I have not had a chance to talk with long time Staples-Motley Activities Director Glen Hasselberg, but I understand that his half-time position has been eliminated, bringing to a close a wonderful relationship between a man, a coach, a school and it's student athletes...plus all those who were able to nibble around the edges.
Glen took over for Norm Card shortly after I arrived in central Minnesota. He has taught, coached, officiated, volunteered and more. He continued to do that after taking on the very complicated duties of today's activities directors.
Remember the director does more than scheduling varsity activities. He is working from the junior high on up...from coaches, to schedules, to busses, to officials and more. He helps build a relationship between a coach, a student athlete and a parent.
Glen Hasselberg did all of the above and did it well. Glen was at many activities, always checking to make sure things were in place for a seamless event. And when things went wrong Glen knew how to intervene. Glen is a proud man who wanted to do a good job.
Glen is a fan, who always pulled for his Cardinals. Glen was a realist. Glen was willing to let coaches coach, and players play. He was always good for a fun story, he is a genuine person that was welcoming to Kyle and myself while we worked the many Staples-Motley events over the past years. Glen understood when a team was under achieving, Glenn knew when a student was coasting or working hard, he was an encourager.
Glen did not do all of that alone, and he will be the first to admit that he was only as good as the wonderful people he surrounded himself with.
As you come to the end of a segment of your life and you want to measure success, you look around and count friends, colleagues, you remember the little subtle moments. Glen has the respect of the area coaches and athletic directors. The respect of the many student athletes he has worked with. The respect of this long time broadcaster.
We knew this day was coming, and we know Staples/Motley schools will move on, and I know I will miss that big teddy bear standing in a door way or leaning on a chair, the smile on his face, proving that he was truly enjoying his calling in life!
Thank you Glen for everything you did to make my experience better!
For some reason, there are times when the Minnesota Legislature just does not know when to leave things alone. This time it is not a tax issue, a road, education, or health and human services budgets. It's meddling with what I thought was a good idea by the Minnesota State High School League regarding open enrollment and student athlete eligibility.
Although I have not always agreed with the league on some of it's rules and regulations, I thought this one was well debated, and thought out. It did a great job of keeping student athletes whole, allowed them to continue to compete and at the same time seek the advantages they are looking for. But minutes after arriving at the capitol, the legislature began picking it apart...claiming it would keep students from playing on championship teams, keeping them from college opportunities.
Nothing could be farther from reality. In fact I believe the potential for great harm to good programs is far greater under some of the alternative plans that have been proposed in St. Paul.
It would take too long to explain the new proposal put forth by the MSHSL, but it was designed to make sure student athletes were able to compete and still move about as they and their families see fit. It would try and slow down some of the super teams we have seen over the last few years where state championships are crowned with few athletes that are actually living in a school district.
Without some of these changes imagine this...
A great athlete from Wadena-Deer Creek has his team eliminated in a playoff game. Not to worry. He open enrolls at a school down the road. They go to state, but are beaten in the first round. Not to worry. He open enrolls at a school that is still in the tournament. They lose in the second round. Not to worry. He open enrolls at one of the teams still alive in the tournament.
Far fetched? Of course it is. But still possible if the league does not start to slow the ability of student athletes to move around.
As to the argument that athletes will not get college opportunities. If you are a gifted athlete you will be found by colleges. They have a great system to find athletes that fit into their schools. If you are D1, D2, D3 material they already know it.
In short the Minnesota State High School League did it's job. Let's hope the State Legislature doesn't mess it up.
Dan Skogen represents District 10 in the Minnesota State Senate. He is also the Sports Director for KWAD/KNSP/KKWS in Wadena.