Jim Cella is learning about the magic of The Troll.
Cella is the sports information director at Concordia College in Moorhead, a Division III institution with a long and successful football tradition. Jim is also an avid social media user. So he took a chance this week and sent ESPN College GameDay anchor Chris Fowler a Twitter message asking if a wacky rivalry trophy for which the Cobbers play could be a part of GameDay's broadcast from Fargo.
Fowler loved the idea and brought it to his producers. As of blog time, ESPN producers are kicking around the idea of including The Troll in its broadcast Saturday from downtown Fargo.
Since the idea played out on Twitter, let's just say that Bison fans are not happy with Cella. But he hopes ESPN chooses to spend a minute or two talking about The Troll and Concordia.
And the timing just happens to be perfect. The Cobbers and St. Olaf, the teams that vie for The Troll, play Saturday at 1 p.m. in Moorhead.
What is The Troll? Cella himself describes it as the ugliest rivalry trophy in all of sport. Here's a photo:
The Troll, the trophy for which Concordia and St. Olaf play.
Here's a brief description of The Troll and its meaning from Cella:
"The Concordia and St. Olaf game was always known as the Lefse Bowl (dates back to 60’s – maybe even before). St. Olaf left the MIAC for a few years in the early 70’s and when they came back a couple of our alumni wanted to make the game into something bigger and decided to get a traveling trophy for the annual game. "One of our alum contacted an import store in the Twin Cities (Scandia Imports) and inquired about getting something that was unique to Norway/Denmark/Sweden that would fit the Scandinavian theme of the schools. The person who owns Scandia had recently purchased the troll from an almost blind artist in Norway. Our alum thought it would be a perfect fit so they bought the troll and mounted on the block of wood.
"They then presented it to the winner of the game in 1974 and it has been going back and forth ever since. "On a side note – since it is still the Lefse Bowl, our former chaplain – Ernie Mancini – brings a boatload of lefse to the football team on the Thursday before the game with St. Olaf and the team has a lefse feast after practice."
Here's hoping ESPN finds a couple of moments to talk about The Troll.
(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)