The St. Paul suburb of Mahtomedi is known for its schools, the kind that have parents itching to make them home to their children. But this fine education has proven impotent against a group of boys who root for the Mahtomedi High girls soccer team.
The Zephyrs are a powerhouse, having won the last two Class A championships and spending much of this year ranked as Minnesota's No. 1 team. They had a playoff game against Como Park High, the champs of St. Paul who'd outscored conference opponents 33-2 this season.
The match would not go well for Como, neither on scoreboard nor in the stands.
The Como Park squad is filled with a rainbow of players, featuring a heavy complement of Asian kids. Parents say a group of 10 or so Mahtomedi boys took to taunting those players, telling them to go back to where they came from and giving them the names of Asian foods.
Though the first insult is now standard operating procedure in lesser places like, say, the White House, it is still considered poor form here in North Flyover Country. The Hmong and Vietnamese who dominate Como's Asian community have been here for 50 years. This would make them very much at home—and raise suspicions of inadequacy over Mahtomedi's history curriculum.
The food thing? That was just punishingly unoriginal. So parents filed a complaint with the State High School League after Mahtomedi's 3-0 victory.
“She was kind of mad,” Francisco Armenta, whose daughter plays for Como, told the Pioneer Press. “They got a pretty good team and they don’t need to say anything of that stuff. They dominated us but there was no need for the name-calling or ‘going back to your country’ stuff.”
Mahtomedi says it's investigating. It also issued the obligatory written statement, since a heartfelt human response is far too much to ask for in these busy times.
“We share in their sadness, anger, and frustration about alleged behavioral activities at the October 15 soccer game and in their belief that players from both teams should play in an environment free from discrimination and that racial harassment is not tolerated on or off the field,” wrote Aaron Forsythe, Mahtomedi's associate principal of athletics.