It’s a little bit weird at this moment in the high school sports season, where events that breathed life into an otherwise drab fall are gone in what seems to be a heartbeat.
It feels like it was almost last weekend when the Worthington High School boys soccer team breezed through the regular season like a welcome storm, beating everyone in its path. It was a rough year for the football team, but traditionalists like me became genuine soccer fans as we watched the local soccer boys perform well enough to carry themselves to a state tournament. Soccer, when it’s played well, is a beautiful sport. Cooperation between teammates is hard to perfect, but the finesse that is displayed when passes from one player to the next are connected seamlessly is always worth watching. I hope that next year more spectators show up, drawn to a program that truly deserves an increase in thoughtful participation.
My hat is off to WHS boys soccer head coach Smitty Ektnitphong for what he’s achieved here. He’s not just a great coach; he’s also a joy to talk to. He has schooled me in the essential elements of soccer, though I must confess I probably have already forgotten much of what I’ve learned.
Even so, I can still enjoy the game.
Likewise, I still believe that not enough Worthington area football fans have learned to appreciate what they’ve got with the Minnesota West Bluejays. Yes, the Jays lost more games than they won this fall, but the entertainment value of college football is uniquely worthwhile if all you’ve been exposed to is the high school level.
I especially appreciated the offense Minnesota West generated this year. I’m not one of those football fans who can’t enjoy a low-scoring game, but there are few high school programs around here where passing and catching is elevated to such a high art. Bluejay quarterback Peyton Kendrick consistently threw well-aimed spirals this fall, and super-prolific wide receiver Reginald Colson III was an artist in cleats. What a joy to watch!
You may have missed Minnesota West’s incredible fourth-quarter comeback victory over Northland this year at Trojan Field. Too bad if you did.
Well, it’s on to the winter campaign. Don’t forget to take in the games. Remember: You’ll never know what you’re missing until you do.