Away we go -- to the heart of Nebraska
Dear Shirley, Well, we did it! The UND women's basketball team won the regional championship game in Grand Forks this week and are on their way to the Elite Eight in Kearney, Neb., beginning Wednesday. They will be followed by hundreds of fans. A...
Well, we did it!
The UND women's basketball team won the regional championship game in Grand Forks this week and are on their way to the Elite Eight in Kearney, Neb., beginning Wednesday.
They will be followed by hundreds of fans. And I will be one of them.
Kearney (pronounced "kar'-ney") is a city of almost 30,000 in southcentral Nebraska. We figure it's about a 10-hour drive from here. Not enough people signed up for the bus, so we are driving. After the game, people were bustling around making plans to visit Kearney, the Buffalo County seat and the home of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, with an average enrollment of about 7,000.
What a game it was, Shirley! The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center was full to the rafters with screaming fans. There were some sharpshooters on that Loper team from Nebraska-Kearney. They were aiming to gain a spot in the national tournament on their own home court.
Once again, it was scary at first. Then, Kelsey Maffin and Danye Guinn took charge. Slowly, surely, the Sioux pulled ahead. I guess I told you before, watching this basketball team is like reading a good book. Now, we are down to the final chapter of the 2006-2007 edition.
We can only wonder how it will end in Nebraska. The players seemed fired with energy when they finished the big game here. I felt like a limp dishrag, but I can't think of anything I'd rather do than cheer on the Sioux with a big crowd of like-minded people.
The Elite Eight is bound to be fun. One of my friends says just watching Coach Roebuck would be worth the price of admission. He is fairly calm at times, but he's a fierce competitor. If need be, he pitches a fit. And you know he is really exasperated when he throws his clipboard on the floor.
The atmosphere at the Betty the other night was electric, Shirley. I saw Ralph Stocker and his wife, Delores, walk in, and I asked him how he feels when he enters the Betty. After all, Betty Engelstad, who lives in Las Vegas, is his sister. He said all of the fervor before the game gives him goose bumps.
It was kind of sad to think it will be the last time we see seniors Kelsey Maffin and Carissa Jahner playing here at the Betty, but they really went out in style. And their fans are devoted. I couldn't help wonder how many books Pat Henry has read while waiting for games to begin . . . or how many miles the flag guy, Loyall Jahnke, has put on his car to get up here for all of the games.
Along with hoops, we have hockey fever in town this week. Coach Dave Hakstol and the Sioux are in the Twin Cities for the Final Five on Friday and Saturday. Sioux fans who are down there will be socializing at Great Waters Brewing Co. before the games in the Xcel Energy Center.
After it all winds down, we will wait for football coach Dale Lennon to run out, chased by his 2007-2008 team, onto the field in the Alerus Center next fall.
That's how it goes, Shirley. Everybody loves a winner. I notice when the teams win, we say "we" won. If they lose, it's "they" who lost. I guess you know how that goes, with all of the losses Lute Olson's basketball team at the University of Arizona suffered this winter.
Traffic is lighter around UND this week with the students off on Spring Break. Today and Friday, the high school students here are having a mini-Spring Break from school, too. In school lingo, it's called conference trade day.
About 90 students in Chris Douthit's seventh grade world geography classes have embarked on a project of documenting the beginnings of Schroeder Middle School in 1966. They have had former students come in and tell them how it was back then.
Schroeder was built way to the south and seemed to be all alone down there. I remember thinking they might as well put the school in Hillsboro, N.D., but in the past 40 years, the city grew out to it and way beyond. Students would like to get any pictures or information former Schroeder students would share. The phone number at Schroeder is 745-2330.
54,000Speaking of the city, Mayor Brown was claiming a population of 54,000 for us now. That's pretty good, considering how many people moved away after the Flood of 1997. And here we are 10 years down the road.
Love from your sister, Marilyn, feeling more secure as the snow melts this spring than I did a decade ago.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 772-1055.