The Black Thursday Trifecta

March 16

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[And a shout out to Jackson Grove!]

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[As the winter sports season draws to a close, we once again found ourselves in the Cities following a Cardinal team in a state tournament.]

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[The athletic department of the University of Minnesota welcomes you to Williams Arena.  ~  The late, great Jules Perlt

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[Our Cards were taking on the No. 1-ranked Orono Spartans in the state semi-finals after having dispatched the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks, 46 – 44, in the opening round game at the Target Center.]

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[Past Gopher greats . . . ]

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[More Gopher greats!]

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[Assigned to prevent total mayhem as the Cards take the floor.]

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[Lay-up drills begin in The Barn.]

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[Kendall Kohler (3) finishes followed by Kelby Olson-Rodel (13).]

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[Williams Arena is now officially referred to as “The Barn” (it’s printed on the floor) – in our day we just called it Bill’s Gym.]

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[Warm-ups continue . . . ]

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[And continue . . . ]

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[Following Kendall a bit around the horn here . . . ]

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[And congrats to her for making the all-tournament team.]

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[A meeting of the captains where once again we are obviously at a size disadvantage.  Their two guards were 5’10” – our tallest player is 5’11”.]

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[And our 4-year starting point and leading scorer, Macy Hatlestad (here in the leg brace), was rendered inoperative by an ACL injury in January.]

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[They even had a big height advantage at the head coaching position!  😉  ]

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[The bigger they are . . . ]

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[Forty-five (as in the TV channel that broadcast the games)!]

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[We were covered as usual by the Amazing Mr. Ripley . . . ]

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[Now I have not only “white lens envy,” but “pink armband envy!”

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[Coach Kohler and now student/assistant coach Macy ready the team for battle.]

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[Macy grins and bears it.]

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[Introductions:  Emma Ziegler (1), and her broken nose . . . ]

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[Kayla Feldhake (43)]

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[Kendall]

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[Kelby]

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[Kiyana Miller (21), completes an all-senior starting five.]

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[That Moari war chant thing again . . . ]

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[And the tip – 5’11” Kayla got the drop on their 6’2″ center.]

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[We could always use her leadership and 3-point shooting.]

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[Junior Emma Schmidt (25) gave us a little better size match-up at 5’11”.]

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[In the background, Kendall (who I always thought was generously list at 5’6″) guards their 5″10″ point guard, No. 22.]

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[Kendall plays catch with Kiyana, and with Kayla and Kelby form the “Special K’s.”]

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[Designated 3-point shooter Kara Thomson (23) (and another Special K) came in after a slow start by the team to drain a couple of long ones to get us in the game.]

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[Their forward, No. 45, is 6’1″, watched by our 5’11” sophomore center McKenzie Duwenhoegger (35).]

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[Kendall scraps with their 5’10” shooting guard (23), a candidate for state player of the year, who at one point made back-to-back 3’s from 10 feet (yes) beyond the line – you don’t even start guarding people that far out!]

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[Kendall works the ball with Kaye Paschke (45), 5’6″ sophomore, who made the winning shot at the buzzer against Grand Rapids.]

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[Kendall looks to pass over the trees.]

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[Schmidty screening for Kara.]

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[Kelby may have intercepted – but her eyes were shut!]

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[Kelby on the wing.  Our wing people seemed fearful of driving into their height, so we really didn’t take advantage of our speed and quickness.]

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[At the half:  Goodness, did you notice how big they are?  But we’re hanging in there]

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[Kaye tries to distract the inbounds.]

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[Kayla at the free throw line.  I yelled at the ref to move – guess he didn’t hear me?]

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[We played good defense the whole game but never discovered our shooting touch – and then became very hesitant because of that.  We lost a close game for 3rd place two days later against defending state champions, Academy of Holy Angels, who also had a big size advantage.  Our radio crew noted Alex was by far the smallest (height-wise) team in the class AAA field.  I mentioned to Coach Kohler later in St. Cloud that I would send a letter to the city council requesting they consider putting human growth hormone in the city water supply.  (OK, just kidding!)  But it was another terrific year, ending with a 26-5 record.]

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[After the game, we went to Whitey’s at 4th and E. Hennepin to drown our sorrows and wolf down a Reuben before . . . ]

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[Heading back home with an intermittent stop in St. Cloud, first at a local watering hole to watch the Gopher’s first round NCAA tournament game v. Middle Tennessee State – the Gopher’s shooting woes unfortunately matched those of our Cardinal girls – then on to Halenbeck Hall on St. Cloud State campus for our boy Cardinals section title match-up with Fergus Falls.]

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[We got there in time to see the last half of another section title game between Rocori and Big Lake.  Our Cardinals split with conference foe Rocori this year, and we beat Big Lake.]

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[It was a terrific game – Big Lake came back from a big deficit to win in front of full house of Alex and Fergus fans waiting for seats.]

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[Our Cards warm up while the team captains meet at center court.  I have issues with Halenbeck – just getting there, parking, sight-lines, seating, steps (on the upper level) are all wanting – but I guess it’s the only venue in the area large enough for such events.]

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[I have one request for next year . . . ]

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[30 pounds of muscle for junior Justin Balcome (43) and he’ll tear it up!]

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[Robert Anderson (3) launches a practice shot.]

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[The girls’ team came back from the Cities for fan support in this game.  I guess they went home before going back down on the last day of the tournament for the 3rd place game.]

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[This team was kind of an enigma all year.  When we were on, we were very good.  Fergus (22-4) was the No. 1-seed, the defending state runners-up, and we (19-7) , the No 2-seed, beat them both times in the regular season?  So, which team would show up?]

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[Anderson, at 6’1″ got the jump on their very good 6’5″ center.]

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[It’s hanging on the rim . . .  Fergus had a huge fan base at the game, I’m thinking ours may have been diluted by the girls playing the same day in the Cities?]

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[And it drops!]

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[Spencer Hockert (15) the free throw line.]

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[Justin attempts in the lane.]

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[The tone of this game was set early.  The Cards came out inexplicably flat?  It was the seniors last chance to make the state tournament in basketball – 4 of the 5 starters played on the state football team.  But Fergus hustled off to a big early lead, hitting open 3’s from all over the court, but we showed little urgency in trying to catch up?]

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[Jake Drew (33), for whom I’m going to name a future hustle award, is always in there battling.  But more often than not, it seemed the Otters were outmanning us in the offensive zone.]

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[But sheer number of chances through his offensive board work, Jake became a pretty good free throw shooter by the end of the year.]

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[Jaran Roste (31) was our one offensive threat the whole game.  He always presents match-up problems because of his size, and he was taking it to the hole all night.

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[And a free throw.]

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[He has good speed and quickness for his size and here he starts another drive.]

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[Am open lane . . . ]

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[And No. 3 is their best player, but we held him in check for the whole game.  It’s just that the rest of the team our clones of fast, good-shooting athletes.]

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[Mr. Anderson at the line.]

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[Jake applying the type of defense we brought out in the 2nd half.  We made life difficult for them for a good part of the half, we made a mini-run, but ultimately were starting from too far back and when the shots stopped falling again Fergus opened it up . . . ]

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[To the ultimate 64-48 win, the same score we beat them by the last time we played?]

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[Roste tries to get something going late.]

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[And we get one to drop.]

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[It’s too bad the season ended like this – but it was a good year.  Fergus is a very good team, I like their style, and will be pulling for them at state.]

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[Looking forward to next, the girls have to replace all five starters; the boys have to replace four starters.  It seems a daunting task, but . . . ]

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[We think that every year – how are we going to replace so-and-so?  But both JV teams had excellent years, actually better records than both varsities, I believe?  So, we’ll likely survive, if not thrive, again next year.]

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p.s.  You’ve heard of those days when a team can’t “throw the ball in the ocean?”  Well, that’s kinda what happened to all three teams on this Black Thursday.  The only conclusion I can draw is that Minnesota . . . must just be too far from the ocean!

I always laugh when people ask me about rebounding techniques.  I’ve got a technique.  It’s called just go get the damn ball.  ~ Charles Barkley

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Lands Down Under (Day 13)

January 23

Timaru

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[We left the stormy weather behind in Dunedin and found beautiful weather in Timaru, just up the coast a bit.]

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[Lest it’s not obvious, the port.  Yup, it’s a port town.]

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[Leaving the Maasdam behind . . . ]

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[We hiked into the city.]

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[Stopping to smell the roses . . . OK, maybe they’re not roses?]

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[The Timaru “urban” area has a little less than 30,000 citizens – a lovely downtown.]

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[And apparently one of the few (only?) towns that decorates for Christmas – like this!  I guess they leave them up for a while.]

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[And a photo op oceanside park . . . ]

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[Hi, I’m having fun in Timaru!]

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[And there’s our boat, again.]

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[The park – at the end of our walking tour, we were going to come back here to walk along the beach back to the boat.  At the end, however, we had hiked about 7 miles (according to Anne’s super-duper pedometer) around the city and were too pooped to come back here.]

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[Hi, I’m still here!]

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[And here’s here.]

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[Well, I would have been dizzy going down the switchbacks anyway.]

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[Probably missed another nude beach . . . ]

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[OK, kids, where are we going next?]

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[We discovered it’s difficult to read maps in the wind.]

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[The Biddies seeks shade from the wind . . . OK, it was starting to warm up a bit.]

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[Also not a rose.]

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[And the Super chimed in with the next six photos from the piazza.  A sure sign that it’s windy is holding onto one’s hat.]

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[Hi, Mom!]

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[Reetz, ISO a photo op.]

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[OK, we’re getting close to decision time . . . ]

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[So long Bay Hill Piazza!]

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[See you later, Maasdam.]

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[Then we walked downtown to the library – everybody wanted to catch up on their social  media.  Since all my social media devices reside in our house in Alex, I decided to meander the immediate area.  Thought this an attractive church across the street from the library.]

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[And the Super’s shot.]

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[Thought this an attractive stout dispenser.]

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[And yet another nearby church.]

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[And the Super’s shot.  Apparently you could climb the tower for a view, but church was in service . . . and it looked like a lot of stairs!]

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[A major commercial street – with out boat visible in the distance.]

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[“Give Way” or “Yield”?  We’re conducting an very unscientific survey.]

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[The Seafarers’ Monument . . . ]

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[See, it says so on the sign.]

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[An obviously important building.]

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[Then we went on a long cross town hike to the Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden . . . ]

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[With The Biddies, ambling through the garden’s nature area.]

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[A really big tree]

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[You have to be a Camp Brosius denizen to appreciate this.  All the campers, for whatever reason, always visit the “Vinnies” in Plymouth, Wisconsin.]

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[Back to the boat, pooped from our long walk.]

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[Goodbye, Timaru!  The locals all came out to bid us adieu . . . or are they saying “Yankee go home”?]

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[Leaving port . . . ]

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[With the aid of our “tug” friends.]

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[The Southern Alps in the distance, the sea looks calm . . . ]

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[But there must have been some serious swells – the tug was bouncing around like a bobber.]

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[My guess – islands?]

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[Nobody in the pool . . . I think the water was bouncing around like a bobber too.]

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[Kinda looks like the south seas, eh?]

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[Now this is the life!]

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[Must be dinner or post-dinner time.]

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[More beautiful landscapes as we’re hugging the shoreline.]

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[As the sun begins to set . . . ]

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[Say goodnight, Ruthie!]

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Cars will soon have the Internet on the dashboard. I worry that this will distract me from my texting.  ~   Andy Borowitz

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Card Boys Win Section Opener

March 7

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[Last home game for the seniors . . . ]

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[The “A” team – last home game for seniors here too . . . ]

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[How ’bout that Maori war chant the hockey team used?]

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[It begins with Trey Hoepner (1) on the point of the defense against the Prowlers.]

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[Jaran Roste (1) on No. 24.  Very early on (though we got off to our usual slow start again (?)), I thought I’d be surprised if we didn’t win by 30 – we had a visible manpower advantage.  Next year the Prowlers will drop down a class to AA.]

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[Besides they had a long road trip to get here.  I believe Alexandria is closer to San Francisco than it is to Thief River Falls.]

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[Spencer Hockert launches a ‘3’.  He had a slow start early – we need him on his ‘A’ the rest of the way.]

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[This was pretty much the Prowler view throughout the game.  The first ball handler would be trapped immediately – here by Spencer and Jake Drew (33).]

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[To the Prowlers credit, they handled our pressure very well in the 2nd half.]

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[A lot of Cardinal points in the first half came from jumping the pass and going the length of the court for lay-ups.]

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[Where’s the ball??]

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[Jake had 9 points in the game – all in the first half – all on free throws.  He was 9 for 12 from the line, which is just fine.  He’s a beast on the offensive boards, and he kept getting fouled doing it.]

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[The guy in the background holding up the door is the father of two Cardinal athlete alums who are now starring for the Gophers because they can go from point A to point B faster than most folks.]

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[Jake and Jaran coming off a trap.]

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[Robert Anderson (3) at the foul line.]

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[The Cards weren’t doing much . . . ]

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[Too many unforced turnovers and cold shooting . . . ]

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[And then we got notice of what was to happen the rest of the game.  Spencer on a steal took off on a 2-on-1 break with Justin Balcome (43).  He fed Justin about the free throw who continued on for a one-handed stuff.  The crowd went wild.]

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[There’s Jake again.]

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[And the Cards on D again.]

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[Although not here, the Prowlers kept in touch with good 3-point shooting in the 1st half.]

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[Yup, Jake again.]

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[In the 2nd half, the Cards started to find their shooting touches.  Here’s Jaran at the line.]

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[Spencer made a couple of ‘3’s’ from that corner.]

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[And “The Boys” were on hand again.]

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[I talked to Jaran.  I think we’ve got it.]

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[But then there’s got to be a little little boy roughhousing.]

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[That was Justin’s 2nd stuff!  It was somewhere in this half where I stopped being a cub reporter and just watched young Mr. Bascome’s coming-out party.  It was his game.  He finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds, 4 for 6 on 3’s, and showed he could get out and run with the guards.  If he can continue this kind of play through the tournament . . . well?]

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[The JV guys did a good job finishing off the game.  Cameron Rice (21) here.]

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[Bemidji is next in the section semifinals in Moorhead.]

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If you are going to take it to the bank, then you better cash it in.  ~  Shannon Fish

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Lands Down Under (Day 12)

January 22

Dunedin

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[Well, it had to happen.  As forecast, we were heading into an all day rain and wind event.  This is the Super’s photo coming into Port Chalmers, our drop off point for Dunedin (New Zealand’s oldest city).]

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[On the ground and in the bus.]

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[No, the Vikings have never played here.]

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[First stop, the Railway Station.]

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[The station’s platform is a kilometer long, the world’s longest catwalk.]

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[Anne and Shari getting such information from our minibus driver/tour guide, as we look both ways.]

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[Inside, the local greeting club in full regalia.]

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[And moving upstairs to check on such things as . . . ]

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[The New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame . . . ]

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[I should have purchased an All Blacks tee shirt in the gift shop here.  Never saw any others as nifty?]

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[Interesting that in the country of the All Blacks, perennially the best rugby team in the world, a woman basketball player was chosen to “greet” visitors.]

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[Two Super photos, capturing Bert, Kathy and me trying to find our way around . . . ]

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[Is this the way out?]

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[My photo in an artist’a studio . . . ]

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[And two Super photos there . . . ]

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[The Biddies hamming it up with the welcome wagon.]

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[A Super photo of the Railway Station gardens.]

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[A camera’s depth of field can be seriously compromised by rain on the window.]

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[The bus driver pointing . . . this may have been the spot of a major ferry disaster in a bad storm a few years ago.]

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[The Molars – didn’t stop for a better photo op because of the weather.]

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[Looks like it would have been a great view on a clear day?]

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[The Super accidentally captured a bushy eyebrowed tourist in this shot.]

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[I believe this is St. Clair Beach, but don’t bet on it.]

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[The rain shows no signs of let up.]

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[Now in St. Kilda, a Dunedin suburb along the shore.]

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[St. Kilda is the patron saint of people on Medicare.]

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[On the point is a salt water pool.]

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[The storm chasers file out of our minibus for photo ops!]

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[Three shots by the Super as we all try to shoot through the wind, the rain, and the mud.]

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[Let’s go inside – at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum . . . ]

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[The Super shot me touching the rock . . . it turned me into a newt?]

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[A whaling boat]

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[Two more from the Super]

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[All aboard!]

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[And back to me.]

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[Famous folk of the area.]

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[Likely not a yellow-rumped warbler.]

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[Freddy was so fresh I had to slap him!]

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[We went to the Cadbury chocolate factory because . . . well, why wouldn’t we?]

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[Don’t let The Biddies fool you – they were there for the chocolate!]

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[And a Super Cadbury shot]

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[Outside the Cadbury, downtown Dunedin.]

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[Now, as usual, we were looking for a fine dining experience . . .]

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[This looks like it could be the place!]

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[And it was!!]

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[Tummy’s full, it was time to find our way back to the ship . . . ]

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[I think that’s our bus?  (It wasn’t, but we eventually did find our way back or I wouldn’t be doing this.)]

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It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off.  ~  Woody Allen

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Card Boys Regain Shooting Touch

March 3

Senior Night

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[Last game of the regular season. Our Cards were hosting the Detroit Lakes Lakers.  This was a re-scheduling from an earlier  weather postponement.  We had just beaten DL at their place 10 days go.  This is the halftime score.  I arrived in the stands before realizing my camera did not have its memory chip – it was home in the computer from having processed the hockey game from the night before.  Oy!  So I went out to the car at halftime and got the chip from my snapshot camera.  At least I’d get half the game.]

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[As you can see on the scoreboard, there was plenty of offense.  The Cards had been in a real scoring funk – losses in their two previous games.  After one made ‘3’ in the previous game, I think they made 12 or 13 in this game.  But so did DL, who I believe made 50% of their 3’s for the game, even with in-your-face defense from the Cards.]

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[Spencer Hockert (15) found his range again – and here fought through a screen on defense.]

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[And now defending the other way.  The guy he’s guarding here, and another Laker guard, seemed to make every ‘3’ they attempted.]

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[The defense does its job.]

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[Jaran Roste (31) on the point of the offense.  His shooting can run hot and cold, but he adjusts.  In this game, he took his offense inside to take advantage of his footballer’s size to score.  I liked it – I hope they do it more.]

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[Here he passes to Robert Anderson (3), the human pogo stick.  In that regard, for the first time I can recall we had 5 (rather than just Robert and the 6’8″ Justin Balcome (43)) dunk during the lay-up drill, and Spencer at 6′ just missed his.]

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[Roste at the line – he’s pretty solid here.  At the end of games, the ball is going to be in either his hands or Hockert’s – they’re both good foul shooters.]

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[Hockert and Balcome on D . . . ]

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[It’s fun to watch Justin develop offensively.  He’s very skilled and just needs to add strength to his game.  He was the difference maker in this game as he can score inside and out – and had 20 points.  I believe Spencer led the way with 23.]

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[I think this team has the right elements – they just have to do it consistently.]

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[The last regular season game for these two mainstays.]

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[The DL center (25) actually was pretty effective getting his shots off over Justin by bodying into him first.]

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[Jake Drew (33) has that look in his eye – every rebound is his!]

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[Jaran sets the play.]

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[Oh, we had other athletes on the court too!]

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[Where’d the ball go?]

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[Spencer on the line and made both.]

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[Time for everybody to get in.  Number 5 is junior Michael Kuhn, whose mom Beth is rather notoriously known as the person who took the photo on the internationally-renowned Fat Boys Walking Club.]

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[Jared Schneider (13), Bryce Ludwig (25), and Michael Empting (11)]

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[Cameron Rice (21) drives with Carter Stockert (35) in the corner.]

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[As you can plainly see on the scoreboard, we won 77 – 57.  We finished the regular season with a 19 – 7 record (the JV team, a lot of the guys on court here at the end, only had 3 losses all year, I believe).  We are the No. 2 seed in the section and will host Thief River Falls on Tuesday.]

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p.s.  The Card girls beat Detroit Lakes in the section semifinals in Moorhead last night.  We will play Sartell for the section championship next Thursday at the dreaded neutral site (it better not be anywhere near St. Cloud again!)

I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.   ~ Michael Jordan

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One Goal From Both Teams to State

March 2

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[Of first importance, a night road trip.  Haven’t done one for a while because night driving out-of-the-city-limits in winter induces great apprehension in the 70-ish citizenry.  But our friend Ets (now from Ashby) claimed to be a Rainman “very good driver” even though he’s the same age, said he would drive.  So with Brad the class of ’65 troika (though Ets from Minnetonka) made its way to the Municipal Athletic Complex, a/k/a, the MAC, in St. Cloud for the section championship game between our 2nd-seeded Cards and top seed St. Cathedral.  The Alex band made it too.]

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[The KXRA broadcast team made it too, with Mitch Loch sitting in for Bob Cunniff.]

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[Our Cards . . . ]

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[We tied the Crusaders 3 – 3 in our only regular season meeting.]

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[Our starting line-up of Wade Smith (25), Mack Strong (16), Jack Westlund (10), Ben Doherty (7), Jack Powell (21), and . . . ]

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[Goalie Bailey Rosch (31)]

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[I see Card girl basketballers . . . probably hockey players too.]

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[Ka mate, ka mate! Ka ora! ka ora!  Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!  Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru;  Nana nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra;  A upa … ne! ka upa … ne!  A upane kaupane whiti te ra!]

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[OK, we’d just been to New Zealand where we learned the Maori war chant.]

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[And away we go . . . ]

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[And the puck squirts over toward Strong.]

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[A Cardinal of indeterminate number enters the Crusader zone.]

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[As do Doherty and Westlund.]

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[Strong joins his linemates.]

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[Fast-paced, well-played first period.  The Crusaders scored about half way through and probably held a slight edge in play.]

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[Jack Powell chases down the puck in the offensive zone.  I thought he had a particularly strong all around game.]

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[A shot fired by who appears to be Derek Dropik (8) . . . ]

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[If so, he then follows his own shot.]

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[CARDS SCORE!! Wait a sec . . . apparently not?  After several sessions of the United Nations General Assembly it was determined that the goal be disallowed. As we go to press here, I still don’t know why.  Needless to say, the Cardinal bench and fans expressed vocal opposition.]

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[We’re starting the 3rd period.  Somehow I failed to note that the Crusaders got two late goals in the 2nd period – the Cards appeared to be really bummed by their goal that didn’t count.  If it had counted, would it have made a difference in the game’s outcome?  As Weird Al Yankovic once posited, we’ll never know.  Powell and Smith take to the ice on defense knowing the Cards had to score early to make it a game.]

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[Powell and Strong storm the Crusader zone . . . ]

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[Then early in the period, the Cards scored on a beautiful passing play just as a Crusader penalty expired.  Westlund scored off tic-tac-toe passes from Smith and Powell.  The Cards were juiced – we’re back in the game!]

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[Micah Christenson (22) on the attack.  The Cards had a great chance here as the Crusaders were hit with a 5-minute major penalty.]

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[Doherty joins in then . . . ]

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[Derek Berning (26) scored making the score 3 – 2.  There was still over 4 minutes left in the major penalty.]

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[The Crusader fans are getting nervous!]

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[But then the Cards committed back-to-back minor penalties and went from a power play to having to kill off a 4-on-3 shorthanded situation.  We did . . . but precious time to get a tying goal was lost.]

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[Strong carries in . . . ]

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[And again . . . ]

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[The Cards kept the pressure on for much of the rest of the game.]

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[Oooohhhh . . . ]

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[Final pushes . . . ]

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[Oooohhhh, again!]

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[OMG, go in!!!!]

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[But nope . . . ]

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[Crusaders win 3 – 2.  Good game by both teams.  I thought our goalie Bailey Rosch was terrific.  We lose 8 seniors but have a good core back again next year, including all three goalies.  I would think a goal to get at least this far again is quite reasonable.]

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[Now we have to cheer on the Crusaders as our section representative in state.]

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Our [goalies] first priority was staying alive. Our second was stopping the puck.  ~  Glenn Hall

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Lands Down Under (Day 11)

January 21

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

[We’ve crossed the Tasman Sea from Burnie, destination the SW corner of New Zealand’s South Island.]

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[After cruising the fiords, our next stop will be Dunedin on the East Coast, passing through Foveaux Strait between South Island and Stewart Island.]

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[But now, the natural highlight of the trip for me – Milford Sound.  We were advised before we got here that there would be a 95% chance of rain.  Wikipedia: Climate. With a mean annual rainfall of 6,412 mm (252 in) each year, a high level even for the West Coast, Milford Sound is known as the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand and one of the wettest in the world. Rainfall can reach 250 mm (10 in) during a span of 24 hours.]

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[Wikipedia:  Within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve and the Wahipounamu World Heritage site has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor) and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.  Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth wonder of the world.  It runs 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea at Dale Point (also named after a location close to Milford Haven in Wales) – the mouth of the fiord – and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) or more on either side. Among the peaks are The Elephant at 1,517 metres (4,977 ft), said to resemble an elephant’s head, and The Lion, 1,302 metres (4,272 ft), in the shape of a crouching lion.  Milford Sound sports two permanent waterfalls all year round, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls.  After heavy rain however, many hundreds of temporary waterfalls can be seen running down the steep sided rock faces that line the fiord. They are fed by rain water drenched moss and will last a few days at most once the rain stops.  With a mean annual rainfall of 6,412 mm (252 in) each year, a high level even for the West Coast, Milford Sound is known as the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand and one of the wettest in the world. Rainfall can reach 250 mm (10 in) during a span of 24 hours.  The rainfall creates dozens of temporary waterfalls (as well as a number of major, more permanent ones) cascading down the cliff faces, some reaching a thousand metres in length. Smaller falls from such heights may never reach the bottom of the sound, drifting away in the wind.]

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[At dawn’s early light we passed Dale Point and entered Milford Sound.  Hey, we’re in New Zealand!]

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[Well, it’s not raining . . . but it’s not sunny either.  “They” say it’s often better to come here when it’s raining (we’re under protection on the deck), because rain creates lots of waterfalls.]

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[From our location on the back porch.]

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[And now looking ahead.]

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[And behind us again . . . eerily cool!]

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[The Biddies are up and about.  It may be summer, but there’s a chill in the air.  After 100-degree temperatures in Australia, I thought this was great!]

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[Folks were lined up on every outdoor deck for the beautiful scenery.]

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[Clouds were below the level of the side cliffs.]

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[Our first waterfall sighting.  There are two permanent waterfalls in the Sound – this is the first, Sterling Falls.]

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[And from the “other” side.]

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[The Southern Alps pretty much run the length of South Island.  In the distance here is Mt. Cook (Aoraki), the highest peak at 12,200 feet.]

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[More low hanging clouds.]

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[Looking toward the east end of the Sound is Mt. Cook and at water level in the distance, Lady Bowen Falls, the other permanent waterfall.]

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[Coming up to Harrison’s Cove, another waterfall likely created by recent rain.]

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[There were some boats (ships?) anchored in Harrison’s Cove.]

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[‘Twas a quite breezy day as well.]

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[Close to the end – Mt. Cook with Tasman Glacier, the longest in New Zealand (about 18 miles and beginning over 9,000 feet above sea level; Lady Bowen Falls comes into better view; and Milford Terminal and Visitor Center.]

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[Same shot, less telephoto-ey.]

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[Closing in on Bowen Falls.  Somewhere around here we had some passengers disembark the ship and take a boat ashore to begin an inland trek.]

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[Low cloud bank ahead!]

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[We must have decided it was time for breakfast . . . or at least a hot cup of coffee.  Past the inside pool to the Lido where goodies are aplenty!]

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[We still had a view of the other photographers while we dined.]

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[There’s Milford Terminal – we’re at the end of the Sound.]

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[And Bowen Falls.]

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[Then the ship spun a 360 (or was it a 720?) so we could see all from every angle.]

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[Not quite a day for the pool.]

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[The Biddies and Shari with front row seats.]

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[Mt. Cook and Tasman Glacier.  Apparently we were very lucky as this is a sight seldom seen.]

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[The Super and Shari enjoy the views of Milford Terminal from the inside . . . ]

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[And the Super with Bowen Falls.]

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[Kayakers!  Unfortunately, they were the only wildlife we saw.]

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[Beginning our departure from the Sound.]

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[Let’s see if we can work the ship into a couple of shots.]

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[Good-bye Milford Sound, it was nice to meet you.  A good site mapping out the Sound:  http://milfordsoundselect.com/milford-sound/the-cruise-on-milford-sound]

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[Then we were out in open water again . . . ]

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[I’m really rather delighted about the lighting in this shot.]

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[We next boated into Doubtful Sound (or was it Breaksea Sound) and came out Dusky Sound.]

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[Entering either Doubtful or Breaksea.  I think it was the former, but looks more likely from the latter as a route out of Dusky?]

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[Yes, our Maasdam is 24 years old.  She only has one year of service left.  She served us well.]

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[The color and pageantry that is the international tourist.]

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[As you’ll recall from our trip through Milford Sound, I believe that is called a waterfall.]

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[I believe we are heading for Dusky . . . and out.]

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[‘Twas a lovely day in a most gorgeous part of the planet.  We then went around the southern tip of South Island passing by Stewart Island (the country’s 3rd largest island after South and North), but it was getting dark and it was a little to far away for any photos.  So next . . . ]

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[We decided to go to dinner.  I guess I ordered the fruit appetizer.]

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[“This is exactly why I want to live on a cruise ship,” says the Super!]

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[Yum!]

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[The Biddies got the shrimp cocktail appetizer . . . ]

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[So did Kathy.]

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[Beef Wellington night?  Or is that ‘just’ a filet mignon wearing a hat?]

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[Looks like a fruit cobbler.  I got them often for dessert.]

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[Surprisingly good single performers.  This was their last night on ship – both were leaving us in Dunedin – so they both performed.  Do you think I could remember their names?  Not a chance!]

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[We didn’t go to a lot of the theater performances after dinner.  They’re usually pretty good.  But some times we just went to the piano bars.  Other times, just to bed!]

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Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.  ~  Monty Python

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