One can’t help but be a bit reflective at the end of another tremendous fall sports season for Otter Tail Central and Henning. Not only did a member of the cross country team advance to state, none other than Henning’s Nora Froslee, but both the volleyball and football teams advanced to the section championship games.
With a number of seniors on each team this year, especially the volleyball team whose seniors have made up a core of the team for the past three seasons, one can’t help but be proud of everything they have accomplished over the years.
For example, over the past three seasons the football team has went 20-8 and the volleyball team has went 57-15. That type of success doesn’t happen over night and is the result of a winning culture instilled by coaches, players and the community as a whole. What is perhaps equally impressive is the amazing fan support these teams have received throughout the season.
Of the four teams left in the Section 6A volleyball tournament last week, Henning and Brandon-Evansville were by far the smallest two schools. One would have never known that based on the amount of fans in the stands on both Thursday and Saturday.
Here’s what stuck out to me the most about the playoff game, even though Henning School has about half the enrollment of Breckenridge and the population of our town is just 800 people, instead of 3,500, we had a comparative amount of fans cheering on our team throughout the game (our school district does encompass a wide area that includes several other communities as well). Our high school enrollment according to the Minnesota State High School League is 93 students, by comparison the enrollment at Breckenridge is 199.
The same was the case on Saturday when Henning took on Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, whose three towns combine for a population of nearly double that of Henning’s. The enrollment at both Breckenridge and BBE are about double Henning’s, yet for 90 minutes on Thursday and for over 2 hours on Saturday the Hornets went toe-to-toe with both teams.
In fact, a few inches here and there and perhaps the Hornets would be going to the state volleyball tournament and not BBE (whose MSHSL enrollment is listed at 182 students).
Saturday was the opening of the deer rifle season and it would have been just as easy for people to stay home or listen to the game in the hunting shack, but the fans came out to cheer on a team that has become such a big part of the our community. Never mind the fact that hundreds of people attended Friday’s football game against Breckenridge in the FargoDome just the night before.
While winning is great, being a good representative of our community is also important. That goes for the fans as well who turned out in full force the past two weeks to watch our small school put on a show against several much larger opponents. Good sportsmanship is something that is not always seen around these parts, as many of us have witnessed over the past few weeks (one of my all-time favorite chants I have heard was “Jaguars aren’t blue” which was yelled by students on Saturday). Fortunately, we have fans and players that show respect win, lose or draw.
That being said the countdown is already on to the winter sports season.