Elliott: It’s the journey, not the end result

Chaotic fall helps remind us of what sports are about

New London-Spicer teammates congratulate each other after scoring a point during Thursday's match against Dassel-Cokato at New London-Spicer High School in New London. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

By the time these words hit your doorstep, the fall high school sports season will be over.

Never has there been a stranger, more chaotic one.

First, it wasn’t going to happen for football and volleyball. Then, it got a late September approval with shortened seasons. But that shortened season got even shorter Wednesday with the latest executive order from the governor.

Politics aside, that most of the area schools got in all or most of their games and matches feels like a minor miracle.

Nothing was set. Team schedules should have been called schedule suggestions. The schedules changed nearly nightly with teams or opponents on quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic. Positive tests happened regularly throughout the area.


That teams were able to get some games has to be considered a positive, even if it didn’t end the way everyone hoped, with clear section championships. State tournaments were largely out of the question from the start. So, section titles were going to be as good as it got in the fall of 2020.

New London-Spicer seniors Kendra Bagley, outside hitter, left, and Mya Krause, libero, cheer after scoring a point during Thursday's match against Dassel-Cokato at New London-Spicer High School in New London. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

While we’re going to call some of last night’s football games section championships, they technically aren’t. There are all kinds of Nos. 3 and 4 seeds that would have loved to have had a crack at upsetting Nos. 1 and 2. It won’t happen.

This fall demonstrated that the journey is sometimes more important than the final destination. High school athletes got to play this fall, something the kids didn’t get to do last spring. They got to connect with their friends, or make new friends. They got to compete. And they got to take the journey. Memories were made. No doubt, anyone who participated at any level in any way in high school sports this fall is going to remember what a bizarre year this was, sports writers included.

The journey and the process that it involves is what we have to be thankful for. For teams that could have gone to state tournaments and possibly won state titles, that’s a small consolation. But it’s better than nothing. Try to enjoy the journey.

Four go pro

In all the years of the NBA draft, it’s likely never happened before. Four Minnesotans were selected Wednesday night. Zeke Nnaji, a Lakeville native who played for the University of Arizona, was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 22nd pick.

Tyrell Terry, a Minneapolis DeLaSalle graduate from Stanford, went to the Dallas Mavericks with the 31st pick.


Next up was Daniel Oturu, the University of Minnesota center who played at St. Paul Cretin-Derham Hall. Oturu went 33rd overall to the Los Angeles Clippers by way of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rounding out the foursome was Tre Jones, the Duke point guard from Apple Valley. Jones went 41st to the San Antonio Spurs. He joins his brother Tyus Jones of the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA.

Mark it down as a draft to remember for Minnesota area basketball.

Impressive stat

Broadcaster Rick Grammond does play-by-play for Pierz sports. But it’s more than that. His calls of the game are web-streamed live and then he does write-ups of whatever the contest was that he was covering. He does his job well.

This was something he came up with about high school football on Thursday: “There are 309 football teams that compete in seven classes, from 9-Man up to AAAAAA. With the seasons shortened to six games and now with the state mandate that the season end on Friday night, I crunched some numbers,” he wrote.

“Of the 309 teams, only four managed to put together a 7-0 record heading into the final night of the season. Two of them go head-to-head for the Section 6AAA title in Sauk Centre when Pierz faces Albany.”

He continued: “The other two teams that are 7-0 are Minneota in Class A and Lakeville South in Class AAAAAA.”


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Tom Elliott

Tom Elliott has been the sports editor at the West Central Tribune since September 2019.
Contact him at or leave a message at 320-235-1150.
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