Dé Máirt, Márta 24, 2009

Tales From North Platte

There was this Clark Masters in the police department, detective I think. He was the local media voice for the PO, narrating the "Crime Stopper" shorts and showing up on the local news for the "Santacop" program, things like that. In 1996 he tried to cash in on his local fame by running for sheriff against the outgoing sheriff's preferred heir. Both the candidates were Republicans. North Platte is a railroad town and the rail union has some influence so it's pretty moderate as far as western Nebraska goes. But it's only natural that police officers would be more conservative than the general population. Of course the Manichean moral outlook of the GOP would appeal to them. It's a dangerous job, after all, so of course the average cop desires to see the business of enforcing the law and punishing its transgressors as something more than mere civic housekeeping, part of a grand cosmic war, a higher calling than painting the lanes on Main Street or feeding the park giraffe.

Masters lost the GOP primary by about 60 to 40%. He launched a write-in campaign for the general election and lost by even more.

About a year after this the town learned that Masters was carrying on a romance with a seventeen year old girl that had been going on since she was barely fifteen. He didn't get into any legal trouble, because the girls parents were okay with it, and why not? He was a prominent local figure. Financially secure. The media face of the North Platte Police department and thus the local symbol of masculine power itself. The perfect surrogate father for the girl, even better than marrying her off to the village butcher.

The news of the affair caused a bit of a stir, but not as much as it would have a year or two earlier. Masters had revealed himself to be quite the entitled asshole during the sheriff's campaign. People were surprised but not shocked at his proclivities.

Buck Egenberger, the girls' basketball coach at my high school, also liked his women fresh. This girls parents were offended, and he went to the state pen for a time. I was checking up on the hometown news several months ago and saw that he had just gotten out. Good for him.

I wonder if the girl he went to prison for was the only one, if perhaps we have shared the embrace of the same seventeen year old.

The U.S. is rather tolerant of females playing sports, even compared to those decadent elitists in Western Europe. You may be surprised to know that this is especially true in the rural Midwest. The heavy masculinism of the culture there spills over onto the lady folk. Tales of rugged farm women who own no dress save for their wedding gown are common. Coaching is another matter though. The authority to give commands for a specific physical endeavor is still mostly given to men, even in girls sports. Strong athletic alpha males who take what they want. Stories like old Buck Egenbergers' are rather common.

Of course, stories of improprieties between female coaches and their female players aren't unheard of either. And if Nifty.org is telling me the truth these cases are downright rampant.

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