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Sipping from the Cup

07/15/2017, 5:45pm CDT
By Media Staff

Magic of 3D printing at USA CUP

ME 3D, stationed in the Sport Expo Center, has brought Schwan’s USA CUP to life this year. Players can commemorate their experience by taking home a mini, very life-like statue of themselves. It all happens through the magic of 3D printing.

“You come in and get scanned, and the machine will take hundreds of pictures all around you, all in a couple seconds,” Scott Granier, who works at ME 3D, said. “The end product will be a similar material to drywall.”

The full process takes about two weeks, and can be either shipped or picked up in their Mall of America store. Players are encouraged to get creative with it and bring any accessories, like hats, jerseys or soccer balls. The company has even done family photos, wedding cake toppers and pet figurines.

“We see it as a new way to capture a moment,” Granier said.

20th anniversary of the Great USA CUP Flood of 1997

This year’s Schwan’s USA CUP marks the 20th anniversary of one of the tournament’s most memorable events – the Great Flood of 1997. Here’s what unfolded that momentous week.

A couple hours after the Opening Ceremony, which was then held on a Sunday evening (and that year featured a special appearance by Pele) a major thunderstorm made a direct hit on the National Sports Center campus. Several inches of rain fell within an hour.

Paul Beggin, one of the founders of USA CUP, and a member of the steering committee then and now, was a attending a VIP reception for Pele at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Sometime after 10 p.m. calls began to come in, first reporting a huge geyser of water exploding inside the Sports Hall, and then street and field flooding. Beggin and Paul Erickson (then Executive Director of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission) immediately left the reception to check.

“We got to the NSC at about 11 that night,” Beggin recalled. “When we arrived, the water was so deep across the street that Paul placed a call to try to get some pumps from the National Guard.”

Within a day, the National Guard shipped in pumps from Grand Forks, N.D. where they had been used on Red River flooding.

“I was working in scheduling that year,” said Beggin. “We tried to figure out how we could even do the tournament because so many fields were flooded. With pumping, we figured we could get about half the fields into playable shape. I said, if we have half the fields available, why can’t we play half a game?”

Games were delayed, and play didn’t start until early afternoon that first day.

“The way we did it, we played half a game, switched opponents and immediately played another half against a team on the field next door,” said Beggin. “That counted as two games.”

Some fields never drained. Beggin remembers someone paddling a kayak or canoe on what now are the H and I fields. Swimmers were doing laps on the C fields days later. A bridge over the ditch near the K fields broke loose in the flood and floated north, until it lodged against a culvert under 109th Ave.

“On some parts of the campus, the water actually rose over the next few days, even though the rain had stopped,” said Beggin. “We were just beginning to understand how water flowed into and through the NSC campus.”

The cause of the delayed flooding was water from the watershed south of the NSC campus flowing north into the pond and ditch network on the NSC campus, overflowing banks and backing up onto fields.

Taylor Kruse was 10 years old that summer, and volunteering as a first-year member of Bike Corps. Back then, score cards were collected from the fields by kids on bikes. It was an ingenious solution to a logistical problem, and for kids with a strong work ethic, it was their most-fun week of the summer.

“I remember there were flooded sections, and you had to wade through the deep sections to get to the fields,” Kruse recalls. “But it wasn’t muddy flood water; it was clear, so you could see how deep it was. It wasn’t dangerous.”

Kruse was one of the younger riders on Bike Corps, and for safety his runs were limited to fields with shallower water.

“I was jealous of the older kids because they got to ride to the fields where the water was deeper,” he recalled.

People took off their shoes and socks to wade through the deep water, but everyone at the tournament had wet shoes and socks. No one was immune.

“The other thing I remember is that kids created these mud pits, where they would run and slide through the mud,” Kruse said.

In the end the modified schedule worked, and champions were crowned. Teams left to return home, and eventually the NSC campus dried out.

Tag(s): July 15, 2017