John's Journal
Let’s Celebrate A Great Example Of Two-State Sportsmanship1/6/2013
I was sitting courtside at Target Center on Saturday, watching the four boys high school basketball games in the Timberwolves Shootout. The games were well-played and the competition intense, but in the midst of all that I received an email that needed to be shared.

The email, from Marshall High School activities director Bruce Remme, describes a great example of sportsmanship by a team from Sioux Falls, S.D., that played in Marshall on Friday night. I posted the letter on the MSHSL Facebook page a few minutes after reading it, and the response from our Facebook friends was tremendous.

The letter is below, followed by the Facebook comments. These are the kinds of positive stories that need to be shared, enjoyed and celebrated …


We had a great experience last night that I thought you would appreciate.

Last night (Friday 1/4/13) we hosted Sioux Falls Lincoln in a border battle boys basketball game. It was a well-played, physical high school basketball game that ended in a 81-65 victory for the home team. However, it was what happened after the game that made the night memorable.

Immediately following the game, we began cleaning up the gym so we could get set up for our annual gymnastics invitational Saturday morning. As we were busy working, the players from Lincoln began filing out of their locker room and into the hallway where they were gathering while waiting for the rest of their teammates to finish up. As the Lincoln players began noticing our gymnasts, parents, custodial staff start the parade of mats and equipment across the hall from gymnastics practice facility into the main gym, something wonderful happened. The Lincoln players pitched in.

After just having lost a hard-fought game, the players from Sioux Falls Lincoln set down their bags, shed their coats, and helped move all of our gymnastics equipment into the gym. They did so unsolicited and with smiles on their faces. It was one of the classiest gestures I’ve had the pleasure to witness by any high school team.

The team from Sioux Falls Lincoln left Marshall with their first loss of the season and a couple cases of PowerAde as a thank you for their muscle. But what they left here was far greater. They left an outstanding impression of kindness and a great display of sportsmanship. They helped remind us all that high school sports provide more opportunities than competition alone. Hats of to the Lincoln Patriot players and coaches for being first class on and off the court.

Thanks for the opportunity to share. Have a great weekend.


Here are the Facebook comments ...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing these stories John.

No stat sheet will reflect this kind of assist.... kudos to those young men (coaches and parents too) from Sioux Falls.

Well done! Thanks for sharing

Pure. Awesome.

That is really awesome! Good for them!

Hats off to Sioux Falls Lincoln!!! Losing isn't easy, but they saw what was most important which is helping others. They are to be commended for being great players and more importantly great human beings.

Those are the stories that should make the news! Kudos to the coach and parents for doing a good job raising great kids!

Thanks for sharing, we need to hear more of these kind of stories

Thanks for sharing this. Class act all the way.. Talk about winners!

Those young men have certainly been parented and coached "right." We are all winners for having this shared with us! Thanks for sharing....that is a wonderful story.

Hats off to the parents, coaches and players, you are a class act and so very impressive. It's not all about winning and losing, it's about the life lessons learned along the way.. Way to go, well done.

How impressive! Kudos...these young men obviously have had some great role models and their community and school should be VERY proud.

Talking about spreading the love! Nice!

Great story!!

What great sportsmanship! These are the stories that the media needs to share and broadcast.

Thanks for sharing. Seems like we only hear bad things. This made my day

Awesome!!! I wish more kids were like this

This is wonderful! True sportsmanship and most important character, the coaches, parents, and most importantly the players from SF Lincoln can be proud of themselves, this is what it is all about~ total class act!

That's my alma mater! So proud!!!

Love it! I graduated from there too. Good people in Sioux Falls. It was a great place to grow up!

Very cool!

Now that sounds like a community I want to live in! Oh wait, I will be!


*Schools/teams John has visited: 391
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,402
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Braemar Arena: The Heart of Edina Hockey1/6/2013
Since 1965, Braemar Arena has been the home of Edina hockey. To read Brian Jerzak's story about one of Minnesota's legendary arenas, click here.
Zach Gabbard: The Inside Story As Only A Mom Can Write It 1/3/2013
Every high school sports fan in Minnesota knows the Zach Gabbard story … or at least we think we do. The Perham basketball player collapsed on the court nearly two years ago, and his recovery and emotional return to his team provided memories that none of us will forget.

But there is much more to Zach’s story, especially from the first frightening days after his cardiac episode at the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton gym and hospitalization in Fargo. Several times, doctors told Zach’s family that he would not surivive. They were asked if they wanted to see Zach one last time before he died.

But he did survive, and Zach’s story is told in a book written and self-published by his mother, Meridee Gabbard. The title is fitting: “You’re Never Promised Another Day.”

Writing the book and reliving those times was emotional for Meridee, who told me, “I cried the whole time I was writing. I was reliving it and crying.”

She wrote most of the book during the summer of 2011 but waited for the 2012 state tournament before finishing it. Perham won the Class 2A state championship in 2011 and finished third in 2012. In 2011 Zach surprised everyone by leaving a rehabilitation facility in St. Paul and joining his team for state tourney games at Williams Arena and Target Center. In 2012 he was back in uniform at state, watching the action from the bench.

Zach is now attending Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls and is a student manager for the men’s basketball team.

“He has some short-term memory problems and we’re working on that with him,” Meridee said. “Basketball has always been a passion for him.”

The book is a day-to-day diary of sorts, based largely on a journal that Meridee began keeping during the ordeal and postings on Zach’s CaringBridge website. The details are sometimes frightening …

“During the late afternoon hours Zach underwent his first open heart surgery to have the VAD inserted – this would allow his heart to rest. Some sort of cold thermal blanket, which reminded me of a silver air mattress, was placed on top of Zach’s body to keep his vitals cold; he remained in critical condition. Sometime after the surgery we were told that his vitals had weakened and he wasn’t going to make it. The doctor asked us if we wanted to go see him one last time. Preparing ourselves for the worst, Steve, Courtney and I went to talk to Zach and told him how much we loved him and that now was not his time. The three of us left the room sobbing beyond belief. Within minutes after talking to Zach the doctor came and told us that his vitals had improved and he was doing better!”

Meridee survived a brain tumor in 1982 and she leaned on her own experience when her son’s life was in danger.

“During those first few days when the doctors kept saying, ‘He’s not going to make it,’ for me, it was my brain tumor; ‘He IS going to make it.’ I knew he could hear us.”

Meridee told me that writing a book was something she never thought she would do, but the process was therapeutic for her.

“There were a lot of people during this experience who said, “You’ve got to write a book. This is too miraculous.’ I thought they were nuts. … It was never on my bucket list, but it’s off there now. I wrote it for people who follow Zach but also I wanted to write it for Zach when he’s ready.”

A Facebook page for the book has been created; search for “Zach Gabbard Book” on Facebook. Meridee has already sold several hundred books. The cost is $14.99 plus shipping and they can be ordered by sending an email to Meridee at

It’s well worth it.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 383
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,357
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Hey Students! Who Wants To Attend A T-Wolves Game As A Media Member?1/2/2013
This exciting announcement was posted today on the MSHSL Student Media Facebook page...

The second annual MSHSL Student Media Day with the Timberwolves has been scheduled for Sunday, February 24. The Timberwolves will play the Golden State Warriors at 2:30 p.m. that day, and a small group of Student Media members will be there with John Millea from the MSHSL. We will attend the game as credentialed media, watch the action from media seats and get a great look at what goes on behind the scenes at a professional sporting event

If you would like to be considered for this opportunity, you need to be an active member of the Student Media program. This means you are writing stories about your school's activities and posting them on your school's page on the MSHSL website. If you are not yet doing so and would like to get started, click on this link for Student Media information:

John Millea will make the decisions on who will attend the game. If you would like to be considered, you need to do two things: 1) Make sure you are writing as mentioned above; 2) Send an email to John ( and express your desire to be considered. First preference will be given to students who have not yet attended a Student Media day with the Timberwolves or Twins.

Good luck!
Looking Ahead To 2013, Remembering The Best of 2012 12/31/2012
As we begin a new year and bid farewell to the year that has passed, I posed this question to MSHSL followers on Facebook and Twitter: "What are your favorite memories of high school activities in 2012? There were many great stories in the last 12 months, and we would love to hear what you will remember most from 2012..."

The replies are below. They came from dozens of people who are among the more than 11,000 people who follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@MSHSLjohn).

I know the replies will bring back some great memories. Happy New Year!

--getting to experience playing at the state 1A with not only the fosston boys team but also our girls team its a weekend i will never forget! Go Hounds!

--Tigers getting state champs in football this year! Way to go Tigers!

--The Princeton Tigers finally making it to the Dome for the fitst time

--Jordan Hubmen football. Ending regular season 1-7, and making it to state.

--being smallest school in 3AAA football by 1 student and winning the state title for the first time ever in school history and being undefeated! BUC PRIDE!

--Seeing the Minneapolis Washburn Millers play in the state baseball tournament in St Cloud... Hoping for a return trip to state for them in 2013!

--NB Vikings Varsity football team

--roman breaking the scoring record for boys basketball.

--De La Salle at the buzzer vs. Washburn in AAA Boys Basketball Championship! Instant Classic!

-- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa winning state championship with a 33-0 record!

-- New Ulm Softball winning the AA softball state championship in extra innings against St. Anthony Village

--Winning state in football for the third year in a row and it being the fifth title in six years. And wat made it the best is we beet moose lake for the second year in a row and on a last second 24 yard feild goal #caledoniawarriors

--Winning state Cal Football

--Watching Anders Broman score 72 points in a game at Melrose! Broman and Scottie Stone meet up again this Feb. 9th in Duluth.

--Murray County Central boys golf finishing 4th at State in first year of existence!

--Lakeville North winning the state AAA Volleyball Championship!

--Perham XC - state and small school national champs!

--State titles for Eastview in Dance Team, Boys Lacrosse, Baseball and Boys Soccer.

--watching BSM win AA boys hockey title for #jabs with Besse's five goal performance

--Maria Haugers 4th straigtht CC State Championship and doing so in record fashion

--MSAD VB and FTB teams win Deaf National Champions!

--Lester prairie Holy Trinity football breaking the state rushing record against blooming prairie

--Sleepy Eye GBB making first state appearance in history coming in as the #7 seed in their sub-section.

--White Bear Lake beats Lakeville North 1-0 in OT, advances to 2A girls soccer state championship game.

--Reffing my first Section final and first state tournament game

--Two of Goodridge-Grygla's GBB seniors hitting 1,000 points in December.

--Cannon Falls Bombers winning section 1AA baseball tournament and qualifying for the State Tournament!!

--the 1-7 Jordan Hubmen making a playoff run and qualifying for the state tourney!

--twolves and twins student media days!

--Chan Boys Hockey knocking off Holy Angels as the 12-time defending Missota Conference Champion

--Student Media day at Target Field

--Seeing the players, coaches & managers from Austin & Edgerton '60 teams be honored at the 100th anniversary of state basketball.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 383
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,357
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn