What a game; local softball team advances to world tournamentWhat I witnessed Friday night at Ole Haugsrud Field was pretty incredible. River Falls and the Superior High School Spartans battled back and forth for that night’s supremacy on the football field. What a game it was.
The following is another “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by award-winning Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.
What I witnessed Friday night at Ole Haugsrud Field was pretty incredible. River Falls and the Superior High School Spartans battled back and forth for that night’s supremacy on the football field. What a game it was.
With the Spartans leading 28-27 after trailing 27-14 late in the fourth quarter, River Falls scored the winning touchdown with five seconds left in the game. Final score: 34-28.
It was one of the best football games I have witnessed in many years. How, you might ask, can a loss be one of the best games I remember?
If you follow “Have Fun or get out of the Way” on a regular basis, you are aware of my take on the value of being involved in athletics. What I saw on Friday could be the primer on why team sports are important.
Both teams were filled with outstanding athletes. Both teams had outstanding coaching staffs. The stands were filled with loyal and devoted fans. Both squads never gave up; they worked together toward a common goal; each kid gave 100 percent without ever giving up. One team was victorious and one was not. There was definitely a “we not me” attitude. Lessons should be taken from this game.
Life has winners and losers, and by learning from every win and loss in our daily lives, we can choose two paths; we can give up, or we can dig deeper for the success we crave. I am confident the Spartans and the coaching staff will continue to give the maximum effort to achieve success.
When things don’t go our way, when there is great disappointment, when our best effort is not quite good enough, when life is not fair and our best is derailed by others, it is vital to forge ahead and never give up.
I am extremely proud to be a fan of all Spartan athletes. I am extremely proud of our coaches and the countless hours each coach spends with these great kids, for very little pay. I am extremely proud of each member of the Spartan football team.
I know there were tears and disappointment that tore the guts out of each player after the game. As they move on from that night, sometimes external forces will act directly or indirectly to sabotage their very best efforts. Just remember that life can be cruel and unfair. There are no guarantees that results in life will be fair and without controversy. The success of each player in the grand game of life depends on how the losses and controversies are handled.
Great job Spartans. Everyone is proud of you for handling the end of the game on Friday with dignity and respect for yourself and others. I think you are all winners, maybe not of that game, but in life. Work hard in school and be the best person and teammate you can be. If you do not practice those sentiments, you will be cheating yourself. Give me one good reason why you would do that. Remember, sometimes you don’t always feel like a winner, but that does not mean you are not a winner.
It’s not very often that a team from our area is competing in a world tournament. The ESPN Complex in Kissimmee, Fla., is hosting the United States Specialty Sports Association World Tournament from Sept. 20-23. Local ladies from Superior and Duluth will be competing on the only Minnesota team entered and are seeded 25th.
Team Nutrition recently won the 2012 USSSA state championship and the 2012 Central Division National Championship. They were state second place finishers in 2010 and 2011.
Players from Superior are Kayla Blom, Ashley Martin, Ashlee Olson, Michelle Swanson, Pam O’Neill and Chelsea Jarzin. Players from Duluth are Michelle Jakubek, Crystal Schubitzke, Kylee Smith, Shauna Mortorelli, Ella Olson, Erin Lussier, Karen Olson, and Nicki East. Another member of the team, Brenda Geisselman, is from Minneapolis. Mark Connor is the manager/coach, and Gwen Radel and Superior’s Jon Becker are the assistant coaches.
Team Nutrition won a tournament in Mahtowa, took third in the Buffalo House Tournament, won the state while going undefeated, won the national’s after losing the first game and having to win the next six, and won the Homer Dome Tournament this past weekend. Thus far, they have only lost three games all season.
Team pitcher, Pam O’Neill, is excited about the prospects of competing at a world tournament.
“I can’t remember another team from this area ever going to world’s or even winning a national championship in softball,” said O’Neill, the team’s pitcher. “How often does a team like this come along? All of the players are looking forward to representing our area.”
Team Nutrition is an Herbalife Shop located in west Duluth. Olson, who also is a team member, is one of the owners along with Schubitzke.
“We are extremely proud of all the ladies and individuals responsible for the success of the team,” Olson said. “Our philosophy at Herbalife is to promote good health and healthy bodies. We have two very successful and important stories to tell; one is about softball and the other is about health.”
The team is looking for any financial help they can get from the businesses and people of our area. To donate or for information on how you can help these young ladies represent Duluth/Superior in the USSSA World Tournament, call Mark Connor at 218-940-4508 or stop by Team Nutrition at 2701 W. Superior Street (Suite 103) in Duluth.
“Our hearts go out to the community, local businesses and all the people who donated generously to make this trip possible,” Olson said.
Best of luck in Florida.
The “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram. Opinions and/or story ideas can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com