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2013 October

Doctor Who and the curious portrayal of the companion

For fifty years, Dr. Who has been a BBC favorite. Our culture commentator talks about Dr. Who from the view of the portrayal of Rose Tyler, Amy Pond and Clara Oswald—the companions. 

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On August 4th, the identity of the next Doctor was announced in a half-hour televised special that aired live around the world. The longest-running science fiction television show in history, there’s no doubt Doctor Who has shifted from cult classic to international phenomenon in the last few years. But with a wider audience comes greater pressure to modernize and update the series in a way the show’s roots, and its writers, may not be comfortable with.

Before the announcement that Peter Capaldi (The Hour, The Thick of It) would be the next Doctor, speculation on the internet was wild. Many fans of the show—called Whovians—were calling for a person of color or even a female Doctor. Idris Elba, the star of Luther, and Helen Mirren were both hopeful fan favorites. It was not to be: the twelfth Doctor was destined to be another white male. Capaldi was actually the bookmaker favorite well before the announcement was made, so it hardly came as a surprise. Why, then, the demand for a “different” type of Doctor? Is it necessary that the Doctor reflects diversity?

The premise of this admittedly somewhat silly show certainly smacks a bit of British imperialism: a benevolent alien of superior technology travels through space and time helping humans and repeatedly saving the earth. Why? Who knows. The Doctor is always British (even the people calling for Twelve to be a different type of Doctor conceded that it was unthinkable he be anything else), and by and large the people he picks to be his companions are white, British women. Yet viewers outside the UK haven’t demonstrated an issue with the core male Britishness of the series until recently, and perhaps part of the reason lies with Steven Moffat.

Moffat, one of the best televisions writers on either side of the pond, was ranked in The Guardian’s Top Media 100 this year and wrote possibly one of the most perfect episodes of television ever produced, BBC Sherlock’s “A Study in Pink.” He started writing for Doctor Who in 2004 under the vaunted auspices of Russell T. Davies, and his DW episodes were frequently nominated for Hugo, BAFTA, and Nebula Awards. He was also voted Whovians’ favorite writer in Doctor Who Magazine (yes, there’s a magazine—what did you think?). Moffat’s episodes in the Davies era were known for being dark, clever, and twisty, elevating the fun camp factor and making it easy to ignore the show’s low-budget special effects.

Here’s the thing with Moffat: he grew up watching, and loving, Doctor Who. And he wasn’t the only one: many of the writers and the actors in the series reboot—including the “Doctor” himself, David Tennant—did, too. Like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas with the Indiana Jones movies, the people working on Doctor Who under Davies’ stewardship took something cheesy they loved from childhood and revived it with their talent and the love they had for the show, turning it into a better version of itself.

The Davies’ era of Doctor Who also expanded the show to include a wider variety of characters. Companions weren’t just exclusively young, attractive British females anymore, but people of varying ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexual preferences. Plus, the women who traveled in the Doctor’s blue box had their own things going: Donna, his no-nonsense bestie, made it clear she wanted to go back to her normal life; Martha left the Doctor when she realized he would never return her feelings for him; and even Rose—arguably the most clingy of Eleven’s companions—had people in her life completely unconnected to the Doctor. Davies’ Doctor Who was hardly an equal opportunity treatise, but it did modernize the show successfully while remaining true to the original spirit of Doctor Who by more fully populating the series’ world.

Then 2010 came along. Tennant was out, in the guaranteed-to-make-you-start-sobbing-like-a-baby finale “The End of Time.” Davies was out. Moffat was now head writer, the show’s budget clearly went up, and Matt Smith was the new Doctor. It was a whole new era of Doctor Who.

Smith wasn’t as good an actor as Tennant, but Moffat made up for it with full-on paradoxical, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, what-the-heck-just-happened, mind-blowing episodes. Doctor Who became must-see viewing, with episodes so powerful that fans would cry during the endings FOR NO REASON, just because they were that beautiful. Moffat was known to tease Whovians with obscure, puzzling statements about might happen next, fueling an internet-driven obsession with every bon mot that fell out of his mouth.

Yet by the second season of Smith’s tenure as the Doctor, there were some little blips of dissatisfaction among the Whovians, which turned into a somewhat distant roar by Smith’s third season. The Doctor’s companions, Amy and Rory, had overstayed their welcome, and many accused Moffat of being a sexist and writing storylines with objectified, one-dimensional female characters. When rumors began to circulate that Smith was passing on the sonic screwdriver, it was quietly agreed in certain circles that now would be a good time for Moffat to pass on the reigns as well. Whovians weren’t just hoping for a different Doctor, but a different type of series.

The way women have been portrayed on the show is currently the biggest objection to the Moffat-era of Doctor Who. Although the show has an extremely broad audience—appealing to every age from five to fifty-plus, and to nearly every nationality and background—at its heart it’s a female escapist fantasy. The Doctor swoops in and takes some lucky woman out of her hum-drum, boring life into one of adventure. Even better, he can drop her back off at the exact same place and time (-ish) that she left. Amy Pond wasn’t the first companion to jump ship before her wedding, and she probably won’t be the last.

So what makes Moffat’s treatment of this well-established trope so annoying to his viewers? Maybe it’s the self-congratulation factor. He’s quoted as saying,

I find it bizarre that science-fiction is the one branch of television to push the idea of strong female characters. And I only call it bizarre because strong women aren’t fiction.

No kidding, Moffat? Thanks for the heads up. The implication is, of course, that Doctor Who is one of those shows with “strong female characters.” Yet to Whovians, this quote is cruelly ironic. For one, what is a “strong female character”? This phrase is utterly meaningless and largely only used by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. “Strong” is not a character trait. Are male characters ever described as “strong”? No, they’re brilliant, difficult, easy-going, or a thousand other adjectives that describe them as actual characters with dimensionality. “Strong” female characters, meanwhile, are not only treated as anomalous—how unusual, a woman who knows kung fu!—but as either desperate to be taken seriously, or cartoonishly “feisty,” all while still remaining essentially passive.

That nearly perfectly describes the character of Amy Pond, called “The Girl Who Waited.” Although Amy is a stereotypically feisty ginger, she constantly waits for the Doctor to rescue her, first as a little girl and then over and over and over again through three seasons. That’s hardly an expression of female agency, is it? The other major female character during the first three seasons of Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor is River Song, who was originally a female adventuress familiar with the Doctor’s future regenerations. Between her introduction as a minor character during the Davies era to a major supporting character under Moffat, River Song went from one of the most intriguing characters on the show—a woman with her own things going on, whatever they were—to someone whose entire life is defined by the Doctor and whose every action is performed because of him. How very not interesting.

Amy’s successor, Clara, is even less fully-realized. “The Impossible Girl,” Clara was compelling as Oswin in “Asylum of the Daleks,” where she died only to reappear in the Doctor Who Christmas Special that same year. Since the Doctor rarely meets people as impervious to death as he is, he invited her onto the TARDIS so he could investigate her further. As the second half of the season played out, however, Clara remained curiously one-note. The reason for this was revealed in the season finale: she isn’t actually a character at all, she’s a plot device used to unite all the Doctors for the fiftieth anniversary special, “Day of the Doctor,” which will air in November. While one admires Moffat’s cleverness in creating a storyline that believably ties all the Doctors together, it would also have been nice if Clara had something to do other than traipse through space-time saving the Doctor’s ass for eternity.

Moffat’s shallowly “strong” female characters, coupled with some rather damning quotes (most recently he said, “I like that Helen Mirren has been saying the next Doctor should be a woman. I would like to go on record and say that the Queen should be played by a man.” We’ll hold our breaths…), has undermined the fandom’s love of Moffat. There’s no doubt that he’s still a great writer, and a great writer for Doctor Who—but the current Doctor Who is one white guy’s vision of the show, and it’s getting stale.

Of course, that isn’t completely Moffat’s fault. The UK is notorious for producing TV shows penned by an entirely male staff. Since Moffat took over, not a single episode has been written by a woman; and since the series reboot, only one woman has written for Doctor Who, which puts both Davies and Moffat on the line. With pressure from fans and the influence of Doctor Who around the world, now would be the perfect time for the producers to start breaking down some glass ceilings and making it a point to hire female writers. The producers can claim they look for “good Doctor Who stories, regardless of gender,” as Marcus Wilson stated in an article in The Guardian; but one finds it difficult to believe no women have appeared capable of meeting that criteria, especially considering the  show’s large female fan base. To add insult to injury, a recent special, “The Women of Doctor Who,” claimed that even though the show was about the Doctor, the stories it told were largely women’s stories. Yes, women’s stories but without any women to actually tell them. Brilliant.

Of course, the plus side is that the women of Doctor Who aren’t just sexualized objects—right? For most of the show’s fifty-year history, having the Doctor become romantically involved with his companions has been completely taboo. This probably started because 1. he’s an alien; and 2. the first Doctors were considerably older than their companions. That convention has been shaken up a bit in recent years, particularly during the reign of Tennant; but the Doctor has still only “romantically” kissed two people: Dr. Grace Holloway in the 1996 television movie, and River Song in “The Wedding of River Song.” The Doctor remains more or less asexual, and Smith’s interpretation of the character treated any suggestion of sexuality in the female characters with the emotional maturity of an eight-year-old boy.

Smith’s goofy innocence is part of his charm, but just because the women in the Doctor’s life aren’t sexual objects doesn’t mean they aren’t objectified in other roles, like that of mother (think of River Song’s rather toothsome catchphrase, “Hello, sweetie” and how she frequently acts like the Doctor’s babysitter) or sister or surrogate daughter.

When fans asked for a female or person of color Doctor, what they were really asking for was a show where that wouldn’t be as unthinkable as Moffat seems to believe it is. It’s doubtful Moffat or the producers recognize this, however, and thing are unlikely to get better with the new Doctor (although Capaldi’s considerable acting chops could improve the quality of the show considerably). Kicking Moffat off as head writer won’t necessarily ameliorate the situation, either, though hiring more female writers might do so. Either way, Doctor Who sets the standard for science fiction shows, and the producers would do well to add some variety into the mix.

 

 

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2013 October

A season of chamber music

CSU-P Assistant Professor Dr. Zahari Metchkov will kick off Piano Conversations for the 2013-2014 season. 

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Classical music may not be the typical sounds emanating from one’s speakers after pressing play, but beginning this October, the music that has paved the way for past revolutions will flow from the quaint walls of Ascension Episcopal Church.  A registered historic landmark in Colorado, this gothic style church sits snugly on the corners of 18th Street and Grand Avenue, and because of its brick structure, ornate woodwork, and vaulted ceilings, it is the ideal locale for the chamber music concert series which is prepared to leave spectators in auditory delight.

Geoffrey Herd, violin and Zahari Metchkov, piano (Photo Courtesy Zhari Metchov)

Geoffrey Herd, violin and Zahari Metchkov, piano (Photo Courtesy Zhari Metchov)

Originated by CSU-Pueblo’s Assistant Professor of Music–and world renowned pianist–Dr. Zahari Metchkov, Piano Conversations will begin its third season as a crowd pleaser.  From its opening night on October 18th, the concert series showcases a boisterous multi-cultural collaboration of Latin music consisting of local musicians and fellow CSU-Pueblo faculty, Benjamin Johnson on guitar and Jason Crowe playing double bass, along with accordion player and guest performer for the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, Alan Polivka, and renowned violinist and founder of the Geneva Music Festival, Geoffery Herd.  (Not to mention Argentinean Tango master, Astor Piazzolla.)  The season consists of four chamber concerts, all open to the public, with tickets priced at $10 for adults and free for children and students with ID, beginning promptly at 7:00 p.m.  Not only will patrons experience high-level musicianship at a very affordable price, they will also have a chance to witness and interact with the local talent that call Pueblo home.  

The second concert of the season is scheduled December 6th and is a solo keyboard recital headed by Dr. Metchkov as a preview for his upcoming album, spanning over four hundred years of classical music featuring the likes of Beethoven, Liszt, and Mendelssohn.  Following this concert, on January 17th, 2014, is “An Evening of Chamber Music Classics with the Aeolus String Quartet” featuring the Aeolus String Quartet and the Schumann Piano Quintet.  This concert is an opportunity for parents to expose their children–rather, future musicians– to young, award- winning artists that are not only dedicated to their music, but who also provide music programs to elementary children in their home state of Ohio, as well as in Texas.

Zahari Metchkov and Geoffrey Herd rehearse before the concert at Ascnecion Church. (Courtesy Zahari Metchov)

Zahari Metchkov and Geoffrey Herd rehearse before the concert at Ascnecion Church. (Courtesy Zahari Metchov)

Families will be delighted to know that the fourth and final concert of the season, “Piano Magic²,” consisting of Dr. Metchkov on piano as well as multi-award winner and internationally renowned pianist, Dr. Michael Schneider, is devised to get young children involved with music by making it entertaining.  It will comprise of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, incorporating poetry and animals and will be an interactive piece, encouraging children to become engaged in the music as well as to participate in a painting segment rewarding first, second, and third place winners.  Experiencing any of these concerts will ensure a return to the 2014-2015 Piano Conversations season.

Filip Fenrych, Zahari Metchkov and Katherine Knight (Courtesy Zahari Metchkov)

Filip Fenrych, Zahari Metchkov and Katherine Knight (Courtesy Zahari Metchkov)

Dr. Zahari Metchkov envisions Piano Conversations progressing throughout the years, with more Puebloans partaking in the community event, and he is diligently working toward expanding music education and the way it is introduced to young children.  He is interested in devising new ways to provide music lessons to children, regardless of their parents’ financial capabilities, and is considering developing a music learning camp for kids.  His primary devotion is to enrich the Pueblo community with classical music by way of his concert series held at Ascension Episcopal Church.  For more information regarding Piano Conversations or Dr. Zahari Metchkov, log on to www.ZahariMetchkov.com.

by Suzanne Hall

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Ask Dr Scott

Ask Dr. Scott: I just need a rest from insomnia

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Q: I have suffered from insomnia for many years and I heard that you have some answers for this problem. Is there anything you can suggest that might finally help me?

A: As you probably know, deep restful sleep is a critical biological experience that influences a wide variety of physiological processes. Your insomnia may be affecting your mood and your ability to learn and make memories; it also affects your metabolism, appetite, blood pressure, and the levels of inflammation in your body and perhaps even your immune response. Insomnia is also closely associated with depression. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night while kids may need 10 or more!

Within the course of a year, up to 30% of the population suffers from insomnia (50 to 70 million adults). (Smith, 2013) Many people use over-the-counter medications to combat the problem, while others seek stronger sedatives. Each year roughly ten million people in the U.S. receive prescriptions for sedative hypnotics.

The two primary classes of drugs used in the treatment of insomnia are anti-histamines and benzodiazepines. Antihistamines, like Benadryl and Nytol, are available over the counter, while benzodiazepines, like Valium, Lunesta, Ambien and Halcion, are available by prescription. While both antihistamines and benzodiazepines are effective in the short term, they cause significant problems in the long term. (Kaplan & Sadock, 2009) Benzodiazepines, in particular, are not designed to be used for the long term, as they are addictive, have numerous side-effects, and cause abnormal sleep patterns. Antihistamines also interfere with normal sleep patterns. As a result, people who take sleeping pills enter a vicious cycle. They take the drug to induce sleep, but the drug causes further disruption of normal sleep. In the morning, in an attempt to “get going,” they will typically drink large quantities of coffee, which further worsens insomnia. Additionally, sleeping pills do not treat the causes of your insomnia!

Many years ago it was observed that when the lights in the treatment room were turned off, several key muscles associated with the endocrine system would immediately test weak in patients with insomnia. A specific type of cranial and mandibular (TMJ) disturbance has been associated with this finding, and correction of this problem frequently results in patients sleeping better once again.

Dr. Shaun Craig, an excellent chiropractor in our office, recently published a research article about an 18-year-old male with major cranial and nutritional deficiencies complaining of life-long insomnia who recovered completely after 4 applied kinesiology treatments. (Craig, 2013) This patient found he no longer stayed awake all night, and he began to get the healing benefits of sleep. He awoke with energy and no longer had many of the health problems associated with insomnia.

Occasionally, nutritional supplementation for the pineal gland (melatonin producing gland) needs to be employed. We have the patient chew the pineal gland nutrition and observe the appropriate muscle to determine either the beneficial effect on muscle strength with the lights out in the treatment room. These two corrections have been very effective on literally hundreds of patients over the years. (Cuthbert, 2013)

Coffee, as well as less obvious caffeine sources such as soft drinks, chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream, hot cocoa, and tea, should all be restricted. Alcohol also produces sleep-impairing effects. In addition to causing the release of adrenaline, alcohol impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain and, because the brain is dependent upon tryptophan as a source for serotonin (an important neurotransmitter that initiates sleep), alcohol disrupts serotonin levels.

Our experience in clinical practice is that nocturnal hypoglycemia (low night-time blood glucose level) is an important cause of insomnia. A common American breakfast is oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes, all high carbohydrate starts to the day that will send blood sugar and insulin levels skyrocketing. Typical lunches include plenty of bread, pasta, or rice, triggering another major spike in blood sugar. Dinner is not only equally as starchy, but also usually followed by dessert. Daytime snacks include sweetened coffee drinks and sweets. Many people in Colorado suffer from faulty glucose metabolism, either hypoglycemia or pre-diabetes, because they over-eat refined carbohydrates. Good bedtime snacks to keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the night should be proteins, particularly strips of turkey as this contains abundant tryptophan. The addition of chromium, vanadium and alpha-lipoic acid (often combined in one pill) to your daily supplement-regimen can relieve hypoglycemic stress in pre-diabetic patients.

Do the easy things first in order to sleep better. Establish consistent times to sleep and wake; use your bedroom only for sleep and sex; remove the TV; finish eating, drinking, coffee or alcohol at least 3 hours before sleep; do yoga or meditation before bed; a late night walk and relaxation can unwind the mind and body; turn the clock away from your view; and make sure your sleep position is comfortable and ergonomic. If these do not work for you, see a functional medical physician who can employ the techniques described here.

Effective treatment that corrects insomnia involves identifying and addressing the causes. Needless to say, an overloaded nervous system due to mechanical and chemical disturbances should be found and fixed.

  • Dr. Scott Cuthbert is the chief clinician at the Chiropractic Health Center in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as the author of two new textbooks and over 50 peer-reviewed research articles. PuebloChiropracticCenter.com.

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2013 October

Earl “Greatness” Clark – One of the NFL’s important early legends

Earl “Dutch” Clark was so good he’s in the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Clark was one of the NFL’s greatest legends and yet in Colorado his story is largely forgotten.

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Courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame Courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

The National Football League is one of the most widely recognized organizations in the entire world, raking in record-breaking television ratings every February while accumulating $9.5 billion annually. The game has produced some of America’s biggest stars and contributed to some of our favorite fall traditions, as we watch in awe as the greatest athletes in the world clash heads like rams battling for position. 

One of the initial stars of this tremendous league hails from a city in Southeast Colorado; a city touted as the “Home of Heroes” because of the unwavering courage of those that the city has bred in its rich history.

Residents of Pueblo likely know Dutch Clark from the local stadium in his namesake. Dutch Clark Stadium, formerly Pueblo Public School Stadium, was rededicated to honor Clark in 1980, and a statue portraying Dutch was placed outside the stadium five years later.

Most famously, Dutch Clark Stadium hosts the annual Bell Game rivalry between Pueblo Central and Centennial every year. The game personifies a cross-town rivalry that has existed since 1892, a tradition rich in school pride and historic performances. Every year, swarms of fans cloaked in blue clash with the opposition, painted red from head to toe, all in the name of boisterous, friendly competition.

Earl “Dutch” Clark was born in Fowler, Colo. and attended high school in Pueblo at Central High School. While in high school, Clark was a multi-sport star, excelling in basketball, track, and football, towering remarkably over his competition from an early age.

Photo Courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

Interestingly enough, Clark was able to be a standout in sports particularly football, despite being what many states would consider legally blind, according to author and head of the NFL Films research library Chris Willis. Willis detailed Clark’s life in his book “Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions.”

“It was just something he dealt with throughout his life,” Willis said in his book. Clark’s vision was 20/100 in one eye, and 20/200 in the other. 20/200 vision is the cutoff in the United States for being considered legally blind, and essentially meant that Clark could see at 20 feet what the normal person was seeing at 200 feet.

The poor vision clearly never affected Clark a whole lot on the gridiron. Clark was still able to dodge the blurred would-be tacklers, power over a kaleidoscope of helmets, skin and jerseys, and somehow find the kneaded green and white of the goal line.

As a senior, Dutch had already contributed to a successful Wildcats team as the fullback and the kicker, and Central High School was poised to make a state championship run. In the 1925 game between Central and Centennial, now known as the Bell Game, Dutch ran for four touchdowns and threw for two more en route to a 43-0 victory for the Wildcats, according to Willis. The performance solidified Dutch as a star, not just in Pueblo, but across the country.

Courtesy College College Archives Courtesy College College Archives

Dutch and the Wildcats would go on to lose in the state semifinals that year, but he would eventually win a state championship and earn high school All-American honors in basketball during his time in Pueblo.

When the time came for Clark to graduate from Pueblo Central, he had more to decide than just where to attend college. Clark, a multi-sport star, had to decide whether he wanted to concentrate on football, basketball, track, or play multiple sports while seeking a college degree.

Several schools within and outside the state of Colorado were courting Dutch for obvious reasons; he was a powerhouse on the football field and a scoring machine on the hardwood.

Initially, Clark seemed destined for Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, a school with one of the richest football traditions in the history of the sport. Clark also loved the beauty and consistency that was (and is) the state of Colorado, and was being intensely courted by Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

Courtesy Colorado College Archives Courtesy Colorado College Archives

For one reason or another, though, Clark made a last-minute decision to go to the Windy City – Chicago – and pursue a basketball career and coaching degree from Northwestern University.

Clark would soon become homesick, however. Willis explained that he was constantly being hounded and questioned about playing football, as tales of his athletic prowess travelled the 1,100 miles with him to college.

More than that, Dutch had found love in high school, and began to miss his significant other. While Dutch was a fierce competitor on the field, it’s clear that there was one person that he coveted more than any award or success. After two weeks of missing his girl, missing the sport of football, and missing Pueblo, Clark made the decision to leave Northwestern and return to Colorado.

Luckily for his biggest suitor, he chose to take up the offer given to him by Colorado College. Now with nothing to hinder his focus, Clark could set his sights, however blurry, on becoming a great football player and student.

Clark’s third year at Colorado College was easily his best, and at the time was the most dominant season ever put together by a collegiate football player in Colorado. Dutch did it all on the football field, playing quarterback, running back, kicker, punter, linebacker and punt returner.

During one game against the University of Wyoming in 1928, Clark had a champion performance, and showed that he was a dual-threat as he rushed for 381 yards and threw for 200 more, leading the Tigers to a 48-25 victory over the Cowboys.

His athletic prowess allowed him to put up previously unseen numbers for the Tigers, gaining over 1,300 yards rushing while scoring 103 of the team’s 203 points on the season. His junior-year performance was good enough for him to earn All-American status, the first such honor for any collegiate player in the state of Colorado. 

In 1931, Clark was graduated and ready to don the leather helmet as a professional football player. He  joined the Portsmouth Spartans, a new member of the National Football League that were located in Portsmouth, Ohio. In his second season with the Spartans, Clark quarterbacked the club and threw for 272 yards with two touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also ran for 461 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite being a successful general on the field for the infant Ohio squad, Clark decided it was in his best interest to return to Colorado once again, where he could make more money as head football coach for Colorado School of Mines. A few short years later, the landscape of the NFL and Dutch’s place in history would be changed forever.

George Richards, owner of several Detroit-area radio stations, purchased the Spartans in 1934 in the midst of the Great depression. In Portsmouth, the team was struggling with revenue in the effects from the economic downturn, and Richards saw an opportunity to turn the team around and become an NFL powerhouse. He named the team the Detroit Lions, and thus Richards brought about what would become a historic franchise and a staple in the NFL.

Following the team’s move to Detroit was Dutch Clark, who returned to play for the newly founded Lions. Though Clark was technically the quarterback because he occasionally threw the ball, he was more suited to be labeled a running back. Clark was the play caller for the Lions, but most often played tailback in a single-wing style offense.

In his first season with the Lions, Clark earned All-Pro honors when he rushed for 763 yards and eight touchdowns, threw for 383 yards while completing 46 percent of his passes and kicked 13 extra points and four field goals.

Clark’s first season is also enshrined in NFL history for other reasons, as team owner George Richards, a marketing whiz, moved one of the Lions’ regular season games to Thanksgiving for the very first time, starting a holiday tradition that continues to this day.

Clark would guide the Lions to the NFL Championship in the team’s second season of existence, joining the Tigers and Red Wings as Detroit professional sports teams to win their respective league champions that year, helping label Detroit as the “City of Champions.” 

It was clear that Clark was unlike any other player in the NFL, as he was the league leader in scoring for three of his seven seasons in the league and was named to the All-NFL team six of those seven seasons. He contributed points through the air, on the ground and with his mastery of the now-outdated dropkick.

Clark finished his seven-year NFL career with 36 rushing touchdowns, 11 passing touchdowns, three receiving touchdowns, 71 extra points and 15 field goals. As if to prove he could really do it all, Dutch also served as a player-coach of the Lions during his last two seasons in 1937-38.

Dutch Clark retired after the 1938 season, and went on to serve as a coach for the Cleveland Rams, Seattle Bombers and Los Angeles Dons, before returning to Detroit to take the athletic director and football head coach positions at the University of Detroit.

After his retirement from the game, Dutch’s fantastic career was recognized with several awards and honors. He was one of 54 members of the first ever class of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

In 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was formed and inducted 17 members as part of its first class. Dutch Clark, native of Pueblo, Colo., was among those enshrined forever in professional football history that year, along with such legends as Red Grange and Jim Thorpe.

Colorado recognized Clark as an initial member of their Hall of Fame as well, inducting Dutch alongside boxing legend Jack Dempsey and another football star Byron White in 1965.

Courtesy Colorado College Archives Courtesy Colorado College Archives

Dutch Clark’s No. 7 jersey was the first number to be retired by the Detroit Lions, and no player for the Lions has worn it since. His legacy is one that has stood the test of time, and is one that all football fans young and old should be educated about and recognize.

With the stadium and statue in his name standing as a reminder to all, Pueblo is indeed the Home of Heroes, but it is also the home of the one and only Earl “Dutch” Clark.

 – by Nick Jurney

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