Viewpoint: Welcome relief from a rough news week
Anyone not living in a Tibetan monastery had to be touched in some way by the news of last week. If cowboy/philosopher Will Rogers were alive today he would probably say that contrary to his earlier opinion there are some men he wouldn't like.
On the international scene Afghanistan continued to be a tinderbox, Syria a humanitarian nightmare and England a repeat target for terrorists.
In Washington the new administration tried to figure out how to deal with multiple investigations while still finding time to poke a finger in the eye of the rest of the planet by bailing on the Paris Climate Agreement and lecturing allies.
Closer yet to home, Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature carried on their death-to-the-end, sandbox fight over the state budget. At last check the dispute seemed to be headed to the courts where who knows what will happen.
These events and a long list of disasters-in-waiting didn't go away during road trips to Austin and Lakeville to watch a couple of Farmington High School girls' sports teams compete, but the performances of those young athletes sure made them much easier to ignore for a few hours.
Each year for the past decade or so my golfing contingent consisting of ex-Tiger coaches Gary Burr, Vern Schoolmeester and Jim Swedin have put together a multi-sport road trip entailing golf on a foreign southern Minnesota course followed by a jaunt to Austin to watch the Tiger softball team ply its wares in the section tournament.
Farmington has a strong winning tradition in softball and since ex-Tiger Paul Harrington took over as coach they have been perennial contenders for the Section 1 berth in the state tournament. This year was no different as the Tigers entered the postseason ranked among the top 10 in the state and seeded second in the section to New Prague.
The foursome of geezer golfers got their 18 holes of frustration in at Pine Island and later in the day witnessed a nail-biter of a 3-2 extra-inning Farmington win over Rochester Mayo in the championship semifinals.
The victory was rewarding but even more inspiring was watching senior pitcher Maddie Muelken perform. I'm not sure what her game statistics were but whatever they were, they paled in comparison to the grit she displayed just by being there. Muelken, you see, has played the entire season while undergoing treatment for stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Now that's a story worth telling.
Last Tuesday, three of the four gallivanting golfers got in their hacks at Miesville and then headed back to Spam City for the winners' bracket finals against New Prague. The Tigers won in dramatic fashion again, this time 3-2 in eight innings. Two days later they would go on to beat the Trojans 8-7 in (what else?) extra innings to advance to state.
Upon arrival at Saturday's section track and field championships at Lakeville South, FHS grad and volunteer coach Roger Thelen offered that if things fell right the Tigers had a legitimate chance of dethroning state powerhouse Lakeville South for the team title. Because Farmington had never been close to a section title before I worried the near-90 degree temperature had damaged Thelen's cognitive abilities.
Turned out he knew what he was talking about as the Tigers paced by the exploits of distance runners Anna Fenske and Lauren Peterson, sprinter Emma Record, hurdler Myiah Scott and triple jumper Amanda Davenport nosed out South 95-93 to take home the championship hardware.
The meet came down to the last event of the day and a trio of old-timers with strong Farmington connections, public address announcer Chuck Hansen, Vern Schoolmeester and yours truly paced the press box until the final results were posted. Fist bumps and high-fives all around.
Thanks, girls. We needed that.
Note: Softball and track aren't the only Farmington spring sports teams with state tournaments on their minds. The Tiger lacrosse team hosted Lakeville South Tuesday night in the section finals in search of their first-ever state berth. Hopefully, good things do come in threes.