John's Journal
A Convention, Cool Weather And, Uh, An Earthquake7/7/2010
Hello again. I trust everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and has returned to the normal summer routine.

I am writing from San Diego, California, where some of the MSHSL staff and a few members of the MSHSL board of directors are attending the 91st annual summer meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations. I was planning to post an update about the convention and the wonderful opportunities that are taking place here this week, but then we had some breaking news.

We had an earthquake.

Yes, an earthquake. The ground shook in southern California shortly before 5 p.m. local time today, or shortly before 7 p.m. in Minnesota. I was sitting in a cab, which was stopped at a red light, when the excitement began. The cab was on solid ground near downtown San Diego, but it felt like we were on a swaying bridge. The driver turned around and said, “Did you feel that.” Sure did. Was that an earthquake? Sure was.

News reports here are saying it was a 5.4 on the Richter scale, centered about 50 miles east of San Diego. It sounds like some items fell from grocery store shelves, but there seems to be no major damage or injuries.

Like all Midwesterners, I’ve been through blizzards and hail and other punches thrown by Mother Nature, but this was the first time I’ve felt an earthquake. It wasn’t what I would term a “violent” event, but people interviewed on the local television news didn’t treat this as an everyday, ho-hum thing, either. Fire departments scrambled in case they were needed, and some people interviewed said they could feel their high-rise office buildings swaying.

Another member of our MSHSL group was in her hotel room on the 16th floor when the earthquake hit. I saw her in the lobby and she seemed a bit frazzled by the experience. I’m writing this from the 21st floor of the same hotel, so I sincerely hope there are no aftershocks.

Beyond the movement of the earth’s crust, the weather here is, well, odd for July in San Diego. The temperature has not reached 70 degrees, the sun has barely been seen and jackets are the order of the day. Outerwear is outselling beachwear by a wide margin.

The National Federation summer meeting runs through Saturday. State associations are gathered to share information, learn from each other and network in order to do an even better job of making sure that high school athletics and activities are maintained at a high level for students across the country.

There are workshops and seminars held every day this week, with a wide range of topics. I attended a session this morning called “Video and Audio Streaming of Events – a Discussion by Industry Professionals.” It provided a look into the current and future status of web streaming, online statistics and other elements of this topic. Minnesota is ahead of the pace nationally, with already webcasting many state tournament events.

As the convention moves along, I will be taking part in a technology roundtable discussion, several technology workshops and a workshop session titled “Innovative Communication through Facebook, Twitter and Texting – Benefits and Pitfalls.” Other sessions focus on specific sports and activities as well as concussions, legal issues, funding, marketing, officials, etc.

That’s the latest update from San Diego. This trip has turned out to be a lot more exciting than I had figured…

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

Have a Fun, Safe Holiday Weekend7/1/2010
With the Fourth of July weekend upon us, here's wishing you safe travels and pleasant memories.

The summer period of no contact between coaches and athletes is in place through July 7. The intent of the no-contact period is to ensure there is no contact at all with the students and the coaches during this seven-day period. (Baseball and softball coaches are exempt from the seven-day no-contact period.)

Enjoy the weekend!

Summer Has Arrived: What Does That Mean For You?6/29/2010
The temperatures have warmed, spring sports have come to a close and what were once known as the lazy, hazy days of summer have arrived. If you’re an athlete or active in other school activities, however, maybe summer doesn’t mean as much down time as it once did.

Hopefully you’re headed off on a family vacation or you’re taking time to drop a line in the water, read a good book and recharge. Maybe you’re participating in a sports camp or attending a debate camp or similar summer activity.

We’d like to learn what summer means to you, and we have started a discussion thread on the MSHSL Facebook page. Join us there and let us know what you’re doing on these summer days.

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at
Baseball Coach Moves From Apple Valley to Lakeville South6/28/2010
Apple Valley High School has announced the resignation of Al Iversen as the head baseball coach. Iversen, a resident of Lakeville and an elementary school teacher in Lakeville, will become the varsity baseball coach at Lakeville South High School.

Iversen has coached the Eagles baseball team for the past 10 seasons, leading the team to a 148-96 (.607) record. Under Iversen, the Eagles captured the 2006 Class AAA state championship. They also won Lake Conference titles in 2002, 2004 and 2007.

Applications are now being accepted. Interested applicants can send a cover letter and resume to Apple Valley athletics director Pete Buesgens.
Maddie & Brittany (Part Two)6/24/2010
AS BRITTANY STRUGGLED, her best friend was there for her.

“For a while I kind of shut down, I stopped talking to people. Part of me didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to put a burden on other people,” Brittany said. “But one time Maddie was like, ‘What the heck? Talk to me.’ So that’s when we started talking again. That was really hard. It was crazy.”

The transition from Concordia Academy to Lion’s Gate also was rough at times. The students at Concordia were extremely close and it was difficult to accept that their school was closing. It was especially hard for the students in the class of 2010, who would spend their senior year in a new school.

“It was really hard for the seniors. The old building was like home to us,” Brittany said. “People would be there from 7 in the morning until 9 at night. There was just so much going on and it felt like home. Then to come here was kind of hard because you remember everything about the old school. “

“But it was the same people,” Maddie said.

“We talked about it a lot for the first month or so,” said Brittany. “We’d say, ‘This is so weird, it isn’t the same.’ But we knew it would be OK.”

Their senior year was filled with memorable sports moments, especially in basketball. Lion’s Gate and Bethany Academy in Bloomington have a cooperative girls’ basketball team which fell one game short of the Class 1A state tournament, losing to Maranatha Christian in the Section 4 championship game. The Bethany/Lion’s Gate team opened the season with a 13-game winning streak and finished with a record of 24-5.

Basketball will help Brittany and Maddie continue their friendship. Both will attend St. Olaf College in Northfield and play on the basketball team. The choice was easy for Brittany, who loved St. Olaf from her first visit and was accepted during the early decision admission process. Maddie’s family had a tradition of attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and she struggled with her decision.

“I think the only reason I visited St. Olaf was because Britt said she liked it,” Maddie said. “So I thought I’d check it out, but I didn’t decide until April. It just felt a lot better, and the girls on the basketball team are like a little community. It’s pretty nice.”

“It wasn’t like we decided because of each other,” Brittany said. “Obviously that’s a great plus, but we both wanted to make the decision that was best for us.”

PARTLY BECAUSE OF their experiences with sports injuries, both girls plan to go into fields related to medicine and athletics.

“I want to be a physical therapist because of my knee,” Brittany said. “When I went through physical therapy I thought, ‘This is really cool.’ So I want to double major in biology and sports kinesiology.”

Maddie is considering becoming an athletic trainer. “Once we’re done playing sports, I’d still like to be in it somehow,” she said.

Both girls once had dreams of playing Division I basketball, “but once we got closer to college, we realized there were other things that were important to us; our faith and friends and families,” Maddie said.

They would love to be college roommates, but that is not guaranteed. When their filled out St. Olaf housing applications, they did it together – writing down the same information and preferences -- in the hopes they would be matched as roommates.

“That would be very cool,” Brittany said.

They are ready for college, but they share the same jitters and worries of all incoming freshmen.

“I think it’s going to be exciting but also kind of nerve-racking,” Brittany said. “College is so different; you’re on your own and you don’t have your parents there to remind you of everything.”

No, the girls won’t have their parents there. But they will have each other, best friends staying together.

And they’ll be just fine.

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