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A full range of fortune

As you nibble on yet another turkey sandwich from the Thanksgiving leftovers, now is a good time for me to dish up a generous helping of some personal thanks.

As you nibble on yet another turkey sandwich from the Thanksgiving leftovers, now is a good time for me to dish up a generous helping of some personal thanks.

As we meander our way through the maze of life, we often take more than we give, quite the opposite of the way we should live our lives.

I believe that thanks are gifts to be given any day of the year, not just something to dole out on Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful to a father who introduced me to sports at an early age and encouraged my interest and participation, without ever forcing either one upon me.

I'm thankful for an old journalist named Carl Weicht, who gave me the opportunity and guidance to write all the sports for the Northfield (Minn.) News and Independent during my high school years.


That opportunity stuck with me for a lifetime and dictated how I approached my role in journalism. I tried to be a Carl Weicht, working with and encouraging high school and college kids who cut their teeth on the business while working part-time in the sports department when I was at the Herald.

Of anything I ever accomplished in journalism, the fact that more than 50 young people began their journalism experience as part-time workers with the sports department and later became writers and editors here and elsewhere is my proudest memory.

I'm thankful for Jerry Moriarity, who hired me to write sports for a small Illinois daily when this young Navy officer decided to give up military life in 1967 and pursue a passion for journalism. He had the faith to open the door and invite me in.

I'm very thankful for former Herald editor Jack Hagerty, who hired me away from the La Crosse (Wis.) Tribune in 1969 and brought me home to Grand Forks to launch a run of 36 years of journalism at the Herald.

I'm thankful for being free to cover Sioux football when UND coach Jerry Olson had the vision to play the likes of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, Montana State and Delaware in the 1970s. He brought in the athletes to compete at that level, setting the stage for the program we see at UND today and greasing the transition into Division I in the future. He had the insight to show us that all things are possible.

I'm thankful for a young coach named Dave Gunther, who came to Grand Forks shortly after I did and built powerful men's basketball teams at UND. He took me along for a memorable ride to a couple of national tournaments, quite a thrill for self-professed hockey junkie.

As strange as it may seem, I'm thankful that Sioux hockey was at a low point when I arrived. It served as the bedrock for appreciation when the program rose to glorious heights and five national championships under Gino Gasparini, Dean Blais and Dave Hakstol.

I'm thankful for the unbelievable gift of former Sioux goalie Ralph Engelstad in the form of the state-of-the-art rink bearing his name so proudly and forever. His gift of thanks will ensure that Sioux hockey remains North Dakota's No. 1 sports team forever (sorry, Bison fans).


Fittingly enough, Engelstad talked about how it was his hope that his gift would inspire and challenge others to give back as well, the ultimate Thanksgiving message.

I'm thankful for my children for their love, my friends for their support and God for his forgiveness.

Thanksgiving need not be just one special Thursday in late November.

As troubled as our lives can be at times and for all the wicked twists it throws at us, remember this:

We all have something to be thankful for, 365 days a year.

Virg Foss, who retired as a full-time sportswriter at the Herald in 2005, can be reached at virgfoss@yahoo.com or at (701) 772-9272.

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