John's Journal
Hall of Fame: Inspirational Inductees7/11/2010
The 91st summer meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations culminated Saturday night in San Diego with the induction of 12 new members into the National High School Hall of Fame.

Two states that neighbor Minnesota were represented in the inductions by track athlete Suzy Favor Hamilton of Wisconsin and multi-sport official Gary Christiansen of Mason City, Iowa.

Other athletes inducted were Michael Carter of Texas, Katrina McClain of South Carolina, John Godina of Wyoming and Janet Evans of California. Three coaches were inducted: Richard Magarian of Rhode Island, Ed Pepple of Washington and Alton “Red” Franklin of Louisiana. One administrator, Willie Bradshaw of North Carolina, joined this year’s class and the late Dr. Vito Perriello of Virginia, who dedicated a lifetime to the advancement of sports medicine, and George Welch, a music director from Utah, round out the 2010 Hall of Fame class.

After the new members were welcomed into the Hall via video highlights and the presentation of plaques and medals, Janet Evans spoke on behalf of all the inductees. Evans set several California high school swimming records and competed in three Olympics, winning gold medals and setting world records. She competed in her first Olympics while still in high school, yet she returned to high school swimming even after the Olympics.

Evans talked about how important being a high school athlete was to her, and the lessons that were taught via high school athletics.

“I learned lessons that I didn’t learn at the Olympic and international levels,” she said. “It’s not about winning, it’s about being part of a team.”

The Hall of Fame ceremony was extremely inspirational, and it also helped demonstrate – in these days of high-priced professional sports and roaming free agents – the value of high school activities. As National Federation executive director Bob Gardner made some closing remarks, he referred to the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

“If you build it, THEY will come,” Gardner told the members of state associations from around the nation. “They” are the millions of students who take part in athletics and other activities. These are challenging times for schools and state associations, but everyone who attended the summer meeting came away with a renewed enthusiasm for the importance of the work they do.

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John Fogarty Receives NFHS Citation7/10/2010
Friday’s highlight at the summer meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations was a luncheon at which several individuals from around the nation were honored.

Among the honorees was John Fogarty from Cannon Falls High School. John received a National Federation citation for his years of service in speech, debate and theater.

John inherited the Cannon Falls speech program in 1969 after graduating from St. John’s University. He slowly built the program into one of the finest in the state as well as the nation. His team currently consists of 75 students; the school’s graduating classes have fewer than 100 students. He has coached seven state champions, more than 50 state finalists and hundreds of state tournament competitors.

He teaches classes in speech, theater, debate, AP composition and interdisciplinary humanities as well as directing school plays. He has coached policy, Lincoln-Douglas and public-forum debate teams for 38 years.

Among the other honorees was Breckenridge native Dave Carlsrud, who is retiring this year after 22 years as assistant to the executive secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association. The citation for coaching went to Ed Thomas, the football coach at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa who was murdered by a former player last year.

The National High School Spirit of Sport Award went to Tori Clark of Roselle. Illinois. After learning that the mother of a volleyball player at a rival high school was diagnosed with a form of pre-leukemia, Tori organized fundraising efforts to help the family.

The awards luncheon, held in San Diego, had a definite Minnesota flavor. Three video screens were suspended above the stage in the hotel ballroom, with videos of high school activities from around the nation playing on the screens throughout the luncheon. The attendees were treated to videos from Minnesota state tournaments in football, basketball, hockey and other events, as well as post-championship-game scenes of players receiving medals.

Even in the midst of summer, with high school activities taking a break, it was a great day for Minnesota.

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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…

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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.

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