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Rodd's Ramblings: Sports ADs keep on in odd times


March 27, 2020

Sports fans come in all types. They all have at least one thing in common and that is their love for sports.

How are sports fans coping with the lack of sports during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Pine Knot News had a chance to check in with a number of local high school activities directors — you know, the people who deal with all sports at school daily — to learn how they have been reacting to the lack of local, regional and national sports.

“I am not necessarily going through any type of sports withdrawal,” said Moose Lake’s Beckie Jackson. “If they took away ‘Dateline’ or something like that I’d probably be going through major withdrawals. But it is definitely affecting my boyfriend and his friends, though. Yesterday I had to watch marble racing and discuss cup stacking. What?”

Carlton’s Ben Midge said he’s still staying connected to the sports scene.

“It is awkward to turn on sports radio throughout the day and not have conversations about recent games,” he said. “Instead we are way more into college players signing pro contracts and free agency than we are on the current teams that would be playing. For the entire past week, all of my boys have continued to pick up their hockey sticks and shoot pucks ... and my girls continue to play around the house with their volleyballs and basketballs. As a family we are doing daily cardio too.”

In Cloquet, Paul Riess has taken a different approach.

“I watch a lot more Netflix and Disney with my 4-yea- old,” he said. “I also enjoy watching the old games being played on television. The Kentucky-Duke Elite 8 game was on the other day where Chrisitian Laettner made the overtime shot at the buzzer. I remember a lot of those games, but it is fun watching them again. We’ve been going on a lot more walks which is a good thing for me.”

In Barnum, Dave Duesler is thinking about work and home.

“I am using the time to figure out how to teach online and I am working on getting my wood pile for next winter cut and split,” Duesler said. “I am one of those busy types of people and it is kind of driving me nuts. I seem to find that I get more done when I have more to do. If I don’t have much to do then I can put it off and do it later.”

Duesler isn’t the only AD that is moving forward on teaching plans. “Right now I am consumed with getting ready and making sure my distance learning plan is ready to go,” said Wrenshall’s Jeremy Zywicki.

“I am a sports fan, but I don’t follow March Madness that much, but I love watching the college hockey Frozen Four and I’m definitely going to miss that.”

“I have to make sure I’m prepared to deliver a high quality education to my students, which is my No. 1 priority right now,” Zywicki said. “And I’m responsible for ensuring my own children continue to get their education. So at this point I have plenty to do.”

South Ridge’s Tony DeLeon has a daughter who is a senior at Esko. “It’s crushing not seeing my daughter and her teammates have a senior season of softball,” DeLeon said. “The team was chasing a fifth-straight section championship and a trip to the state softball tournament, so I’ve been helping her. … I use my smoker a lot — making ribs, chicken, turkey and salmon ... that was all in the first week.”

In Cromwell, Dave Foster has also had a rough couple of weeks — especially because he is the assistant coach for the Cardinals girls basketball team that was set to play in the state semifinals on the day high school sports in Minnesota were canceled or put on hold.

“It is scary to think how long it will last,” Foster said. “I consider myself to be a fan of all sports, including high school, college and pro. I watch and keep an eye on all of it. As of now I have started running and spending a lot more time with my family.”

WKLK radio personality Kerry Rodd writes sports for the Pine Knot News.


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