Daily Update: Sunday, July 17th, 2016

07-17 - Water Music

Today is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. With no Saints to honor today, we note that it was on this date in 1717 that composer George Frideric Handel’s Water Music premiered after King George I of Great Britain had requested a concert on the River Thames.

Legend has it that Handel composed Water Music to regain the favor of King George I. Handel had been employed by the future king in 1710 to 1712 when he was Elector of Hanover, and the composer supposedly fell out of favor for moving to London late in the reign of Queen Anne. This story was first related by Handel’s early biographer John Mainwaring; although it may have some foundation in fact, the tale as told by Mainwaring has been doubted by some Handel scholars. Another legend has it that the Elector of Hanover in fact approved of Handel’s permanent move to London in 1712, knowing the separation between them would be temporary, as both the Elector and Handel were aware that the Elector of Hanover would eventually succeed to the British throne after Queen Anne’s death (which occurred in 1714). In any event, the concert was performed by fifty musicians playing on a barge near the royal barge from which the King listened with close friends, including the Duchess of Bolton, the Duchess of Newcastle, the Countess of Godolphin, Madam Kilmarnock, and the Earl of Orkney. All the instruments in the Baroque orchestra were included in the composition, except the harpsichord and timpani, which would have been inconvenient to bring onto the barge. The suites’ music reflects this, with the strings, for example, providing support usually afforded by the timpani. George I was said to have enjoyed the suites so much that he made the exhausted musicians play them three times over the course of the outing.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at the casino, Richard was on Pai Gow, and I was on Mississippi Stud, closed that table, and was on Three Card Poker for the rest of the day. On my breaks I continued reading The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.

On our way home I finished reading The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story by Dean King. Once home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; I also texted Callie to see about going over to see the baby at her mother’s this afternoon, but she said the baby had a bad fever for the last two nights and was cranky, so I told Callie that we would come by tomorrow. I did genealogy for a bit, then did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story by Dean King. And now I am headed off to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (died 1614) (in the Universal Church his feast is July 14th, but in the American church that date is the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (died 1680), so Saint Camillus de Lellis’s Optional Memorial in the United States is on July 17th). And tomorrow begins the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. We will return to work; and on my breaks I will finish reading The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. After lunch we will (hopefully) see my Kitten again.

Our Parting Quote on this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Bill Arnsparger, American football coach. Born as William Arnsparger in 1926 in Paris, Kentucky, he attended Paris High School and became connected with the school’s longtime football and basketball coach, Blanton Collier. The relationship would have a major impact on his future career. After serving in the United States Marines during World War II, Arnsparger attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity (Alpha Chapter). After graduating from Miami in January 1950, Arnsparger remained in Oxford to work as an assistant for the Miami football team during the 1950 season. On February 21st, 1951, Arnsparger was hired by new head coach Woody Hayes of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He served as the Buckeyes’ line coach until 1954. That year he re-connected with Collier, who had been hired as head football coach at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Arnsparger remained at Kentucky for the next eight years until Collier was fired on January 2nd, 1962. During the 1959 season, he was joined on the coaching staff by a young coach who had served at the University of Virginia the previous year. That coach was Don Shula, with the two coaches forging a strong bond that would tie them for much of the next quarter century. Arnsparger moved on to an assistant position with Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1962. After two years, he resigned the post on March 6th, 1964 to become the defensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts under Shula. That season, the Colts reached the National Football League (NFL) Championship game and remained one of the strongest teams of the 1960s, competing in Super Bowl III on January 12th, 1969. When Shula left to become head coach with the Miami Dolphins after the end of the 1969 NFL season, he brought along Arnsparger. In just two seasons, the formerly moribund team had reached the Super Bowl, with Arnsparger fashioning what became known as the “No-Name Defense.” World championships in each of the next two seasons, including an undefeated season during 1972, made Arnsparger a prime candidate for a head coaching position. Following the Dolphins’ 24–7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII, Arnsparger was named head coach of the New York Giants. With the Giants he managed just seven wins in his thirty-five games. Arnsparger coached the Giants in three different home stadiums during his tenure: the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974; Shea Stadium, home of the cross-town rival New York Jets in 1975; and finally, Giants Stadium in 1976. Arnsparger was fired in the middle of the season on October 25th, 1976, with the team having lost all seven of its games on the year. Just two days after his dismissal, Arnsparger was rehired by Shula as Miami’s assistant head coach in charge of the defense. In the team’s first game under his leadership, the Dolphins won a 10–3 defensive battle with the New England Patriots, who had averaged thirty points per game entering the contest. Miami finished the 1976 NFL season with a 6–8 mark, then narrowly missed a playoff berth the following season. During the next two seasons, the Dolphins reached the postseason, but dropped their first playoff game. During the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, Miami reached Super Bowl XVII, but dropped a 27–17 decision to the Washington Redskins. Arnsparger again had created an elite defensive unit, known as the Killer B’s (so named because of the number of surnames beginning with “B” on the Dolphin’s defense). On December 2nd, 1983, Arnsparger was hired as head coach at Louisiana State University, but finished his season with the Dolphins. One of his first innovations as LSU’s head coach was on getting the football team into what he considered to be optimal physical shape. A year later, the 1985 Tigers, who went 9-2-1, picked up the nickname “The Lean Machine.’’ LSU went 9-3 in 1986 and won the SEC for the first time since 1970. Arnsparger’s record then was 26-8-3 — at the time the best of any third-year coach in Tigers history. Only postseason struggles marred Arnsparger’s LSU record. He lost two Sugar Bowls to Nebraska and a Liberty Bowl to Baylor. He also was at the helm in 1986 for one of the Tigers’ most surprising losses ever, a 21-12 defeat to Arnsparger’s alma mater, Miami of Ohio. Since 1985 he had been at odds with LSU’s athletic director Bob Brodhead; their relationship became so acrimonious that it became the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story about the program. Brodhead was quoted as saying that he felt that the problem was the coach’s “preoccupation with pregame administration.’’ Before the 1986 season started Arnsparger went to Florida to talk about the open Athletic Director position at Florida, but when news of his visit came out Arnsparger said he had “withdrawn” his name. Shortly after the final regular season game for LSU in 1986, Arnsparger announced he was resigning to become the athletic director at the University of Florida. In 1989 Arnsparger’s new school became embroiled in a series of controversies when it was revealed that head football coach Galen Hall had committed NCAA violations and that two players on his team had admitted gambling on college football games. In addition, questions about the school’s men’s basketball program also surfaced, allegations that led to the forced resignation of Gators basketball coach Norm Sloan. Despite seeing both teams put on NCAA probation, Arnsparger was able to extricate himself from the football problem by hiring Steve Spurrier, then the Duke University head coach and the Gators’ Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in 1966. The appointment set the stage for one of the most successful runs for a program during the 1990s. On January 13th, 1992, Arnsparger resigned to become the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. During his three seasons with the Chargers, the team’s defense showed marked improvement, culminating with a berth in Super Bowl XXIX. Just days after the team’s Super Bowl appearance, Arnsparger announced his retirement, citing prostate cancer surgery he had undergone the year before (died 2015): “[Here at LSU] we’re shooting for the moon. If we miss, we’ll still be among the stars.”

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