OUT & ABOUT
By Gayle VanVooren, Mascot Editor
The state wrestling tournament is now a warm memory for most of us. We relish the high points, think sadly of the low points, and then realize — it really was a great year!
Your Mascot personnel worked as a team this year and we feel it helped to produce a better “picture” of what the tournament was all about.
In this instance, it took ‘a village’ to tell the story of the team and individuals at the state tournament.
Byron and I were there taking photos, and so was Byron’s step-son Jeff Meyer of the Pelican Rapids Press. We positioned ourselves at different angles so we could get the best shots possible.
While I was keeping track of what was going on in the matches, Byron was able to capture much of the “color” of the tournament — the parents, the fans, the emotions of the team members. Those photos are now precious to reflect on.
It was a busy job, and we feel very honored to have a team to cover in this way. We had a good time, and thank our young men and their coaches for giving us this chance.
Before we ever left town, we also decided to put out the color edition that hit the stands last week. That meant visiting with our advertisers and actually setting up all the ads before we left town.
To say it was a little crazy would be putting it mildly.
When the paper came back ready to distribute, we were as excited as parents of a newborn. We needed to see just what we had hatched!
In thinking the whole process over, there were a couple items I completely forgot about.
I had the fun of interviewing Mike Weiss, one of the security people at the Xcel Center. He was delighted to have this opportunity and spoke with pride about what he does on an everyday basis.
When I first passed through that gate years ago, he searched my bag and came up with some candy, an apple and a soda. It was there amongst my camera, notebooks and other needed items.
He said that ‘food is not to brought into the Xcel’, but at the same time did not take it out nor make a scene. I appreciated that.
Since that time, I have never brought food back to the tournament, and he has never checked my bag again. I guess you would call that trust — going both ways.
Another little scene that played out at the tournament was a much more tender one. With Skillings and Buysse often wrestling at the same time, we photographers would be sure to be on each mat so that we wouldn’t miss the action.
In the match before Beau’s semi-final, I sat beside one of the mat boys in the front row. He was unusually restless and I casually looked his way.
He was covering his eyes, grimacing, and having a terrible time watching the two young men wrestling.
He looked at me and remarked, “That’s my brother wrestling.” I noticed the wrestlers’ intense look, and the little brother said, “Yes, he always gets that look when he wrestles.”
It was soon evident that this was not to be a win, and that’s when the little brother really broke down. He cried crocodile tears for his big brother and said, “He’s so nice and wanted to win so bad.”
The mother in me took over, and in trying to console the young boy, said how I hoped his brother realized how much he was loved.
Someday, I hope this older brother will come back to support his little family fan.
Thousands of wrestlers, thousands of fans, and there are always little dramas being played out. How fortunate I feel to have been a part of it all.