understanding of concussions (or maybe still is).

    and I just read over the last couple days comments, so I know more about the ongoing conversations. I still think The Vaganova Story sounds like a helluva read!

    Comment by nedryerson — September 14, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

  11. Ned, it’s not nearly as dramatic as you think. I may be the only person living who has never seen an episode of Gilligan’s Island. When it was originally broadcast it was on a network we did not get, and hearing my father later declare it “asinine,” I never got around to watching reruns (any show with a canned laugh track would all but drive him from the room.) But yes, people being knocked out by falling coconuts is a classic slapstick bit, and despite the fact a real-life concussion is a serious matter, there really is something inherently comic about someone being hit on the head (usually with a “sponk” sound effect) and falling inert. The stage fall involved is kind of an art, one I have had to put to use several times.

    Did not realize you had been affected by the storm and read with relief that you are ok. Most of us have no idea what a “real hurricane” is like. I’ve been on the edges of four, but none were anywhere near the league of this season’s.

    Comment by vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 2:01 pm

  12. Vaganova , I hope my comments yesterday did not boil your blood. I realize concussions aren’t a joke , but I think we’ve gone too far the other way on safety. Football was never intended to be safe. In fact the sheer danger of it is the appeal. For the combatants as well as the spectators. My coaches always stressed football is not a nice game. Now I’m no rough and tumble guy. I played split end. And they only let me play when the game was well in hand. But in practice, when I went over the middle there was a price to be paid. And some of that intimidation is lost in today’s game. I Disagree when you said the game is more dangerous. I think it’s safer due to rule changes. You can’t hit a defenseless receiver, you can hardly hit a QB at all. And I think the equipment is better too. That defenseless receiver rule really irks me. It’s up to the QB not to put WR in harms way. At least it used to be. Now it’s up to the DB to adjust full speed as to avoid hitting WR who is contorting himself to catch the ball. And as I said yesterday, teach proper technique tackling and running the ball. Keep your head up! Whenever I see a terrible injury such as a player being paralyzed, it’s usually result of poor technique . I could go on but that’s enough for now. Other than to say the things I learned in football still affect me today in a positive manner.

    Comment by Jive Turkey — September 14, 2017 @ 5:25 pm

  13. JT, no worries about offending me– my blood is relatively boil-proof. Your points about quarterbacks and receivers are reasonable and well presented. But from what I see linemen and tacklers are at the most risk, especially as players have become both bigger and faster. It will be interesting to see how the game changes. The rules have changed regularly since its early days and I’m sure this will go on.

    Comment by Vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 7:40 pm

  14. You are correct about lineman. Lot of head butting as they fire out on D lineman. I know they are trying to make helmets more shock proof if that’s right word. And again, the longer you play the more that will have an effect. That’s why I kind if down play long term damage to kids who won’t put on a helmet past senior year of high school. I’m not looking forward to Gil and Kaz’s take on this. Should be plenty of fodder in the coming months.

    Comment by Jive Turkey — September 14, 2017 @ 8:07 pm

  15. Kind of holding my breath over how Rubin will let the air out of this.

    Comment by Vaganova — September 14, 2017 @ 8:24 pm

  16. Thank vaganova. I didn’t make a big fuss here about Irma, but it is nice to be out of the woods. My power came on last night, so I got to have a hot shower which was quite wonderful. The damage throughout the state is widespread and severe in many areas and some folks have been told that they could be without power for weeks (if they have a home to power), so I’m feeling truly blessed right now. I’m still processing this whole thing. In terms of the drama inherent in your story, I was referring more to the scope of your experiences in life, which I can’t even add up right now. And I’m not singling you out. Many of our other stalwart commenters share incredible details about their lives and experiences as well as their thoughtful and unique takes on the strip. I am actually considering some way to delve into this (if people are interested). I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of time in the last few days to contemplate things and maybe I’m just a little manic. Maybe it is just enough to talk about Gil Thorp and related topics in this very friendly and drama free community.

    Thanks teenchy, for filling in for me.

    Now, lets see what today brings.

    Comment by nedryerson — September 15, 2017 @ 5:50 am

  17. Gil cracking one-liners on someone else’s intelligence level? Are we really going there?

    Comment by hitorque — September 15, 2017 @ 12:10 pm

  18. Should we all sign up for baseline testing before this plot gets too far in?

    Comment by lauramac — September 15, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

  19. lauramac may have made the best suggestion to date.

    Comment by vaganova — September 15, 2017 @ 5:03 pm

  20. […] That’s about all I’ve got for today except for another grammatical fumble. […]

    Pingback by What’s More Hazardous: The Veer or Coloring This Strip? | This Week in Milford — November 25, 2017 @ 9:59 pm

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