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Sunday, November 30, 2003
A Time For Optimism
As I read through the many preseason previews from the area basketball coaches, one theme stands out...OPTIMISM!

The optimism meter is pegging out on the high end. Coaches that are coming off a bad season a year ago, are optimistic that this year they will be better. Those that finished .500 are optimistic they will finish better. And those that finished at the top are optimistic that this years team can carry on the tradition.

The meter will back off some by Christmas.

By February, optimism will have left most of the coaches speaches, as reality sets in. The reality of athletes that underachieved, the reality of injuries, the reality of missed opportunities...

But right now we are all optimistic and that is a wonderfull thing!

Optimism keeps alot of Americans going back to work everyday, planting crops...raising their kids...

When you look at basketball this winter, high optimism has to be out there for the boys' and the New York Mills girls' teams. W-DC has been getting better each year with this group and they are now seniors. Coach Tom VanErp has to be optimistic that the Wolverines will compete for top honors in the Mid-State Conference, as well as Section 8AA. The Eagles' girls had a great run to finish their season last year and they come back after losing just one senior, with good size, and a great bunch. If the Eagles get focused and come ready to play every night, they will be a handfull for most teams.

Others who should be optimistic are the Park Rapids and Pequot Lakes boys' teams. Menahga will also have a pretty salty team back.

On the girls' side, other contenders include Henning and Bertha-Hewitt. And although the W-DC girls have a long way to come, there should be optimism.

Dan Skogen is Sports Director and Operations Manager at KWAD/KNSP/KKWS in Wadena. He can be contacted at dan@sportscow.com
Posted By Dan Skogen
Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Area Coaches In The News
Last Thursday in the Section 4/9-Man playoffs, the head coach of the Verndale Pirates took a licking...and he's still kicking!

Mike Mahlen was looking at his defensive play sheet when Isle ran a sweep that took the ball carrier near the sideline. As the running back was tackled, the players flew into Mahlen, knocking him out and giving him a slight concusion. After several very somber moments, Mike was stabilized and taken to a Fargo hospital for evaluation. He was back in the locker when the Pirates celebrated their 30-0 win.

Lots of jokes later, Mike is alright! But at the time, it was no laughing matter.

And as much as we worry about the kids that play the games, I respect the coaches, officials, and medical teams and trainers that work the games and walk the sidelines. They are older and unprotected and sometimes take a heck of wallop!

Meanwhile, Janelle Bright was named the Section 5A volleyball Coach of the Year. Her Bears finished second to Underwood this year.

Lynn Peterson was inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame last weekend. I attended and appreciated Lynn's comments. While some of the inductees droned on about individuals, games, seasons...Lynn talked about how the community, friends, fans, other coaches and rivalries have helped him reach all kinds of goals. Now that he is in the Hall, the only thing Lynn is missing is a state title.

Good Luck to Moorhead, Crookston, OTC, Parkers Prairie and Verndale in the quarterfinals of their respective state playdowns.

I do wish the MSHSL would find a way to work these or at least most of the quarter final games inside somewhere.

Another fall sports season is winding down. Captains are gathering their teams for winter.

Here we go again...
Posted By Dan Skogen
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