I have never been more proud than now, to say that I am from Stevens County. Our sports teams have made us proud and to have two teams go on from communities just a few miles apart, is wonderful. We also sent a couple wrestlers who finished in number two positions. People might start to wonder if there is something special in the water around here.
My opinion about the local success is that these kids know how to work hard. They also know how to show respect for their teammates, opponents, coaches, school and community. One example of this was after the Hancock boys won the section title. They offered to allow players from the opposing team to take a turn at cutting down the net. This did not go unnoticed by the fans from that school. They commented on the team’s sportsmanship and heart.
It has been wonderful to see how the community has turned out to show their support when they are not able to physically attend the games. They have lined up on the streets to send them off and welcome them home. They have lit up social media with accolades about the teams. They have given gifts and made banners to display for the teams to see.
I also have a great-niece playing on the Chaska team, who is in the state tournament. Some nights I am watching games on two different devices so that I can keep up with all of them. If you hear the Van Eps or Henrickson names during Chaska games, they have families from this area. I have also heard that the Becker team is in state with Nuest girls on the team.
We have a lot of local connections on these state teams and I am sure many of you have other relatives or friends playing in state. It is so fun to watch and follow the games when you personally know many of the players. It is not easy sitting at home watching the games when you really want to be there.
No matter how difficult it is, it is better than what was taking place one year ago. At least our kids can play and their parents and close family members can watch in person. The rest of us can at least watch online. Two of the three teams I have been following are still competing, both next Wednesday. I would love to go watch them but I don’t think I can get tickets for both games.
I am proud of all these athletes and want to wish them good luck next week in the final rounds of state tournaments.