Tradition Tuesday is a weekly feature where we’ll explore the history, lore, and culture of the Dark Clouds. Confused about why we sing about Hot Nuts? Which Minnesota player coined “Nuts Of A Warrior”? Why does the section quack every so often? We’ll have the answers in Tradition Tuesday.
Gather round Dark Cloudlings. Nach is going to tell you a story of a time long ago….a time when “by any name” only meant the Thunder, Stars, and Minnesota United….a time when “in any league” meant USL, NASL or the A-league….a time half of you were still saying “ehhh but they’re not MLS and I want to see the highest level y’know.”
The year was 2013: hallowed antiquity. There was but one podcast that covered Minnesota Soccer: The du Nord Futbol Show. Before our casts were TUF or the Loons had made their way out of water, Bruce ‘du Nord’ McGuire and Wes Burdine would dutifully come into our transistor radios week after week with forty minutes to an hour of all the week’s soccer news.
Back then Minnesota United were absolutely terrible at setpieces (awfully hard to imagine today, I know!) and solutions to the problem seemed elusive. In a moment of brilliance Bruce had an idea that he spelled out on air:
Every time MNUFC trained, the Dark Clouds would stand on the sidelines armed with iron skillets. When a player screwed up on a setpiece, a Dark Cloud would bonk them on the head Tom & Jerry style with an iron skillet. Over time this corrective method would result in the best possible setpieces from the players.
Unfortunately the team itself seemed foolishly resistant to Bruce’s suggestion and iron skillets were added to the list of items banned from the NSC. But the Dark Clouds wouldn’t be deterred! We made t-shirts with the skillet on it. We chanted “Iron Skillet!” every time a setpiece went awry. One Dark Cloud even made a supersized fiberglass iron skillet to remind our players what awaited if they continued to screw up their setpieces.
I won’t say it worked but it didn’t not work. At the very least it provided the Dark Clouds with a nice piece of lore and photos of skillets poured in from around the country.
Note: If any local soccer teams would like to test the true and complete Iron Skillet Method, Bruce would be happy to license it to you at a reasonable price.