The first sound I heard from the 2010 spring state tournaments was, fittingly, a loud cheer. It was a bit muffled, considering that it came from inside an inflatable tennis bubble while I was walking outside the bubble, but it was a wonderful sound nonetheless.
Today was day one of the Big Spring Swing, two weeks of state tournaments scattered around the Twin Cities and extending from Mankato and Jordan up to Becker. The cheer I heard came from the Class A boys’ tennis tourney at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis, where Breck was edging Rochester Lourdes 4-3 in a highly anticipated team quarterfinal.
(For photos and video from tennis and lacrosse, see the MSHSL Facebook page.)
The big news from the day was that one of the two bubbles at Reed-Sweatt was down, having deflated due to an electrical malfunction on Friday. The roof material was ripped as it fell and repairs could not be made in time for the first day of the tournament. We’ll see what the rest of the week brings; good weather could lead to outdoor tennis. Fingers are crossed.
With five courts in use instead of 10, Reed-Sweatt was a cramped facility. Bleachers were placed on either side of the five-court setup, so fans watching the matches in the middle had to strain just a bit to see everything. The schedule took a hit, too, but the tournament managers did a terrific job of keeping things moving.
At one point in the day, Luverne coach Greg Antoine was trying to solve a slight problem. He had a cooler filled with Gatorade and needed a place to stow it while the team went out to get some lunch between matches. MSHSL media steward Jil Fiemeyer of Wadena, who always has a smile on her face, showed him where to park it. The great thing about that cooler? The Gatorade was donated to the team by one of the local businesses in Luverne. Community spirit is alive and well.
There were no space issues during the 2A boys’ tournament at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center today. Baseline is pure state of the art, with plenty of room for spectators and outstanding views of the action.
What goes on behind the scenes at the tennis tournaments is interesting as well as inspiring. One of the very cool things about state tennis are the pre-match meetings. This morning, I walked out of the restroom at Reed-Sweatt and much to my surprise the hallway was packed with tennis players.
Because of the cramped conditions, Class A site manager Hal Miller of Alexandria was addressing the teams from Mound-Westonka and Thief River Falls in the hallway. Later in the day, I witnessed a similar meeting between Mounds View and Forest Lake in the 2A tourney at Baseline. This meeting was held in the spacious Baseline lounge, with comfortable chairs everywhere.
2A site manager Doug Peltier of Roseville quickly explained which matches would be held on which courts, and then the lineups were quietly announced. Peltier, for example, said, “The players at Number One singles are …” And coaches Mike Cartwright of Mounds View and Greg Patchin of Forest Lake introduced the players, who rose to shake hands with each other as well as the opposing coach.
After the meeting ended, the Forest Lake Rangers headed out to the courts. Back in the lounge, the Mounds View Mustangs gathered around Cartwright for a very quick pep talk, followed by the loudest sound the room heard all day: “1, 2, 3, Mustangs!”
AFTER MAKING THE 25-mile drive from the University of Minnesota to Chanhassen High School, the first sound I heard from the girls’ state lacrosse tournament was also muffled … because I was inside a porta-potty when Mounds View scored the first goal against Eden Prairie.
It was dinnertime, and the concession stand was out of Diet Mountain Dew; I chose a Diet Pepsi over a Diet Coke (DC is my official drink of the winter state tournaments). The people working in the concession stand apparently don’t have to be sport-specific, because I heard one lady say to another lady, “What’s the game that’s going on? Lacrosse?”
The best thing about Tuesday evening’s lacrosse action was the sky. There were a few darkish clouds, but the sun made several appearances after a day of soggy drops falling to the ground. We all felt like we were in a good spot, too, since the National Weather Service’s Chanhassen radar tower is only a couple hundred yards from the stadium at Chanhassen High School. If any trouble was afoot, you’d think we would be the first to know.
But thank goodness, the only thing close to a calamity on day one of the Big Spring Swing was a tennis bubble that wouldn’t behave. On the tennis court as well as the lacrosse field, the competition was spirited, the fans cheered for their boys and girls, and it was another wonderful day for high school activities in Minnesota.
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