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VIRG FOSS: From four seasons to two

We know all about the four seasons of the year and, for certain, the fans that can't escape the rapid order in which sports seasons follow each other.

Virg Foss
Virg Foss portrait

We know all about the four seasons of the year and, for certain, the fans that can't escape the rapid order in which sports seasons follow each other.

But in retirement, I've learned that my life basically breaks down into two seasons -- writing season, and non-writing time.

My season of change is upon me. After this article, my verbal agreement with the Grand Forks Herald forged in my retirement year of 2005 calls for just one more column until October.

My writing season, then, corresponds with the heavier sports seasons in our area, from October through April. Those seven months contain the sports that generate the most fan interest in the area -- football, basketball and hockey. That explains how the parameters for my weekly column writing agreement with this newspaper were forged six years ago.

To be truthful, I enjoy the vacation from writing under this agreement. A guy can only mourn the sad ending to the UND hockey season so long before moving on. That time is here. Onward and upward.

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One can stand up so long and fight to retain the Fighting Sioux nickname at UND before needing a break from that never-ending battle, too. That issue will be there for comment, I'm certain, when this column resumes in October.

My vacation schedule will kick off in grand style next week.

I'll fly to Florida with my daughter, my son and his wife, to attend the banquet wrapping up the American Hockey Coaches Association's annual convention.

Thanks to what I suspect was a strong backing of support from UND coaches, I'll receive the Jim Fullerton national award from the AHCA next weekend for my 40-plus years of writing about Fighting Sioux hockey in particular and college hockey in general.

It will be like a gathering of friends at a good time in my life. As I move deeper into retirement and am less active in the world of hockey, I'll look forward to seeing coaches I've interviewed and known for many years.

Many of them I haven't seen in a while now. So I will cherish the opportunity to renew old friendships in Florida. I will relish the chance to personally thank all the coaches for this national award for a lifetime of writing on college hockey.

I often said I had the best job in the world at the Grand Forks Herald, writing about Fighting Sioux hockey and covering the sport of college hockey -- an ungodly glorious combination.

I also once said that I loved that job so much I would do it without pay. Unfortunately, I made that comment in the presence of Herald editor/publisher Mike Jacobs. I spent some uneasy days thinking he just might take me up on that offer.

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I'll come back from Florida and soon head to my cabin in the woods on beautiful Lake Beltrami.

It's where the loons and eagles, flying squirrels and snapping turtles, beckon me back.

It's where the bard owl serenades me to sleep with its muted 8-note call at night and Ole the puppy wakes me in the morning to take him outside to play ball.

Five months of that, my soul will be refreshed, my fingers ready to write again.

Foss is a Hall of Fame journalist who reported on sports for 36 years for the Herald until his retirement. He writes a weekly column from October through April. Contact him at virgfoss@yahoo.com or at (701) 772-9272.

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