COBBER INK TALES
Welcome to the newest Cobber Sports Information feature. Cobber Ink Tales is meant to highlight the individuality and personality behind Concordia student/athletes. Tattoos have become a way for people to provide permanent memories, motivation and remembrances of loved ones. This feature series will attempt to show another side of Cobber student/athletes – a side that family, fans and alumni rarely get a chance to see. We hope you enjoy this new feature.
Do you know a Cobber athlete, former Cobber athlete or Concordia professor or administrator that has a meaningful tattoo and would like to share the story behind it? Please contact CobberSID at email@example.com so we can share the story.
COBBER INK TALES: Carolynn Becker
Feature written by Concordia sports information student assistant David Youngs
MOORHEAD, Minn (6/20/20)-- Cobber women’s basketball player Carolynn Becker likes to reminisce about some of her favorite childhood memories; not on the basketball court but nestled in the thick woods of northern Minnesota near International Falls. Grouse Country.
A particular memory clings to the mind of Becker and includes father Matt. A young Carolynn is sitting with her dad on a 4wheeler, en route to a long day of grouse hunting. Carolynn is too young to hunt but there’s nothing she enjoys more than tagging along with dad.
“Before I was able to shoot them myself, I can remember sitting on the four-wheeler waiting for him to bring back the bird that he had just shot,” Carolynn recalled. “It was really cool to see him bring the bird back and I can remember that’s how I wanted to get into it like him, just like my dad.”
Grouse hunting has been a common love for Carolynn and Matt for as long as they can remember. Three times a year they would pack up shop from their St. Cloud area home and head north to what Matt refers to as ‘God’s country’ to hunt the game bird and bond as father and daughter.
“We’d bring the whole family up over MEA week and we just started Grouse hunting,” Matt said. “We don’t butt heads when we’re hunting, we've got the same mindset.”
Even in the toughest of conditions Carolynn was eager to get out of the cabin and into the woods with her dad.
“There'd be 12-14 people in the cabin playing cards because it was raining and she’d be tugging at my leg saying, ‘let's go,’” Matt laughed. “We’d go out in the rain and snow and still get birds.”
Those fond memories sit on the forefront of Carolynn and her Dad’s mind. Getting out to hunt has become more difficult, as grouse season lines up with the collegiate basketball season. Even though their time in the field has declined, their memories and strong relationship are remembered everyday by an identical grouse tail feather inked on Carolynn’s calf and Matt’s bicep.
Inspiration Behind the Ink
The great outdoors is a big part of the Becker’s’ lives. While grouse hunting is the shared favorite, Carolynn and Matt also hunt turkey and deer, camp and fish quite a bit.
So, it’s no surprise that the inspiration for the tattoo came when the two were cooped up together in a turkey blind last April.
“I had just turned 18 so I came up with the wild idea of ‘Dad let’s get a tattoo together,’” Carolynn recalled. “He said ‘okay, but what of?’”
Even though the two were turkey hunting at the time, Carolynn suggested the idea of a grouse because it is their favorite animal to hunt. It didn't take long to convince her dad.
“We just started searching and looking at photos on the internet and I saw a lot of turkey feathers but we only hunt turkey once in a while,” Matt said. “I found a grouse feather and she said we should do that.”
The feather chosen wasn't any grouse tail feather though; it was one from a bird that Carolynn and Matt had nabbed on a previous hunt.
The two brought the feather to Old Town Tattoo to bounce ideas off tattoo artist John Johnson.
“I gave him the feather and a couple of ideas about what we wanted, and he drew it up for us,” Matt said. “It turned out super awesome.”
More than Feathers
When Carolynn looks at the detailed feather inked on her calf, she is not only reminded of one of her favorite pastimes, but one of her favorite people.
“He’s been my role model through everything, I kind of just like to do what he does,” Carolynn said. “He’s taught me so much.”
This past fall was the first grouse season that Matt and his daughter had to miss. And while it was different Matt enjoyed watching his daughter thrive on the basketball court at Concordia.
That's something she loves just as much,” Matt said of his daughter. “If she’s willing to miss grouse season for something, that means a lot.”
Both Matt and Carolynn say that getting their tattoos was an important representation of how their love of hunting has strengthened their relationship.
“I really like the meaning behind the tattoo,” Carolynn said. “You’ve got a whole bunch of memories in your mind but when you actually put them on your body it's something that you can remember every day of your life.”
“I see it (the tattoo) everyday, '' Matt said. “I think about it every day. It's kind of my happy place up there, doing that with her.”