John's Journal
Nominate Your Favorite Athlete For Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week10/6/2013
Nominations are open for this weekly honor, and you can find all the details by clicking here
Dassel-Cokato's Luke Nelson Returns To His Teammates10/5/2013
Here's an emotional update about injured Dassel-Cokato football player Luke Nelson, posted on his CaringBridge site after Luke returned to his football teammates for the first time since suffering a serious head injury ...

Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200,,,,

That's kind of what it felt like. Luke got and 8 hour pass from the hospital tonight to attend the last home football game at DC. Greg and I drove him home, where we met Isaac. And, Isaac and Brett brought Luke out at 6:00 to meet the team on the field. Four weeks later, Luke stood on the field again with his team.

As Greg and I drove into the parking lot and saw the stadium, tears filled my eyes. As we sat in the stands and looked at Luke stanidng on the sidelines wearing his 43 sweatshirt standing to the National Anthem and greeting the seniors as they were introduced, tears filled our eyes. As people greeted us with hugs, tears filled our eyes.

As good as it was to see him there, to see friends, and to be back to normal, if only for a short time,it brought back many emotions. And, as much as he enjoyed seeing everyone, he was very tired. But, he made it through the whole game. I have to admit, my mind wasn't on the game. I was wondering how Luke was doing the whole time, but he was determined to make it.

It wasn't easy for Luke to drive back to the hospital after the game, but we are almost there...almost done with this leg of the journey.

Luke had an ultrasound today before we left to check on the blood clot. We should hear results of that tomorrow. Also, we should hear results of blood work that was done today. Luke has been taken off of three of his medications. He has started the oral antibiotic tonight and continues to take shots in the stomach for his blood thinner. Tonight he sleeps in the hospital bed with no IV in his arm, no wires, no tubes of any kind. We won't hear the hum or alarm of any machine during the night. Only the rain drops hitting the window. Our lungs full of the fresh air of the evening.

I am proud to be part of this community. Proud that I live among such caring and loving people. Grateful for the love shown to Luke and our family. You are truly inspiring. You have hurt with us, loved us, prayed for us, supported us, laughed with us. And, the most amazing thing is, this community reaches beyond Dassel and Cokato. I read messages from all over.

Hopefully our stay at the hospital will be a short one. It was good to be home for a while. Good to be among friends.

Sleep well tonight, friends. We are almost there.
A Change In Prep Bowl Schedule For 2014; No Decision On 201510/3/2013
The MSHSL board of directors on Thursday approved the timing of the Prep Bowl for the 2014 season, which will be the first year of an anticipated two-year stretch in which the football state championship games will be played at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

TCF Bank Stadium will be used for those two years after the Metrodome is torn down and construction progresses on a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The MSHSL has to work around the university’s own football schedule, so the 2014 Prep Bowl will be played Nov. 21-22, which is the Friday-Saturday prior to Thanksgiving instead of the traditional Thanksgiving weekend games.

In another change – also because of the availability of TCF Bank Stadium – state semifinal football games will not be played at the same site as the Prep Bowl. In 2014 and 2015 those games will be played at various sites, much as the current state quarterfinals are held.

There is more uncertainty about the 2015 Prep Bowl schedule, as well as the entire 2015 football season. That’s because TCF Bank Stadium will only be available for the Prep Bowl two weekends before Thanksgiving. That raises questions such as: should the regular season start two weeks earlier? Should the playoffs be shortened? Should the regular season be seven games instead of eight? Should the Prep Bowl games be played at indoor stadiums in Fargo or Grand Forks, North Dakota?

The board made no decisions about the 2015 football season at Thursday’s meeting. More information will be gathered before such decisions will be made.

In other items from the board meeting …

--The girls and boys state soccer semifinals and finals are expected to be played at St. Cloud State's Husky Stadium in 2014 and 2015. Dates are being finalized and the board is expected to approve tournament schedules at its December meeting.

--The board heard a proposal from the softball advisory committee to add a fourth class in softball and a proposal from the baseball advisory committee to enlarge postseason rosters from 18 to 20 players. The board is expected to vote on both proposals in December.

--Chanhassen High School principal Tim Dorway, a former journalism advisor and current board member of the National Scholastic Press Association, spoke to the board about a proposed partnership between the MSHSL and the Minnesota High School Press Association. This was a discussion item and a vote is expected in December.

--The board honored Tom Johnson for his service as soccer coordinator and rules clinician and Laura Berg Olson for her service as dance team rules coordinator.
Congrats To Winona Cotter's Maura Michener, Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week10/2/2013
Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week: Maura Michener, soccer, Winona Cotter

The junior is a team captain for the Ramblers and she has been a varsity starter since eighth grade. Maura scored seven of her team’s nine goals in back-to-back victories over Lake City and Caledonia in Hiawatha Valley League play. Through the season’s first 12 games she scored 17 goals.

The Ramblers have several international students on the girls soccer team and Maura has been instrumental in helping them become part of the team, on the field and off. She also helps with a summer soccer program for kids age 5 through 12, is a member of the marching band, pep band, jazz band, track and field team, church choir, church youth group, Irish dance and works part time at Hy-Vee.

Maura also is an honor student who takes Advanced Placement classes, a blood donor, she has twice donated hair to Locks of Love, performs in school plays and musicals and plans to go to Japan as an exchange student next summer.

Congratulations to Maura Michener for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!
MSHSL Board Of Directors Agenda: Football, Soccer And More 10/2/2013
The MSHSL board of directors, which meets six times a year, will gather Thursday at MSHSL headquarters in Brooklyn Center for its October meeting. The agenda includes a wide variety of topics, but football and soccer are likely to garner the post-meeting headlines. Read a preview of the meeting by clicking here.