Road Trip, The Day Before

This is St. Paddy’s Day . . . in the morning we would be heading west

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Thanks again to Mikko and friends for a fun evening.  And it was great to see the Bruce Kelly videos to keep the tradition rolling!  :-)

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[Sami was hoping she could make it, but it’s a long way from Colorado.]

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[Almost a full house.]

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[PARTY ANIMALS!]

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[Sing along with us!]

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[As usual, we had front row seats.  Still, at intermission, we always manage to be the first ones out for cookies?  :-)  ]

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[I think we got everyone in this picture?!?]

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[Erik was home from his 2-month escape to Arizona, and he and Al were entertaining at SAWA.  After closing St. Paddy’s AAAA event with the traditional “Parting Glass” (you know, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here), we and others, including the cast, joined in with Erik and Al, with each new arrival receiving an ovation from those already there.  It turned into one of those special evenings you can’t really plan.  :-)  ]

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”  ~  George Carlin

Up next:  The Road Trip (The Onslaught Begins!)

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Just Some Stuff Between Games Previously Missed

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The winter sports season is over . . . so now what do we do?  Congrats to the girls’ hockey team for making state and to the girls’ basketball team for missing state by one point.  We’ll spring ahead now for remembrances past (OK, redundant but I like the alliteration).  I now do this on two computers so I missed some things for the first “stuff between games” post.  Remember the above?  That was less than two weeks ago!  A week later will still had temperatures of 20 below zero.  Now the snow is totally gone!!

Ole Slushball reports:

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[On March 3, Jami and I went out to enjoy our last (?) winter snowfall, shovels in hand.]

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[Back inside, feet up, enjoying a taste of the grape.  Ahhhh, I miss it already!]

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[March 6 at SAWA, a pastry thingy . . . mmmmmmmmmm!]

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[Vick . . . need I say more?]

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[Dan Mahar’s semi-annual visit.  Great show, as always!  :-)  ]

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[Happy Birthday, Dad!]

The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.  ~  Helen Hayes (at 73)

Up next:  Road trip ahead!

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Wait Till Next Year! *

*  OK, everybody says that . . . but more about that later.  On Thursday, March 12, our 2nd-seeded Cards lost to the 1st-seeded Thief River Falls Prowlers in the section 8AAA championship at St. John’s University, 43 – 42, in a game that was that close all the way.  It will be the Prowlers first ever trip to the state tournament, so congratulations to them.

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[The biggest problem our Cards have for the future is their aging fan base.]

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[Since the supervisor did such a great job on the first picture, we’ll feature her efforts here as well.  Upon arrival at the St. John’s University gym, our Cards in warm-up.]

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[My first effort at the same shot the Super just took.  There was some discussion as to whether these were new uniforms or not.  Since this was the first time we had seen the Cards in their traveling whites this year, we weren’t sure?]

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[The game was tied 33 minutes before it even started and pretty much stayed that way during the entire game.]

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[The Voices were prepping for their pre-game show.]

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[My high school principal and Mrs. High School Principal (on the left) were perusing the Blizzard menu from the Albany Dairy Queen for a possible stop on the way home.  Incidentally, we beat Albany to get to this game.]

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[So, we’re stopping at the Albany DQ after the game?]

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[Is the boys’ basketball team stopping there too?]

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[So, Prowlers, did you enjoy your 4-hour trip to get here?]

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[Will the Albany DQ still be open after the game?]

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[The Cardinal tip drill – how we end every pre-game warm-up.]

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[Inadvertently captured a member of the school board arriving here.  He was then off on a mission to recruit three 6’7″ players for next year.]

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[I really go for that Health bar Blizzard!]

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[And the intros . . . Emma Ziegler, sophomore]

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[Kendall Kohler, sophomore]

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[Macy Hatlestad, sophomore]

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[Brooke Heggie, senior]

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[Cheyenne Hendrickson, senior]

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[The Competition, undoubtedly getting better shots than the ones I just took.]

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[We’re on our way!  Today is Alexandria’s day . . .]

Here’s a video of the game’s commencement.  You will see over 5 minutes of action during which the only points scored were two free throws by Macy at the end.  In Kendall’s defense (yes, her first 3-point attempt here was a bit awry), her next 3-point attempt from about 5-feet beyond the line drew nothing but net.  But you will also get an idea about why our Cards led all of class AAA in fewest points allowed this year!  Love that Cardinal ‘D’!

***

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[Brooke defends a pass as Macy makes a break for it.]

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[A Prowler attempt . . . will it?  Their frontline was 6’3″ and 6’2″.  While they weren’t very mobile, height alone clogs the lane defensively.  And if they managed to get the ball underneath offensively, there wasn’t much we could do to prevent a lay-up.]

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[Their three perimeter players I thought were surprisingly good.  They were longer than our guards.  Here Kendall, who fouled out late in the game, defends one of them.]

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[Brooke had a terrific game against all their height.  It’s really too bad we didn’t make state in her senior year.]

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[Macy . . .]

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[A bit of Kiyana Miller (21), sophomore, with Kendall . . . ]

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[Macy on the defensive point.]

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[Brooke hustles back to keep an eye on their 6’2″ forward.]

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[Eyes on the prize!]

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[Hustle back on ‘D’!]

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[The Prowlers feed No. 24 at the key.  No. 13, a freshman, I believe is, and was, their leading scorer.]

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[As Brooke moves out to defend her shot.]

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[A defensive game, I got mostly defensive shots.]

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[Chey and Macy bring it up.]

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[But back to the defensive end.]

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[At the half.  I thought we were tentative offensively all night.  We never pushed the ball – I don’t recall a single fast break point?  And while their guards made it difficult for our guards with their length, our bigs certainly had a mobility advantage over theirs.  It’s likely that with a “shortened” bench at this time of the season, we wanted to save our energy for the defensive end.  I can’t imagine them being able to score any more against us than they did.]

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[Emma readies to inbound to start the 2nd half.]

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[Brooke scored 20 and was solid from the line all night.  No. 2 for the Prowlers was their 6’3″ player who scored on some key put backs in the 2nd half.]

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[As it was the whole game . . . ]

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[Kendall . . . ]

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[And Macy had a hard time getting good looks all night as the Prowlers overplayed the passing lanes.  In hindsight, we may have brought Brooke and Chey outside more, they’re both good 3-point shooters, to open up some back door cuts.  It worked with Kiyana a couple of times and that . . . ]

Will likely be the strategy next year.  This year, as Brooke and Chey continued to develop as players and were terrific down the stretch, we played a more conventional half-court game to take advantage of their, and Kayla’s, skills as inside players.  Next year we’ll likely have thousands of players all running as fast as they can all the time.  We’ll have tremendous numbers as both the JV and freshmen teams had terrific years and those players will be moving up.  We won’t have a single senior on the team, and yet we’ll be very experienced.  Kayla will be our lone returning interior player, and I’m not sure if she’ll have any teammates in that category.  So, it will be whippet time, and it will be fun to see speedsters like Kiyana and Kelby tearing up and down the floor.  Back to the all the time full court press raising havoc wherever we can?

Thanks, and congratulations, again to the team and the seniors.  This team far exceeded my expectations from the start of the season.  I thought we lost too much from the previous year.  But Kohler said we’d win 20 – and we did, finishing at 21 – 7 and ranked in the top ten in the state.  Let’s do it again next year!  :-)

p.s.  Did you ever see the snow disappear this fast before?  I was at Woodland Elementary just last week (yes, still trying to prove I was eligible to move on to junior high when I did), and the kids were out playing in the snow piles, enjoying what little winter we had this year.

p.p.s.  Today is National Pi Day.  Yup, on Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 9:26:53 AM we will have Pi:  3.141592653!  So, go out and celebrate until you get dizzy walking in circles!  :-)

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Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.  Luckily, this is not difficult.  ~  Charlotte Whitton

Up next:  Road trip?  (Yes, there are rumors of a clothing optional beach for seniors.  Not to worry though, nobody looks at each other.)

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Just Some Stuff Between Games

Inside every older person is a younger person – wondering what the hell happened.  ~ Cora Harvey Armstrong

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[Already forgot where I stole this from?]

We begin (instead of end) this week’s edition with the quote.  Perhaps (OK, is) an explanation for why we didn’t go to the section semi-final game against Albany in Moorhead last Saturday.  Because it would have required a 100-mile trip home.  In the dark.  In winter.  Oh sure, we could have stayed overnight.  But Moorhead doesn’t have an appropriate 5-star hotel with proper valet parking for the Bentley.  Lest you aren’t aware, our 2nd-seeded Cards throttled the 3rd-seeded Huskies, 48 – 36, holding them to their lowest point total of the year (and only 14 in the 2nd half).  We will throw caution to the wind and go to St. John’s University tomorrow night for the section championship game against the dreaded, and No. 1-seeded, Prowlers of Thief River Falls.

So, what else has been happening . . .

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On February 26, an evening with the author of the Alexandria “Community Read.” 90+ brave souls braved the still sub-zero temperatures to make an SRO crowd at the library. Mr. Nerburn was both enlightening and funny, and showed what I thought was surprisingly good penmanship in his book signings! He’s from northern Minnesota but recently moved to Portland, Oregon, to be near grandkids. He said it was good to be “home” – probably missed the sub-zero temps!  “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” is the first of a trilogy and is now being made into “a very low budget” movie. Gotta start reading I guess. Oh, then we still made it to SAWA for date night with Al, Terry, and Annie, but it ended my streak of four days in a row at the high school.

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[Better get reading!]

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[March 1, the first day of meteorological spring, another beautiful day dawned over beautiful Lake Darling. While the morning news was once again filled with weather horror stories from all over the country, we continue to have a particularly uneventful winter. February was colder than normal, but we are still way below normal snowfall. For the most part, it’s just been beautifully sunny and cold.  The Polar Plunge was at Arrowwood on beautiful Lake Darling that day. (Already reported upon herein.)]

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[March 5, another crisp, beautiful day on the shores of beautiful Lake Darling.  It was 20 degrees below zero!  Less than a week later, we’re approaching 60 degrees on the positive side of zero.]

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[Saturday, Professor Miltich was performing at the winery again for the pleasure of all.]

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[We were joined by friends famed in song and story in Ashby.]

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[Yes, they are quite familiar with the ” . . . and put bread in my jar” routine.  :-)  ]

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[Helen with her sisters, who came all the way from Arizona and California (though I forget which order) just to join the frivolity at Carlos Creek.]

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[While Kendall and the Cards were battling Albany in Moorhead on Saturday . . . ]

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[We stayed home for this.  Whatta hoot!  :-)   ]

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[This is the President, the 2nd largest tree in the world.  247 feet tall, 3,200 years old, 2 billions leaves (a/k/a, needles).  This is supposedly the first time a sequoia was entirely contained in a single picture.  I did not take this photo.]

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[Salem, Massachusetts.  You may recall (blog posting) we visited friends here two Januarys ago.  This is a shot from their window this year.  That snow is 6-feet deep along both sides of their sidewalk.  (Photo not by me.)]

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[Yesterday, the Cards carb loading for the Prowlers (photo from Kohler’s FB posting).]

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[ . . . and I finished our taxes!]

Up next:  The section finals.

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Alexandria – 64, Sauk Rapids/Rice – 29

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[After a one-day delay to recover from our third measurable snowfall of the season, our Cardinals  opened the section 8AAA  girls’ basketball tournament with an expected easy win over the Sauk Rapids/Rice Storm . . .]

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[The brackets followed form.  The four remaining teams – a’ la the boys’ hockey section – can be tossed in a hat and whoever has the hot night will win.  I should note that the Storm did win 9 games this year, are very young, and appear to be a program heading in the right direction.]

A video of the first several minutes, the Cards appeared determined to end any mysteries early:

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[Macy, Kayla, and Kendall form a defensive wall making front court penetration difficult for the Storm.]

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[Macy had her usual all-around good game . . . a little concerned she’s been getting into foul trouble lately.]

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[Good shot of the ref’s back, Obert, while Kiyana and Emma play defense in the background.]

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[Emma made both – she would have been challenged to do that earlier in the year.]

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[Cheyenne cuts to the hole . . . ]

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[Kendall dribbles around the defense . . . ]

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[Likely fed Brooke, who played playmaker in this game.]

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[We kept feeding Cheyenne in the low post, and she obliged with a terrific game.]

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[Will it drop?]

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[Cheyenne’s smiling . . . must have hit another lay-up.]

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[Kohler’s keeping a close eye on things . . . ]

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[While just behind her, Kiyana is reporting a Kim Kardashian sighting.]

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[Macy here – the team was 16 – 21 from the line in the game.  That will win a lot of games.]

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[Brooke’s shot is captured by the Echo Press.]

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[The ref signals a 3 (or giving the ‘OK’ sign?), while Cheyenne tries to track down the elusive ball.]

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[Carly looks for a cutter.]

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[Get it, get it!!]

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[Cheyenne makes a freebie.]

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[The 2nd half went to running time early and our JV team basically finished off the last half that half.]

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[I marvel at The Competition.  He got all the way down to floor, and then all the way back up again.]

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[Arrghhh, more competition!  The Echo Press.]

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[No. 1 for the Storm is only an 8th-grader . . .]

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[But then No. 1 for us, Emma, is only a sophomore.  The pass in to begin the 2nd half.]

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[Kayla is part of the regular rotation.  From game-to-game, it’s hard to tell what that rotation may be.  Sometimes 7 or 8, but can go to 10.]

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[Kelby is a defensive stopper and brings high energy offense.]

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[Gimme that ball!]

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[Noted music fan in the audience.]

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[Kiyana brings an athletic defensive presence.]

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[Game over.  Would the last person to leave the building please turn out the lights!]

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.  ~  Maryon Pearson

Up next:  I honestly don’t know.

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Polar Plunge

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[For the Special Olympics at Arrowwood on beautiful Lake Darling this afternoon.  It was an absolutely balmy 19 degrees ABOVE zero today . . . OK, the wind was uncomfortably strong, so we didn’t stay out for long.]

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[The walk down to the lake.  As you may recall from your readings . . . mostly from Facebook snowbird friends . . . the month of February was mostly below zero.]

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[Looking back at Arrowwood.  Why yes, it is a pretty day.]

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[A hockey rink on the lake . . . but no signs of any plungers.  I was duped!  I was told they’d be plunging at 11:00 – but that was just a time for arriving, schmoozing, eating, and beveraging  No one was going in the water until 1:00!]

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[So inside we went (well, the Super was already there – she knew what was up!).  Here the Super poses the Barrett Fire Department plunging as a team.]

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[Our old buddy, Professor Miltich, was there to provide entertainment, so my time concerns were assuaged.  A bloody mary also was good at assuagement!]

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[Get ready to saddle up people!]

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[The Anthony Miltich Fan Club . . .]

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[In the midst of serious negotiations regarding the fee the perform at a three-year old’s birthday?]

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[Hey Daddy, how much is a million dollars?]

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[This is our group . . . ]

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[As they were in relation to Professor Miltich.]

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[We sponsored them – the League of Super Heroes, a/k/a, ASK (Acts of Sincere Kindness group).]

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[Then we had to leave the Professor to catch the action on the ice.]

So, here’s the video.  You can hear the wind.  It was tough for us to walk out there without snow on the ice to provide some traction.  Plus, I was shooting blind over the top of the crowd.  Under these circumstance, unfortunately, the video of the ASK group didn’t come out (cold hands, bad blind aim):

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[I hereby pledge that I, personally, will NOT plunge again next year!]

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[And here’s the Echo Press photo, already up on Facebook.]

Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.  ~  Kin Hubbard

Up next:  OK, this time the basketball sections (I think).

startrek

[Live long and prosper.]

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Conference Champs (Another One!)

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[Friday night, the last game of the regular season.  The foe was poor St. Cloud Apollo, a team that did not win a game all year.  The outcome was really preordained.  (Apollo will represent our section in the boys’ state hockey tournament – we’ll cheer for the Eagles there.)  As the last game, it was also senior night . . .]

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[And there you have it.]

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[The JV game (the above two photos) was almost identical to the following varsity game. This was the last game of the season for the JV’s, who had a terrific year (2 or 3 losses?).]

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[The pre-game stop-and-chat.]

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[Ruth (the other Super Fan Ruth) with Aria, her point guard of the future granddaughter.]

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[The Carly Dropik (# 33) Fan Club; and the student section whose sign contents were scrupulously perused by the authorities before they could be displayed!   ;-)    ]

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[Meanwhile, back at warm-ups.]

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[Good luck to your hockey team.]

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[And back to warm-ups.]

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[Shereee Saxton, whose official title (I believe) is in-charge-of-a-lot-of-school-stuff, e.g., the Cardinal Connection, chaperones the student section while really keeping an eye on the old people to make sure we don’t get out of hand!]

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[The point guard-of-the-future is back with her scouting report.]

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[Kelby Olson-Roedel (13) leads the team back to the bench, lest they otherwise get lost.]

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[The seniors gather to be introduced . . . and be feted with their folks.]

S-S-S-EN, I-I-I-OR, S-E-N-I-O-R-S, SENIORS!

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[Anna Lee (23)]

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heggie 1000 pts

[Brooke Heggie (45)]

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[Group shot]

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[Carly Dropik (33)]

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[The coaching staff says good-bye to Kohler’s . . . 30th group of seniors?]

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[Cheyenne Hendrickson (55)]

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[Gretchen Revering (25)]

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[Emily Korkowski (Manager)]

high school game day

[On loan from somebody’s Facebook posting.]

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[And as captured by Ms. Saxton.]

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[ESPN high school gameday hosts.  I recognize Jaran Roste (middle), our football quarterback and a guard on the basketball team.]

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[The real refs were jolly good sports and posed for a photo with their white-caned impersonator.]

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[The five seniors started.  Since that was new to some, they weren’t sure in what order and to whom to share an introductory fist bump.]

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[Let’s get ready to ruummmmbbblllleeee!]

Video of the opening minutes:

***

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[After the opening video, we pick up play with the usual starters back on the court.]

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[Kendall Kohler (3) forechecking at the center line, recognizing I’m using a hockey analogy.]

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[Kendall now on the offense . . . I believe she avoided a charge here and drew a foul.]

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[Macy Hatlestad (11) feeds Cheyenne in the post.]

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[Kayla Feldhake (43) at the free throw line.  She has the daunting task of replacing both our 6-footers, Brooke and Cheyenne, next year!  ;-)   ]

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[Amazingly, one game after catching Macy in an on-court figure skating maneuver, Kiyana Miller (21) looks like she’s sliding into a take-off for a triple Lutz!]

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[Kendall eyeballing the pumpkin from a distance.]

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[Brooke on the foul line.  She pretty much had her way in this game as the Eagles didn’t have anyone who could defend her.]

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[Look!  Is that Oscar-winner J. K. Simmons?  He was at the AAAA in 2012.]

jk simmons at aaaa

[(Just checking to see if you were paying attention.)]

At the half, the Winter Drum Line:

***

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[And a shooting contest.  Can you find the ball?]

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[Brooke again . . . ]

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[All five Cardinals poised for a defensive assault.]

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[Kendall and Kiyana prepare for a special ‘K’ double-team.]

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[And did Kiyana get it?]

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[Guess not, but still on in-your-face defense.]

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[Cheyenne and Brooke go for a block, Macy prepares for a deflection.]

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[Fast break!!]

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[Macy for the lay-up.]

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[Brooke was leading scorer.]

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[Carly on top as the Cards go into their motion offense.]

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[Kelby displays what I believe are the teams’ best hops.  And though running styles may affect perception, she and Kiyana appear to be the teams’ greyhounds.]

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[Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap as the JV players wrap up the victory.]

Whadya mean we only got a 2 seed?  ~  Cub Reporter

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Bonus end-of-season quote:  Doh!!!  ~  Homer Simpson

baby on board

Up next:  We host Sauk Rapids-Rice in the first round of the sections on Tuesday.

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[See you at the tournament!  (Photo on loan from a no-longer-remembered social media site – apologies.)]

p.s.  The very next night . . .

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[It’s really tough to beat an evening with The Cheese Bots, an SRO crowd, and a bottle of Don David malbec at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale!  :-)   ]

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