- Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: Brumm Enterprises Llc; First Edition edition (January 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971805008
- ISBN-13: 978-0971805002
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,161,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We Only Played Home Games: Wacky, Raunchy, Humorous Stories of Sports and Other Events in Michigan's Maximum Security Prison Paperback – January 15, 2002
"...there are stories that will open your eyes and shake your head - it's Oakie at his best!!" -- Jerry Burns, Former Head Coach-Minnesota Vikings, January, 2002
"His story should appeal to fans (prison & sports lit) - and any directors ripe for a gut-busting and poignant screenplay." -- Jame Lee Rake, Shepherd Express (Milwaukee, WI), March 2002
"If you don't like the book, you can go to hell...Oakie did and wrote a book." -- Bob Ling, California Newspaper Publisher and Syndicated Columnist, February 2002
About the Author
Leonard "Oakie" Brumm was born in Ironwood, Michigan and raised in Marquette, Michigan (both in the Upper Peninsula). After an exceptional athletic career in high school and a stint in the U.S. Army (World War II), Brumm went on to graduate from the University of Michigan in 1950 with a degree in Physical Education. While attending college, Brumm won three varsity letters in hockey, one in varsity tennis and two freshman/JV awards in football. The highlight of his collegiate athletic accomplishments was being a member of Michigans first NCAA hockey championship team (1948).
After graduation, Brumm was appointed varsity hockey coach at the University of Wyoming for one year. Next, Brumm was recruited by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks to become the Athletic Director (which included coaching the hockey and basketball teams).
When Brumm returned to Marquette in 1953, Warden Emery Jacques was determined to lure him away from his Construction Superintendents position and hire him as the notorious prisons first Athletic and Recreation Director. During Brumms four year "adventure" at the prison, he also played and coached the Marquette Sentinels - a solid, semi-pro hockey team in the strong Northern Michigan-Ontario Hockey League.
After completing four danger-filled years of service (and the most comprehensive sports & recreation program ever installed in any prison) Brumm didnt want the law of combat averages to catch up with him. Subsequently, he departed from the Siberia of Michigan to join the family construction business.
During Brumms long and varied construction career, he took advantage of the winter layoffs to further develop his hockey playing and coaching abilities. Most of this was accomplished in the semi-pro United States Hockey League where Brumm was player-coach, and eventually - the coach of three different USHL teams: Des Moines (Iowa) Oak Leafs, Waterloo (Iowa) Blackhawks, and the Marquette (Michigan) Iron Rangers. In fifteen years, Brumms teams won four league championships and two playoff championships in this very tough league.
In 1980, Brumm left Marquette for Green Bay (Wisconsin) to continue extensive construction work. While in Green Bay, he coached the St. Norbert College hockey team for one season (12-12-1 record.)
In 1982, Brumm appointed the Construction Manager for a large International Construction Group doing projects in Kuwait. For the next five years, he managed road, bridge projects and the new Kuwait International Airport project. Again, Brumm blended sports and construction, co-founding the Kuwait National Hockey League in the mid 80's. He became the league's publicity director and served as the player-coach of his team that captured three playoff titles.
With the acceleration of the neighboring Iran-Iraq war looming, Brumm returned to the United States. In 1994, Brumm moved to Wisconsin to continue construction projects.
During 1995-1998, he took a "break" to coach the combined Brookfield (Wisconsin) high schools' hockey team to the state championship "Elite Eight" for their first and only time.
In 1992, Brumm was named to the Upper Peninsula (Michigan) Sports Hall of Fame.
Currently, he and his wife, Francis reside in Racine, Wisconsin. He continues to be active in the construction consulting business. In 2000, Brumm become the owner/editor of THE WISCONSIN HOCKEY NEWS, a statewide publication.
Top customer reviews
It was a first of its kind at that time .
Leonard "Oakie" Brumm published this book in December 2001. Maybe he should attempt to collect from the above stated venues for stealing his idea and "only home games" line. Those pieces ran well after Oakie Brumm's book.
Leonard "Oakie" Brumm is a respected high school hockey coach in the Milwaukee area. My father-in-law claims to know him. It's possible, as both men come from Michigan's Upper Peninsula--an area where hockey is a major sport and the fanaticism of hockey fans exceeds even the fanaticism found in Minnesota.
But the book is about a job Oakie Brumm had for four years in Marquette, Michigan (a major UP city). The book details Oakie's tenure as Recreation Director for the Marquette State Prison, a maximum security facility. Oakie was hired a year after the Jackson State Prison riot in downstate Michigan. The Warden at Marquette wanted to prevent the same scenario to play out in Marquette. Thus, the hiring of Brumm as recreation director.
You might ask what would incite a sane individual to apply for such a job. The truth is, the job came looking for Brumm. Brumm had coached in Alaska and Wyoming previously, which the warden knew. Brumm had come back to Marquette to work in his family's construction business. And it was while doing road work that the warden would stop and ask Brumm to apply for the job; it was his for the taking.
Brumm was naturally hesitant to take the job. Who in their right mind wants to work inside a maximum security facility? But his wife urged him to take the job. Women love job security and financial security and working for the state in maximum security wasn't bad.
This was indeed a special job. Brumm reported only to the warden. He was told never to tattle on the prisoners to the guards ("screws"). Brumm needed to win the prisoners' trust if he was going to get them to co-operate. As the warden stated, "If the screws can't catch them, we'll get more screws."
The job also was tailor-made for a "self-starter." There was no job description and no agenda and no direction. The warden had never hired a recreation director before and had no idea where Brumm should start.
And certainly politics and bureaucracy come into play. Some activities, such as miniature golf, are viewed as turning the prison into a country club. And the deputy warden warns Oakie, "Just make sure no one kills someone with those clubs." The bureaucratic irony comes when the assistant deputy warden tells Brumm, "Get some more clubs." Seems miniature golf had become so popular that many complained they couldn't get time on the course. It is also ironic that baseball bats were already on the grounds, but bringing golf clubs into the prison was seen as dangerous.
Oakie Brumm writes with candor and honesty and openness. He doesn't sugar coat and he tells what life inside the prison was like, even the details of "prison love." Brumm uses the language of the prison in his book. But don't fear about not knowing the language; Brumm includes a "Glossary of Marquette Prison Terms." Read through the glossary before reading the book for a better understanding while reading the book. One caution I would make is that if you don't wish for your children to know about the harsh realities in life, or in prison life, you may want to monitor their reading of this book or at the very least be willing to discuss and concerns or questions they have while reading this book. Brumm is frank and forthright in his relaying not only the games played inside the prison with rules and regulations and scores kept, but also the games cons played in all areas of prison life. While such frankness may be shocking, it is an untainted portrait of life inside a wall where all games, competitive or not, intramural or inter-institutional, are all "home games." This book is an education in the realities of life in prison and of those serving time in prison.
(Originally published on BookIdeas.com.)